Posts tagged northern virginia boudoir
When one of your bucket-list items is to honor yourself

I got a couple of emails from some members of GRRRL clothing brand [I’ll wait while you go check it out, do it, you’ll love it too] and met up with Kortney Olson, the founder, athlete and amazing human being and we had some photo time in the studio. J was watching the insta stories as a follower of GRRRL ARMY and knew that the excuses she was telling herself about not doing a shoot was well…excuses.

When I chatted with J, I immediately connected with her and we started planning right over the phone. What to wear, what to expect are just a few of the things we went over. I connected with her reasons for wanting to do a boudoir session because I myself am going through a self acceptance phase in life where I celebrated my “rising phoenix” moment with my own boudoir shoot.

I could go on an on about how amazing this session was, but she does an even better job at describing how her experience was better than I can.


When I turned 38 (almost a year ago) I made a "40 before 40" bucket list of sorts. I put "personal photography session" on it because I was too scared to put "boudoir session" in actual writing. Shortly after that I stumbled upon Kortney Olson's personal Instagram (after having been a fan of GRRRL and part of the online community for over a year). Her personality and her wisdom started chipping away at the negative self-talk and body image I'd been struggling with for forever. I'd been "working on it" since having my daughters, but without having a role model of sorts that I respected and identified with, it was like trying to swim without instruction without drowning. Over the past year I'd been working on being more true to myself, getting back into weight lifting, doing crazy thinks like shaving the side of my head and dying my hair, etc. I'd been slowly accepting the skin I was in, and honoring it's imperfections. I was still scared about that one line on my "40 before 40" list that I wanted to accomplish. Then Kortney posted on her IG about this awesome boudoir photographer and the photos were breathtaking. "If only she was in my area...." I thought (or, worked up as an excuse...kinda both)...and then I saw that you WERE. It was now or never...either I could walk the walk of being brave and loving my body like I talk to everyone about, and preach to my own daughters, or I could keep making excuses. I decided to get over myself. One of my favorite quotes is by Amelia Earhart "The fears are paper tigers." My fear of boudoir was a paper tiger I decided to set fire to.


As a photographer myself for the past 8 years, I knew plenty of folks who had done boudoir sessions with other people, but they never quite came out like I would have wanted my session to go; kinda sleezy looking, or just somewhat uncomfortable. And it was always a male photographer which I wasn't okay with. After stalking your website, and your IG, I *knew* without a doubt that you were the only one I'd trust with a session and with photos like this. Your vision coupled with your talent, and then our conversation on the phone where I could sense your awesome personality, sealed the deal for me. I also really appreciated that you had your own studio (not a rented hotel room), and that you posted photos of yourself that you had taken. I love seeing the work that photographers can produce of themselves in addition to others, and I know that takes a certain kind of bravery to do so, I sincerely admire that.


My biggest fears for doing a boudoir session:
1) I wouldn't know what the heck to do with my body, or my face (I have some wicked RBF, and I also am not a naturally smiley person so I feel awkward when forced to smile for photos.) REALITY: Not only did you make me comfortable the entire time so that I didn't have to think about what to do with my body, I just had to move it, there was no insistence on smiling for the camera. I was free to be myself, just guided naturally for the photos.
2) I'd see the photos during the reveal and have that awful "I look horrible/I shouldn't be in these photos/I wasted my time" feeling as I tore myself apart which has happened with a lot of photos (not boudoir) over the years. REALITY: Didn't happen once. I thought about it afterwards and I really think that post-photo session shifted my perspective on my entire body. I have an average mom-bod that's been through a lot in almost 40 years. Who cares? I'm still effing awesome. Those thighs? They've always touched, but they're strong as hell. That waist? Not as thin, or as well defined as in my 20's, but they've carried and sustained two lives. The reality was, that for the first time, I was able to sit back and admire the heck out of myself in photos. That feeling of empowerment, just like I had after my photo session, came back again.


Getting to meet you, Julie, and finding out that there's this local, badass, funny, kind, photographer out there that can help change another womans outlook on herself just with a couple hours of their time and a camera. The session itself was great, looking at the photos was wonderful, but I love connecting with other strong women who are being true to themselves and doing what they love while also making the world around them better. So, it might seem weird to say, but my favorite part was getting to meet another GRRRL out there being a total badass babe. :)

I'm planning on doing this to a bunch of my close girlfriends. :) I haven't refined my message yet, but I think it'll be along the lines of, "This is the best gift you can give YOURSELF. It makes a great gift for your significant other, but do it as a way to honor yourself. To see yourself as the fierce badass you are. From start to finish you'll feel empowered, and perhaps even more awakened to your own strength in your sexuality."


Boudoir on your mind? Tell me about it!

Name *
Outfit Styling for Your Boudoir Session | Virginia Boudoir Photography

Boudoir photo shoots can be very up-close and personal, so it’s important to hire a photographer you trust to get you looking and feeling your best. It’s equally as important to find a place that will expertly fit you into lingerie for your photos.

The Washington, DC lingerie store, LeBustiere Boutique, is among the best in the business. Because the stylists there insist there is no one “correct” style formula they adhere to (other than to help clients look and feel their sexiest), I’ve asked each stylist for their best boudoir tips. Here are their answers:



My go-to look for boudoir styling is classic hollywood glamour. I love the traditional bra and panty sets with garters, but my favorite thing to give women is a classic chemise  that hits mid-thigh. I think it’s so sexy to some skin - but not too much! Sheer, lace chemises are prefect for a classy and sophisticated style.



I’m a fan of high-waist panties with attached garter straps! It’s such an easy look that photographs well for someone who isn’t comfortable with using a separate garter belt. I like to pair interesting stockings with this look - our fishnet thigh-high tights and nude stockings with a red seam are my favorite go-tos. The high-waist panty is flattering way to hide the midsection while looking long and lean.



It’s always my goal to have every one of my clients walk out with a unique look - I challenge myself to never style two women the same way. I love to give each woman options that are versatile and interchangeable. My favorite look, though, is very simple: a cut-out panty with pearls or beads in the back. Interesting panties paired with a simple bed sheet or t shirt is the recipe for a perfect glamour shot!



Anything colorful and different is what I gravitate toward when styling someone for a boudoir shoot. My favorite piece right now is this thick red garter belt with detachable gold handcuffs and a matching open bra and panty set. It’s gorgeous and unlike anything I’ve seen in any other store  - so hot! The accessories can be a really fun thing to use when taking photos.



I love pushing our clients out of their comfort zones and putting them in something strappy for one of their looks. The items we carry are very high-quality so they never look too risque - they just add the right amount of “wow” to the pictures.   With strappy details, it all depends on where the lines hit the body; curvier women typically look best with some extra straps around the chest, and slender women look great with extra straps around the waist and thigh.



To me, it’s all about how our clients feel about themselves. I can tell when a woman feels self-conscious about something I’ve given her to try on, and when she feels radiant and confident. Before I style, I make sure to size carefully and I always ask what the client loves about her body and build from there. Instead of focusing on what she doesn’t like, I focus on what she loves about herself! Confidence and proper fit is everything.

To summarize, the talented stylists at LeBustiere Boutique recommend these 5 tips:

  1. Go with what you feel great in

  2. Use strappy pieces to draw attention up toward the chest or down toward the waist

  3. Try high-waisted panties with attached garter straps as an alternative to garter belts

  4. Less is more; a delicate, detailed panty with a sheet or t-shirt is very sexy

  5. Don’t be afraid of color and accessories

Interested in keeping in touch with Le Bustiere?




Thinking of your own boudoir session? Drop me a line!

Name *
Why Boudoir? | Northern Virginia Boudoir Photography

I get asked a lot, “Why boudoir? Why would women want to do something like this?”

And I don’t have a “cut to the chase” short answer for that, only because Boudoir photography is so much more than beautiful portraits.  I sometimes say the photographs are actually the souvenir of your experience. An AMAZING souvenir, I must add.

I can’t say enough the importance of self-acceptance.  This doesn’t mean you have to be complacent of who you are and how you view yourself.  That’s an easy way out, sure.  But there’s always room for improvement whether it’s mentally, emotionally or physically, BUT you MUST love yourself along the way.

Changing yourself physically whether through a rigorous workout out routine and diet or going under the knife, none of that will matter until you change how you talk to yourself, treat yourself and view yourself. And being someone whose done all the diets and the workouts and I’ve realized that for myself, the reason they don’t stick is because I haven’t trained my mind to love and accept myself.  And that’s what the last 3 years have looked like for me.

I wrote a post about self-love last year after I went on a trip to Mexico with some friends and how that trip really helped me work through some self-negativity.  I actually wore shorts and shirts without sleeves – something I’ve NEVER done! And something else that stuck out in my mind was this instance I walked with my friend to a little shop at the pool with no cover up coming straight from the pool. I remember standing in that shop with just my bathing suit and feeling so exposed and embarrassed of my gigantic thighs, but there were other people walking freely in their bikinis with bodies like mine. I wasn’t judging them, I was actually in awe of them because of how confident they seemed and I wanted to be that too.

It’s been 3 years of baby steps to changing my perspective. By all means I am still a work in progress, but instead of bashing myself for taking this long,  I have to celebrate the milestones along the way. It’s the journey not the destination, right?

2 years ago, after some self-discoveries and realizations, I celebrated myself with my own boudoir session, big thighs and all, and I never felt so powerful.

All that to say, boudoir is a celebration of YOU, no matter where you are in your life. Women do this to change their negative self-perceptions and to learn to love themselves unconditionally. And to see themselves in way that others see them.  Plus who doesn’t want to get glammed out and where lingerie (or nothing) and feel beautiful?

The first photo on the right page is the photo sneak peek from my photographer and right away, I started bashing and loathing my thighs. But after looking at this photo more and more, I couldn’t help but see a confident, powerful and sexy woman in that photograph and because of boudoir photography, I was able to see that… FINALLY!

I'm so glad I did this boudoir shoot for myself because not only am I look back and remind myself of what I babe I am, but it also highlights a special time in my life and I'll always remember that time with this session. Thank you to my friend and awesome Atlanta boudoir photographer, Sarah of Own Boudoir. 


Talk to me, boo!

Name *