Archive for Shannon Michelle Studios

“Is this your coffee or mine?”

That’s a question that is often heard in our home. My husband and I love our coffee dates. But we often end up ordering them to go, bringing them home, setting the cups down and quickly get them mixed up. And while he likes to tease me that I take baby bird sips and it takes hours for me to finish a cup of coffee (and sometimes it does), he gulps his down and finishes his cup with gusto. In fact, we usually know who’s coffee’s who’s…his is the empty one.

There’s no right or wrong way to drink a coffee (although if you ask my husband, he might say his way is best). The truth is we enjoy coffee for two very different reasons. His is an end to a means. He needs a caffeine fix and would enjoy a quick cup of coffee. I, on the other hand, sip my coffee. It’s an experience and I enjoy making it last. It’s not just the caffeine push. It’s what it feels like to wrap your hands around a piping hot mug, to sip through the froth and appreciate the smell of toasted almond. For me, it’s relaxing. It can bring people together. Think about how much gossip you can accomplish over sipping a cup of coffee!

(I think we just figured out why he chugs his. Less coffee = less wifey chit chat! LOL).

Anyway, slowing down altogether feels good in a world that is overwhelmed with stimulation. It’s satisfying to slow down. There’s something about the process of enjoying a cup of coffee (or tea) that makes you think cozy thoughts, of enjoying a good book, of having a little “me time,” or quality time with friends etc.

So what’s this got to do with beauty?

Vintage Cafe in Mt. Pleasant Charleston, SC

Just like coffee, for some “beauty” is just a means to an end.

You brush your hair so there are no knots. You moisturize so you keep your skin from drying out. You might apply a lipstick but more times than not, it’s just a chapstick or lip gloss. But for others, spending time on their own beauty can be relaxing. Just like sipping that cup of coffee, it actually allows you to slow down and spend a little time on yourself. It can be so fulfilling and even bring people together. After all, when was the last time you saw a group of girls curling their hair in separate corners of the room? It’s a safe place for girl talk and allows you to have a little “me time.”

But here’s the thing….

Would you ever shame someone for taking longer than you to drink their coffee? Or for sipping on a latte instead of plain coffee? Or for having a professional make that latte for them? Of course not! So why would you shame someone who wants to look their best? Or have a professional do their hair and makeup? Or want a keepsake [portrait] of that experience?

More often than I care to admit, I hear things like “women who do that [boudoir] must have low self-esteem and need to do this to make themselves feel better…” or “they should be happy just the way they are not trying to be something they are not” or something similar.

Well, let me tell you something!

The women I photograph are some of the most beautiful, strong, intelligent, sophisticated, educated and amazing women I’ve ever met!! They don’t do this because want to feel beautiful; they do this because they do feel beautiful. They are not trying to be something they aren’t; they are honoring exactly who they are.

I encourage you to encourage the women in their life to celebrate who they are. To embrace every part of what makes them who they are, including the side that enjoys the makeover experience. And in return, we’ll let you drink your coffee quickly ūüôā

Do you know someone who would enjoy¬† a little “me time” and a makeover? Pass this along and encourage them to schedule a shoot!

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Thanks to the Vintage Cafe in the Mt. Pleasant area of Charleston, SC for the amazing latte!
[pictured above]

We have absolutely beautiful clients, but who doesn’t love a little pick me up?!! I’m so beyond thrilled with our high end fashion retouching team out of London. They not only work on commercial campaigns, they retouch anything our clients order in print! Our in house retouchers are here to offer basic editing to client photos prior to viewing. Here’s just a sneak peak example of what you can expect from our retouchers when you work with us!!

High end fashion boudoir retouching

We LOVE Christmas and the holiday season and we’re excited to share with you what we’ve got planned for the biggest shopping weekend of the year! The deals below are exclusively available Friday, Nov. 28th – 11pm on Monday, November 30th.

BECAUSE ALL HE WANTS FOR CHRISTMAS IS YOU…

We are making boudoir sessions easier and more affordable than ever…introducing Holiday Mini Sessions! This years theme is “LIPS OR LEGS” and includes an 11×14″ canvas print for just $159!
[No coupon code required]

Holiday Boudoir Specials

If you’re a past client and have a BEAUTY PORTRAIT that you love, save 50% on all canvas prints!
[Coupon code: SHOPSMALLCANVAS]

Wall Art Boston Portrait Photographer

If you know you’re going to be in way too many holiday photos this year, you might want to take advantage of 50% off the POSE THIN VIDEO download.
[Coupon code: SHOPSMALLPOSING]

Look skinny in pictures

Last but not least, if you’re a FASHION LOVER, take 20% off select DESIGNER DECOR. At just $12 each, they make the perfect stocking stuffer!
[Coupon code: SHOPSMALLPRINTS]

Designer Decor

For more info on deals and to purchase online, simply click HERE for BOUDOIR and HERE for DESIGNER DECOR.

I just got an email from a future client who was just so open and honest and absolutely adorable! She says feels sexy but still a little “Jiggly.” ¬†Who can’t relate to this?! The truth is that no matter where we are weight wise, we always see¬†more improvement to be done, right?¬†¬†Well, we’re not going to let those “jiggles” take control anymore! We’re not going to let them stop us from doing a shoot that celebrates us!! Here are a few lingerie pieces that I love that are sexy and still help to cover a lot of those “jiggles.”

Shape wear is the answer ladies!

Shape wear used to be something you might see in your grandmothers closet or straight out of the movie Seven Brides for Seven Brothers [great movie btw]. But thankfully, lingerie companies are on board and they are creating such beautiful pieces for the fuller figured woman.

Thank God, right?!

I mean when you think back to when those skinny little bitches dressed to the nines in their fancy gowns and riding in beautiful horse drawn buggies just to go to town to pick up a package…it took them at least 30 minutes and 3 dressers to help them get into the corset thing underneath that makes them look so skinny [but we forget about that part].¬†It’s about time they started making supportive lingerie that women can be proud to wear!¬†

Ok, coming down from my soap box. Here are a few favs…
[Click on the photo, courtesy of the brand, to find ordering info]

Plus size lingerie and shape wear  Plus size lingerie and shape wear

Plus size lingerie and shape wear   Plus size lingerie and shape wearblack body shaper Plus size lingerie and shape wear

Got a better idea of what you might wear for your intimate boudoir shoot?
Time to book an appointment! Call 617.307.1155 or email info@shannon-michelle.com

Maidenform, Spanx, Torrid, DKNY, Va Bien 

I recently came across a video about the everlasting conversation around retouching. It was led by another boudoir photographer and one of the comments made was…

“As boudoir photographers, we talk out of both sides of our mouth saying that you need to love the skin your in, at the same time let’s put you in all this hair and make up and lingerie…because you’re not good enough as you are; it’s a fine line. If you’re a boudoir photographer, I bet you struggle with this a lot, especially when you’re talking about why you shoot boudoir. How can you not be hypocritical when you’re doing this.” [Let me go on record and say that this photographer is quite passionate and lovely and I could tell she cared very much for her clients. I actually really enjoyed what she was saying, aside from the quote above. And I loved that the reason she retouches is to help women look past their “flaws” to be able to see their true beauty.]

As someone with almost a decade experience of working with high fashion runway models and someone with equal experience photographing women who are not models, I am more than qualified to speak up on the gap between the fashion industry and how we see ourselves day to day. Regarding that quote above and any other comment that comes close to it, I call “BULLSHIT!”

Keep reading to find out why…

Runway Fashion

Boudoir007

Runway2go.comI call bullshit because….

I know exactly where I stand on this issue. I don’t struggle with this at all and hypocritical is the last word I would ever utter out of my perfectly made up red lips when I describe my work. Can you hear the steam coming from my ears right now!!!!

Why is someone who has “all this hair and make up and lingerie” automatically described as “because you’re not good enough as you are?” If that’s why you’re doing it, I can understand why you’d have a problem with it. I say “because you love the skin you’re in and because you’re worth it, let’s put you in all this hair and make up and inspire you to experience a side of yourself you may not have yet seen.” Does having her hair and make up make done and dressing up really make her any less of who she is without it? What about when she comes out of the gym covered in sweat with frizzy hair? Or when she is covered in puke while taking care of her newborn. Do those “outfits” define her? No. They are all temporary experiences that together make up who she is. Not one or the other and certainly not because she’s “not good enough.” Why are we so quick to judge the dressed up version of ourselves but not the dressed down version?

That attitude is what shames women and it’s disgusting.¬†

The fashion industry is so fun; I absolutely love it and I’m proud to be a part of it!! But I think what everyone forgets is that the fashion industry is theatrical in nature. It’s not meant to be something you compare yourself to day in and day out. It’s meant to be fun! And if you want that experience, I can certainly give it to you. But again, it’s just that…an experience. It’s not who you are and it’s not who they [models] are.

Most women can’t relate to working in the high fashion industry. That’s OK, I probably can’t relate to what your job includes. But I think we rush to judge things that we don’t fully understand and I think that’s what happens when people attack the fashion/beauty industry. We are afraid to say things like “I want to look like that. I’m insecure. I’m afraid to be vulnerable.” So instead, we attack. We say “Shame on you for retouching. Shame on you for being 13 and skinny. Shame on you for selling us something we want but don’t want.”

What I’ve found over the years, is that the more that women find their own confidence and find the ability to love, forgive and care for themselves as they would others, the more they want to take care of and celebrate themselves. They want to embrace a variety of experiences and yes, for some, that includes hair and make up, lingerie and retouching. It also means embracing an experience that adds value and confidence to their life.

And shame on you if you think any differently.

runway2go.com

Boston Boudoir Bride Wedding Groom's Gift Fashion Photographer

Models Fashion Beauty Boudoir
[Naeem Khan | Reem Acra | Venexiana | J Mendel ]

Click HERE to book your own boudoir or portrait shoot!
Click HERE to find out why I think having a boudoir or portrait shoot makes you a better mom.

I’m always saying posing and lighting matters!! Kira from Creative Photography Classes shows a fantastic example of this in the photo below. Thanks so much for sharing!

If you want to learn more about how to pose thinner, click here check out our posing video.

 photographing curves

“…but where does the CD go?”

While recently chatting it up with another artist friend who had bought the new 27″ iMac, she mentioned she felt a little silly as she asked that very question of Apple’s support team when she got home and realized that she couldn’t find the CD drive. She couldn’t find it because Apple no longer includes a CD drive on their iMac computers.

It’s just one more reason why we encourage our clients to have their photographs printed! Even if you managed to buy a CD of photos, where would you put it? I understand that most people still have a CD drive but that will no longer be the case in just a few short years. Because digital media changes so quickly, it is more important than ever to print your photographs. If you don’t, you’ll be required to constantly update the media and the more pictures you save, the larger that project becomes.

After all, can you still play your iPod on a CD player? Or a CD in a tape recorder? Or a tape on a record player? Who cares, you’re probably streaming live anyway. Get it?

Just like with music, you need to update your digital photos to the most current format [film scan, CD, thumb drive, hard drive, cloud etc.] in order to keep them “archived.” And I use the term “archived” loosely because every time you open those files, they diminish little by little. [For example, making a tape recording while playing a song on vinyl is not going to have the same sound quality as playing that vinyl on a record player. It loses quality.]¬† And just like a CD can get a scratch or a tape can become tangled, your digital files can become corrupt over time or when moving them to new format. That means they are damaged and lost forever. And I know you think you might be able to stay on top of it. I mean, a disc to a thumb drive seems manageable (as long as the files are still in tact). But when your parents were listening to Chubby Checker do the Twist, the internet hadn’t even been invented yet! Imagine their shock if you said “One day, you’ll be able to watch this on YouTube.” Thankfully music moguls have conglomerates who continue to archive their work so that we can all watch Chubby twist his little hips online. We have companies like Disney who spend millions of dollars and countless hours restoring their films so we can watch Cinderella on blu-ray. And in all fairness, because we see those oldies but goodies updated regularly, we really don’t give much thought to our own creative work that needs preserving. I think it’s fair to say that you probably don’t have access to those teams for your Easter Sunday egg hunts or your Sweet 16 or how you looked just a few months before meeting your little girl for the very first time [click here for maternity].

I understand you want to keep the digital files for peace of mind and they are nice to have as a backup, but having your photographs professionally printed is the only real way of backing them up. Not to mention that your favorite photographs are meant to be seen! They are meant to bring a smile to your face when you are sitting at the breakfast table and look up at a big print of your little one covered in the frosting of his very first cake. They are meant to remind you of the love you have for your husband and the life you’ve built together as you flip through your wedding album. And they are meant inspire you to be confident and appreciate the person you are as you get dressed every morning, passing by your bedroom boudoir wall portrait. Your photographs are artwork that is meant to be seen!

You don’t really believe those digital files are the equivalent to a film negative, do you? If you did, you definitely don’t want to know what a photographer would have to charge you for them!

So, print your pictures. I suggest printing all your photographs small to have as keepsakes and choosing your absolute favorites to decorate your walls with. Your photographer can help you narrow down your decision and give advise on what will work best in your home. But, you have to start by making the commitment to print your photographs regularly.

Kodak Fotomat

Didn’t you just hate running errands when you were a kid?! I remember when I was little, one of those errands usually included dropping off a roll of film or two at the drive thru photo lab. It was part of our regular routine. And when I was in my mid twenties, my mom gifted me the most amazing photo album. It was a full collection of photos of me from birth to age 16. It included things like my mom’s hospital bracelet, dedication certificate and lots of photos! Photos of family vacations when I was a baby, holidays, music recitals, trips, birthdays etc. It was amazing. All those important memories, in one location and passed down to me so that I could revisit them whenever I like and share them with my own family one day.

I’m guilty of it as well. As a professional photographer, I have access to the best labs and even I have photographs sitting on my phone or desktop that need to be printed. We get busy. We wait until we have a bulk order and then forget all together. I get it! But I’m making that commitment with you today to print my pictures! Will you? If it makes it easier, just order 10 a week. Can I let you in a little secret? When people took pictures on film, they had no more than 36 photos per roll! You don’t need to print thousands at a time. You just need to print regularly. Your children and your children’s children will thank you for it. I can’t imagine growing up in a world where years, even decades at a time, of memories and moments are just missing because they were never printed, can you? Comment below if you will pledge to print your pictures!!¬†

If you want us to create and print your pictures, just email info@shannon-michelle.com for bookings.

[Drive thru photo courtesy of Kodak]

So, one my favorite clients ever has a lingerie set named after her at Agent Provocateur!!!

How cool is that?! No, really…it’s named after her.

“I’m a lingerie junkie” she says. [LOL] And after shopping there for years, the Newbury St. store manager submitted her name to be used, as each collection has it’s own unique name.

Click HERE to get the Saadia bra & brief.

Saadia for Agent ProvocateurSaadia for Agent Provocateur

Can’t imagine the strength it took to live this life. Thank you for sharing your story Caitlyn Jenner. You look absolutely amazing!
[Can I just say….I’m in love with the fact that Caitlyn’s Vanity Fair cover, shot by Annie Leibovitz is a boudoir shot!!!]

Watch behind the scenes video below and then click over to the Vanity Fair website for more.

Bruce Jenner as Caitlyn Vanity Fair

I’m just obsessed with this photo!

Boudoir Bride Christine [pictured below] had created a little scavenger hunt for her soon to be hubby on the day of the wedding. It included a few little notes, a case of his favorite wine and of course…his boudoir album, hidden away in the closet! Unfortunately in the hustle and bustle of the mid morning activities, Nathan never made it to the end of his hunt.

After the ceremony, and as they were riding around beautiful Newport, Christine said…“What did you think of your present?” Nathan looked at her oddly and said he loved the case of wine. He had absolutely no clue about the book! What’s a bride to do?! Christine immediately turned that trolly around and Mr. and Mrs. Kearns headed to their condo, just a couple of miles from where they were taking photos. The two of them took a few minutes to sneak away from the rest of the bridal party so Nathan could finish out the scavenger hunt. Christine got to watch as Nathan opened his gift, which she says “…was SO worth it!”

Congrats Nathan and Christine Kearns and thank you dearly to the lovely Robert Norman for capturing this priceless moment!
Want to surprise your man with a gift he’ll never forget? Contact us [info@shannon-michelle.com] for booking info!

Robert Norman Photography Boudoir

Newport Officer’s Club . CT Wedding Photography . Destination Themed . Newport Trolley . Forty Steps of Newport .
Bridal and Boudoir Hair | Make Up by Shana Christoforo.