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What is Boudoir Photography?

woman in cream sweater sitting on egg chair with feet propped up

What is Boudoir Photography to me? For starters, I’ll tell you what it’s not.

Boudoir Photography is NOT:

  • just photos in underwear.
  • for women only.
  • lewd, obscene, vulgar, or gross.
  • demeaning or shameful.
  • perfection or what you think the perfect body should look like.
  • only for people who are a very specific size, shape, age, gender, ethnicity, height, weight, ability, etc.
  • just for the bedroom.

close up of woman with long black hair in a blue teddy and pearl necklace sitting in a rattan egg chair

To me, Boudoir Photography is so much more than just a photoshoot. I photographed my first boudoir clients in 2010. As I’ve photographed hundreds of people over the years, my definition of boudoir photography has grown as I’ve grown as a photographer, artist, and person.

blonde woman in batman tank and panties stretching on yellow couch in front of window

Boudoir Photography :

  • is an experience for ALL HUMANS who want to encounter and embrace their version of BEAUTIFUL.
  • is INCLUSIVE and RESPECTFUL.
  • is feminine, masculine, and/or androgynous.
  • is a GIFT for someone special… YOU ARE THE SOMEONE SPECIAL.
  • is for YOUR BODY exactly as it is right now.
  • is shame free and body positive.
  • is an investment.
  • is a way for you to SEE your SELF, your BEAUTY,  your ARTFUL BODY through another person’s eyes.
  • appreciates the human body in its many versions.
  • can be a LIFE-CHANGING experience.
  • can be clothed, in underwear/lingerie, implied nudity, or nude.
  • can be glammed up and blinged out.
  • can be cozy and subtle.
  • can be silly and smiley.
  • can be sultry, sensuous, or sexy.
  • can be a gift for your partner, but it can be just for you.
  • can reveal something you never considered before now.
  • is fun!!!

 

2020 End of the Updates and Events

2020 End of the Year Events and Updates

Our Community Care Event is going on through Saturday, December 12th. Here’s how to enter to help the community and enter for a chance to WIN prizes from Local Small Businesses.

Step 1- Donate $10 or more to one or all of the organizations listed below:
Lowcountry Food Bank⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Fresh Future Farm⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
YWCA Greater Charleston⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Community Resource Center Summerville  and North Charleston (Cash app tag $NCCRC)⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Step 2- Email us at info@mellbella.com with the screenshot with your donation. We’ll reply with how many entries you have in the contest. You have until Saturday, Dec 12th at 11:59pm to enter. More details on the blog
Miss Rockabillaque 2020 contest

Even though Rockabillaque 2020 was cancelled. The 2020 Miss Rockabillaque Pin-Up Contest happening as part of this year’s CODfather Christmas Celebration on Saturday, December 19th. The Pin-Up Contest will be a Holiday/Winter theme. Register to compete in the 2020 Pin-Up Contest here: https://www.rockabillaque.com/contests   As usual, we are sponsoring the Pin-Up Contest, AND the winner will receive a FREE pinup photography session with us including hair/makeup styling and access to the mellBella Closet. ($400 value).

The event will also include live rockabilly music, over 20 vendors, a giant Christmas tree, falling snow, Santa, kids activities, a bonfire, and more!! The Pin-Up Contest will be at 3pm on the Outdoor Stage at the restaurant. Miss Rockabillaque 2019, Ashley Kramer will be crowning the 2020 winner!

AND finally, we’re making some fine adjustments and planning for 2021, and we want to hear from you… what you want to see, hear, experience AND as always sooooo much more! Be sure to keep checking the blog and our social media for what’s coming next. Have a Happy Holidays, stay healthy, wear your mask, and look out for each other!

MBCommunityCare

Community Care Event

It’s the time of year … time for our last big fundraiser/giveaway/drawing event of 2020. Community Care is about showing care and support for our neighbors, small businesses, and our local community.

We have chosen the organizations listed below as part of this event. Each organization has been working in the community for several years to do things like fighting racism, empowering women, helping those struggling with food insecurity and/living in a food desert, and so much more.

Please donate and show your support to:

(Your donations will reach both the Community Resource Centers faster through Cash app with the tag: $NCCRC)


Here’s how to enter:

  • Donate $10 or more to one of the organizations listed above. For every $10 donated, you will receive 1 entry into the giveaway.
  • Just email a screenshot of your donation to info@mellbella.com to enter the contest.  All donations must be made from 10/23/2020-12/12/2020 to be included in the contest.
  • Additional ways to enter the contest will be announced on mellBella’s social media accounts between 10/23/2020-12/12/2020. Be sure to LIKE or FOLLOW us on: Facebook, Instagram, and/or Google Business.
  • Additional prizes will be introduced on mellBella’s social media accounts listed above.
  • Winners will be notified by 12/14/2020.

ALL prizes are from local small businesses. The more donations we raise, the more prizes will be released. Here’s just the start of the prizes available:

  • FREE Boudoir Photography Session including professional hair/makeup styling from mellBella Photography ($400 value)
  • $100 Gift Basket from Mamasita’s Cloth Diaper Service. Perfect for if you’re expecting or if you want to give as a gift for new mothers and fathers. Mamasita's Cloth Diaper Service Gift Basket
  • 45 mins visit to the Salt Room at Under the Stars Massage Therapy.  Unlike table salt, pure mineral salt is naturally moisturizing and brings many benefits to our lungs, skin, and bodily health.
  • Massage from Under the Stars Massage Therapy Their signature massage is designed to improve circulation, relieve muscle tension, and reduce stress.
Caring for the community is all year long, but maybe we can do a little extra right now. We all know that this year has been filled with extra difficulty, but joy can also be a form of resistance and hope for making the world a better place. Not just for a few but for everyone.

#MBCommunityCare

One Image Wednesday

One Image Wednesday- Inferno Wings

Here’s a little something new we added to our studio… the Inferno Wings! These gorgeous gray wings can be added on to your session as an additional set. We can set the scene for a moody dark angel or maybe you want something a little more heavenly. What will you be?

mellBella Inferno Wings
Introducing Mell Bell

Meet Mell Bell

It’s been a while since I introduced myself. I’m Mell Bell… yes THE Mell Bell of mellBella Photography. I’m the photographer, artist, creative, designer, ride or die, never gonna give you up, cheerleader, etc. kind of person. My pronouns are she/her.

I’ve been a photographer with Richard Bell Photography since 2005. So I got my start in wedding and family portrait photography with my husband, Nathan, son of Richard Bell. I’m so thankful to be a part of the family business, but something was missing. In 2010, I photographed my first boudoir session, and after that, I knew THIS was the missing piece. So, with a lot of planning, long hours, and hard work, I founded the mellBella Brand with my dear friend. (Naming the company, Richard Bell Boudoir wasn’t going work. Totally not sexy at all!) Over the years, we’ve added pinup, styled, sets, a client closet, and so many things. Every year, I introduce a few new things that help make the mellBella Experience even better. Always thinking and growing!

many faces of mell bell

Because I feel it’s important to have a great relationship with my clients, we should get to know each other a little bit. So here goes…

  • One of my favorite local organizations is the YWCA Greater Charleston. Their mission of eliminating racism and empowering women is very important to me.
  • I have 2 daughters that are 8 years apart in age. What a BIG surprise indeed!
  • I’m awkward and empathetic, but my super power is embracing the awkward and making people feel comfortable.
  • I love my freckles, and I call them angel kisses.
  • Flip flops are my shoe of choice, but  I’ll rock a pair of heels for the right occasion.
  • I wish I could do hair and makeup, but I leave that to the professionals.
  • I pay homage to Lucille Ball with all my facial expressions.
  • My favorite drinks are Coke Zero, Jack Daniels, Espolòn Tequila, Diet Dr Pepper, and of course water.
  • I can eat ALL the pasta, pizza, and ice cream any time.
  • I celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, and other special occasions with an impromptu dance party.
  • Some of my favorite TV Shows are:  POSE, Grey’s Anatomy, Schitt’s Creek, Supernatural, Queen Sugar, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina,  Ru Paul’s Drag Race, Steven Universe, and more!
  • I have too many movies to narrow down, but we’ll start with Crazy Rich Asians, Black Panther, Spider Man: Into the Spider-verse, and COCO are my more recent favs.
  • My musical preference depends on the day or mood.

And finally I’ll end with a non Photoshopped boudoir photo of me, taken by me, and quote that is a mantra of mine.

“You are a very special person. There is only one like you in the whole world. There’s never been anyone exactly like you before, and there will never be again. Only you. And people can like you exactly as you are.”  — Fred Rogers

professional boudoir selfie by mell bell

 

One Image Wednesday

One Image Wednesday- Over the Bed

For this One Image Wednesday, I wanted to share one portrait from our Over-the-Bed camera. We love dressing up the bed with complimentary colors to really set the mood. We love a messy bed! Whether you want go bold or more natural, we customize the look on the bed for you. For the Bella, we used black, gold, pink, and just for fun a rose gold necklace from our mellBella Closet. Her black lace shoes are also available from our mellBella Closet. What are your favorite colors?

mellbella over the bed camera
In Her Own Words mellBella

In Her Own Words- Ms Lilly

I love the tousled hair look, and Ms Lilly worked some model wind at her session in our studio. Here’s what she had to say about her mellBella Boudoir Experience.

mellbella messy hair boudoir

BEFORE Her mellBella Boudoir Session— “How I felt before- I’m excited and nervous. I have always wanted to do this, but never had the nerve. I can’t wait to do this, to feel strong and confident, but also show my fiance how much I love him!”

booty shot over the bed at mellBella Photography

AFTER Her Photoshoot—  “IT WAS AMAZING!!! They act like you’ve been BFFs forever. They make you laugh, feel comfortable, beautiful, confident, and overal AMAZING! They really made me feel strong and confident. I would do this again in a heartbeat. They truly make you love yourself.”

black and red teddy boudoir

AFTER Her Photo Reveal“The experience gave me confidence in my image and my self-confidence is where it should have been all along.  I am proud of myself and my beauty.”

natural light skimming across the body boudoir

 

christopher robin quote

Transitions and Changes

2020…what a year!!! I don’t think any of us could have imagined what this year would look like.  I think we’ve all become familiar with having to figure out new ways of working, schooling, living, and dealing with everything in our daily lives.

Today, I want to share with you a big transition in mellBella Photography. About 10 years ago, Wanda and I dreamed, planned, and officially founded the mellBella Brand. We were two best friends with big ideas and tenacious attitudes to create a one-of-a-kind, empowering photography experience.

mell bell and wanda are up to something
Each year we would imagine and create new ways to elevate the mellBella Experience. Our families have grown together and even at times vacationed together. Wanda was at the births of both my children, and I (Mell) helped photograph two of Wanda’s daughter’s weddings. Also all of Wanda’s daughters have helped out at mellBella through the years too, especially Cecilee (Wanda’s eldest daughter).

Since 2012, Cecilee has worn many different hats as a part of the mellBella team. She started helping us with our boudoir marathons, and her assignments grew from there. You may have met her as the Welcome Committee when you arrived at our studio. Or maybe it was at one of the many wedding shows/Rockabillaque. Or in your actual photo shoot when she helped out with posing and photography.

Mell Bell, Cecilee, and Wanda

But things at mellBella are changing and adapting like we do every year. This year, we have the biggest change yet. The pandemic has hit our industry hard causing a difficult yet necessary shift among our mellBella team. Therefore, with lots of love, friendship, and support, we want to announce that Wanda and Cecilee are now small business owners. They have launched a new business, like none other, in the Charleston area. Introducing Mamasita’s Cloth Diaper Service.

mamasita's cloth diaper service
It is their goal to make cloth diapering an easy eco-friendly experience.  They even offer cloth wipes, diaper balm, wipe solution, and more. Let me just say that as one of their first clients,  I LOVE my products and so does my little one. Seriously, the diaper balm and wipes solution smell soooooo good. Be sure to check them out at: mamasitasclothdiaperservice.com

Please show your love and support to Wanda and Cecilee and their business. And if you or someone you know is having a baby/thinking about cloth diapering, please share their website, Facebook, or Instagram. They even offer classes on cloth diapering or you can check them out at the  Sea Island Farmer’s Market.

Wanda and Cecilee-I love you both so much, and I look forward to seeing your business grow. Thank you for all the time, the hard work, the behind the scenes, your friendship, support, and everything inbetween!  Our friendship is not something that comes along every day, and it’s not something that’s going away.

mellBella Photography isn’t going anywhere either. Things may be changing, but we’re adaptable. You can still expect  a one-of-a-kind, empowering photography experience. That’s one thing that will never change. And in true mellBella fashion, I want to share some of my favorite mellBella moments with Wanda over the years.

In Her Own Words mellBella

In Her Own Words- Ms Allison

boudoir through the archway

Ms Allison wanted to celebrate her birthday, and why not? She wanted to come out of her shell and feel confident. She chose something glamorous and something comfy to wear for her shoot. Here’s how her session went in her own words…

boudoir lounging on our antique sofa

BEFORE Her mellBella Boudoir Session— “Super Excited for my photoshoot. What a way to bring in my 25th. I am looking forward to the pictures. Surprisingly I am not worried. 🙂 Let the fun begin.”

black and blue color scheme for our boudoir bed

AFTER Her Photoshoot—  “Best photoshoot ever! These ladies surely know how to make you feel comfortable. I was so relaxed, and the previews phenomenal. I will be back :)”

Comfy tank top boudoir

 

 

In Her Own Words mellBella

In Her Own Words- Ms Kim

It’s time for another real story from our Bellas. Ms Kim was SOoooo ready for this shoot and here’s what she had to say about it.

statement necklace in black and white

Before Her mellBella Boudoir Session– “I wanted to give my husband a different kind of birthday present this year. I know he will absolutely LOVE this! I am a little nervous yet excited at the same time. I can’t wait to see the photos! It’s going to be so fun!”

red and black color scheme over the bed boudoir

After Her Photoshoot– “It was an amazing experience! The girls showed me exactly how to pose to make me feel sexy! Even from the few pictures they showed me during the shoot were amazing and made me feel so confident. I am almost positive I will be doing another shoot in the future. Thank you!”

moody boudoir lighting

After Her Photo Reveal– “I feel that this experience positively transformed me. I genuinely enjoyed every moment during the shoot, which I did not expect. I was anxious and excited all at the same time for this experience. I’m so glad that I choose to do this because it made me feel empowered and proud of the woman that I am. So thank you both for that!”

boudoir headshot with messy hair