I decided to do a boudoir session with Shalista at a time in my life where I was the heaviest I'd ever been and honestly when I didn't feel the greatest about myself. I wanted to do something nice for my husband for our anniversary and told myself if I could just get one good image, I knew it would be a good gift. I wasn't expecting much. I didn't think I'd get comfortable in front of the camera. I was just doing it for my husband. I bought my outfits, drove up to Shalista's studio, sat down for hair and makeup with the attitude that, "I just needed one good one."
Through hair and makeup, I already started to relax, my nerves were subsiding and then I saw what I looked like for the session and I could have cried. Yes, I was at my heaviest weight, yes I was nervous but the person standing before me looked amazing and beautiful. The minute Shalista started photographing me for the session, I was at ease. She knows exactly how to pose every single body type to make you look gorgeous, to hide what you may consider "problem areas," to focus on the most beautiful parts of every single woman. There was never a time in my head where I was thinking, "I'm not going to like this picture." The session flew by, I had so much fun and I felt this amazing sense of confidence, one I hadn't felt in a very long time, during and after my session.
When it came time to view my pictures, I was confident Shalista had captured some I would like, more than one at least. But what I wasn't expecting was to like a vast majority of the images she showed me. I said yes to so many beautiful images of myself. And that is a feeling that was given to me by the amazing photography that Shalista was able to capture. I felt like she truly captured the woman that was inside of me that I'd beaten down with a lot of self doubt. It's just something that I will never, ever forget and it's a gift that every woman should receive.
When I gave my husband the beautiful book that Shalista designed for me, he was thrilled, I was thrilled and it's something I know he will treasure. He said, "she really captured you how I see you every day." And that just meant the world to me.
I would do this experience again in a heart beat. And every single woman should do this one time, or more, in their life. I'd recommend it to any person, no matter your size or age or body type. Make time to do this for yourself. It doesn't have to be for someone special, it can truly be for you. What started as a gift for my husband, really became a gift for both of us. He got a beautiful book full of images. I now have a constant reminder that I am beautiful and confident and fierce, no matter what.
Hair and make-up by Angelique Verver of Platinum Imagination
- What made you decide to do a boudoir session? Please describe how you came to the decision and what finally made you take the leap!
It was actually something that I'd wanted to do for a long time but decided, "oh, I'll wait til I lose some weight" or "I'll do this when we have a little more time or when I have a little extra money." But, really, I decided to do it when I knew I needed some sort of boost. I was stuck in a rut of not feeling the greatest about myself, not feeling beautiful and just needing to do something for myself. A friend of mine went to Shalista for her boudoir session and her images were striking and stunning and she looked flawless. And I needed that. So I booked my session and I'm so glad I did. I eventually just told myself it is now or never. My husband and I were about to celebrate an anniversary and I just wanted to give him something that he would remember forever.
- What made you decide to hire me as your photographer?
I have been friends with Shalista for a while and I've wanted to do a session with her for a long time. I was just never in a place where I thought I could. I loved and admired her style and her amazing way of capturing every single body type beautifully. When I finally decided that I was going to do a session, I knew she was the perfect person to photograph me.
- How were you feeling before your shoot? Any thoughts going through your head?
I was nervous. There is no denying that. I was at the heaviest weight I had ever been and the only thing I was thinking was, "I just need one image where I don't look horrendously fat." But that just wasn't the case. I immediately felt at ease and for someone who is "plus-sized" that is really saying something. I never once thought, wow, this angle is going to make me look fat. Wow, I'm going to hate this image. I was just comfortable from the get go.
- Now that you've had your own photo shoot, how was it?
I don't actually know that there are correct words to tell people how great my session was. You'd see other curvy women featured in these slinky outfits looking fabulous and fierce and really, I just wanted to feel beautiful. But I got so much more than that. Within minutes, I felt this confidence boost and this feeling that no matter my size I was this beautiful woman giving an amazing gift to my husband. Truly, I thought if I liked just one image, I would be happy. I left LOVING almost every image from my session and on this amazing high. I don't think I have ever felt so good about myself.
- Is there anything I could do that would make this experience completely perfect?
Honestly, no. For me, everything was completely perfect. I had so many annoying questions before the session and Shalista answered them with grace and genuinely wanted to help me have the most amazing session possible. She cares so much about all of her clients and just wants them to see themselves in a way that everyone else does. And she does it beautifully.
- How did you feel about having your hair and makeup done?
I've worked with Shalista's hair and makeup artist before so I trusted her vision impeccably and it was just absolutely flawless. I felt so good about myself even before stepping in front of the camera. I got to see someone else transform me into this totally fierce woman and I loved every minute of it.
- Any other thoughts or suggestions you'd like to tell me about?
I'd do this again in a heartbeat. Thank you, Shalista, for being such an awesome person and offering this service to woman of all shapes and sizes.