Eye Opening

I always consider it an honor when a client comes back to me for another session.  I adore sharing these times with the most amazing women this world has ever seen!  Sometimes my sessions are my client’s annual pick me up, a constant reminder of how fabulous they are!  I enjoy getting to remind them of that, and I love getting them to see themselves through my mirror!  This beautiful woman had her second shoot with me, will be participating in my group shoot in September, then will be coming next year for her 3rd session to celebrate how fabulous she is at 30 years old!  Bring it on!

Here’s what she had to say after her second session:

1) Why did you decide to invest in a boudoir photo shoot?  I’ve had a session with Maura previously.. I was dying to get back in front of her camera!! Plus is there really any better way to spend your birthday?! I think not!

2) How did you feel about yourself before your photo shoot?  Not good.. Been helping immediately family members deal with some health issues, traveling a lot for work & top that off with getting back into the dating life.. BLAH!

3) How did you feel about yourself after your photo shoot?  Amazing, stunning, confident, amazing, sexy, awesome, amazing, unstoppable.. did I mention amazing?!

plus size boudoir photos in pittsburgh, woman on bed in red floral bodysuit

plus size boudoir photographer pittsburgh

4) Describe your session in 3 words?  Awesome Eye opening (even more so than 1st session) Loving

plus size boudoir photos in pittsburgh, woman on bed in red floral bodysuit

5) What was your favorite part of the boudoir photo shoot?  #mauramagic no matter what’s going on outside in normal life.. she welcomes you into her home & her heart.. makes you feel amazing & pampers you, although sometimes painful poses, the confidence & feeling you get leaving her is a-mazing!

6) What would you say to other women who are considering a boudoir photo shoot?  DO IT!!!! You won’t regret it!! Worth EVERY penny!! & then some!!!

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A Photo Shoot Tribute to My Mom

I’ve done a few live shoots in my private Facebook group in the last few years.  As much as they exhaust me, I love getting to share the experience with the ladies in my group.  If you want to join the group, the button to join is below.

This gorgeous woman has been a part of my group for a long time and I knew she’s wanted to have the boudoir experience.  She wanted to do the live shoot and emailed me about her struggles being a single parent.  At that moment I began to reflect on my mother.

My parents divorced when I was 13 years old.  We moved out of the only house I’d known and went first to a hotel, then stayed with my aunt until my mom found a house to rent for my sisters and me.  I watched her try to work things out with my dad but was always disappointed.  It was a strange time for me.  But, looking back now, it was an even stranger time for her.

She worked hard for us.  She worked so hard that she was able to purchase a house on her own.  She provided for us in ways I didn’t even realize while I was a teenager, but as an adult I see what she did for us.  This is a woman who was brave enough to leave a situation that was no longer good for her (there’s so much more behind the curtain than you know), take her 3 girls with her, and face life’s challenges alone.  It sounds strange, but each day during high school, I would go into her purse to get money for lunch.  There was always money there for my lunch.  Always.  I can’t imagine how hard it must have been for her to pull it together for us.

I love my mom, she’s an amazing woman.  She was a strict parent, and we make fun of the way she parented us now….but, she’s raised some amazing women and my success is her success.  She has always been there, knows what I’m struggling with before I even speak, and will be at my side at a minutes notice.

She deserved to be loved and treated as a queen, because she is worthy of it.  It pains me to think about the challenges she went through, the way I treated her as a teenager, and a wish that I could change the past.  I do realize that she was a parent, not a friend – it was her job to mold us and shape us.  I can happily say now that my mom is one of my best friends.

She’s been by my side with everything.  She talked with me on the phone for hours after I went away to college, she helped heal my broken heart, she moved me to NJ after college and almost crossed the George Washington Bridge into NYC (yikes for her), she spoiled me by sending me packages from home, she welcomed me back with open arms when I decided to come back to Pittsburgh,  she knows my needs before I know, she knows my heart better than I do, she feels my pain and agonizes that she can’t take it away.  She also says the craziest and funniest things you’ve ever heard – so much so that I keep a note of all the things she says so that we can remember those times forever!  And, when she has a glass of wine, GET READY!

I cherish my mother.  She gives her love so freely.  She sensitive.  She wants to be included.  She wants to feel accepted.  She gives everything she can.  This woman is someone who inspires me.  Who’s been through some things in life that I can’t even imagine, who showed me love in the way I needed it at any moment, who wants only the best for her girls, who worries about us, who supports us in all our endeavors, and will hold our hand or give us a hug when we need comfort.  I can’t tell her enough how much I love her, how much I wish I could change what she went through in her life, but knowing that those experiences have created her into this amazingly wonderful woman who I look up to and inspire to be.

So back to when this client emailed me, I decided that I needed to do something for her as a tribute to my mom.  I so wish that when my mom was struggling to take care of 3 kids, run a house, and work a full time job that someone would have given her a day that was just about her.  No distractions, no worrying, no caring about what’s going on in the world, no responsibility – all her, all day!  Because as women, we deserve a day that’s just for us, we deserve to FEEL beautiful, we deserve to treat ourselves.  We need to recognize the amazing women that we are, we need to see ourselves through someone else’s eyes, we need to see what we didn’t know was in us or even forgot was there, we need to know that we are more than just how we look.  There is so much depth and wonder to be found in your soul when you release all that’s been holding you back and embrace the woman you are!

And, the session was nothing short of amazing.  Kelli is a wonderful woman who helps anyone she can.  She’s got a smile like no other, and she said she wanted feature her smile in her images.  Her wish is my command.  She also did just cut her hair and I was excited to showcase yet another beauty with short hair.

Enjoy some photos from her session.

And, thanks mom for all you’ve done and continue to do for me! <3

boudoir photography pittsburgh

That booty though…..I’m obsessed!

boudoir photography pittsburgh

Well, I love this new light I’m using.  I love all the lines of light that are created on the wall.  It gives this a very moody vibe – kind of like the movie 9 1/2 weeks! boudoir photography pittsburgh

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Cloud 9

My mission with each session is clear – to make my clients feel beautiful, to release any negative feelings they have about their body, and help them embrace a side of them they forgot or didn’t know was there!  This beauty’s session was no different!

Here’s what she had to say about her boudoir session!

1) Why did you decide to invest in a boudoir photo shoot?  I scheduled my session with the motive to use the photos as a gift for my boyfriend but it ended up being one of the greatest gifts I could have given myself. I loved the photos she would post and admired how beautiful each woman looked. I wanted to feel beautiful, too!

2) How did you feel about yourself before your photo shoot?  I was nervous and almost backed out! I hate having my picture taken and the thought of someone I’ve never met taking photos of not just my face, but my body, was something I had to warm up to.

3) How did you feel about yourself after your photo shoot?  A M A Z I N G!!! Maura was so encouraging (and crazy in the best way possible) during the whole shoot. I had my own cheerleader yelling ” That Ass!” She makes the experience fun and empowering. I won’t admit how many times I pulled up my preview photos- I couldn’t get enough!

4) Describe your session in 3 words?  I NEED MORE

5) What was your favorite part of the boudoir photo shoot?  Maura’s personality! She made me comfortable the minute I walked in the door. Her passion for her work will leave you feeling beautiful, inside and out. Priceless

6) What would you say to other women who are considering a boudoir photo shoot?  This is one of the best gifts you could give yourself. Maura herself is such an inspiration and you will leave your shoot feeling like you’re on cloud 9.

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Expectation is a road to NOWHERE

Do you ever do something expecting something to change?  For example, you start walking more and expect your body to change.  Or, you’ve been working at your job and you expect to be given a promotion.  Expecting gets you nowhere.  The problem with this is that you are expecting something.  You’ve not set a goal, you’ve just assumed it’s going to happen – you EXPECTED it.

Expectation is a road to NOWHERE

why expectation is bad a self love blog post from pittsburgh boudoir photographer Maura Chick

I read a lot of business and personal development books.  I tend to agree and take the advice they offer.  One exception – anything they tell me to do with expectation is a no go for me.  I just read a book that said, “In whatever you do, exceed it.”  How do you exceed it?  I do agree that you can do extra things here and there, but that’s just because of the person you are – not because anyone expects it from you.  I’m OK with going above and beyond my client’s expectations – they are expecting a photo shoot, and I give them so much more than that!

What I do have a problem with is when people place expectations on THEMSELVES!  There’s a big different.

The expectation you have is setting you up for failure and disappointment.  You expect change, and when it doesn’t happen you get upset, stressed, depressed and you have single-handedly destroyed your own dreams.  If you were making progress, it stops.  Any momentum you had, it’s gone.

Back in my Corporate America days, we had annual performance evaluations and we were rated on a scale of 1 to 5.  5 being the best, with a label of Exceptional; 1 being Unsatisfactory.  What’s 4? Exceeds Expectations.  HUH – What does that even mean?  How can I exceed expectations?  I do my job – I’m either great at it or not.  I would always ask, “How do I get to 5?”  No one – not in my 14 years there – could anyone tell me how to get to 5.  You know why?  Because you can’t measure anything on expectations!  Mic drop, walk away!

As a photographer, I never expect anything from my clients.  I never expect them to be able to pose (that’s my job), I don’t expect them to see my vision (because their eye is different than mine), and I never expect anything from their photos.  I am there to be whatever they need me to be, not the other way around.  I expect nothing from them.

I was talking about this blog post with a friend, and I want to share the conversation we had.

My friend said, “I’ve been running 20+ miles per week but my body isn’t changing, the scale doesn’t move and my clothes aren’t fitting better.”  (She’s training for a marathon)

I said, “The problem is that you are expecting things to change.  And, you haven’t met that expectation so you feel like you failed and you get very defeated in the process.  It sends you down a rabbit hole of negative thinking that you can’t get out of.  That then impacts everything in your life.”

She said,  “What should I expect then?” I said, “Nothing!”

The natural follow up question she had was, “Then why do I run?”

It was time for me to give her some hard truth.  I said, “Because you like to run and it makes you feel good.  Stop expecting anything to change, just do stuff because you love the way it makes you feel.  If running doesn’t make you feel good, don’t do it.”

When you are expecting your body to change and you don’t see it happening, you turn to the mirror to figure out what’s going on.  That mirror lies to you.  You are looking for your worthiness in something that can’t provide it because you aren’t looking at it with love.  You stand there questioning why you aren’t changing like you expected, think about what you’re doing is wrong, how you must work harder.   You don’t see how amazing and worthy you are without this change you were expecting.  What happens if you just stand in front of the mirror and say, “I love you just as you are now.  Let’s have some fun!”

When you release those expectations you’ve placed on yourself, you begin to relax and enjoy what you’re doing.  With that expectation, you are always trying to reach something that is not attainable.  When you let go, things in your life will happen naturally because you aren’t stressed out about whether things are changing.  And, the biggest benefit is that you begin to see things that you didn’t even know where there because you were so focused on something you couldn’t reach.  You see more clearly what’s right in front of you wanting your love and attention.

Let’s talk about another area of expectation that I hear a lot from my clients.  Body after baby!

Honestly answer me this — What did you expect your body to do after you had your child?  I bet you thought your body would bounce back, maybe not immediately but certainly within a year.  I say ……  NO WAY.  YOU BIRTHED A HUMAN!  Let that sink in.  Your body housed a baby, gave it the nutrition and home it needed for 9 months, then it shot out like a watermelon!  Your body will never be the same after that.  Your body can’t bounce back after such a major event.  And, if you are comparing yourself to a celebrity or friend who you think did have the “perfect” post-baby body, you need to stop comparing.  You have no idea what they’ve done, what their body is like (because guess what – everyone’s body is different), and what financial status they have to do things others can’t.  RELAX.  Your body is doing what it must to survive raising children! 🙂   Just love your body for the ability to have that child, enjoy the life with your precious baby, and thank your body for all it’s done for you.

Take those expectations and throw them out the door!  Just do what you like to do with the focus being on having fun and enjoying life.  Let the change happen naturally.  You’ll be surprised as to what takes place when you do!

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Beginning to Like My Butt

One of the things (of MANYYY) that I love about this job is getting to show women how fabulous they are, and that includes body parts that they shy away from.  This gorgeous woman wasn’t a fan of her rear end, but it was fan-freaking-tastic!! I’m someone who literally has ZERO junk in the trunk (I mean, my pants are always falling down! haha, but seriously, they are), so when I have a client say the same thing about their butt, I immediately accept that challenge of getting them to love it!  This session was no exception – I sometimes like to take the one part of my client’s body that they hide from and show them the beauty of it.  And, if I were her, I’d be staring at my ass in the mirror every day!

Here’s her story about her session (Note the butt comment!):

1) Why did you decide to invest in a boudoir photo shoot?  Faced with WHAT to give my husband for Christmas as he is deploying just after the new year. Seeing the photos you took of my neighbor my jaw dropped and I realized THIS is what I need to give him. THIS he can take with him.

2) How did you feel about yourself before your photo shoot?  Honestly, okay. I worked hard to get to where I am today however I still see the heavier person. It’s a mind game!!

3) How did you feel about yourself after your photo shoot?  Loved the photos. Yes, I’m beginning to like my butt, lol! Felt really beautiful.

collection of boudoir photos from Pics By Chicks Photography, Pittsburgh Boudoir Photographer

4) Describe your session in 3 words?  Fun. Exciting. Vulnerable.

5) What was your favorite part of the boudoir photo shoot?  Joking around and being 100% myself.

collection of boudoir photos from Pics By Chicks Photography, Pittsburgh Boudoir Photographer

intimate photos pittsburgh

6) What would you say to other women who are considering a boudoir photo shoot?  DO IT! Pack your pride away and go have a day that’s just all about celebrating you.

intimate photos pittsburghintimate photos pittsburgh

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