Now booking for Fireplace sessions! Jan & Feb 2020

St Louis Boudoir – Located in Collinsville, IL

Talk about hot! These sessions still include access to our other studio sets but these are the only months that we turn up the heat, literally!

You can bring your own lingerie OR you can go completely nude (what we recommend) and teasingly cover your bits with our super soft blankets and throws!

Ready to book!? Simply send an email to info@glammarr.com and we’ll send you pricing info AND our get ready guide! Or check out our site at www.glammarr.com and schedule your free, no obligation phone consult!

Why book your boudoir shoot at GlamMarr Studios? Because we are the best boudoir photography in the Midwest!

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Client Showcase-Full Shoot-GlamMarr Studios-Missouri & Illinois Boudoir Photography

All Images used with permission. We never share your images without your explicit consent!

Ever wonder what a clients full shoot looks like? We often only see one or two images from someones session which does not allow for us to image what our own session may be like!

Ms H allowed for us to share all of her session! We chose our favorites to post here so that other potential clients can see the variety and range that they will receive during their shoot.
One of the many reasons GlamMarr is so popular as a boudoir studio near St louis is because of its ever changing studio sets ups and its unique look that you cant get anywhere else.

You can see 10 reasons why we’re the best boudoir studio in st louis and the midwest here!

Our images, while considered boudoir, lean more toward intimate lifestyle portraits. You’ll see many of our photos are voyeristic and they always tell a story.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words so I’ll just let those do the talking now!

If you’d like to chat about booking your own shoot please head on over to our website! We’re currently booking for January-July of 2020 (yes we’re already booked for 2019, but we’re worth the wait!)

St louis Boudoir photography Glammarr studios Collinsville IL

St louis Boudoir photography Glammarr studios Collinsville IL

St louis Boudoir photography Glammarr studios Collinsville IL

St louis Boudoir photography Glammarr studios Collinsville IL

St louis Boudoir photography Glammarr studios Collinsville IL

St louis Boudoir photography Glammarr studios Collinsville IL

St louis Boudoir photography Glammarr studios Collinsville IL

St louis Boudoir photography Glammarr studios Collinsville IL

St louis Boudoir photography Glammarr studios Collinsville IL

St louis Boudoir photography Glammarr studios Collinsville IL

#FearlesslyFemFridays-GlamMarr-St Louis boudoir-10 fun bucket list ideas for couples

I wanted to blog about something a bit different today and so with me finishing up my most recent couples session at GlamMarr Studios I decided that it might be fun to do a bucket list for couples!

I so often hear about couples getting bored at the same old routine. Dinner and a movie, Netflix and chill… You know what I’m talking about!

So today I present to you 10 bucket list items to do with your significant other!

10. Write each other a love letter. 

Does this really need explaining? When I first dated my husband we would write letters to each other fairly frequently. As the years pass by and daily life takes over, little things like this tend to be forgotten or put on the back burner.  I still cherish every love letter I’ve gotten from my hubby and he stores his favorite from myself in his wallet. Take some time out and really think about all the amazing things your significant other brings to your life. Its nice to be reminded!

 9. Take a spontaneous trip

Seriously! Don’t plan where you’re going just drive! Take turns choosing directions. See where you end up. This is a MUST do and you never know what type of amazing place you may end up!

 8. Sext to eachother

If you haven’t done this yet, this is a fun one! Yes, its super awkward at first but you both may be pleasantly surprised at the things that come out when you’re able to hide behind your phone! Explore those ideas.

 7. Volunteer together

This is PERFECT for the Christmas season (actually any time of the year really but its close to the holidays right now) AND helps out other people as well as strengthens your bond as a couple. Making others feel good makes us feel good too!

 6. Take a bubble bath together complete with yummy wine and fruit

Don’t worry about the logistics of the tub, just pour in your favorite bubble bath and hop in! Take turns sipping wine or champagne. Feed each other chocolate covered strawberries. Bonus points for turning on some sexy jams and lighting some scented candles.

 5. Sit down together and create a playlist of your relationship 

Compile all the songs that have meaning or remind you of your relationship. What song was playing when you met. What was your wedding song? Your first dance. What songs remind you of each other. Make a night of this and be prepared to take a trip down memory lane!

 4. Play a sexy game

There are so many fun ways to explore each others sexuality. You can create your own games, like “Adult Truth or Dare” or if you are wanting something more interesting there are a plethora of adult games available for purchase! There are so many that you can really turn this activity into a weekly tradition!

 3. Go to an adult store together and pick out a surprise for each other

Speaking of purchasing  a sexy game, there are a TON of other fun items that you can purchase for each other. Getting to know each others sexual fantasies can be a lot of fun and gives you an endless amount of scenarios to experiment with! Be sure that you are choosing a reputable, hygienic store with knowledgeable staff so that you and your S/O feel comfortable. I highly recommend Sam & Deliah located in Alton, IL. The store is set up like a high end boutique and the staff is very knowledgeable!

Too intimidated to go to an adult store in person? You can also surf the internet together from the comfort of your own home.

 2. Give each other a massage

Trust me when I say this does NOT have to be a perfect massage. The most important part is that you are both comfortable and making contact with one another. You can even brush up your skills online and learn some techniques for giving each other a sexy massage.

Want to elevate the experience? Be sure to add in some of your favorite essential oils! Not sure what to use or where to get them? Head on over to Mandaladiva’s Facebook group where you’ll find a ton of essential oil info and some other goodies.

Now before we Reveal the #1 Bucket list items for couples, be sure to comment below and let us know how many of these items you have knocked off of your list OR let us know some other suggestions you may have!

And if you found this article helpful please share with your friends!

And Drum roll please for the number one bucket list item for couples….

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 1. A Couples boudoir photoshoot

Yes, you read that right, there is no better way to enjoy the day and document those little intimate moments that you have on a daily basis but do not always get to see. The way you smile at eachother, hold each other and laugh. It truly is a special experience that you wont soon forget.

Imagine curing up next to the fireplace in 10, 15 or 30 years and reliving those intimate moments by looking through your boudoir album together! Actually, that’s probably another bucket list item that you can tackle together in the future!

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If you are interested in scheduling an intimate, boudoir couples session with GlamMarr Studios (located near St louis, Mo) just head on over to our website to contact us!

Want to see more sexy couples? Be sure to follow us on Instagram!

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#FearlesslyFemFridays-Cheap boudoir photography-St louis, Mo-GlamMarr Studios-Spilling the tea part 2

In my Part one of my “Spilling the Tea” series, I discussed how my WHY and my vision for what boudoir means to me has changed over the years.

In todays part 2,  I want to talk about something equally as important and a question that I see a lot.

“Why is boudoir photography so expensive?”

I spend a lot of time analyzing my website to ensure that it get the most traffic possible when someone is searching for boudoir photography near st louis. I use several programs to identify what phrase someone might search in order to find services for these intimate sessions. Can you guess what search terms come up the most?

“Cheap boudoir St louis, MO” or “Cheap boudoir photography”

And I get it! Who doesn’t want to save some money? I also understand that in todays digital world that photography pricing can be confusing and that the majority of people do not know what photography should cost.

Its not like going to a store where you can find 15 different versions of a similar product for around the same price and you can compare and choose by pricing. Comparing photographers isn’t comparing apples to apples.

Photography pricing is highly individualized depending on so many factors.

So today I wanted to spill the tea on my own experience and growth with knowing what to charge and share with you what to look for when shopping around for your own boudoir session.

Spoiler alert: I had no idea how to run a business or what to charge.

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What should boudoir photography cost?

Remember how I said that photography pricing is highly individualized? That means the cost are going to range from “too good to be true” to “Holy shit! That cost more than my car!” But why?

Lets get right into it! Be sure to read all the way through as this will all connect back to that initial question.

I find that examples are the easy to understand, so I am going to break down how my personal pricing and brand has changed over the past 14 years.

I started my business as Vintage Imagery in 2005. Looking back though, I would hardly call it a business. Sure, I had a studio, decent gear and skill and a business license. What I did not have was any knowledge on what it meant to run a business or what it meant to be sustainable.

If I’m being completely honest, which I tend to be, I had NO IDEA what to charge when I started. It actually took many years to understand the full scope of what running a business meant and how to charge appropriately.

In 2005, I started by charging a flat fee for print released digital images. Meaning the client was given a copy of the image on a disc with the rights to print it whenever and however they saw fit. I did not offer prints, albums or anything additional. My Flat per image rate was $50. That included the shoot, hair and makeup and editing on the images that were selected for purchase.

My typical client purchased 5 images for a total of $250. My shoots took on average 2 hours. If you just break that down, like I had done in the beginning, that appears that I was averaging $125 an hour!

Wow you say! That’s a LOT to make in an hour! Hey, I thought the same thing too!

Except I forgot a few things.

Lets look at just a portion of my cost. I paid my hair and makeup artist $75 per session. She was great at what she did, however, she was not a licensed makeup artist nor did she carry any type of insurance. Thus why I was able to pay her such a low cost. A typical licensed  MUA (makeup artist) charges around $150.

So lets say my client purchased 5 images at 250. Then we subtract the $75 paid to the MUA. We’re down to 175.

Those 2 hours that I spent taking images did not include the time it took to find the client, book the client or edit and deliver the images. On five images I spent around 10 hours editing (I did A LOT of composite images that required intense editing) and lets throw in another hour for finding and obtaining the client, downloading the images and delivering the images (A very low estimate!) and another hour for set up and cleaning for the shoot and drive time to the studio.

Now were at 14 hours for $175… or about 12.50 an hour.

But wait we forgot about taxes! Lets subtract federal taxes which are around 33% for small businesses from that 175 first, which is 57.75. That leaves us 117.25 for 14 hours of work or $8.30 per hour. A far cry from that $250 an hour I thought I was making.

Lets also remember that most photographers are not shooting enough clients to fill up a 40 hour work week. In my example above, spending an average of 14 hours per client,  I’d have to average about 3 clients per week to actually make $8.30/hour. Most months I only shot 5 clients in total or 1.25 a week.

Did I mention that I also had expenses such as gear, maintaining the gear, studio rental, purchasing and upgrading editing software, cost for storing the images per month, advertising, continued educational courses, business insurance, purchasing office supplies, fees charged by square or paypal for accepting debit/credit payments and purchasing props and clothing,

I wont even get into the cost of business and tax attorneys, hosting your own websites or all of the work I didn’t charge for so that I could build my portfolio.

Did you know that running a small business full time means that you have to pay for medical insurance on your own? There are also no sick days, no vacation days and no bonuses.

Once you factor in all of those cost and overhead you can see that I was lucky to be coming out even for all the work I was putting in!

My business was NOT sustainable! Which is why I had to also work a full time job in order to make ends meet. This is something MANY starting photographers encounter in the beginning but I loved what I did and I used every penny I made (which wasn’t a lot looking back) to reinvest into better equipment, more education so I could offer better images and services and a nicer studio, which meant I was anything but profitable. In fact, a vast majority of money invested back into my business to help it grow was provided out of my own pocket from my full time job.

But I know plenty of photographers that do not charge much and are making a living!

Are you sure about that? From an outsiders perspective I was running a flourishing business. I was booking clients left and right, shooting and editing every weekend. I was BUSY. But as the example shows above busy doesn’t always equal successful.

Also are sure that they are actually cheap? We’ve all seen the Groupons for $49 boudoir shoots. Did you read the fine print? While $49 for a shoot is incredible, these often do not included any professional services, like hair and makeup, nor do they include any products or images. No one is able to sustain a business making $49 a client, unless they are taking hundreds of clients a month and lets face it, boudoir is not a high volume business nor should it be.

The majority of “cheap” photographers on Groupon are banking on the fact that you will purchase photos and products and those cost are far greater than $49, so what at first may seem like a low cost option, quickly becomes a larger expense.

On the other hand, you’ll see photographers advertising that they will include XX amount of images with the photo shoot for a low fee. The majority of these photographers are starting out and, like I was doing in the early years, are not taking their full cost into account.  Eventually they will quit because it is not a sustainable model or they will adapt their pricing so that they can continue to run a business and do what they love.

Just to be clear. I am NOT dragging anyone that charges a lower price for photography. I do not know their circumstances or their business models. I’m simply pointing out what I have learned over the past 14 years.

So now that you have a better understanding of how much goes into running a business lets talk about how to choose the right photographer and why its so important to consider more than just cost.

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 How to choose a boudoir photographer the right way

1. Skill and Reputation

The first thing to consider, especially when looking to hire a photographer to take images of such an intimate nature, is their skill and reputation. Both are very important! The skill of the photographer can mean the difference between giving yourself a much needed confidence boost or hating your results and blaming yourself for the photos that you do not love. Boudoir is a niche field. You wouldn’t go to a general doctor to have plastic surgery done, right? You’d want a specialist. Someone who is well versed in lighting, posing and guiding you through your shoot. Look for a photographer who specializes in shooting intimate portraiture.

Reputation is EVERYTHING in the boudoir industry. You need to be able to fully trust your photographer and know that they are there to make your shoot the best experience possible. You’re going to be in a situation where you are potentially nude and very vulnerable. You’re going to want to ensure that your images are private and protected and that you are in a safe space. No one wants their nudes leaked without permission!

Read reviews, ask friends, do your research! 

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2. Safe and private shoot location

The next thing to consider is where your shoot is taking place. Does the photographer have a studio? Are they sharing their space? Will you be the only client there during the shoot? That last one sounds like a no brainer but there are photographers that work with clients back to back and often times their appointments will overlap. Meaning you could be getting your hair and makeup done at the same time another client is finishing up her shoot. This can be ok if you are in a separate room but often times you’ll find that photographers will rent out hotel rooms and there is no separation between the hair and makeup area and the room the photographer is shooting another client in. You may be ok with that! Just be sure that you know what you are in for.

and while were talking about back to back shoots…

Sanitation. This one is BIG for me and why I DO NOT offer mini sessions or back to back sessions. Aside from the fact that it can be hard to get a client comfortable and create an amazing experience in 30 minutes, are you certain that you are not being exposed to the same bedding that another client was just rolling around in? It personally takes me around 1-2 hours to sanitize every chair, lingerie, bedding, set, etc after each session to ensure there are no germs or bacteria being passed between clients. Something to REALLY think about.

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3. The photographers portfolio

One of the most important things to keep in mind is the photographers shooting style. Do you like their work? Are you seeing multiple body types? Do you want a dark and moody shoot but their portfolio only shows light and airy work? Photographers are artist and we all have our own distinct styling. Your photos will most likely end up looking like the work that they have done in the past so make sure you love what you see.

4. The photographers WHY

What is the photographers end goal? In boudoir, you’ll see a lot of photographers saying that they want to empower women through their work. What does that mean to them? What does it mean to them to empower their clients? One photographers idea of empowering may mean that they do heavy editing so that you look like a model from a magazine while another’s idea (my personal one) is to empower through more natural, less retouched images that shows off the clients real beauty.

Have you interacted with the photographer? Does their personality fit with yours?

 Do you align with their mission statement?

Check out GlamMarr Studios Mission statement.

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5. The process itself

Are you just wanting a few quick photos and do not care about products or experience? Are you someone who wants to print their own images while the photographer has very little to do with the end process? Do you want a more high end experience where everything is done for you and you are simply handed beautiful products and images? Do you want someone who is more hands off or someone that will walk you through the entire experience start to finish? Do you want luxury products to remember your experience?

Is their pricing transparent? Do they go over everything with you beforehand? Do they offer you advice on how to prepare or what to expect? Are they available to answer your questions and address your concerns?

Lets face it! Having a boudoir shoot can be a scary, overwhelming thing to think about without professional guidance. Make sure the photographer you choose is meeting your needs and helping you to work through your nerves.

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6. How much the experience is worth to you

Boudoir photography is a luxury experience meaning it is not something that is required that you have, its no different than a vacation or a day at the spa. Anytime you consider getting professional photos done you should keep in mind that its as much about the experience as it is the final images. The vast majority of women are wanting this type of session to boost their confidence, celebrate a milestone or to see themselves in a different light.

My husband has a saying that I’ve grown fond of over the years; “Buy once, cry once”. Basically it boils down to this: Would you rather save a few bucks and potentially end up with something that doesn’t meet your needs in the long run (and you end up spending more in the end to have those needs met) or would you rather spend more and know that what you’re getting is exactly what you want and need?

Women especially have a hard time justifying spending a large amount of money on themselves but have no issues spending it on their spouse or children. There is a feeling of guilt or of being “selfish”, but in reality, doing something for yourself is the opposite of being selfish. You cant fill from an empty cup after all.

I’ve heard many reasons on why someone “can’t” afford a session but I can counter almost everyone of those reasons. How? It comes down to what you really want and what you budget for. Everyone can save a few pennies a month, cut out some unneeded expenses (I’m looking at you, Starbucks!) and budget out a plan to have a shoot. In the end it comes down to how important it is to you to have a boudoir session done. There is no wrong or right answers here. Everyone is different!

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If you made it to here, thank you for sticking it out through the entire blog! I hope that this will help you make more informed decisions when selecting a boudoir photographer and why choosing on cost alone isn’t the way to go!

If you’d like to discuss your own boudoir shoot with GlamMarr Studios, please visit our site and set up a free, no obligation phone consult HERE.

 

#FearlesslyFemFridays-St Louis Boudoir-GlamMarr Studios-Body Positive Boudoir Video

Whew! It has been a long week! I’ve recently got back into video and I had a past client come back in the studio to help me hone my videography skills! This client was one of the many awesome women that allowed me to share their unretouched boudoir images! Below you’ll see a few from her session earlier this year at GlamMarr Studios.

We had an instant connection when we shot her first session and I knew that she would be the perfect person to help me with this little project!

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Unretouched image. Only minor color/exposure corrections have been made to the entire image. Client has not been retouched in anyway.

I really wanted to showcase how sexy it is to embrace your body, the way it is, and to just go with the flow. She did great at taking directions, listening to my ramblings and dancing for hours to the same song on repeat. Once we start shooting you have little time to dwell on your insecurities.

We had joked about doing a blooper reel so I decided that it would be a great way to show what really goes on behind the scenes at a boudoir shoot. I think women get so intimidated that they will not know what to do, how to move or what expressions to make. Rest assure that I direct you through the entire process, posing and expression. Its not my clients job to “know what they are doing”… its my job to teach them and show them how its done!

This Fearlessly Fem Friday post basically speaks for itself. If a picture is worth 1,000 words than a video is worth at least 1 million! And we have TWO videos for you to see!

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I’ve also included the final video so be sure to compare them! Its so fun to see what really happens behind the scenes. BTW if you are offended by colorful language… don’t watch the blooper reel 🙂

Reality:

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Expectation: 

I hope you enjoyed both videos! Click on the youtube bell to subscribe and give us a thumbs up if you did!

Be sure to also head on over to our Instagram to see more unretouched boudoir photos. Its amazing to see perfectly imperfect women rocking the skin they’re in!

Celebrate the body love revolution with us!

 

Ready to embrace your body and book your own boudoir shoot? Head on over to our body positive community and check out our upcoming black Friday special going live on November 16th!

Or visit us online at GlamMarr studios

See our previous blog post here

#FearlesslyFemFridays-St Louis Boudoir-GlamMarr Studios-Spilling the tea pt 1.

Part one of a 2 (or maybe 3) part blog.

Today I am spilling all the tea. 

I pride myself on being open honest and real and in this post I want to talk about how my perception of beauty has changed from when I first started my business back in 2005 as Vintage Imagery. At the time I was looking for someone to take sexy photos of myself, to help ME embrace and love my body. I suffered from body dysphoria. I suffered from anxiety. I was going through a rough patch in my marriage to my ex husband. I needed an outlet, a boost to my self esteem but sadly, I was living in Great Falls, Montana and NO ONE took the type of photos that I wanted.

So naturally I wanted to fill that hole in the market.

I had a fairly good understanding of photography, film at the time, and had worked a few years at a company that did family photos. I thought to myself, “If this is something I want, there must be other women out there like me”. So with that, I purchased my first digital camera and started to practice on my friends.

I had so much fun…but there was a problem.

My perception of “beautiful” and “sexy” was so far off that it wasn’t even funny. I had idolized the pinups of the 1940s and 1950s. I don’t mean ACTUAL human pinups, I mean the cartoon representations of women. I loved pinup artist like Elvgren. 

These images were of women with impossibly tiny waists, curvy hips and legs that were so long that they were literally unobtainable.

Even the models for these paintings didn’t look like their cartoon counterparts.

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Copyright Gil Elvgren

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http://www.thepinupfiles.com/elvgren1.html

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Copyright Gil Elvgren http://www.thepinupfiles.com/elvgren1.html

Lets just say I had a VERY skewed idea of what women “should” look like.

When I opened my first studio in 2006, reproducing the look of the painted pinups of the 1950s was my jam. My thought was that knowing how retouched and photoshopped todays models are in magazines that it would make women feel better if THEY were also retouched and photoshopped so they could see that they were no different from those models.

Ass backwards I know. 

Over the course of time I worked with hundreds of women of all shapes, sizes and ages. I wanted to transform them into living works of art, into a cartoon version of themselves, in the hopes that it would help them boost their self confidence.

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And it did!

But there was something that just felt off to me. I couldn’t explain it at the time, but as the years went on I started to understand what that feeling was.

I was going against my own beliefs.

Here I had all these absolutely beautiful women, perfect the way they were, and I was changing how they looked through editing. Sometimes only a little, sometimes a lot. It was my style, it was what I was known for, it is what got me clients.

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and I was scared to change.

Could women REALLY embrace themselves, “flaws” and all?

Lets get something straight. I was providing the best experience and photos that I could at the time, and they were still gorgeous photos, they just weren’t what I really wanted to do anymore. My clients were already beautiful. I didn’t need to change them!

It was around this time that I finally started conquering a lot of my own body issues and coming to terms with how I looked and accepting my body for what it was. I was finally feeling beautiful. A huge reason that happened is because of all the amazing women I had photographed. Seeing so many shapes, sizes, stretchmarks, scars, folds, wrinkles and yet they all were so stunningly beautiful.

Hundreds of clients and I never once met a women that looked like a cartoon pinup.

They were all beautiful in their own way, the way they were, which allowed for me to finally see that I was too and I wanted to show them just that…

Flaws and all. 

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To say it was an eye opening experience would be an understatement. That was the shift that I needed to fuel my business to the place that I wanted it to be. A place were ALL bodies were photographed and retouched as little as possible. A place were I could show my clients that they are beautiful without all that jazz, just as they were.

I almost shut my studio doors in 2012. I felt so far removed from what I WANTED to provide to clients and what I was providing that it felt dirty. If I could see how beautiful they were WHY did I need to change anything about them?!

I ended up taking a much needed break and took time to think about what I wanted to do moving forward. I ended up finding the perfect house to move my studio into (which is what I ended up doing) and I only took a handful of clients a month, working on improving my skills and living up to the potential that I knew I had.

I finally felt ALIVE. I was doing what I wanted and I didn’t lose any clients as I had feared. Instead, just the opposite happen. Why? Because I was living my TRUTH. I wasn’t promoting something I didn’t believe in.

I was practicing what I preached and it felt amazing!

Fast forward to 2018. The year I FINALLY got to really showcase unretouched, REAL bodies. Clients actually gave me permission. Not only that, they were excited to show their raw images to other women. They embraced their stretchmarks, scars, folds, wrinkles…all the things we are told should be covered up.

Guess what? Normalizing airbrushed and overly photoshop images in magazines and online is NOT ok. As women, we look at these fake images and judge our own bodies against them, even though most of us know that not even the models or celebrities look like that in real life.

Our own visions of ourselves can become so skewed. Read here on why you don’t look how you think you do.

So I’m here to start the revolution I wanted to so many years ago. To showcase real, raw, beautiful female bodies of all shapes and sizes. There is no wrong way to have a body!

Here is an example of the same client. Photoshoot from around 2011 vs this year. The first retouched and the two from 2018 unretouched (minus color/exposure adjustments but no retouching to the clients body or skin).

All beautiful images in their own way with different vibes but you can FEEL the raw, realness of the images from this year…

The images that embrace my message.

You are enough, You are worthy, You are beautiful.

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Here is a special gallery of clients that have given me permission to share their unretouched images. The only adjustments that are made are color correction to the entire image and small exposure adjustments.

Enjoy all the beautiful bodies you see.

All bodies are good bodies. All of these women are beautiful in their own, real way.

Part 2 coming soon. Continue down the rabbit hole with me when i’ll share unretouched images of myself showcasing all of my beautiful, imperfect flaws ❤

Ready to book your own session and see yourself in a whole new way? Visit us at Glammarr.com

Also see more unretouched images weekly on our instagram

#FearlesslyFemFridays-St Louis Boudoir-When you literally cant believe your own eyes.

Ever see a photo of yourself and think to yourself “that looks nothing like me!”? Well, you are not alone. I myself have looked into the mirror and then attempted to take a selfie and the two just didn’t match. I looked… different. Is it your mind playing tricks on you or Is it something else?

Actually its both.

According to one study, strangers are actually more likely to choose a photo of you that looks the most like you. Apparently people are horrible at picking photos that look like themselves.

But why?

This is a phenomenon I deal with in the majority of my boudoir sessions. Women do not perceive themselves the way the rest of the world does. One of the biggest reasons is because we often see ourselves through cell phone photos.

Did you know the average cellphone lens is 26-28mm (equivalent). Ok, Alaynna, why do I can about lens (focal) lengths?

Because focal lengths depict how an image is rendered and how much compression we see!  Sometimes pictures are worth a thousand words so here is an example. These images were taken with different focal lengths but distance and everything else remained the same. Did I just blow your mind?

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Copyright Stephen Eastwood 

A simple way to understand focal length and lens compression is to think of it this way–The longer the focal length the more compression, which flattens the image. When an image is flattened, all points tend to look like they are on the same plane. Meaning there is less depth to the image. When a lens is wide angle (like our cellphone lenses) then what ever is closer to the camera will appear the largest and have more depth.

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Copyright Stephen Eastwood 

So from the 19MM example above (one pretty close to your standard smart phone). You can see that the nose, eyebrows, lips and forehead look distorted. Those areas are a few centimeters closer to the lens. This is why when you tilt your head toward the phone camera in a selfie your forehead looks disproportionately large. In the middle image you’ll notice that her face has a more flattened, natural appearance. Our human eye sees about 50mm (full censor camera) or 35mm (crop sensor). I wont bore you with all the technical details of distance from the lens, censor size or anything else but this gives you a general idea of what I’m talking about. So the middle image is pretty close to what we’d see when we look in the mirror. In the last image, you’ll notice the face looks wider and more flat, there is less depth then the 70mm example.

This also goes for body parts. Try it yourself! Take out your smart phone, flip it to selfie mode and hold it about arms length from your face. Now hold up your hand next to your face and slowly move your hand closer to the camera while keeping your face at arms length. You’ll see that your finger looks HUGE in comparison!

This is a trick that Instagram models have figured out a long time ago! A popular one  when taking a photo of their bodies is to stick their ass out so its closer to the camera while leaning their upper body back. This makes their booty look huge and their waist look smaller in comparison. I don’t want to call anyone out so I’ll avoid inserting an example, you get the idea.

So what happens when we live in a world where we are constantly taking selfies? We start to form a mental image of what we look like through these distorted images that don’t match what we see in the mirror! I haven’t even delved into how lighting, angles and Facetune further distort our perception or how we compare ourselves to the “beautiful” people online who also use these techniques to portray a person that doesn’t quite fit what they really look like.

Another way cell phone cameras can affect how we see ourselves are when we are having OTHERS take images of us. We’ve all been there…a night out with the girls and we ask a stranger to take a group shot. The people on the outer edge of the photo will look larger and the women in the middle will look smaller. Lens distortion happens more often than you think.

So again, this doesn’t cover many other reasons on how or why this happens but I’m trying to keep it as simple as possible.

Another issue that can affect how we see ourselves is the mental image we have in our head. Our brains take a while to process change. Ask anyone who’s lost a lot of weight fast! They still see themselves much larger than they are. Same for those that have gained weight or had their body change with pregnancy. Our brains don’t register the change right away.

And lastly, we don’t often see ourselves in movement. We see one moment in time in a photo. We don’t see the little nuances that add to our beauty. Our personality, our mannerisms, our laugh, these are all things that add beauty to our physical forms. In fact, the way we hold ourselves contributes largely to how attractive others perceive us.  Did you know that simply SMILING increases our attractiveness?

All this and more is why GlamMarrs’ mission statement is “Reconnecting women’s bodies and minds through the art of boudoir photography”. 

My goal is to show you what you look like IN REAL LIFE. Clients are always surprised by how off their own perception of self is. I’ll be honest, I don’t shoot to flatter you. I shoot to show you what my eye sees before I put a camera in front of it. I use your movements to capture those little nuances I spoke of before. Your body is not what makes you beautiful. Your BEING makes you beautiful. Your personality makes you beautiful. Your soul makes you beautiful.

My goal is to reconnect your non-physical attributes to your body image. So you see more than just your physical reflection when you look in the mirror.

I tell all my clients that its a process. Because boy is it ever. Your mind will continue to fight with you about the images it sees during your reveal. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard “That’s me?!?” I could retire…. today.

My clients love MOST of their images but there are always some that don’t appeal to them as much as others. That’s because I don’t just take flattering images. I take images that will force you to see EVERY part of you. Somethings that you love, others not so much. Remember that process I talked about? Yea, that’s a big part of it.

Its not all Oooohs and ahhhs. Sometimes women have an outdated vision of what they look like. They may be holding on to old memories or images of themselves and haven’t come to terms with how their bodies have changed. Its confrontation of the ego. This can take time to process. Women even have a hard time seeing themselves in a provocative pose or with a sexy expression, its a lot to take in! From an outside perspective we don’t see the internal struggle that these women may have. We see them for all the beauty they posses but they themselves cannot. Its  like exposure therapy. It forces the mind to start to see the whole picture (pun intended).

In my experience I’ve only had two clients that outright told me that they felt like they looked larger than they perceive themselves in real life. There are probably more that feel that way (or something similar that they struggle with) but didn’t say anything.

Its OK. Its NORMAL. Its part of the process.

Its easy to love the images that we feel we look the best in, its much harder to love images that showcase that dreaded thing about ourselves that we tend to avoid.

Once acceptance comes, and its slow for some and quick for others, that’s when the mind can truly connect to the body. When they can start seeing past the things that they’ve been in denial about or haven’t come to terms with and start accepting themselves as they REALLY are and then seeing the beauty in that.

Because lets face it, we all do it. We pose in photos. We wear clothing and shapers to change how our bodies look. We do everything we can to try to accept our physical self in the reality that we have created but we seldom work on accepting our bodies at all angles, flattering or not.

We tell ourselves negative things when we stand, nude, in a full length mirror, we reinforce that we are not good enough the way we are. We then take 125 selfies to get the perfect one, smooth out the skin, pop on a filter and post it online and let our friends tell us how beautiful we look, reinforcing and further disconnecting our minds and bodies. We get positive reinforcement that the enhanced version of ourselves is better, even though our friends would give us the same compliments, maybe even more so, if we posted raw, real images of ourselves. We compare ourselves to other peoples perfectly posed and edited images online further perpetuating the issue.

Less perfection more authenticity is the key. 

So do it. Get naked. Stand in front of a mirror and see yourself the way you look at your friends and your loved ones instead of picking yourself apart. Its gonna be tough at first. God help me I know! I told you it was a process…

Only tell yourself positive affirmations. Sounds hard but try it this way. Imagine you and your bestie were standing in front of a mirror. She’s in a bikini pointing out all of her things she hates about her body. What would you say to her? Would you let her stand there and harp on her body?

Fuck no you wouldn’t!

So be your own best friend. When you say something negative about yourself SPEAK UP and counter that negative thought the same way you would for your friend.

“I hate my big hips”….. Bitch are you kidding?! I wish I had curves like you!

And when you see someone online post a photo rocking their natural body (flaws and all) give them a fucking high five! But please don’t tell them that they are “brave”. You can read why here.

So this brings me to my featured client this Friday. Who also happens to be our resident hair and makeup artist, Mariah.

Remember I said that I have had 2 clients that spoke up that they felt like they looked “larger” in their photos than in their minds? Well Mariah is one of them and my inspiration for this post. She has had two shoots and a long process of reconnecting with her body after having a baby. Here is her words.

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I’ve had 2 shoots with Alaynna and the person in those images isn’t the same person in the mirror, my selfies, or my mind.

I had my first boudoir shoot with GlamMarr in 2017… 10 months post partum. I’d gained 70lbs from bedrest and lazy eating after having  my son. I didn’t feel comfortable with my selfies, the mirror or others photos. I DREADED seeing that “you’ve been tagged in a picture” come up on Facebook. I still had the image of 23 year old Mariah curves for day smooth thighs, nice perky boobs.

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15723383_10208052523858628_8441520906970780055_oGlammarr st louis pregnancy photos

 

Where those curves were I now saw a mom pouch, my boobs weren’t so perky after a baby had a 24/7 buffet with them and those smooth thighs were feeling more like a drive down 255 in construction season.

Alaynna knew I wasn’t really feeling myself anymore. After years of her helping me become a more confident me, it was all gone. She suggested I do a boudoir shoot. I was so excited! All of the months leading to up my to my shoot I started collecting clothes I thought would look good on me buying clothes for my pre-baby body because I just knew I would be that size again by my shoot.

The day came and I hadn’t lost a single pound and the imagination my mind was creating of me was getting bad. I was avoiding pictures and the mirror at all cost.

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The day of my shoot I was so nervous I was shaking and sweating like crazy. We had so much fun though!

I was trying too hard to be perfect for these photos because I wanted to be everything I felt like I needed to be more like “me” again.

The day I got my images back was a mix of emotions I loved them. The person in them was beautiful but she wasn’t me. At least not the way I saw myself at the time.

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This girl had a tummy, and large arms, and her boobs were a lot lower than mine I didn’t know this girl at all and I really didn’t know if I liked her honestly. This girl looked tired, and she looked very unsure of herself and uncomfortable.

Not like the 23 year old girl in the selfies I’d been looking back on for months for some sort of confidence boost. How could that girl and the 70lb lighter, curvier, more confident girl be the same person?

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I had a hard time picking my images because I didn’t feel comfortable with them. I didn’t feel comfortable seeing myself for what I was and how I had changed! I saw this woman uncomfortable in her own skin and I couldn’t help but feel bad. And slightly ashamed. I was supposed to love these photos and I didn’t at the time. What was wrong with me why didn’t I get that aha moment of self love?… But I did actually. I started eating healthier and making better choices and slowly but surely I started losing some weight and my health started improving and my self esteem started improving as well and I started loving myself again. It wasn’t just the weight loss. It was that feeling of getting back to the me I knew I was.

 

I started taking selfies again. I even started letting people tag me in photos on Facebook again without fear that I didn’t look okay in them because as we all know you don’t ever look the same in a selfie as you do in someone else’s photo.

Time passed and I was really starting to love myself again. 10 months passed and I wanted to try again. I had my second shoot with Alaynna. This time I was prepared I knew that I wasn’t going to look like the 23 year old I loved so much but I would look like the mom who has worked hard on herself and lost 60lbs and I was ready to see that!

I was much more confident the day of my second shoot. I hadn’t told myself a single time I need to lose weight for this shoot I bought crop tops and hey those undies I bought for my pre baby body they did finally fit!

 

The day of my session my makeup was on point my hair was gorgeous I was ready! I went in with 1 shot in mind and let Alaynna do her thing and create beauty and she did!

I felt amazing after that shoot. I strut my stuff around like I was hot and I knew it. My last shoot I remember feeling so much confidence afterward I remember feeling so empowered.

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I love the way my body looks. I finally got my aha moment! I can’t wait for my next shoot. It took my awhile to realize the person in the mirror I see isn’t what everyone else is seeing too and I love who everyone else is seeing.

So what has this taught me?

My body has been perfect this whole time! It has fought through a difficult pregnancy and brought a beautiful baby into this world, but I didn’t see it that way then. My once perky, full boobs nourished and strengthened a tiny preemie.

I’m realizing it’s not about weight it’s about self worth. There was nothing “wrong” with me in the photos from my first session. I was beautiful then just like I am now, I just couldn’t see it then.

Like Alaynna always says, “Its a process”.

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I’m already planning shoot number 3, and GAH! I just can’t wait I know it’s going to be absolutely incredible regardless of my size. I’m focusing on the beauty that is me, no matter how big, small, perky or saggy my body is. And I’m gonna rock it.

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Whew! That was a long one I know! Thanks for sticking with us until the end and I hope you gained some insight from this post.

If you’re ready to start seeing yourself and loving yourself its time to book a session. We offer boudoir photography in the st louis area. Boudoir for EVERY body 🙂

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Or check out our other blog post here.