photography

I Had To Write You A Letter Because Last Night You Weren't Listening // WV Boudoir. Photographer

Dear Mr. B,

It was nice to meet you last night, but there are some things you need to learn before we speak again. You behaved badly, and unfortunately for you, I am in the process of learning how to take up space. My taking up space leaves less room for you, and you seemed to take issue with that. My presence, unless it was silent, clearly made you uncomfortable. And instead of sitting quietly with that, you got louder. I am too amazing to allow you or anyone like you continue to react to me in this way.

I have a lot to say, Mr. B. Big things, important things. But my body is small. And my voice is high pitched. And if I raise my voice, I’m a bitch. If I raise my voice just to be heard, I’m pushy. I’m bossy. I can’t take a joke. I’m obnoxious. I’m “a lot.”

But you have no idea what you’re missing. I have thoughts. I have ideas. I have knowledge that would blow your goddamn mind. I have questions you’d love to be asked, and I have inspiring answers to the questions you’d never even think to ask me.

I’d love to tell you how you can improve your behavior, but you’re probably not listening. All I can say is the next time we meet, prepared to feel uncomfortable with my volume, my words, my existence. And this time, I won’t let you get away with it.

350 Sets Of Stories // WV Boudoir Photographer

I have made boudoir photos for over 350 people.

350 bodies.

350 souls.

350 histories.


As you can imagine, the boudoir experience is a very revealing one. Not just skin, of course. It's a brand new experience for most, and new experiences tend to strip us down to our most vulnerable bones. We are childlike in these moments, hearts open to the newness, minds slightly hesitant of it. 

With every client I book, I am taken aback by the trust my clients place in me from the very start. Before I have written or spoken a word to them, they reveal a little bit about why they want to do a session. Some of them haven't felt beautiful in years. Some are on a wellness journey. Others have stories of abuse, medical issues, bad relationships, suppressive childhoods, struggles with motherhood. 350 unique stories to tell. 

I worked hard to curate the booking process so that my clients can get to know me, and hopefully trust me very early on. I want them to feel welcome, safe, and eventually excited for the experience they're about to have. 9 times out of 10, during the first phone call I can hear the nervousness in their voices fall away. Their language goes from, "I'm nervous," to "I'm excited" in just around 20 minutes. It's really beautiful, and I am honored and flattered every time it happens. 

Every so often I will receive an additional text or email after that first phone call. Having established a relationship, my clients seem to feel urged to share more with me after we speak. This is when I hear the real reasons they want to do a session. 

It's never just about looking and feeling sexy. 

It's about finding yourself again.

It's about healing.

It's about reclaiming something that was taken from you.

It's about celebration.

It's about acceptance.

It's about reconnecting with a part of yourself you thought might be gone.

It's about feeling desired.

It's about a new perspective.

It's about believing you are enough, dare I say, as you are.

I will never take for granted the honor it is to be invited on these journeys. 

To those of you who have shared your story with me, thank you. You fill my heart with love and purpose when you do.


What is your story? What is behind your boudoir session? What would this experience mean to you?

 

Venti Nonfat Extra Ice Double Blended 3 Pump White Mocha, 5 Pump Mocha Frappuccino for Thought

I saw you at Starbucks the other day. You were still the same, but I'm different.

Last time you saw me, I was on the other side of the counter, obligated to satisfy your every outrageous desire. This time, I'm working FROM Starbucks, hustling for myself.

I'm happier. Are you?

Did it make you happy to order that obnoxious drink? Did it fill your soul with joy when you sent it back because it was darker in color than usual? How about when you walked in, pointed at me and announced to the entire café that I'm never "allowed" to make your drink?

Because you don't seem any happier now than you were then. I heard you order. I heard the way you spoke to the people behind the counter. And your eyes are darker. And the wrinkles around your downturned mouth are deeper.

So maybe it's not the drink.

Maybe it's you.

Maybe being demanding and rude to people behind the counter isn't the answer. Maybe it's not about them. Maybe it's about you taking responsibility for your own happiness. Maybe it's time to stop blaming everyone around you for your unhappiness. Maybe, instead of pointing your bitterness outward, you should look inward. Take stock. What's wrong? What's hurting you? What is it that makes you so unhappy that you feel entitled to punish strangers for your misery?

That's how I got here, out from behind the counter that gave people permission to be rude to me. I looked inside, and I reevaluated. I acknowledged that I'm the only person who can make me happier. So I did the work. Now I'm here, doing work I love. Work that promotes love and joy. 

Do the work, Venti Nonfat Extra Ice Double Blended 3 Pump White Mocha, 5 Pump Mocha Frappuccino. Find what's causing your sadness. Because it's probably not anybody behind a counter.

Jodi FINALLY Answers: What to Wear For Your Boudoir Session! // WV Boudoir Photography

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NOTHING! Just kidding. You should bring something to wear to your session for sure. 

OKAY COOL JODI BUT WHAT THE HECK DO I BRING?!?!?!

Relax! I'm here to help. I get that wardrobe is one of the most stressful parts of a session. That and hoping I'm not a creeper (I'm not.)

I have been shooting boudoir for five years now, and I have collected a list of stores and pieces that rock any body. 

Before you start shopping, ask yourself, "what makes me feel sexy? when do I feel sexiest? what clothes do I already have that make me feel like a goddess?" Use your answers as a jumping off point, and HAVE FUN!

As you look over this list, keep in mind that your boudoir session is WAY MORE about

YOU

YOUR BODY

YOUR SENSUALITY 

YOUR CONFIDENCE

YOUR JOURNEY

YOUR EXPERIENCES

YOUR RELATIONSHIP W. YOUR PARTNER

than it is about what you wear. If you only brought worn out Hanes and a tank top, we'd still make gorgeous photos together. 

But, if you're interested in stepping outside of your comfort zone and purchasing some fun new pieces for your session, here's my list of Go To places and pieces!


 

PLACES & PIECES

1. ASOS.COM         

I love ASOS for their wide range of sizes and prices. Free shipping and free returns are icing on the retail cake. Here you can find beautiful bodysuits like these:

You can also find  matching sets, silky cami/short sets, adorable pajamas we can layer over your matching bra & panty set, and cute t shirts we can put with no bra and pretty undies.

2. rue21       

Rue21 is your go-to spot for SUPER affordable bras and bralettes. They usually have matching undies, too. We're talking $5 lacy, strappy bralettes! They may not be of the highest quality, but this is a great place to come for new lingerie for your shoot without breaking the bank.

3. Gabes & TJ Maxx

Because you never know!

4. Amazon.com    

There are 3 pieces I highly recommend shopping for at Amazon for selection and price.

First, kimono style robes. SO MUCH SELECTION. If you can dream up a print, it's probably on amazon. Check it:

Amazon is also a fantastic spot for garter belt sets. Many of them come with underwear and tights, but you'll probably want to get those elsewhere, as fit is tricky on Amazon. Basic black undies and thigh high hose can be found at Target. 

The third thing Amazon is great for is retro styles for a vintage pin up look! 

5. Charlotte Russe  

One word: HEELS! CR is great for hella high, hella sexy CHEAP heels. Because let's be honest, you're probably not wearing those things again, so they might as well be inexpensive. 

6. Your Closet!

I know, you're like, "Jodi, wuuuuuuut are you talking about?" But bear with me! You already have tons of pieces that are SO FUN to use for your boudoir session. Cardigans & sweaters, t-shirts & jerseys, button ups, jeans, your favorite sneakers and more! Get creative, bring it all! Here's some inspiration for you:


A boudoir session is a gift to your self. Treat it that way by scheduling time right after you book your session to do a little perusing and inspiration-gathering. Check out Pinterest, my Facebook page, and my Instagram feed for tons of images that will help you figure out your boudoir style.

And HAVE FUN! I promise you that what ever you bring will be perfect. I'm looking forward to making gorgeous photos with you! 


Did this post get you feeling ready & excited to book your session?!

HECK YEAH! Email me!

My Favorite Podcasts! (Sex & Otherwise)

Hi, there! My name is Jodi, and I have writers' block. So here's a list of podcasts I love! 

1. Sex with Emily

Dr. Emily Morse is funny, sexy, and really great at conveying solid information in an entertaining, digestible way. It's an excellent podcast to listen to if you're looking to broaden your sexual horizons. I've learned about sex toys, how to start trying new things, and communication tips to get your partner on the same page. 

http://sexwithemily.com

2. Stuff You Should Know

Josh and Chuck (I have a crush on them both for different reasons) are freaking adorable together. They have such a delightful repartee that can make toilet paper interesting. You'll get several giggles and lots of knowledge from this 45 minute podcast.

https://www.stuffyoushouldknow.com

3. Modern Love

If you enjoy storytelling, this is a great one. It's short, moving, and never fails to get me thinking. Sometimes sad, sometimes hilarious, the essays always dive deep into the nooks and crannies of relationships--romantic, familial, platonic.

http://www.wbur.org/modernlove

4. Savage Lovecast

Dan Savage is known for speaking his mind, and the Lovecast is where he really lets loose. This sex and intimacy podcast covers a wide range of relationships in a question/answer format. The Lovecast also always begins with a mini political tirade from Dan, which I always enjoy and learn from. 

https://www.savagelovecast.com

5. Where Should We Begin?

I will never, EVER tire of singing the praises of Esther Perel. Her books center around the primary reasons for infidelity and how to navigate them. I was thrilled to hear of her series of podcasts in which she records an actual therapy session with a real life couple. Though you may not be experiencing their particular issue, Esther will definitely administer advice you'll find interesting and applicable to your life. 

https://www.estherperel.com/podcast

6. The Nod

I just started listening to The Nod, but I am really enjoying it so far. It talks about the stories of Black life that you don't hear anywhere else. It asks questions like "Who's Blacker, Oprah or Sojourner Truth?" "Is Bruno Mars Good for the Blacks?" and "Which Traditions Do We Keep?" I have learned so much about Black culture, history and traditions from this podcast. It's light but meaningful, sweet and funny. Hosts Brittany and Eric are perfect together as they get into some real shit.

https://www.gimletmedia.com/the-nod

7. Dear Sugars

Another Q&A podcast, Dear Sugars is more about relationships than sex, though it does tilt that way from time to time. Cheryl & Steve answer letters from people asking for advice about all kinds of relationships. Sugars has a calm, professional vibe, but also remains warm and entertaining. Each episode has a theme, but again, even if you can't relate with the theme, you'll find yourself with plenty of takeaways every time.

http://www.wbur.org/dearsugar

8. Death, Sex & Money

A WV girl's podcast! Anna Sale is just a really fucking good journalist. She asks such great questions revolving around, you guessed it, death, sex & money. Sometimes here guests are celebrities, sometimes they're people you've never heard of. Other episodes take on a more This American Life approach, tackling one issue through many different people. DSM can get you excited about something you're already passionate about as well as make you see things from a perspective you didn't think you could understand. An excellent road trip choice.

https://www.wnycstudios.org/shows/deathsexmoney

There you have it! What are your favorite podcasts? Do you think you'll give these a try? What are you looking for in a podcast? Let me know in the comments! 

I Did Wedding Dress Shopping Wrong

I did wedding dress shopping wrong.

Which is funny, because my maid of honor, bridesmaids and mother did it exactly right. My MOH planned and scheduled an amazing day of appointments, complete with time for a nice long lunch (and beer!). My bridesmaids brought healthy snacks and all the encouragement without any of the opinions you see on "Say Yes to the Dress." My mother was a quiet light of love and support the whole day.

But I definitely did it wrong.

I started to worry in the days leading up to dress shopping when I wasn't feeling as excited as I thought I'd be to put on the dresses. Don't get me wrong; I was over the moon about a weekend in the 'Burgh with most of my girls. But I wasn't, like, giddy about trying on dresses. 

So the day comes, we're having a blast, but when I was putting on dresses, none of them made me FEEL all the FEELS everyone tells you you're going to FEEL. I started to get a little frustrated/exhausted/worried and even cried at our last appointment because my head and my heart were just so tired. (Shout out to Glitter & Grit in Pittsburgh for sweetly allowing me to take a beat for some deep breaths and refreshing. Erin even suggested I put on the dress I tried on right after I cried one more time at the end to make sure the tears weren't blurring my dress vision.)

So we didn't get a dress. Because I liked everything and LOVED nothing. 

We all decided it would be best to take some time, maybe go shopping again later with a little less pomp and circumstance.

Well, here we are three weeks later, and I haven't so much as LOOKED at other shops I'd like to go to. Why wasn't I jumping on this? Why wasn't I excited and determined to find THE DRESS?

And then it hit me. 

I wasn't driven to find the dress for two reasons.

1. I'd already found it.

2. I just don't give as much of a shit about the dress as I thought I'd be. And THAT'S OKAY.

The more I thought about the dress I liked the most (we all affectionately refer to it as Air Dress), the clearer my reasons for liking it became.

I like Air Dress because it will be SO EASY to DANCE in!

I like it because it's sophisticated, a little funky AND whimsical--just like I like to think I am.

I like how our photos will look with Air Dress in them.

I like how effortless Air Dress is.

I like that I've already found it which means I can turn my time and energy toward our guests' experience. Which is what I've cared as much about as I thought I was supposed to care about the dress.

I am way more excited about seeing our family and friends enjoy rooftop cocktails and live jazz. I am so much more excited about the photo booth with our sidecar in it. I can't wait to see people's faces when they come in for hugs and congratulations. 

I'm most excited about OUR wedding, not MY wedding dress.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a dress to order. ;)

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Living The Dream: When Sarcasm Becomes Your Truth // WV Boudoir Photographer

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"What are you up to today?" 

I get asked this a lot. I think because the opportunity to be asked this presents itself more often when you make your own work schedule. When I'll be spending my day working, I usually respond with a downcast and sarcastic

"Ohh, living the dream,"

And say I'll be editing or sending emails. Because that's what we do, right? We shrug off the obligatory necessity that is our work because it isn't common to love your job let alone express it.

I'm lucky. Work for me means interacting with interesting, creative people. It means encouraging women to treat themselves to an empowering experience. It means creating a memorable, rich experience that makes these women look and feel beautiful for maybe the first time in years. It means making photos, making art.

I love my job so much I created a business from nothing to be able to do it. I work really fucking hard to keep that business alive. I fight with myself on the reg to convince myself I am good enough to keep doing it. I am tired and hungry a lot. I yearn for Netflix nights instead of Photoshop 2am's. And I love it. 

I love being able to design my day. I love being my own boss. I love the ability to shift my schedule around to be there for friends and family. I love staying at nice hotels. I love getting to know my clients. I love making them sparkle. I love just being able to say, "I MADE THAT!" when I look at my photos and my business. I'm so fucking lucky.

And yet, when people ask what I'm up to, I give them a humdrum, disingenuous

"Living the dream."

The caustic response I curated to fit into the norm of hating your job started to sink into my blood, and eventually it hit my brain. I was dreading editing instead of looking forward to seeing the end result. I delayed sending emails instead of thinking of fun questions to ask my new clients. I hadn't blogged in weeks, because nothing about my business felt worthy of sharing. 

My automatic sarcasm became my truth. 

HOW UNGRATEFUL COULD I POSSIBLY BE?!

How ungracious of me to NOT express my love and passion for what I CHOSE and CREATED a business to do? Neglecting to express my excitement for my job was a total "fuck you" to all of the people who've had a hand in this establishment, including past Jodi who worked her ass off to make it exist. Not to mention the fact that my negative response just wasn't genuine. 

This is a cautionary tale, my friends. Your words have power. Not just over other people; they have power over you, too. Small words you may think are insignificant can have a tremendous influence over your thoughts, perceptions and actions. 

There's good news, though. Positive words have just as much if not more power than negative ones. Pay attention to your words. Make sure they honestly reflect your feelings. Especially if those feelings are positive ones! 

So the next time someone asks you, "what are you up to today," or "how's it going?" take a beat and consider your actual feelings before you give a meaningless stock answer. And who knows, you might get some good, hearty real talk back! How cool would it be to do away with small talk and have more big talk? 

But that's for another post...

Be Beautiful to Yourself,

Jodi

How I Know You'll Never Be Ready For Your Boudoir Session or Anything Else for That Matter

 

 

My mother says that if you wait until you’re ready to have children, you’ll never have children.

 

It seems like we’re always waiting to be ready for something. To date, to get married, to go on that cruise, to buy a house, to try that Japanese-Nordic fusion restaurant. To, oh, I don’t know, book a boudoir session.

 

While some of the things we’re waiting to be “ready” for require a significant amount of time, planning, and financial security, many of them only require us to rise above the dangerous mind game we’re playing with ourselves.

 

I want to clarify that getting ready and waiting to BE ready for something are two very different headspaces. Getting ready implies a certain amount of measurable preparation. You have a goal and a ToDo list, and off you go.

 

Waiting to be ready for something, though. That’s treacherous waters you’re sailing. And that’s exactly what we end up doing. Sailing along, and before you know it, it’s five years later and you’ve done absolutely nothing to realize your dream of taking dance lessons.

 

I chose the name, “As You Are” because I believe we are beautiful now. Not three years ago, not after you lose those five pounds, not before you have a baby, not before your hair turned gray, but NOW.  You are more beautiful now than you have ever been or will ever be. Because you can CHOOSE to say to yourself RIGHT NOW, “I love you. You are amazing. You are sexy and desirable just as you are.”

 

Do it.

 

No, really. Walk over to a mirror, look into your own tired, sparkling eyes and say,

 

“I love you. You are amazing. You are sexy and desirable just as you are.”

 

I’ll give you a minute…

 

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I’ve lost more than one client to the inner warfare of waiting to be ready. And that’s okay, but they’re missing the point. You see, boudoir sessions aren’t about what you look like.  They’re about how you feel. They’re about making you feel hot, beautiful, sexy, desired. They’re about connecting with a part of ourselves we don’t acknowledge enough. They’re about reconnecting with our partner. They’re about believing that we are worthy of sexual and personal attention. Because we are.

 

What ever it is you’re waiting to be ready for, even if it isn’t a boudoir session, I encourage you to stop waiting and just take ONE step toward it. Want to learn a new skill? Watch a YouTube video. Want to travel to a different country? Get your passport. Want to spice up your sex life? Order that blindfold on Amazon. Want to ask that cutie out on a date? Well, just do it.

 

What are you waiting to be ready for? What are you going to do next?