I used to think boudoir imagery was stupid, believe it or not. I know, I know. It sounds crazy considering that women’s beauty and boudoir is primarily what I choose to photograph now, and I want to use this opportunity to share with you what changed my mind because I think you may be able to relate to my story.
My story is a lot like many other women’s stories. You see, I grew up fast because I had to. I was married young and became a mom young, so I, as an individual, suddenly took a back seat on the scale of importance and my attention and priorities went straight to pouring my energy into my marriage and raising my daughter. Fast forward 11 years later and I was a new resident of Tampa, Florida, I was the mom to two daughters and I was finalizing my divorce. My first husband and I remain friends to this day as we continue to raise our daughters together, for which I am forever grateful.
Some time later, I met and married my dream partner, Joe. Together, we have two sons and now a new puppy, to boot! After giving birth to my last son, Easton, I found myself in a bit of a post-partum depression. I felt like all I was was “mom”, and Jill was nowhere to be found. I became so absorbed in my title of wife, mother, business owners, etc. that I got to the point where I’d look in the mirror and not even recognize myself from the inside out. I started to become a Debbie Downer, and that is a far cry from the energetic, encouraging, optimistic person I have always been. That’s when I knew something had to change, but I didn’t know where to start, so I just kept working and mothering, and living my life. I ended up taking a course in posing and lighting and that was the beginning of finding my path back to myself.
After taking a continuing education course in contemporary portraiture studio posing and lighting I wanted to implement what I learned on a real body, so I used my own, very real mom bod. I had a 5 finger width diastasis recti, which is where the outer abdominal muscles are separated, leaving the famous mommy pooch proudly displayed, I wasn’t in the best shape of my life, and was definitely feel blah, to say the least. So there I was by myself with my camera trigger in hand in my own private studio and was terrified to take my own portrait to the point I was shaking like a leaf! So when I say that I understand how my client’s nerves can get to them, believe me when I say I completely understand! I took a deep breath and reminded myself that these pictures were nothing more than the ability for me to implement what I learned in how to shape a woman’s body and utilize lighting to show the best features and minimize the parts we want to minimize. Little did I know everything was about to change with the next click of my camera’s shutter.
When I looked on the back of my camera to see the results I was blown away because I liked what I saw. Did you read that? I liked my own image! The same woman who was depressed, spiraling down emotionally, and feel grossed out by her own body actually like her own image. That is monumental.
The image I saw on the back of the camera was me (pictured above). The old me. I couldn’t even see my mommy pooch! It snapped me out of my funk and depression and reminded me that I am a mom, a wife, a business owner, but I am also Jill – an optimistic, encouraging, hopeful, fun person. My outlook was never the same after that impromptu portrait session in my studio and I’ve never looked back.
seeing yourself is incredibly powerful
I quickly realized that seeing yourself in portraits is incredibly powerful. It can literally change the way we feel about ourselves, our attitude, our confidence, and our energy. I began journaling, reading lots of what are now some of my very favorite self-help books, and just plain and simple reconnecting with myself. I felt overwhelmingly thankful that I was able to turn things around for myself and knew that I had to offer this opportunity to other women because I knew that I was not alone in post-partum depression, being in the dumps, and just not feeling the way I wanted to and that’s how my brand of women’s contemporary beauty portraits and boudoir was born.
I never planned on being a boudoir photographer
I never planned on photographing boudoir; it just happened out of my life’s circumstances. I spent 10 years traveling the U.S. photographing weddings from Maui, to New York, Chicago, Virginia, Florida, Texas, etc. and loved every minute of it, but now I can proudly say that I feel like I have found my niche and now have the most meaningful, fulfilling job ever. I help women, one-on-one to reconnect to their inner and outer beauty through my personalized, signature beauty and boudoir portrait experience.
Over the past year, through my signature portrait experience, I have helped women overcome past sexual trauma, abusive relationships that left them feeling unworthy, helped them see themselves as still being feminine after having a mastectomy, I’ve helped women see themselves the way those who really love them see them, and I couldn’t be more thankful for it all. (see more Tampa Boudoir Portraits here)
My clients are some of the most wonderful women I’ve ever met. They’re just like you and me. They have battle wounds from life’s trials and tribulations and they are utilizing my portrait experience as a means to help them be overcomers.
Since I first opened my studio a few years ago, Lunar Body Boudoir has been recognized and voted as one of the top boudoir studios in Tampa Bay. You can read more about that here.
A personal invitation from me to you
I want to personally invite you to join us in being an overcomer, to reconnect with the parts of yourself you may have tabled since getting married, starting a family, or career, and connect with the woman you want to see yourself as in the next 3 years. I want you to love yourself more than you’ve ever loved yourself because that is the best love there is. You cannot give fully to those you love most if your cup is empty. Give yourself this personalized opportunity to refill your cup, celebrate yourself, and love yourself more than ever because you’re worth it.
If you’re curious about starting your own self-healing journey, I invite you to start by simply increasing your self-awareness. You can read about it in this blog post I wrote.