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A Fun Experience

The last person of the three from the marathon shoot in Philly was Alyson. Alyson is not my typical client in that she is a performer, an actress. This is a woman who bares her soul to an audience on a regular basis. Acting in front of a crowd is not foreign to her, but that doesn’t mean baring herself to a camera is easy. It’s just different, and it can be somewhat intimidating. 

Although she is comfortable in situations that make many of us cringe in fear, Alyson was still not as comfortable in front of the camera as she is on stage. On stage she can put on a mask or a persona that is not Alyson but is one of her characters. The craziness of backstage isn’t the same as the madness of a photoshoot and it is my goal to make sure that my clients never feel the madness, even if they may be used to it. My goal is to make the experience exciting and relaxing at the same time. 

Alyson took to the shoot and being a model for a day very well. She got alone with the others like they were old friends. It seemed like she was having fun from the moment she arrived. Even so, getting in front of a camera can be different that getting in front of a crowd. 

“I had such a great time at my Boudoir Philly photo shoot! Everyone on the team made me feel at ease & beautiful- pampered like I was at a private salon. The whole day was like I was hanging out with my girlfriends. I felt celebrated like I’d done something amazing and this was my reward. Michael Albany made me totally comfortable in front of the camera. He created a space where I felt safe and encouraged to let my inner beauty shine through. I now have not only some wonderfully beautiful images (including my FAVORITE picture of myself), but also a memory of an open, welcoming & fun experience. I want to do it again!“ ~Alyson

I am grateful that I got to shoot with alyson that day. She is a great person with an energy that brings that something extra to any situation. Alyson did this even though she hadn’t met Cheryl or Amber before that day and she barely knew me. I always want my clients to feel safe and relax. After all it is about having fun and enjoying yourself. 

In her statement above Alyson she felt celebrated like she did something amazing, she did do something amazing. She was herself.

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Change The Way You See Yourself

The thing I hear most often from people when I tell them what I do is, “I could never do that. I’m not pretty/handsome/thin enough!” My usual reply is a strong yet kind, “Bull! Doing a boudoir session will change the way to see yourself. If you don’t believe me, believe my clients.” You can ask any of my clients, but in this post lets take a look at Cheryl. 

Cheryl is a mother of a full grown, independent daughter. She has been through a couple of not so perfect marriages, and until very recently was living on her own in an apartment in Brooklyn NY. To be fully open and honest, I met Cheryl back in the ’90s but we lost touch over the years and our paths crossed again just a few years ago. I was actually shooting an musical event in NJ and when I was doing a portrait of one of the bands I asked this woman to hold and aim a light for me. I was busy but I noticed she looked familiar. After I got my shot I spoke to her for a moment and she said I looked familiar too. I told her to imagine me with hair and that is when we realized who each of us was!

Enough of that reminiscing stuff… Fast forward…

I put a note out on Facebook last spring that I was looking to shoot more boudoir and Cheryl said she was interested in doing a shoot, as did a good friend of hers,  and another acquaintance of mine from Philadelphia. After a bit of back and forth it was decided that we would do a marathon shoot at a local high end hotel. I set the date, booked the hotel and made sure one of my makeup artists would be there and we were all was set!

Cheryl mentioned to me at one point that she wasn’t sure about doing the shoot but because we were such old friends she trusted me and knew I wouldn’t let her look anything but good. Well, may I say, she looked great! We had a great day. The ladies had wine, they had their hair and makeup done, and we all just had a great time. At the end of the day I asked the women if they wouldn’t mind writing up a brief testimonial about the shoot. This is what Cheryl had to say.

“As a person that has never had the most positive body image, I was naturally skeptical that I would be able to take part in a photo shoot of this nature. However, as a lover of all things “pin-up”, I allowed my curiosity to outweigh my nervousness. The result? FAR AND AWAY THE BEST THING I COULD HAVE EVER DONE FOR MY SELF IMAGE!! The entire process of transformation, from hair and make-up to wardrobe to the photo shoot was amazing. Michael is a consummate professional who has the ability to relax and put his subjects at ease from the very beginning. It was so much fun to spend time in front of his lens. The final photographs are something I will treasure forever. It really changed the way I see myself.“ ~Cheryl

I was not only happy about how much Cheryl enjoyed herself and her images, I was proud to help her feel so good about herself. Take a look an let Cheryl and I know what you think.

If you enjoyed this story, come back and read about the other ladies from this shoot and more, coming soon!

Why I shoot Boudoir

When talking to people about what I do for a living people will say, “You have a great job! You get to work with beautiful women all the time.” Yes, I do have a fantastic job, and yes I work with beautiful women, but not in the way most people think.  The women I work with are your average people that anyone else works with at the office, at the store or anywhere. Each and every one is beautiful, I just get to help them show it off. 

I have yet to meet anyone that is unattractive. Sure many people don’t match the commercial version of beauty but we don’t live on TV or in a magazine. As much as is feels like it sometimes, life is not a daytime soap opera, nor is it Downton Abby. Reality shows aren’t all that real either, we are somewhere closer to true reality. That means that we have flaws and these flaws can make us even more attractive. My job is to show the attractive flaws and minimize the not so attractive ones. When my team and I do this we empower our clients. We don’t give confidence, but we do build upon it; our job is to make it shine!

Boudoir photography is not about sex, it’s not about fashion, or even beauty. Boudoir is about empowerment, confidence, and personal strength. In order for these things to come out you have to allow yourself to become a little bit vulnerable; you have to risk feeling silly to look beautiful. Lets face it, a great boudoir image pose can put you in a position that your rarely, if ever, find yourself in at home! The rewards for that small risk? In my client Cheryl’s words, “I allowed my curiosity to outweigh my nervousness. The result? Far and away the best thing I could have ever done for my self image!!”

Men as well as women can get similar benefits. In fact it has been my experience that men are even more reluctant to take the risk of showing that side of themselves. Those that do find that they not only enjoy the experience but they get even more out of it than empowerment. For men the benefits can include confidence, self assurance, and much, much more. They can even brag to their friends at how brave they were to be the one among them to do the nontraditional!

If my clients can feel all of this, grow within themselves, and generally be the the beautiful person they are, how can I know enjoy the work I do? I love to make people feel better about their day, and about themselves. So if this is the result of my work, I do indeed have the best job in the world!