Miss K - I am beautiful and confident and fierce, no matter what.

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

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

Miss A in Las Vegas - Las Vegas Boudoir - Do something scary!

The last 12 months have been pretty incredible for me professionally. I have been a photographer for 14 years, but feel that in the past year I have grown more as an artist and person than ever before. Boudoir has become a sensation for me, and has changed my outlook on life, my own personal confidence and the way I view other women. I took a trip to New Orleans last year and I was so nervous. I didn't know anyone and I was staying in a house with 9 women I had never met. I almost backed out. Even up to the day I left I thought maybe I shouldn't go. But I went. What does New Orleans have to do with Las Vegas? Well, New Orleans changed me and gave me courage to go to Vegas. I've been to Vegas before, but not like this!

There's a huge wedding and portrait photography convention in Las Vegas every year and in 14 years I have never went. I decided that this was my year to go. A couple people were looking for roommates and one of my new friends from New Orleans invited me to share their room. I registered, bought a plane ticket and went to Las Vegas. Alone!

Over the course of the next five days I met some of the most incredible women. We were strangers who felt like we'd know each other our whole lives. There was just a great connection with us. Maybe this tired mom and wife just really needed a "girls night out" but whatever it was, my soul and heart felt renewed and refreshed.

One of the people I met was Miss A. She's an incredibly kind and beautiful soul and I asked if she would let me photograph her. She'd never had a boudoir session of her own before, and so we made it happen. The camera loves her. It might be the kind, gracious woman inside, but her fiery red hair and funny personality are the entire package. I just love her! We had a great time doing her photos and we have already begun to plan our trip for next year.

If you are feeling like you are in a rut, or you need a change, or a friend or just... something, I can't encourage you enough to do something scary. In the last year I had a boudoir shoot of my own (SCARY!), took a plane to New Orleans alone where I didn't know anyone (SCARY!) and then took another plane to Vegas alone (Also Scary!). As scared as I was to step outside these comfort zones, I know now that I needed it. I needed to live a little louder and crazier and find myself a bit. I am incredibly grateful to Aroha and the others I met (You will meet them too!) for an incredible week of photography, friendship and inspiration.