Revenge Boudoir

Revenge Boudoir? Sounds terrible, right? But read on …

Here it is the middle of June and we’re right in the middle of wedding season, but come sit here by Mama and let her tell you a story …

A couple of years ago I had a young lady come in (not the chickie in the photo, for complete transparency) to have bridal boudoirs taken. She’d brought her gown, her tiara, and the beautiful lingerie she was saving for her wedding night.

We had a blast shooting, cuz that’s how we roll at JLReis Boudoir/Glamour and she fell in love with her photos. She chose a Little Black Book as a wedding day gift then came back a week later and ordered a wallet accordion book for her man.

Right before her goodies were to be delivered, she contacted me in hysterics. She found out something awful about the groom-to-be and called off the wedding. She wanted to cancel delivery of her photos as well.

I went to my photography peers because I was nearly hysterical – the photos were due to be delivered and because the B2B hadn’t signed a model release (as is EVERYONE’S choice) I couldn’t use them for ANYTHING!

Here’s what I tell clients NOW about why their session with me is more important to THEM than it is for the person they intend to gift the photos to:

In the past five years I’ve had women come to me for boudoir photos for so many reasons. It started as bridal boudoir, but at some point I started realizing what these photos were doing for my clients. I’ve shot photos of women who’ve just turned fifty, I’ve had clients who are newly divorced and need a boost, I’ve shot women who’ve lost weight after having a baby and are in love with their new bodies, I’ve taken photos of women who were eight and half months pregnant and loved THAT body …

Just lately I’ve been taking photos of women who did it the firs time for their love, but have come back the second time (one has been to see me THREE times) for themselves.

Women deal with so many stressful things in their lives; their jobs, their marriages, the joy and craziness of being a parent. My brother called me this morning and said he felt like the world was out to get him and I laughed. Not at what he saw as his bad luck, but at his belief that he’s the only one that this happens to. Every one of us go through challenges on a daily basis, from fixing the baby’s booboo to losing a parent to sever health issues.

Women just can’t allow themselves to appreciate and reward themselves for challenges they deal with. Having intimate photos taken, dressed or NOT, helps you to see and love yourself. Every time a client tells me she takes her photos out and looks at them more than her lover does, I laugh with joy.

So what happened to that first bride I had? She actually kept the photos. The last I talked to her, she was seeing someone new and terribly happy. Did she get revenge on that sorry groom? I don’t know, but I like to hope she accidentally showed him those photos, lol.

THAT is what boudoir photography is about to me.

So … You Want to Know About Bridal Portraits

What the heck are “bridal portraits”? I’ve heard/read it asked dozens of times, usually on a bridal board and usually by someone of the “Northern” persuasion.

Here in the North, engagement sessions (and more recently “save the date” sessions) have become popular, but even those were nearly unheard of twenty-five years ago.

Bridal portraits are a predominantly Southern tradition, but the custom predates  photography itself (they actually go as far back as the Renaissance).

Bridal portraits are done weeks, and sometimes months before the wedding; the bride dresses in all her wedding finery and is photographed in poses and settings that might be difficult to do during the day OF the wedding. Weddings days are time consumptive and sometimes you just don’t get to take the photos you WANT (the bride staring dreamily off into space, thinking of her groom, etc) because there are fifty-eleven people that want to toast the happy couple before the food is even on the tables.

Having bridal portraits done weeks before the “big day” gives the bride one more special day with the dress she’ll never wear again. It also gives her, and her parents, special memories that will last forever.  Again, in the South, these portraits sometimes become treasured family heirlooms, passed down from generation to generation.

The “bridal portrait” session is a good time to do a test run on your entire wedding outfit (gown, hair, make-up, etc.), for the bride to get comfortable in maneuvering in all of her finery. Doing a “dry-run” can show you things that you may not notice until the day of the wedding, such as odd fits, weird angles, etc. Your bridals can also be combined with your wedding boudoir session, if you’re having them done.

If you don’t consider yourself photogenic (bah! ALL brides are beautiful) or if you are terribly picky about how you look in photos, bridals give you a chance to  get those poses/photos you REALLY want without crazy guests or relatives breathing down your neck, checking their watch every 30 seconds.

Bridal portraits can be taken  at your venue so match they your wedding day photos, or they can be done somewhere special to your own personal relationship. You can be more creative and include options or elements that there just isn’t TIME for on the “big day”.

So what does one actually DO with the portraits? Back in the day, large prints (or oil paintings) bridals were a tradition for Southern brides and a family keepsake that was displayed on an easel at the reception, then hung in the bride’s parents home for years to come.

Recent generations find bridal portraits a bit strange, preferring engagement and/or “save the date” photos. Personally, I find the romanticism and sense of tradition an incredible addition to any wedding.

But of course, I am Southern by heritage and heart, so that’s not surprising.

Most brides want to keep their dress a secret from their groom, so the groom isn’t included in the session, but I have been reading recently where the happy couple are flouting tradition and doing the bridals as a couple.  It’s all a matter of taste and opinion.

Interested in having your bridals done, or adding them a boudoir session? Email me and we’ll talk about it!

I Want to Take Your Photo

There seems to be a bit of a misunderstanding as to the type of photography that I do. I SPECIALIZE in taking women’s photos. There is nothing that makes my heart sing more than when a woman looks at her photos and actually sees the beauty that has always been in her, but that she just couldn’t see. As a woman myself, with all insecurities that all women have, I KNOW the struggles other women face about their looks on a daily basis. I know how hard it is to see our own beauty when Photoshopped magazine and catalogs are picked up from our mailboxes every day.

I understand being self-conscious in front of the camera. I think that EVERYONE must be staring at that zit, mole, wrinkle, that in reality only *I* see because I see it EVERY DAY.

I know what it is to tell myself that I need to lose weight, I don’t have the time, I look so tired. I CAN’T have my photo taken.

We, as women are our own worst enemies and not only are we depriving ourselves, but we’re depriving our loved ones of memories of ourselves in the future. I know I’ve said it before, but I ave only one photo of my mother (taken by the well-known CountrySide Studios) and one of myself and my mother taken on my wedding day 28 years ago. Why? Because she’d literally RUN from a camera. She’d flap her hands up in front of her face and actually get angry if someone tried to take her photo.

Now all I have to remember her beauty (and she WAS a true beauty, though she didn’t see it) are two pictures and the dwindling number of people who knew her. I can’t begin to tell you what I’d give for a proper photo of my mother and myself.

So … those are the reasons I SPECIALIZE in women’s photography.

I love to shoot mamas & daughters, sisters, best friends and women by themselves.

But I also do and LOVE other sorts of photography. I have a ball shooting with seniors and getting that one perfect shot makes me do a little dance every time. Maternity sessions make me weepy … I wish we’d thought to do that sort of thin when I was carrying my own two sweet babies. Family sessions are awesome … especially with older kids that have a great relationship with their parents.

I SPECIALIZE in photographing women, but I LOVE taking portraits of EVERYBODY – and their horse, lol.

Simple Wedding Photography – New Service

Dayne & Brandy's WeddingGetting married consists of two people who want to spend the rest of their lives together and the officiant to make it happen. Simple as that. The big, fluffy dress isn’t necessary, flowers are optional and even a party with food and a fancy cake aren’t necessary to get married.

Not if you’re in love.

But photos of that moment in your life ARE a necessity, whether it’s just you, your loved one and a judge or it’s you, the love of your life and 150 of your closet friends. Photos are the only things that will last in the years to come. They will be your only tangible memory of the most important moment of your life.

:(Even when I got married 27 years ago, wedding photography was expensive. I designed my own invitations, we got married outside in regular clothes, I made my own bouquet and decorated the Scout House myself.

I chose my photographer from an ad in the back of the local paper. We paid $200 and we got EXACTLY what we paid for. I hired that man without references, without seeing any of his previous work. I did not one iota of research. He fit my budget, so he got the job.

All these years later I look at the photos that are left and I cry.

Pathetic, right? Yeah, I know.

So … our baby girl is getting married in May of 2015. Like her mother, she is somewhat, shall we say, “frugal”

She is designing most of the wedding decorations. She chose a stunning, but fairly inexpensive dress; while her bouquet will cost a pretty penny (she IS the bride after all)the majority of the floral decorations will be gorgeous, but fairly inexpensive (she gets her creative flair from her mama). I am designing the invitations 🙂

But her photographer? We’ve hired a photographer that travels the country taking wedding photos. This woman doesn’t just take photos, she creates stunning photographic masterpieces … and we are paying $3000 for her to come to Wisconsin and document our daughter’s big day. Because two days after the wedding, the cake will be gone, the bouquets will be a crumpled messes, the pig will be crackling skin and picked over bones – but I know that in about six weeks we’ll be able to download about 800 stunning images from that day that my daughter will have to cherish for the rest of her life.

I understand and appreciate the importance of professional wedding photography. I believe an experienced and talented wedding photographer is worth their weight in gold. But I also understand being so broke that we couldn’t pay attention, I remember the sighs of frustration by today’s brides-to-be and the broken-hearted realization that the photos from her wedding will be taken mostly by her drunken friends with those cheap throw away cameras that her mom placed on every table. Bet she can’t wait to see what kind of pictures got taken when she develops the cameras that she actually gets back (about half of those go MIA, you know).

Not if I can help it.

I believe EVERY bride deserves beautiful photos of her wedding day despite a small budget and that no matter what she tells her friends, her family and even herself, I KNOW she wants gorgeous professional photos of the day she’s been dreaming about for her entire life.

When I decided to get into photography professionally, I was totally adamant that I would NOT be shooting weddings, in any way, shape or form; my daughter had just stood up for two lovely weddings and when I saw the work involved I knew it was not for me.

I do not have that kind of ambition or patience.

Dayne & Brandy's WeddingBut I’d actually already shot a wedding. I’d gotten on a ferry on the hottest day in August, crossed Lake Michigan, sat in a sweltering vehicle for another two hours and photographed the wedding of the the children of two of my dearest friends. With my ‘baby” camera (Canon T21) and the only lens I owned at the time: my “nifty fifty”.

The photos turned out surprisingly GOOD.

But that was a one-off. Not something I’d planned on doing again.

Mandy and Jason's WeddingEarlier this year a dear friend invited me to HER wedding, then tentatively asked if I’d be interested in taking a few photos. My first response was a resounding no. Weddings are too important and I didn’t have the experience and I didn’t want to take the chance of ruining the memories of her special day. I couldn’t bear the thought of putting her through what I’d gone through with my own wedding photography. But she asked me again. They were only having a small courthouse ceremony and a casual party in a local park.

And I said yes. Because EVERYONE deserves decent photos of their wedding. I realize now that I should been a bit more firm with my friend and her groom so that we could’ve gotten some more creative “wedding-y” photos, but the truth is, she got nice photos, at a reasonable price and memories that will last a lifetime.

So with the memories of my own cheap wedding photos and the belief that EVERY bride should have beautiful memories of the most important day of her life and am now offering my “Simplicity Wedding Package”.

If you have a small budget and you’re planning an intimate, not-over-the-top wedding, I am your girl.

Check out the details here or email me and we’ll work something out!

Dayne & Brandy

I don’t shoot weddings.

Except for this one.

I’ve known these two FOREVER; both of their moms are dear to my heart and when I heard they were getting married in HELL (Michigan), of COURSE I was going along! and trust me, it was hot enough that day to actually FEEL like HELL. But Brandy handled it like a champ, looking gorgeous throughout the whole day.