Faces of mellBella

Who are the women that we photograph at mellBella? They are women just like you. 

Women with kids. Women without kids. Women battling infertility or miscarriages. Women in a great relationship. Women who got out of an abusive relationship. Women not in a relationship. Women about to get married. Women celebrating an anniversary. Women no longer married. Women who have never been married. Women celebrating goals or their birthdays. Women who need a break. Women who need to feel beautiful inside and out. Women who volunteer. Women who don’t take care of themselves because they are too busy taking care of others. Women caring for sick or dying family members.  Women who have lost weight. Women who have gained weight. Women whose bodies have changed with health or life in general. Women fighting or have fought depression, post partum, eating disorders, diabetes, cancer, and so many more difficulties.

Women with stretch marks, cellulite, age spots, wrinkles, big breasts, small or no breasts, tall, short,  thick hair, thinning hair, and everything inbetween. Women of different ages, races, sizes, and shapes.  Stay-at-home moms. Working mothers. Professional women. Military. First Responders. Strong women.  Strong women who feel weak. Awkward women. Silly women. Women who want to feel valued. Women who want to feel good about themselves. Women who come to our studio just as they are with the hopes of liking 1 or 2 photos of themselves for the first time in their lives. Women who generally like photos of themselves. Women who give and give and give some more. Women who want to show that they’ve still got it.

But one of the things that connects them all is that ALL women are beautiful. Women who are beautiful but don’t know it. Women who are beautiful inside and out. Women who want to see the beauty that others see in them. These women are just like you.

So, here’s to you, Bella. Thank you for everything that you are despite the struggles you are facing. Thank you for your trust in us. We love you! 

 

mellbella boudoir over the bed camera with a red corset

Stacey’s Boudoir Story

 “I am still waking up, but I am very excited! I am nervous that I’ll give in to all those self confidence issues, so I am forcing myself to be positive!”

Stacey wanted us to take her bridal boudoir photos to create an extra special gift for her husband-to-be. The quotes are from Stacey before and after her boudoir photo session with us. She choose our Lusso Package which is a full session that includes a two hour photo session with us. A full session gave her plenty of time for a few different outfits, sets, and props. She brought his jacket and hat, a purple lace nighty, a white teddy, a gorgeous pink mask, and a few other lingerie pieces. She borrowed some shoes, necklaces, and the red corset from our mellBella closet. During the week of her photo shoot, we also got to incorporate a 20 ft piece of greenery garland for a natural, sexy look. Below are just a few of her photos that she has graciously allowed us to share with our mellBella followers. Truly, she gave her  husband the Sexiest. Groom’s. Gift. Ever! Thank you, Stacey.

 “I had a blast! The ladies make you feel beautiful and fabulous. I ended up doing full nudes, which will shock my fiancé in the best way. Thanks ladies! Much love.”

mell bell and wanda cavazos charleston boudoir photographers and pinup photographers

Happy New Year 2017

A very happy new year to you!  We’ve have a lot of great things in store for mellBella and you…   Here’s to 2017 being your best year yet! Be sure to check out our video below that’s sure to put a smile on your face.

guitar boudoir photography

Lauren’s Boudoir Story

Every woman has a story. We’re thankful that Lauren has agreed to share her Boudoir Story with you. In the video, you’ll see the actual images from her mellBella Boudoir Session.  She brought comic books, roller skates, and guitars with her to showcase her personality as well as her sexy side. What will your story be?

Special thanks to Sarah Pearson for the awesome hair and makeup styling for Lauren’s shoot. And, thank you Lauren for trusting us and rocking out your boudoir shoot.

simply sweet boudoir

Caroline’s Boudoir Story

Every woman has a story. We’re thankful to share Caroline’s Boudoir Journey in her own words with the photos we created together. We hope she will inspire you on your journey.
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“Princess. Diva. Super-model. I’ve been them all, if only for a few hours.

Here’s my story: I’m an overweight, thirty-something (coughcough) mother of two, and a boudoir photography session has been my goal for years. I told myself that I was going to get skinny, so that I could take some rockin’ photos for my husband—and myself!—to look back on. Barring reaching my goal weight (which hasn’t happened), I promised myself that I would do it for my ten-year wedding anniversary. I blinked, and here it is; we’re planning our anniversary celebration. So even though I’m not ideal (at all), I decided that it was time to bite the bullet and make an appointment with MellBella, the sister company of Richard Bell Photography, one of the premier wedding photography companies in the southeast.

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Here’s their story: Five years ago, two best friends conceived of this company in order to honor women. I’m going to paraphrase Mell herself here (and when she explained their motivations, she was so impassioned that she was tearing up a little): Women are under intense emotional strain. We’re often the primary caregivers. We’re often the primary house-keepers. We’re often working a job inside or outside the house. We’re expected to stay strong for our families while being told by social constructs and media images that we’re not good enough. Many of us have issues with the way we look, and know that we’re not the ideal.
 

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I know that I’m not the ideal; any photo that I share with my public not only represents an hour of hair, make-up, and wardrobe prep, but has probably been edited a bit too. In other words, at my very best, I’m still not ideal. MellBella took my not-ideal body and (yes, there was an hour of hair/make-up prep) made me feel ideal. That’s an incredibly empowering talent. I am still walking tall, knowing that I might be lounging in yoga pants and a ratty t-shirt today, but I can look like a magazine model with a little help.

 
One very efficient strategy Mell employed was flipping the camera around early on, to show me just one of the shots she’d taken of me. If the lady in the viewfinder of that camera hadn’t been wearing my birthmark on my arm, I wouldn’t have believed it was me. I looked… gorgeous. Sexy. Beautiful. Like I belonged in a magazine… and from that moment on, I was confident instead of awkward in my poses, because I’d seen how I could look.

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Boudoir photography is ostentatiously for men—we do it for our husbands and lovers, and MellBella offers discounts to wives of deployed military husbands—but that’s not the complete truth. We tell ourselves that, in order to justify the experience—justify the chance to feel like a princess for a few hours—but the experience is really for us. We don’t have to be scantily clad in these photos; I took several that are perfectly normal and I plan on hanging on my wall. Because while I plan on giving most of these photos to my husband, I’m also keeping some for myself. Thanks to this session, I not only feel better about myself, but I have a series of incredible photos that I can look back on in the years to come. Mell even told me that many women carry copies of these photos with them, to peek at when they need a pick-me-up. One glance at these, and I know that I would walk taller, prouder.

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Consider booking your session with MellBella—or any other women’s photographer—today, so that you can have this natural high I’m still feeling; the high of feeling like super model for an afternoon, and looking at photos of yourself and knowing that you’re a beautiful, sensual, confident woman, no matter what you feel like society is telling you about being good enough. I promise you that you won’t regret it.  MellBella Photography: Beauty at Every Age and Every Stage.”  ~Caroline ralesept1615-0113 ralesept1615-0090

lowcountry highrollers team

Lowcountry Highrollers Team

A few months ago, our studio was full with almost 40 women in skates. Why skates, you ask? They are the proud, the strong, the beautiful, and dare I say, bad ass women of Charleston’s own roller derby team The Lowcountry Highrollers. Be sure to check them out at their next bout and follow them on Facebook for some extra awesomeness.

We took tons of photos, and our fabulous artist composited the individual photos to create the huge team photo seen above. Special thanks to the amazing styling of Sarah Pearson- Hair and Makeup Artistry who worked tirelessly all day with her team to bring a little extra va-va-voom. Here’s just a few of their fierce and fun individual photos. We love The Lowcountry Highrollers!

of the Lowcountry HighrollersIndy-Go of the Lowcountry HighrollersMad Cow Girl of the Lowcountry HighrollersDoutaz Mania of the Lowcountry HighrollersFort Knocks of the Lowcountry HighrollersBlazin Asian of the Lowcountry HighrollersAfrodite Superstar of the Lowcountry HighrollersBetzy Poop of the Lowcountry HighrollersGillie O'Tene of the Lowcountry HighrollersRingo Starrdust of the Lowcountry Highrollers

 

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Mell Bell’s Boudoir Journey

Hey Everyone,

Wanda inspired me to share my boudoir journey with you. I was a tomboy growing up… proud of being a girl and showing that I could do anything a boy could. There’s even a newspaper article from when I was five stating that I wanted to be a “craft girl” instead of a craftsman. I’m the shortie in the front with the huge cheesey grin.

 

5 year old Mell Bell

 

I wanted to be so many different things growing up– from being a flower picker to the first woman president. Vote for Mell Bell 2016!  I loved playing dress up, pretending, acting, and making people laugh. I would make faces, dance, and have imaginary conversations with myself in the mirror. Growing up, I struggled for years under verbal abuse in my home. Nothing was good enough.  I never really thought of myself as pretty or beautiful. I thought of myself as goofy, quirky, different, and at times, worthless.

In high school, I choose to go against the grain.  I chose to fight gender inequality at my small private school by gathering a group of girls to play in the male dominated chess tournament. I pleaded with the principal to upgrade the girls’ sports uniform from old faded t-shirts (the same for every sport) to jerseys like the boys that varied according to the sport. I bugged the principal to allow the girls to play one sport against another school at least once a year. The boys got to do this twice a year all ready. I was the only female in the computer programming class despite my male teacher trying to talk me out of it simply because I was a girl and that it was going to be difficult. Let the record show that the only girl in that “difficult” computer class got a high B for her grade.

For college, I started off at a local technical college and joined the co-ed soccer team. We didn’t have enough females, so we ended up playing in the men’s league. I was the only girl at most games. I then transferred to USC… Go Gamecocks! I became a Resident Advisor (RA) and worked with Freshman girls to help them with their first year of college. I met my husband, Nathan, at USC (and that’s a whole other story).

In my college years and soon after,  my jobs consisted of assisting young adult women struggling with weight, anorexia, abusive boyfriends, drugs, jealousy, depression, school, cleanliness,  etc. It’s hard being a girl, and so many people and things tell us we aren’t enough.

Fast forward to a few years later… I feel fat, tired, anxious, nervous, and not pretty at all. I get my hair and makeup done, and I start to relax. I change into some lingerie, and for the first time, Wanda photographs boudoir photos of me. I felt safe. I felt like I finally found something that was missing for a long time. I felt feminine, lovely, and beautiful. I was doing something special for my husband, BUT I was also doing something for myself. Now at least once or more every 2 years, I schedule another boudoir session to remind myself that there is true beauty at every age and every stage of life. If this girl can do it, any woman can.

Stay Sexy,

Mell Bell

 

 

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Wanda’s Boudoir Journey

Hello Everyone,
I just wanted to get personal with this post and really share more about me.
We all have our own stories and journeys. And it really seems like your journey that leads you to doing a boudoir shoot is shaped very much by your past, as much as it is about your present life. Okay, so here goes.
My self esteem, for most of my life, was low, really low. I was molested at a young age, which caused me to have feelings of shame and guilt about my own body. As a child, I grew up in a very poor, verbally abusive home. I got picked on school for not having nice clothes and since we moved A LOT, I was always the new kid. As a teenager, I was thin and besides a major overbite (which I was always self conscious about), I got lots of attention for boys. My home life hadn’t improved, so I got into lots of bad things and made many, many bad choices. I did, however, choose a good boyfriend, Roy. My life changed forever when I got pregnant during my Junior year of high school. I gained 50 lbs, got stretch marks and all the other issues that comes with pregnancy. Roy and I got married at 17 years old.
My daughter was born four months before I turned 18. I have never regretted having my daughter, however, I have always felt like I missed out on growing into my adult body. I never got to be the “perfect” bodied 20 something year old that I could have been, had I not gone through pregnancy so young. Having stretch marks and a little poochy tummy at 18 didn’t help me feel any better about my body image.
Every four years for 12 years, I had a baby. Yes, at one point, I had a 12 year old, 8 year old, 4 year old and a newborn… all girls. After all of that, I  had my first shoot. Mell Bell photographed me. And I photographed her (she was 4 months pregnant with her daughter).
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And… I loved it! I loved the photos of me. I loved the feeling of being photographed for my husband. Doing a shoot for my husband was like giving him another piece of me, a special piece that was just for him. It was something I chose and I could make it whatever I wanted it to be. I fell in love with boudoir photography. (Now I am gonna cry!) I fell in love for what it did for me and for what it does for the women we photograph. That’s why I am passionate about boudoir photography.
You got this!

Wanda