Practicing What I Preach | My Boudoir Shoot with Kate Hopewell-Smith | Hove, East Sussex
It’s taken me a year and several attempts of writing this to finally find the words (and the courage) to publish this blog post. This is as personal and intimate as it going to get…my reflections on a boudoir photo shoot of ME!!!!
In December 2012 I turned 30 and to mark the occasion I gave myself the gift of a boudoir photo shoot with the extremely talented boudoir photographer, Kate Hopewell-Smith. I knew that my body wasn’t at it’s prime: I’d already had a baby, there were stretchmarks where there hadn’t been before, but I knew that when I look back on these images in years to come when I’m old and grey I’ll be so grateful that I took them. The other motive was wanting to shoot boudoir myself and knowing that the only way to really appreciate what experience my clients would be having would be to put myself in their shoes.
In preparation for the shoot I hit the swimming pool doing lengths, increased my yoga practice and ran for all of about a month and a half. I knew that there wasn’t much change I could really make in that time, but I wanted to know that I at least felt ready. I was incredibly nervous about the shoot, but more excited than nervous thankfully. I went and splurged on a whole bunch of lingerie at SheSaid Boutique in Brighton and met the lovely owner Nic Ramsey who was extremely helpful.
On the morning of the shoot, despite the snow, I drove up to Buckinghamshire in the car loaded with a ridiculous amount of stuff, most of which I never used. Kate greeted me with big open arms and was amazing at bringing a wonderful element of humour and fun to the morning. Cat did my hair and makeup and that experience alone was worth the 2 and a half hour drive up there. The shoot itself was an incredible feeling! I left there not really caring what the images turned out like because the experience had enriched me, filled me with love and a sense of loving myself in a way that I hadn’t felt for a very long time. I left fully charged and inspired to offer a similar experience to other women that come to me to be photographed.
When I initially got the images I have to be honest and admit that I was so critical of them. I sat with the digital gallery until the last possible moment (which was SEVERAL months later) when I had to choose the final images for an album. Each time I came back to them over that period of time I fell in love with them more and more and most importantly, fell in love with me more. My beautiful Folio album arrived just in time for my 31st birthday and I LOVE it! Looking at the images now I realise that the ones with the stiletto heels and hold ups (yes I did go down that route for some of the shots) were not me, but were what I perceived should be me. Instead, the ones where I borrowed Kate’s comfy grey lounge cardigan were the ones where I felt most comfortable and are the images that I now love. I think that in itself is a reflection of the journey that I’ve traveled and what I discovered about who I am.
On the many reflections that I’ve had since the shoot, I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t just want this to be the only boudoir shoot that I ever do. Rather I want to have a series of shoots, perhaps one for every decade, to serve as a documentary of the many years that I have lived and how these have enhanced me as a person and reflected in the many changing shapes that my body will take. If anything, I hope that it will be something my daughter will see and appreciate in years to come as she comes to terms with her own body changing. It’s a celebration of life! And of course, my soon to be husband gets to enjoy this celebration with me