#6- A new kind of portrait experience

I LOVE photographing people. It’s kinda a little bit of a crazy thing ‘ya know? Here you are with a person you sometimes just met, and you are asking them to just be still and look right at you, and look relaxed and comfortable while they are doing it. It’s an incredibly powerful thing and it provides me with an amazing amount of connection that I cherish.

Also, I think every single person is so incredibly unique and beautiful in their own way. It sure makes photographing someone easy. It’s why our boudoir business has been so successful. When you really believe that, how can you take a bad pic?

But even though I love what boudoir does by creating self confidence, and awakening the sexy, flirty side in a woman, I desire to take it a step even further. My hope is to create an image with my subject that goes beyond a just a pretty photo of her. I want one that really, really speaks to her. One she can hang on her wall as a soul stirring daily reminder to herself of who she really is inside. Something that will stop everyone in their tracks when they see it.

This session is going to be so much more complex than just a normal photo session. In my home we will have a conversation where we will discuss her, I probably ask a ton of kinda personal questions, and I will guide her in creating the vision for our art together. Aiming to identify who she sees herself as in all its entirety. A key question in this process is asking who she aspires to evolve into from the strengths she already inhibits. What does she want to invoke in her soul that she feels in being hidden? What masks does she need to rid in showing her true authentic self?

What does she want to RISE to be?

What barriers does she need to break down to fulfill this?

What are her hopes for herself? Is it to be more vulnerable? Is it to be more bravely authentic? Is it to be more aggressive? Is it all rolled into one? Strip away all the BS in your life and let’s take a raw yet powerful photo that represents you when are feeling like the most empowered version of yourself. We already know she is beautiful, everyone is. So let’s go beyond that.

I experimented with some of my ideas on the awesome team at The Boudoir Divas…

This is hard for me too. It will force me to slow down with clients and really listen and understand. To be okay with both of us feeling a tad awkward at times. It will make me ask tough and uncomfortable questions. It will force me to look harder, search someone’s face for answers.

But I know it will yield the best images of my entire career. Both from an art perspective and from a meaningful one. I believe in this project so much.

And the cherry on top for me is that my clients will get actual ART. Something totally next level in physical form. A framed 16×24 image of their favorite shot that we will select together. A legacy piece. A soulful striking depiction of who she really is. She will also recieve a box of proofs to always remember the shoot and the high of feeling completely at peace in your own skin.

My girlfriend Angie sent me this quote when I was describing my idea to her…

Thanks for stopping by again, see you tomorrow friends.


  • Heather Shanahan says:

    I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be able to answer any of those questions. The hardest thing to do in life is to look at yourself and analyse who you are and acknowledge your faults. And if we acknowledge our faults then we admit being flawed and no one wants to be flawed. Failure. All my life, I have had a fear of failure. Even simple meaningless things. I simply just don’t want to fail at something. I want to be good enough, and strong enough, and smart enough, and not let anyone down. In college as an engineer, I learned to embrace the phrase, “failure is always an option.” It was the best way to learn. Trial an error. While I still very much didn’t LIKE when my project failed, I was ok when it did. But I still very much struggle with fear of failing in my personal life. I struggled to pass an exam just last week and it was killing me every time the results page said I had failed, again. The funny part is when I started to tell the story to a friend, he immediately stopped me and said “I know, you got 99% right?” and was shocked when I said I failed, failed MULTIPLE times, because “You never fail!”

    The last few years my goal, or New Year’s resolution or whatever, has simply been to be a better me. Michael Jackson’s Man in the Mirror. Healthier, more charitable, more supportive, more proactive… It is interesting typing those two things together. Like subconsciously the “old me” wasn’t good enough and I had to prove to myself I could do better. But at the same time, I think people should always want to be better. We should never settle into complacency

  • Anita says:

    I adored the “old” you, but I am loving this fierce and grounded you! No doubt this is the right direction for you and your many talents.

    Women often complain about getting older yet having celebrated my “25th bday” over and over (20 times and counting) I am truly appreciating the calm that followed when I stopped being so darn hard on myself, and instead celebrated uniqueness.

    Thank you for always empowering women.

  • Stephanie says:

    This is POWERFUL. I’m excited to see where this takes you and your clients. I’m also truly excited to see more videos of the process like this one. That one shot is so beautiful, and it’s amazing that all four women (even though they are gorgeous) brought such emotion and stark rawness to that photo. I read your last few blog posts, and I know you have been through hell emotionally -but it led your heart here – and this project could potentially change someone’s life.

  • Debbie says:

    This is such a refreshing a beautiful concept! I think what you’re doing is really important. I love boudoir and have done a few sessions, but as I’m getting older I want something more personal and less focused on a role I’m playing in photography. I will certainly look into this!

  • […] I started to take serious notice of how powerful this word is, and I’m even creating a new portrait experience based on how much it has moved me. During that time I started to collect the songs that fit the […]

  • Teresa says:

    Just catching up with your blog series. I’m a client from, oh, 2011 I think? And I LOVE where you’re headed. I am putting aside the money now because this experience, the world that you’re building and the art you’re striving to create, sounds like a necessary part of my own personal growth. Cheers to you, Marissa! You’re an inspiration and your story, as hard as it’s been at times, is the kind of story that makes the rest of us move and chase down what we love. Thank you for sharing it.

  • boudoirdivasadmin says:

    A 2011 client! I love that Teresa. And I would love to photograph you again. Thanks for stopping by the blog and commenting!

Leave a Reply