There are things in your life that are within your comfort zone and then there are all the other things. You could almost imagine this as a box within a box, within a box, etc. There are the mundane everyday life things that would be in the most inner box and then everything else radiates out from there. Maybe in my second layer box I would have public speaking, but public speaking for you would be 7 box layers out. Every time you go outside of your inner box, you grow a little. It is important to understand that not everything in life is comfortable or easy but when you go ahead with it and give it your all, you will definitely grow from the experience. In these last few years I have experienced so many life changes including, “Empty Nest,” syndrome and the inevitable marriage difficulties that come with it. I decided that it was important for me to grow as an individual in order to be successful in other areas of my life as well. This is why I will always without fail, say, “Change, no matter what, is always good.” Change causes growth because it is forcing you outside of that inner box.
I enjoy taking classes on anything new. I truly do love to learn. I am not very concentrated in my educational efforts and take on way too many new projects, but I still love the whole process. I have taken photography, oil painting, pottery, glass blowing, a mixed media art class, and am getting ready to start my archery class soon. These are all within the last year. Yes I have ADHD and can’t stick with one thing to save my life. But, I love it!
I have been really striving to try different, new things for the last few years. I went on a trip by myself all through the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Well I didn’t go exactly alone. I had my 6 pound dog, Brutus with me. We took off without a particular destination in mind and had an incredible adventure. It still surprises me that I did it but, I had a blast and want to do another one this summer.
I also went with a girlfriend and climbed a 14,000 foot mountain in Yosemite National Park. I love adventure!
This all brings me to my latest, outside of my comfort zone, growing, activity…I decided to do a Boudoir Photo Session. I know the majority of women at my age (49), or any age for that matter, are sadly, not all that comfortable with their bodies. This includes me. I was a nervous wreck! I did some research, looked at photo samples, and checked out all of the area photographers. There was not one major defining reason for my choice. It just felt right. We have some amazing photographers in the area so the choices were endless. I went with Jennifer Mott Photography. I was drawn to her tasteful, classy style and I’m not going to lie, the fact that she is a woman. www.jennifermott.com
For anyone who doesn’t know, a Boudoir Photo is a picture that is taken in a bedroom setting, and has a romantic, sexy feel to it. My kids all just died if they are reading this… It can be as innocent as a picture in your long sleeve, floor length nightgown or as racy as… well you can imagine. In my mind, it’s more suggestive than explicit. For my purposes, I revealed nothing more than I would feel comfortable revealing on a public beach or waterpark. Anyone who knows me, knows that I wear pretty conservative swim wear.
I honestly didn’t even know if I would ever show anyone. I really did this for me. I know my plan at the beginning was that it would be a Valentine’s Day gift for my husband but, to be perfectly honest, I had no idea if I would even order a single print.
My little adventure began with scheduling the session. I then started trolling the internet for my Boudoir session apparel. I found a website, with extremely reasonable pricing, incredible quality, and fast delivery. I ordered a few evening wear items, shoes that I cannot stand up in, and some very interesting nylons. www.lovelywholesale.com The time came for my session. The plan was to have some liquid courage before I went, but I had to drive there straight from work so that was not an option. I showed up frazzled, rambling, and nervous. Her studio is actually a historic home in Downtown Perrysburg. Each room is set up with a different type of session in mind. She does every genre of photography from babies to weddings to…Boudoir. She took me upstairs to one of the studio bedrooms and we discussed our game plan. She left the room so that I could change into my first of many outfits. We started with conservative and moved through to not so conservative. I drove the pace and the mood. I was never asked to do anything that made me uncomfortable and she was purely magical with putting me at ease. You get swept up in the moment and I actually had so much fun! It was liberating and is a great self-esteem booster. One thing you have to understand, photographers are masterful at having you stand, sit, or lay in a position that optimizes every one of your finer qualities, while disguising some of your lesser.
I did forget to mention one little hiccup. Remember the shoes that I mentioned earlier? Well, picture this: Me walking (please picture me skinny) across the bedroom in my very seductive costume, wearing 24 inch heels (approximately). OK, first of all, the term walking is over exaggerating. I was grasping at furniture while my ankles were wobbling to and fro. I hobbled across the room for a costume change while Jennifer waited in the hallway. Well of course my ankles buckled and I’m shocked I didn’t fracture something but, I did barely miss piercing my thigh with one of the 24 inch heels. I can’t imagine the horror of riding in an ambulance with the heel of my shoe impaled into the back of my thigh, while dressed in questionable attire. Needless to say, I crawled across the room to the chair and didn’t attempt walking again.
Now, all that I had to do was wait for the final product. She sent me the proofs online and I chose the shots that I wanted to have placed into a photo book. There were many options available for printing but somehow a life-size portrait of me scantily attired above the mantel just didn’t seem to be a good idea. When I first looked at the proofs I went through a series of reactions. First off, in my head during the session I looked like a supermodel because that’s how she made me feel. So my first hurdle was to face reality. I was a little freaked out. I’m not going to lie. But, you have to understand, I avoid full length mirrors unless I am fully dressed. I closed the site down and felt a little disappointed. I opened it up the next day and thought, “Wow! I can see a tiny glimpse of a supermodel in there somewhere.” I actually grew to feel comfortable with them and I’m not ashamed to admit, I believe that I look pretty good in them. I did end up showing them to my husband and I think he is still trying to process what I actually did. This is very far outside of my inner box. This could possibly have been box layer 15. The two photos that I included are definitely not a complete product. I honestly have no problem showing the pictures to anyone who would ask because they truly are so tastefully done, but I didn’t want my children to have to suffer any more damage than they already have. These are not professionally cropped either. I just cropped them down for a quick sample.
To put your minds at ease, I did a quick interview with Jennifer to ask the most pressing questions that I had prior to my experience.
ROAG (Ramblings of a Grandma): What do you do to put a nervous woman at ease?
JM: (Jennifer Mott): Every woman is different, but most of the time just talking helps!
ROAG: Do you have any interesting or amusing stories that you would feel
JM: I’ve had some really interesting inquiries since I started offering
boudoir sessions, including an escort who wanted pictures for her
agency’s website and a college student who needed full frontal (male)
pictures to submit to Playgirl.
ROAG: Have you ever or would you consider doing a couple’s boudoir shoot?
JM: I’ve seen these kind of images done beautifully, but I haven’t done a
couple’s session yet. I turned down a few requests just based on
instinct from the questions that were asked…I think I would be most
comfortable with a couple I already know, maybe a past wedding couple
because these images are so intimate.
ROAG: How do you determine the pace or the limits for each individual situation?
JM: Most sessions last about an hour or an hour and a half and result in a
good variety of images to choose from. The number of outfits or ideas
that the girls want to fit in gives me an idea of how much time I
should spend before we change things up.
ROAG: What would you do to put a woman at ease who is not completely
comfortable with her body?
JM: I’ve learned almost every woman has some areas of their body they
aren’t comfortable with. It usually comes up as we talk and I try to
make sure they know they look beautiful. Posing and posture makes a
huge difference! I love these sessions because they show women how
gorgeous they are!
ROAG: Anything else you would like to share in regards to a woman trying to
decide whether this is right for her?
JM: It’s fun, will boost your confidence, and your partner will love it!
I believe that this is something that every woman should experience. If you’re like me, the last pictures that were taken solely of you, were your senior pictures in high school. Of course we have the family portraits and wedding pictures and all of that but, this is a photography session that is just focused solely on making you look amazing. We all need to feel like a supermodel sometimes. Every woman needs to experience how empowering it is to embrace your feminine, sexy side. Now just imagine the looks on my great grandchildren’s faces when they stumble across this book!
Check Jennifer out and let her know Ramblings of a Grandma sent you!