Written by: Clare Breheny
When someone asks me what I do for a living and I tell them I’m a boudoir photographer, the usual response is, ‘Oh, women getting pictures for their husbands,’ or ‘Oh, like a bride giving it as a gift on a wedding day’.
Every time I shake my head, and explain that’s it’s WAY more than that… but how do you say modestly that the time you spend with them might actually change how they live their lives?
Whilst working with a bride embarking on her wedding day is very rewarding, some of my favourite clients have come to me for very different reasons. I have had clients seeking a post-divorce confidence boost, or photographs before undergoing a mastectomy. One lady came after battling anorexia and successfully gaining weight.
Others have come after having children, as they are more acutely aware that our bodies change over the years and they want to capture it ‘before it’s too late’.
Some of these women are going through a really challenging time. Others just don’t have much time in their busy lives to pamper themselves. It’s so rewarding to give them a great experience and time out from the stresses of day-to -day life.
We find it difficult to take a step back and appreciate what we have and who we are. Boudoir helps a woman celebrate herself, and see herself through someone else’s eyes. I always like to think of my clients looking back at their photos when they are 90, and having a wee smile about their beautiful youth!
I asked a few of my clients to write a few words about their experience, and I think they explain how life-changing boudoir photography can be…
Rebecca: “My boudoir shoot last December was one of the best experiences I have ever had. After a very tough time and a heavy depression, my self-esteem was more than down and I had serious troubles seeing myself as an attractive woman. During one of my therapy sessions, I told my therapist about my friend who had had a boudoir shoot with Clare (her pictures were mind blowing) and that I was thinking about doing it too, to help boost my self-esteem a little bit. My therapist strongly recommended it, so I decided to book with Clare.
“The shooting was so much fun, Clare clearly knows what she is doing. She is so encouraging, warm-hearted and – with no doubt - an excellent photographer. The result for me was overwhelming. I cried and grabbed Clare's hand in the viewing! Seeing myself through Clare’s eyes has definitely helped mend my doubts.”
Liz: “I had long wanted to have a boudoir photo shoot but just hadn’t managed to schedule a session. A breast cancer diagnosis and imminent surgery prompted me into action. My reconstruction surgery was not only going to involve my affected breast but would result in scarring and changes to other areas of my body. It was so important for me to capture images of my body, including fine art nudes, before these major changes.
“I liked the style and finesse of Clare’s boudoir photography, and contacted her on short notice. Clare was equally passionate as I was about this photo shoot and adjusted her schedule to fit me in. Given my circumstances, I had concerns that the session would be too emotional for me. Both Clare and Alexandra (the make up artist) were genuinely caring and compassionate and put me completely at ease. They were totally committed to making the photo shoot a memorable experience for me, and I absolutely enjoyed every minute! The session was a beautiful celebration of me – all of me, not just my body – and gave me an indescribable boost going into a major life event. Now I can’t wait to schedule another boudoir session to capture the new beauty of my body and the new me!”
Jennifer: “I was introduced to Clare’s Boudoir by one of my best friends who had a shoot with her. My best friend is gorgeous and about size 6. I wanted to do it but I was nervous and quite insecure because I am a size 18, not a size 6! I emailed Clare and introduced myself, and told her I would love to do this but I don’t look like my best friend. The encouragement and support I got was amazing.
“The whole day was amazing. Of course nerves took over but the Prosecco helps with that! Everything about the day was just magical. Alexandra was amazing with the make-up. I wanted a natural look and it was stunning. In the shoot, Clare was so reassuring and supportive. I knew I just had to go with it and trust her, but it took me a bit to relax.
“On the night of the viewing I was excited and the nerves kicked in again. I was so looking forward to seeing the final outcome. Would I look ok? Then I saw them. They were the most beautiful photos I had ever seen and in my head a voice kept saying…wow that’s really me! Every photo showed a different part of me and my personality. I was overwhelmed. Every photo is “me” and every photo is beautiful and sexy. I now acknowledge proudly I am a size 18 and I am sexy! No more nerves and my insecurities have diminished quite considerably.
“This has been a journey of self-discovery and I will forever be grateful to Clare for being part of it. I wish every woman did this to see how truly beautiful they are, no matter what body size or shape they have.”
I can’t change most of the things happening in my clients’ lives, but if my work can leave a small, positive trace in someone’s life then I feel blessed to have done that.