“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.
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.
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.
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.
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