Birthdays, Boudoirs, and Bonggamom
Figuring out what to get Alfie for his birthday is not an easy task. Clothes? He prefers to pick them out himself. Music? Same thing. Gift cards? Too boring. Electronics and other big-ticket items require a joint approval, and birthday celebrants in our family always get to pick a restaurant for dinner anyway. Unless there's something I know he really, really wants, I usually just end up giving him a card and a kiss.
I know, how boring. So this year I decided to give Alfie a birthday present that's far from boring -- a set of boudoir photos.
There's been a rise in the popularity of boudoir photos, pole dancing workout sessions, striptease classes and other everyday-woman-sexual-empowerment trends, and I've been following it with great interest. Popular bloggers like Yvonne Valtierra from Joy Unexpected), Kristen Chase from Motherhood Uncensored and Jennna Hatfield (Stop, Drop and Blog) have all written about their experiences in the boudoir studio, and they inspired me to do the same.
Despite rumors that may be circulating about how I like being the center of attention, posing in my undies, in front of a male photographer, no less, was not an easy task. But Jeffery was extremely professional. He showed me sample photos of women of all shapes and sizes, looking sexy, desirable, and all-out amazing. That gave me confidence. He played some Moby and kept a steady flow of instructions ("arch your back", "look this way", "move your arm a bit further to the back", "tilt your hips to the left", "chin down", etc...). That put me at ease. He made comments that were encouraging without being sleazy ("That looks great!" or "I've got so many great shots of you already!" versus "Ooh, yeah, you look hot"). That gave me confidence. He took photo after photo after photo for a whole hour, until my back hurt from all that arching, and before I knew it, it was over.
Two weeks after the session, my proofs arrived. They were great! Okay, some were hilarious. Some were awful. Some were okay, but in my opinion needed retouching:
I was hoping that Jeffery would be able to digitally slice out portions of my flesh, the way Redbook airbrushed Faith Hill in 2007:
Alas, my package only included the skin-smoothing type of retouching, so my flab had to stay -- but I must say, even minimal retouching makes a huge difference:
The photo on the left is the unretouched image; any beauty you perceive there is due to Jeff's talent for lighting, positioning, focus and depth, and my talent for sucking my gut in and arching my back. The photo on the right shows what happens to me after Jeffery has worked his Photoshop magic. Presto, I've got smooth, glowing skin -- and a set of photos that Alfie thinks are some of my best ever.
In retrospect, I probably would have splurged on hair and make-up, and I probably shouldn't have had that chocolate lava cake with ice cream the night before the shoot, but all in all, I was very happy with the results. I ended up with 30 low-resolution images and 3 high-resolution, retouched images, which was more than enough to print out a nice birthday card, make sure Alfie had a *very* happy birthday, and preserve some memories of a fun hour pretending to be a Victoria's Secret model.
Yes, the photos are for Alfie, to remind him what attracted him to me all those years ago, and to thank him for all those times when I saw him bite his lip and hold his tongue as he watched me stuff yet another bite of cream cake into my mouth. But in a sense they're also for me -- they're a reward to myself for committing to a healthier lifestyle, and a celebration of the results.
You're aware of the meaning behind my blog name, Finding Bonggamom? Well, that's what this is all about, finding the Bongga. And look, there it is:
Here are some other photos from the boudoir session, cropped by me to hide the, uh, naughty bits, in order maintain the (somewhat) family-friendly nature of this blog.
Disclaimer: I paid for this photo session myself, and was not solicited for a post.