Boudoir Session Surprises

When you officially book a boudoir appointment, you expect certain things. Or maybe not. Maybe your expectations aren't that high. Maybe you cross your fingers, toes and elbows *hoping* that one or two images will be passable enough that you won't want to claw your eyes out when you view them. I get it. 100%. Your doubt, your fear, your hesitation. But here's the thing, a boudoir session has a few completely surprising benefits.

 Atlanta Boudoir Photography | www.meaganophotography.com


1) The shoot itself is a HUGE ego boost.

I know that sounds crazy. I mean, how can stripping down, nearly naked, summon your inner Beyonce instead of your inner Eeyore? Well, I can only attest to this via my research *pushes up glasses*. I've shot over 500 women and 90% say they thought the shoot would be HORRIBLE. That they thought they'd have to endure the session itself. I've had women break into hives upon arrival because they were so nervous. But then they get into hair and makeup, relax, and start bobbing their heads to the music-a mix of contemporary pop and 80s hits. (BTW my sisters keep an awesome mix rotating on Spotify. If it were left up to me, I listen to true crime podcasts errrrday and that'd just be flat out terrifying to have playing in the background.) We start to chat and connect and they realize I'm just a massive nerd who spits compliments like I'm an affectionate rapper, is a *bit* too enthusiastic (hopefully adds to my charm) and that I'm 1000% accepting of them wherever they are in life. I never stop talking-explaining how to pose and jumping up and down as they nail it! Especially because I show them a few sneak peeks of what we just captured in the back of the camera. That way they can SEE how gorgeous they are-and that it's not some photoshop voodoo!!! You'll walk in wishing you could head home, but the hours will FLY by and you'll be sad when we're done.

 Atlanta Boudoir Photography | www.meaganophotography.com


2) You'll be SORE.

A few months ago my husband, Matt, and I went to Nottely Lake with his family. A few hours in, our sweet neice Blair got a tummy ache and Matt and I offered to take the jet ski back to the cars to get her some medicine. Nottely is a big lake, but we should've been able to get there and back within 20-25 mins. We jetted off, as fast as we could go (me feeling very much like Angelina in Tomb Raider) before we realized that Nottely is also a very fingery lake. We got completely lost. Completely. We were full speed on a jet ski searching for over an hour. What started as a James Bond trailer dream, ended with us finally (accidentally) running back into his parents (never made it to the car) and decrepitly climbing back into the pontoon. Standing up alone took 20 seconds. For days after we were sore. A weird sore that doesn't come from normal movement and doesn't matter how in shape you are. Yeah, you may do Orangetheory 5x/week. Yeah, you may do ironman races. Doesn't matter. For 80% of my clients, this is like golfing. Or bowling. Or jet-skiing. Can't explain why you're sore, you just are. (Except for the 20% of clients who aren't sore at all-y'all are unicorns!)

 Atlanta Boudoir Photography | www.meaganophotography.com


3) It could change your life. But seriously.

No, I'm serious. Ok, obviously not all of my client's lives change after their boudoir session. But some do. What has been proven time and time again is that women are 100% tied to how they FEEL about themselves. In other words, if you feel intimidated, you may not speak up. Or if you feel weak, you may not exercise strength. We've all had this happen in some way in our lives. We look at an obstacle and think it's insurmountable, but we try anyway and sometimes it turns out to be easier than we thought. Which means we're more primed and ready to accept the next challenge. Sometimes seeing yourself in a different light makes all the difference. After their session, I've had clients go for partner, when they didn't think they could before. Or leave an abusive relationship. Or reach out to a child they haven't spoken to in years. Or pursue a relationship they think is beyond them.

 Atlanta Boudoir Photography | www.meaganophotography.com


Don't take it from me, see what your's will be! (Wow-and that rhymed! I really am a rapper!)

Coming to CA, TX & OK!!!

Hey youz guyyyysssss!!!! Or at least anyone who’s wanted to do a boudoir session for a wedding/anniversary/your birthday/his birthday/a Tuesday…(For any skeptics out there, I'm not terrible at spelling & grammar-that's just a reference to The Goonies. And if you don't know The Goonies, it's a movie that was part of my childhood you should 100% check out!)

 Atlanta Boudoir Photography | www.meaganophotography.com

MEAGAN O PHOTOGRAPHY IS HEADED TO YOUR CITY TO OFFER BOUDOIR SESSIONS!!!!

Here are the date breakdowns:

Napa Valley, CA - Friday, August 23rd

Dallas, TX - Sunday, September 23rd

Oklahoma City - Monday, September 24th

Hmmm...I kinda like seeing all the dates breakdown like that...makes me feel like I'm a rockstar on tour! *Spoiler alert* I’m definitely not. I’m just a nerd with a camera, lol!

 Atlanta Boudoir Photography | www.meaganophotography.com


If you've never considered this before, lemme break it down for ya (that was me...talking like rockstar). How my boudoir sessions work is you arrive for your session and we'll go through the gorgeous lingerie you bring. You'll spend 1-1 1/2 hours in hair & makeup and then we'll spend 1 1/2-2 hours shooting you in up to 4 outfits. Then we'll schedule an online reveal of your images (you'll see around 50 edited images) and during our online consultation, we can figure out which ones are best for your digitals/canvases/albums/etc. There is a 2-4 week turnaround time from when I order any printed material to when it arrives-depending on what is ordered. Digital images will be available the day of your reveal.

 Atlanta Boudoir Photography | www.meaganophotography.com


The sitting fee is $400 and that includes hair, makeup and the photo session. This serves as a non-refundable retainer and is due within 24 hours from the time you book your appointment. At your reveal, you purchase whatever images you want in whatever format you'd like. Packages start at $800. Email/message me for a complete price list.

 Atlanta Boudoir Photography | www.meaganophotography.com


My goal with every session is to cater to the individual client's needs. I get it. Boudoir seems weird, overwhelming and frankly a little scary. But I promise it'll be WAY easier than you think!  I do NOT expect you to "model" for me-I will be coaching you every step of the way with concrete instructions like "breathe in deeply" or "chin down". Not any instruction that starts with "be". AKA no "be sexy", "be intense", "be passionate"...etc. There are only a few slots left, so email meagan@meaganophotography.com if you want to snag one! Can’t WAIT to meet y’all!!!

The Other Side of Fear

No one likes to be scared. That feeling of cold sweat on your palms, your heart doing that weird pitter-patter-stutter thing. I remember bungie jumping at an amusement park for the first time when I was in high school and, though I'm not terrified of heights, something about looking over a ledge and having to actually choose to make that jump was horrifying. It felt like every cell in my body went into self-preservation overdrive. So much so, that in the theme park there was a go-cart track next to us and people *literally* got out of their cars and started chanting "JUMP! JUMP! JUMP!", which I tried to see as sweetly encouraging until it changed to "PUSH HER! PUSH HER! PUSH HER!" The thing is, the second I finally jumped off the platform, I was having the time of my life.

 Atlanta Boudoir Photography | www.meaganophotography.com

There are loads of time fear almost made me miss out on something truly great. Getting denied entry to the University of Georgia and my mom forcing me to appeal their decision felt like giving them the opportunity to reject me a second time. Opening my own photography studio involved a lot of moments sitting on my shower floor crying because I was terrified I'd fail. Going on a date with a chef to a fancy restaurant where I was scared I'd use the wrong fork or embarrass myself. My first time traveling solo to Japan and wondering if I should just stay in the hotel because I was afraid of the unknown.

 Atlanta Boudoir Photography | www.meaganophotography.com

Fear is the ever-present bridge that I cross to get to the very BEST things in my life. (Read that again.) After appealing, I got into UGA and had an incredible college experience. My photography business took off and I get to genuinely love what I do for a living. I ended up marrying that chef. And traveling solo has allowed me to meet incredible people, engage in rich adventures and add an international side to my business.

 Atlanta Boudoir Photography | www.meaganophotography.com

What would've happened if I'd stood at that bridge of fear and instead of crossing it, just gone home? Never appealed, opened my studio, gone on the date, left the hotel. I don't think my life would be horrible, but it would certainly be different. Less vivid. More predictable. More like existing, rather than thriving.

 Atlanta Boudoir Photography | www.meaganophotography.com

I know for my clients, as their boudoir session approaches, they can get scared. I start to get emails about pushing back their shoot date. Or, on some occasions, she just forgoes the $400 sitting fee and ghosts. I get it. I do. Fear is a tangible, real, not-fun feeling. But I KNOW that if she can gather the courage to just walk through my door, what she'll find won't be further proof of every insecurity she's ever thought about herself. It will be that she's beautiful. Brave. Strong. Valued. Worthy to be celebrated just as she is.

 Atlanta Boudoir Photography | www.meaganophotography.com


The beautiful thing about crossing the fear bridge is that the more you do it, the easier it gets to do it the next time. And eventually feeling that fluttery trepidation will transform from a sign you should turn around and go home into a sign of how great what's other side is.

5 Ways to Enhance Your Wedding Day

It is wedding season!!!! LOVE weddings!!! (drinks all around *Jack Sparrow voice*!) My sister just got engaged so I've gotten to re-enter the wedding world in a more personal way lately. I also loooovvveeee shooting bridal boudoir. Bring me all the veils/garters/wedding shoes/etc! It is SUCH a fun way to boost your confidence before the big day (and, let's be honest, the groom is never disappointed with his the final product, lol!) All that said, I've compiled a list of the tips that were given to me before my wedding day that I've been passing along to all of my bridal boudoir clients lately. Here are the top five wedding day tips that people told me (never saw any of these in a magazine/online) that I truly feel enhanced my wedding day.

 Atlanta Boudoir Photography | www.meaganophotography.com

1) Figure out who you want to dance with outside of the scheduled dances. A lot of brides have a line item on the schedule for their dance with their new hubby/mom/dad, but spend some time considering if there's anyone else you really want to dance with. The reception is such a whirlwind, it's easy to forget and not realize until later. Plus, many people are wary to walk up to you and ask because you’ll be surrounded by everyone else. For me, it was my brother and my grandpa. I'd say this specifically goes for grandparents as they sometimes cut and run once the cake is cut.

 Atlanta Boudoir Photography | www.meaganophotography.com


2) Buy a small candle to take with you on your honeymoon. I know this seems SO random, but memory is most deeply tied to our sense of smell. Light the candle anytime you're in the hotel room and when you get home put the candle away for a year. Then light it on your one year anniversary. The smell will bring you straight back to your honeymoon! 

 Atlanta Boudoir Photography | www.meaganophotography.com


3) Write down your entire wedding day start to finish as soon as you get a free moment. I know this also seems odd, but again so much happens that day that it's super easy to forget small moments. I did this as a journal entry on our plane ride to Mexico and read it a few years later and I am SO glad I wrote down everything. For example, I remembered that all my bridesmaids spent the night at my condo the night before my wedding, but I completely forgot that at 4:00am my matron of honor (who was 8 months preggo at the time) began moaning in her sleep. My other bestie and I bolted out of bed and stood over her for like 15 mins (creepy, right!?) wondering if we were going to end up taking her to the hospital to have a baby! (We didn't, but her baby boy came on the 3rd day of my honeymoon!) I'd completely forgotten that happened until I read it in my journal! So don't rush, take your time and just jot down as many little details as you can. It'd also be fun for your partner to do it too so you can read about the day through his eyes!

 Atlanta Boudoir Photography | www.meaganophotography.com


4) Date your fiancé during the final month leading up to the wedding. This one comes into play before you actually get married. Go on dates with your fiancé where there is NO WEDDING TALK ALLOWED in the weeks leading up to the wedding. It doesn't mean you can't have other time where you do finalize wedding stuff, but carve out time to enjoy being together as you head toward the alter.  It doesn't have to be fancy or expensive-take some Publix subs to a park (because they're the best and made with love so, ya know, on theme) or grab a cup of coffee or go on a walk together. No matter how laid back you are as people, weddings kind of become a monster on their own and before you know it, it's all you talk about. Be intentional about connecting to one another in those final few weeks before the wedding. It will 100% enhance the season for you.

 Atlanta Boudoir Photography | www.meaganophotography.com


5) Decide ahead of time how you will gift him your boudoir photos AND who's in charge of them afterwards. My clients have done some really incredibly things with their photos. One client did a scavenger hunt to the album the night of the rehearsal dinner before they went to stay in separate places (talk about building suspense!) Another client had it wrapped and took it with them on their honeymoon so he could open it their first night there. Another client sent hers digitally through automatic emails that were sent to him every day of their wedding month. Another wrapped the album and handed it to him at their first look so the photographer could capture his face. If you plan on giving it to him ON the actual wedding day, assign a friend to be the "book handler". Make sure it’s a responsible friend because it's his/her job to get the book and keep it safe for the wedding day/until you get back from your honeymoon. Most bridesmaid/groomsmen stuff ends up in an unattended room as people go in and out. You don't want his dad getting bored and randomly picking up something to read while he waits...SO if you plan on gifting a tangible print/book of the photos, assign it a guard! 

Happy wedding planning!







The Secret Formula to Sexy

It's funny. Growing up, I never liked science or math all that much. I was ok enough at it, but I just didn't enjoy it the way I enjoyed history and literature. I loved words more than facts or numbers. But the older I get, the more I find myself enjoying a numerical view of the world. Breaking life down into formulas to reach my goals. It's no surprise that I do that with my business as well-I’ve always been a self-professed nerd after all!

 Atlanta Boudoir Photography | www.meaganophotography.com

Ever since I opened my studio, I have continued to hone my posing and direction so that it's as straight-forward as possible. Tweaking the way I direct my clients to move their bodies so that any woman is able to do what I'm asking. Keeping boudoir as approachable as possible. 

Now for the secret formula...

Vulnerability + Comfortable = Confidence = Sexy

 Atlanta Boudoir Photography | www.meaganophotography.com

Let me break that down a bit. Ultimately, my clients come to me because they want to see images of them looking "sexy". Buuuuuttttt I'm not after taking a picture of you looking "sexy"-if I were, that would be WAY too subjective. And I feel like we'd end up with a lot more duck-lips in my images (BLEH!). 

 Atlanta Boudoir Photography | www.meaganophotography.com


Women are already sexy-that's not something I have to create. But I do need to translate it so that it's readable in an image. The reason a woman looks sexy in an image is 100% because she looks confident. I can prove it-go flip through any magazine and look for the weirdest pose. You know the ones where the girl's legs are bent in unnatural angles or they have their hands on their hips, but elbows pointing as much as possible towards the ground as if they are willing wings to spring from their backs. 


The only reason they look sexy is because they look confident. That's all. That's also why if you get someone in that same position, but their face is also looking like they're asking us, "does this look good...???" it straight up won't. It'll look awkward. What I do is pose you to look confident because then-no matter what the pose is-you'll look sexy. 

 Atlanta Boudoir Photography | www.meaganophotography.com


To make you look confident, you just need to look vulnerable, yet comfortable. I know that still sounds overwhelming, but it’s not! Guess what, the fact that you're half-naked takes care of the vulnerability factor. Put on some lingerie and you're already halfway there! All that's left is making you look comfortable. That's purely about where the tension is living in your body. Are your shoulders tense? If so, you'll look uncomfortable or cold...so I'll direct you to push your shoulders down and back. Are your hands tense? If so, you'll look rigid or scared...so I'll have you relax your hands. I'll keep pointing out the tension and directing you around what to do with it until we have an image that depicts how strong, beautiful and confident you really are. 

 Atlanta Boudoir Photography | www.meaganophotography.com


This is why I can get these images of ANY WOMAN-ANY size, ANY age. It's just a little bit of math and science and I'm here to play the role of professor *pushes glasses up nose*. Also, for those of you considering booking, keep in mind my prices will be going up in 2019 so be sure to book in 2018 if you want the 2018 pricing! Now, go be your confident, sexy selves today!

WINNING DESTINATION!!!

It’s official. WE HAVE A WINNER FOR OUR TRIP!!!! In November 2020, we are going to be headed to…….drumroll please………..

 Atlanta Boudoir Photography | www.meaganophotography.com


TANZANIA TANZANIA TANZANIA TANZANIA!!!!!!! African safari, here we come!!!

 Atlanta Boudoir Photography | www.meaganophotography.com

Stay tuned for a detailed itinerary as well as dates and final pricing! GAH!!! I. CANNOT. WAIT!!!

Japan & Boudoir Photography: Part 4

Before our crew headed to Tokyo, we went to Nachi Falls to see the gorgeous waterfall. The only problem…it was like 1.239 gazillion stairs to get there! Ok…maybe not that many, Wikipedia says it was only 297, but I realllllyyyy think it was more than that. The view was definitely worth it though!

Worth all those stairs, right!?

Worth all those stairs, right!?

 Atlanta Boudoir Photography | www.meaganophotography.com

Now for what was definitely my craziest story of the trip. That night we stayed in Toba at this hotel that was perfectly situated in the rocks. When I got there and looked out at the epic scenery, my jaw dropped. I knew I had to shoot a woman out there! We all went to the onsen (public bath) together and I realized that this onsen was basically in a CAVE!!! It was SO incredible. I couldn’t get out of my head how stunningly beautiful that spot would be at sunrise. So I cautiously approached one of the women on the trip to ask if 1) She’d allow me to shoot her and 2) If she wouldn’t mind getting up at sunrise for it even though we were all running on not a whole lot of sleep? She agreed even though she “didn’t think she’d be the best model for me” which is pretty much what most of my clients think before I get them in front of my camera-which meant she was perfect!!!

The view from our room-RIGHT!?!

The view from our room-RIGHT!?!

We showed up right when they opened at 5:00am to try to avoid other women. I thought that we’d surely have the place to ourselves for at least half an hour or so. Enough time to really get some epic stuff. Nope nope nope. Apparently, sunrise time is onsen primetime. There were about 60 women inside. I gave my client a look and she assured me that she didn’t mind there being people around and I certainly didn’t want her to have nothing to show for getting up so early so we decided I could still probably grab a handful of shots by the mouth of the cave. That was the farthest point from the rest of the bathers and would place everyone else about 10 feet behind me making it impossible for anyone else to be in my shot besides my willing subject. I really wanted to make sure no one got uncomfortable. In case you didn’t have a chance to read Part 2, keep in mind we’re ALL 100% naked. All of us. Including me.

So I pose my client, get into position (with my bare butt to the entire cave of women) and snap a shot. Apparently, an older Japanese woman did not like the shot. At all. She started yelling in Japanese while at the same time trying to splash me. Then as I turn around, she whips me with a towel right on my bare ass cheek, and then screamed the only English I understood, “CRIMINAL! I CALL THE POLICE!” As she ran (again, naked) to call security. We also did a naked dart to the locker rooms, threw our robes on as quickly as possible and retreated from the onsen. As we exited, security was rounding the corner with a walkie talkie pressed to his ear FBI-style. I remember thinking, “I’ve always thought I’d eventually make a call to my husband from jail…guess this is it…” As he approached, my heart nearly exploded out of my chest only to have him softly say, "no pictures, please" with a bow. Thankfully, that was it. My client and I got back toward our rooms (she was laughing about the whole thing, while it took me a solid hour for my heart rate to come down.) And we only got that one image…the image though…totally worth it. The most impressive part was my client's ability to follow my directions and hold the pose, stay serene with shoulders relaxed throughout what was probably only a 20 second ordeal, but felt like 20 hours.

SO. Lots of firsts that day. Never shot while being naked. Never been assaulted. Never been assaulted naked in front of 60 other naked women. And don’t worry-for the trip AdventureWomen and I are planning in the future, everything will be figured out ahead of time and we won’t risk the craziness that ensued, lol! Ahhhhh…the learning curve. I am so found of it.

 Atlanta Boudoir Photography | www.meaganophotography.com

On the way to Tokyo we had lunch with two traditional Ama divers. Ama divers are Japanese women who deep dive without equipment for all sorts of things: types of seafood, pearls, etc. They dive every day during the warm season for hours at a time. They actually cooked for us what they caught the day before and it was definitely some of the freshest fish I’ve ever tasted! What was more fascinating though, was them telling us about their lives. Apparently, traditional Ama diving is dying out. Both women said they couldn’t remember a generation in their lineage where the women weren’t divers, yet they both have daughters who aren’t pursuing the trade. They also explained that the reason behind not using equipment was because it helped them “not take too much.” I thought that was such a beautiful reason. Especially when my life always seems to trend towards whatever is fastest, easiest, and most convenient. Their hearts were so honest and authentic. OH! And they are 55 and 66 years old! Seriously, ladies. Age really is just a number.

Such beautiful souls.

Such beautiful souls.

Delish!

Delish!

 Atlanta Boudoir Photography | www.meaganophotography.com

Last, we headed to Tokyo for a few days. It was everything a sky-scraper filled, concrete-jungle, city-on-steriods should be with it’s own unique flavor. We saw the weird, wacky and flashy as well as the meticulously, elegant gardens and greenery. We also traipsed around eating our little hearts out because all of the food in Japan was SO GOOD. Including our last night there where we dined high above the gorgeous city. There was a moment during that final dinner when I looked around and realized that just two weeks before, all of the women talking and laughing around me had been strangers. Now, some of them felt like family. We’d laughed, adventured and built a thousand memories over our trip. Once-in-a-lifetime experiences, rounds of cards, great conversations, glasses of wine, walks in the wilderness, connecting with women whose lives are so different than ours, yet finding we aren’t that different at all. Each little moment built in me a special bond with these incredible women. Traveling together is definitely my favorite way to build new friendships.

Gorgeous view from our dining table.

Gorgeous view from our dining table.

Some truly, exceptional women.

Some truly, exceptional women.

Japan & Boudoir Photography: Part 2

Day 2 began with a trip to Nara Park. As I’ve said before, Japan is a straight-up magical place and our visit to Nara seemed like a page out of Snow White. Imagine you’re at a park and there are squirrels. Now double the amount of squirrels your’e imagining. Now pretend those squirrels are actually deer. That’s what Nara Park is like. The legend is that one of the four gods of the Kasuga Shrine appeared on Mount Mikasa riding a deer. After that, deer were seen as divine and sacred and up until 1637 killing one of these deer was punishable by death.

 Atlanta Boudoir Photography | www.meaganophotography.com
 Atlanta Boudoir Photography | www.meaganophotography.com
 Atlanta Boudoir Photography | www.meaganophotography.com
 Atlanta Boudoir Photography | www.meaganophotography.com
 Atlanta Boudoir Photography | www.meaganophotography.com
 Atlanta Boudoir Photography | www.meaganophotography.com

It was the craziest, coolest thing to experience. The deer are everywhere!!! Walking through shrines, reaching into your unattended purse/pocket for a snack, wandering through the streets. You can also buy little wafer crackers to feed them and they will actually bow to you to get one. Seriously!!! We spent the day wandering the park with the deer and visiting the Todaiji Temple (the largest wooden structure in the world that houses a 50 ft tall Buddha. I was also able to have a quick photo session with two willing, beautiful girls! GAH! I could’ve shot there all day!!!

 Atlanta Boudoir Photography | www.meaganophotography.com

After the deer-we enjoyed a traditional Japanese tea ceremony and then went back to the hotel to take a dip in the onsen. An onsen is a geothermally heated hot spring and Japan has thousands of them due to the volcanic activity on the island (thanks, Wikipedia!) It’s supposed to be both relaxing and great for your skin and I’m all about trying anything that will leave me glowing and supple. Some traditional hotels (ryokans) would build up around these springs. They can be indoors or outdoors and almost every place on our itinerary had one. I love that AdventureWomen really plans our stays at hotels that are more authentic to the country you’re in rather than sticking us in a Hilton or Marriott. There are a lot of rules in Japan, so I assumed onsens would be no different. I was correct.

First of all, when we got to the hotel, we were all given a robe (a yukata), socks and sandals to change into. When you check into your room, you were expected to don your yukata, socks and sandals to wear around the grounds of the hotel-both men and women. When you were in your room, you were to leave your sandals at the door and just wear your socks. In the onsen, you enter into a locker room where you leave your sandals, socks and yukata in exchange for a tiny towel (think washcloth) and your birthday suit (don’t worry, most onsens are separated by gender). You then strut in all your glory (or hunch over and walk fast depending on your style) into the onsen area.

 Atlanta Boudoir Photography | www.meaganophotography.com
 Atlanta Boudoir Photography | www.meaganophotography.com


The next step is to shower before getting into the onsen. Another interesting thing-most of the showers had a stool and you showered sitting down. I was super confused about this at first and the only thing that clued me in was the mirror hung at crotch level and the little seat. That, and I saw another woman do it. I really tried mentally to prepare myself to be that naked in front of a bunch of strangers, but I was still nervous. And, not gonna lie, I also expected that somehow once in the onsen I’d be less exposed...I dunno, maybe there’d be bubbles or something. Nope. No bubbles. Just a seat where the water came up maybe a few inches on my thighs and was very, very clear.

 Atlanta Boudoir Photography | www.meaganophotography.com

Honestly though, I came to truly love going to the onsen. Especially while we were hiking the Kumano Kodo (which I’ll get to in part 3!). There’s nothing like hiking all day and then getting to the hotel, slipping into a cool, cotton yukata and then laying your sore body in silky, warm water. Not only that, but while it is incredibly vulnerable, it’s also incredibly equalizing. There’s something about being naked in front of strangers that strips you on a soul level. Suddenly it doesn’t matter how much money you make or if you’re a CEO or a student, if you’re a mom of 3 or never want kids, if your married or single. We’re all just women who simply want to relax in an onsen—and maybe get some glowing, supple skin while we’re at it.

Japan & Boudoir Photography: Pt. 1

Some of you may have noticed that I’ve traveled quite a bit this year-the first place being Japan. Disclaimer: It will take four blogs to even *mildly* begin to flesh out the magic of this place (because there is SO much magic)...but we’ll eventually get through it. I’m mostly writing this because a lot of you have questions regarding the international photography opportunity I posted about here and I completely understand why.

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Here’s the short version-Meagan O Photography is partnering with AdventureWomen to create one epic trip that includes a photography session as a part of the itinerary. That's it. Because I'm not completely sure what cost/place/time frame works best for everyone, AdventureWomen and I are currently collaborating around 5 possible options. Shells of itineraries, if you will. These 5 trips will include the where, when, how much and photography locations. We'll release these options October 17th to be voted on by YOU! The one with the most votes is the spot we’ll go that year! Until then, I’m sure you’re wondering what that will look like/what types of things will be included in those trips. I can tell you it will be once-in-a-lifetime and epic, but how so is tbd. So let's walk through my experiences thus far as an example…

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Let's start with Japan-the entire reason I went there was to meet the owner of AdventureWomen. I wanted to experience a trip as a patron if I was going to potentially partner with this company in the future. To sum it up in a word, Japan was magical. I've got to be honest, Japan wasn't originally super high on my travel list. Don't get me wrong, I want to go EVERYWHERE...but Japan was just a bit lower on my list than other places. Boy, was that backwards. My experience in Japan-from the people, to the nature, to the culture-absolutely blew me away. This blog has been a frustrating one to write, mostly because I know my descriptions of my experience are going to fall short. But I'll try. And, even for this long-winded lady, it'll still have 4 parts...that helps.

 Atlanta Boudoir Photography | www.meaganophotography.com

The day I arrived in Japan was...different. I’ve traveled a lot, but I’ve never officially been in a country where everything is different. The language is different. The characters are different. It’s the first place I traveled where it’s obvious that I’m not from there purely based on the way I look. There are exactly 1,234,309,304 rules, but the people are SO graceful when you break all 1,234,309,304.

 Atlanta Boudoir Photography | www.meaganophotography.com

The first few things I observed immediately upon arrival: we lucked out and cherry blossoms were everywhere (blooming season only lasts about 10-14 days and was 9 days early this year), Japanese wear long sleeves/sweaters a lot-even when it’s so warm I’m sweating, there are so many tiny dogs, the toilets there will change your life, the food is incredible and there is a lot of bowing, which is a beautiful way to respectfully greet one another.

 Atlanta Boudoir Photography | www.meaganophotography.com

At the welcome dinner, we got to meet all 14 of the women who would be on the trip. The trip was going to be 12 days long, so to me this was a super important moment. I mean, what if they were a bunch of crazies?!? I first noticed the range between ages, which I love. The youngest person was in their late 20s and the oldest was in their mid 60s and everyone else was sprinkled in between. As the conversation picks up, I realize that these women are impressive, bright, funny, talented, and full of awesome stories. Of all the incredible things we did and experienced, getting to know these ladies was one of my favorite parts of the trip.

 Atlanta Boudoir Photography | www.meaganophotography.com

One thing about AdventureWomen’s itineraries is that they are packed with epic, once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Our first full day there we went on a walk along the philosopher’s path, visited the Ginkakuji Temple AND met a real life maiko (a geisha in training)! The other thing I love about AdventureWomen, is that they aren’t just travel agents. They don’t just figure out your flight/hotel info, book you a few dinner reservations and a ticket to a show or two. They are curators of an adventure experience. A lot of what we got to do was through their specific contacts they’ve built over the past 40 years.

 Atlanta Boudoir Photography | www.meaganophotography.com

For example, there are only 230 or so real, working geishas in the world and about 80 maikos. And she didn’t just perform on a stage in front of us-she performed for us and then chilled with us at lunch where we got to ask her a ton of questions. She told us (through our adorable translator and guide, Yuki) about how they only get 2 days off per month, they aren’t allowed to have social media and they can have a boyfriend, but if they want to get married, they have to quit being a geisha. I asked if there were physical height or weight restrictions (I dunno...kinda like models or something) and she giggled explaining that she actually gained 30 pounds because the costume looks better on someone with a fuller figure. And you know I asked to have a mini-photoshoot with her...which she was totally excited about!

 Atlanta Boudoir Photography | www.meaganophotography.com
 Atlanta Boudoir Photography | www.meaganophotography.com

All of that in the first 24 hours! Look for part 2 next week where I’ll talk about visiting the bowing deer and getting naked with strangers…












Boudoir Photography Goes Abroad!!!

SO MUCH has happened this year and we're only halfway through May! We finally moved into our house in February (why yes, those are angels singing), I went to Japan for two weeks in April and just got back from being in Paris/Italy a few days ago. I know. This is literally the coolest my life has ever been or will ever be again, lol! Don't worry though. I'm still my geeky, silly self even when I'm halfway around the world. 

If you follow me on instagram, you've already seen all the globetrotting going on and I'm sure some of you are wondering what that's all about...wellllllll, I'm thrilled to announce a new addition *no, mom, I'm not pregnant*  to my business! 

In addition to my Atlanta studio, I am rolling out an International Boudoir Photography option! Since I went full time with photography, I've chased what inspires me, worked toward it with everything I have and the clients have come. I love photographing people in love, which is why I started in engagement/wedding photography. I love empowering women by showing them how beautiful they are, which is why I opened the boudoir studio. Another thing I love is traveling-I know, I know-who doesn't, right?! Not just to beautiful all-inclusive resorts to relax (although, I never mind planting my behind in the sand with a good book and a beer), but adventurous travel. The kind that gets you off the beaten path, away from the hoard of tourists, to the more authentic experiences a new city has to offer. Where you get to see real life and connect with incredible new people. The kind that allows me to create jaw-dropping, epic images of my gorgeous clients. Pictures that truly embody their strength, character and soul.

 Atlanta Boudoir Photography | www.meaganophotography.com

I know. I know. You're all thinking what my husband said to me when I first started chewing on the idea a few years ago..."isn't this all just a ploy so you get to travel the world?" Um. YES. Absolutely. 100%. #sorrynotsorry

I've done a few sessions in other places in the US, but my biggest hangup with taking it international has always been logistics. There are just so many things I don't know. How do I know the places I want to shoot won't be covered in roaches when we get there? How do I know the beautiful pink-sand beach isn't also home to a rare, deadly jellyfish? How do I know the rules to follow so you don't get screamed at and popped in the butt by a naked, towel-weilding woman in an onsen...that last scenario *may* have happened...

 Atlanta Boudoir Photography | www.meaganophotography.com

Enter AdventureWomen. AdventureWomen is a company who specializes in small group travel for women and they are INCREDIBLE. They've been recognized by Conde Nast, Travel + Leisure, National Geographic Traveler, Forbes, USA Today, The New York Times...the list goes on and on. They are legit and they know their stuff. I went on my first trip with them to Japan in April and it blew away every expectation I had. We got to have lunch with a maiko (apprentice geisha). We got to hike a mountain alongside a mountain priestess. We got to meet Ama divers (women who free-dive without equipment) and they cooked us a lunch from what they caught on their dive the day before. We got to hike the Kumano Kodo to a small village of 400 people where local women taught us how to roll sushi (*clears throat* I'm basically a sushi-rolling pro now). I had so many once-in-a-lifetime experiences, PLUS I met incredible women both on the trip and in Japan who I know will become lifelong friends. I also got to meet the owner of the company, Judi Wineland. Y'all. She is one of the most fascinating, engaging, energetic and just plain fun women I've ever met. Plus, she's been doing this since the 70's and MAN! has she got some stories...

 Atlanta Boudoir Photography | www.meaganophotography.com

Next, I'm headed to Indonesia with AdventureWomen at the end of June along with some of my past clients as a trial run (ya know, to figure out all the other things I don't know yet.) THEN if all goes well...

AdventureWomen and Meagan O Photography will partner in 2019 to host the Trip of a Lifetime for 8-12 women, which will include an EPIC boudoir session as part of the incredible itinerary!!!! AdventureWomen will create the itinerary and handle the logistics and I will bring my camera, creativity and enthusiastic self!!! *Queue confetti, music, fireworks and dancing monkeys* 

 Atlanta Boudoir Photography | www.meaganophotography.com

Maybe it will be in Paris and we'll shoot in a glamorous chateau with magnificent, sprawling gardens! Maybe it will be in Italy and we'll shoot in an old castle turned winery! Maybe it will be in India and we'll shoot in an ornate palace! Maybe it will be in Bali and we'll rent a gorgeous private island! GAHHHH! The world is our oyster and I'm SO SO SO EXCITED!!! (For my past clients, YES! The trip will be announced to you first, giving you first dibs if you want your second/third/fourth boudoir session to be abroad!) 

Have you got an awesome idea about where we should go?? I'd love to hear your thoughts!!! 

 Atlanta Boudoir Photography | www.meaganophotography.com

 

 

 

Beauty Detective

I don't like feeling unattractive. Whether it be because I haven't showered in a few days and I'm starting to get a little ripe, or because my attitude has taken a nose-dive and I'm taking it out on the human closest in proximity. I don't think anyone enjoys feeling unattractive. We're social creatures who want other people to desire our presence. 

 Atlanta Boudoir Photography | www.meaganophotography.com

One particularly unattractive movement for me happened during first nap I took with my husband back when we were dating. It was ten years ago and we'd been dating for a few months-it was getting more serious, but was still pretty new. My sweet grandfather who'd been diagnosed with Sundowners Dementia was admitted to the hospital. Sundowners just means you experience your dementia symptoms more intensely at night (confusion/paranoia/fear/etc). We knew it would be easier for him if someone he knew was there in case he woke up in the night. Due to some of the drugs he was on, he would also hallucinate. So he and I spent most of the night waving at the "red balloons" in the "parade" instead of sleeping. 

 Atlanta Boudoir Photography | www.meaganophotography.com

The next morning, Matt picked me up early and took me straight to look at apartments because my lease was up the following week and I *still* hadn't found a new place. We looked until around 3:30pm, then headed back to his condo where he cuddled up with me so I could take a little nap. When I woke up, I realized my cheek was wet. I groggily picked my head up off his shoulder and realized with horror that there was a HUGE, wet, drool spot on his chest. It was the size of my freaking hand!!!! I turned to the clock and saw it was past 7:00pm. As in-I'd been asleep like that for over THREE HOURS!!! As I'm taking in each little horrific nugget of information, I realize that Matt is awake and is starting to chuckle. Turns out, he didn't sleep AT ALL and had been awake the entire time. He then (still chuckling) says, "do you always snore like that?" OMG...OMG...OMG!!!!!! 

 Atlanta Boudoir Photography | www.meaganophotography.com

That is most definitely NOT how I pictured my first nap with Matt going. I'd imagined gently drifting to sleep cuddled up together. Him waking before me to silently take in my beautiful, sleeping face. My hair spilling perfectly over the pillow, skin luminous, cheeks slightly flushed, lashes long, breath somehow minted. NOT mouth open, drooling like a faucet, sawing logs like my father while Matt looked on for over three hours. 

 Atlanta Boudoir Photography | www.meaganophotography.com

Now, Matt doesn't look back on that memory of me as unattractive. He says for him it was sweet and intimate and he was thankful I was getting the sleep I needed. I'm pretty sure he was met with an impressively dramatic eye-roll from me. The thing is it doesn't matter how much Matt means it. In that moment, he could've performed a one-man show about my beauty complete with singing, tap-dancing and glitter, but if I don't feel attractive there's no way I'm going to believe him. 

 Atlanta Boudoir Photography | www.meaganophotography.com

How women feel about themselves matters. A lot. This is the reason I tell my clients who are gifting their images to their man that he isn't my client. A quick iPhone pic of you half dressed would thrill them. No, my client is the woman in front of me. She's who I want to reveal her beauty to. That's why the medium I use is so important-she won't believe me telling her she's beautiful either! Nope. She needs to decide for herself. I'm like the detective. My job is to survey the scene and take pictures of the evidence. Then she can piece together everything I've gathered and conclude that she is indeed beautiful. Attractive. Alluring. Worthy. Enough. Beautiful.

2017: A Weighty Joy

I love the contemplative reflection a new year brings. That feeling of turning a new page or starting a new chapter. For me this contemplation begins at the start of advent (the church season leading up to Christmas) and continues through the new year. Advent is about sitting in the darkness and creating space for God to move in you as you wait for the promised Light. I've never been one who enjoys New Year's Eve itself-it seems to be one of those holidays where my expectations always exceed my reality. I find myself wanting to experience something momentous and dramatic, as if it were possible to bottle six weeks of reflection and squeeze it into a 10 second countdown. Which is why this year I rang in the new year watching The Crown, drinking wine and eating a Papa John's cinnamon roll dessert. 

 Atlanta Boudoir Photography | www.meaganophotography.com

2017 was a conundrum. A year of blessing and pain. Abundance and loss. Excitement and devastation. In business, it was my best year yet. I met so many stunning women who inspired me with their stories and trusted me to photograph their unique beauty, which allowed us to create art together. My family continued to heal and grow stronger together after the emotional loss we experienced two years ago. I found an incredible therapist who has helped guide me towards profound insight into my life. 

 Atlanta Boudoir Photography | www.meaganophotography.com

2017 was also the year Matt and I spent building our first house. We waited six months for the city to grant us permission to build our house. Selected every paint color and drawer pull. Every light fixture and appliance. Poured over financials to get the lenders the information they needed. Wrote the Thanksgiving menu we'd serve both our families as first time hosts. Pictured where we'd put the Christmas tree. Waited and waited and waited. Only to have it burn down 5 days before we were supposed to close. As in start completely over. As in take the house back down to the slab and wait some more. 

 Atlanta Boudoir Photography | www.meaganophotography.com

It's a strange sort of loss to lose something you never actually experienced. You can't reflect over memories because all you have was what you imagined. I hear about this from clients all the time-my women who want desperately to be mothers, but can't have a child. Women who enter into or walk away from a marriage only to find their new reality isn't at all what they imagined. Women who become mothers, yet recognize themselves less and less. There is a type of grief that can be born when our imagined reality meets our actual reality and finds it unrecognizable.

 Atlanta Boudoir Photography | www.meaganophotography.com

But the opposite is also true. There is a strange sort of joy that comes when you expect things to be unbearable and they end up being something you savor. A different joy. A dark joy. A weighty joy. I fully expected the last few months of the year to be full of pain. I thought I'd be sad when we drove to our families homes for Thanksgiving instead of having it in our new house. I thought it would break my heart to put our Christmas tree up in our condo again instead of the new spot where I imagined it standing all year. But isn't it the very fingerprint of God that He can take such deep pain and bring about deep peace. He reformed the season into something I savored. He walked with me through my devastating disappointment and brought me a season I never would have had if our plans had gone the way we expected. A season of "one last time's" instead of a season of "this again". A season of growth and solidity. A season of hardship as a pathway to peace.

 Atlanta Boudoir Photography | www.meaganophotography.com

I have great expectations for 2018. It will be the year that begins with us getting to finally move into our house. It will be the year I roll out international boudoir with trips already planned for Japan, Paris, Italy, Indonesia and Bali. It will be the year I continue to be intentional in carving out space for God. I'm sure it will also bring expectations that don't match reality-as every year before has brought, but those will just be places where I'll wait expectantly for God's fingerprint. 

Happy New Year, everyone!

Selfie: A Woman's Boudoir Photography Experience

This is a blog written by one of my GORGEOUS client's!!! It details her experience in the studio-it's long, but SO SO SO worth the read if you're considering a boudoir session!!!

 Atlanta Boudoir Photography | www.meaganophotography.com

I think I was around 13 when I first had a desire to know what I looked like. I remember buying a handheld mirror and studying my face in it. I looked unfamiliar to myself and I wondered if somehow I had missed an important milestone in my childhood. I committed my features to memory and promptly lost interest.  

I count myself very fortunate to have been generally absent any unhealthy body image issues as a teen and young woman.  To my mom's credit, I wholeheartedly embraced her wise mantra, 'beauty is on the inside' and was spared the agony so many young women inflict upon themselves, striving for a beauty ideal only obtainable through photoshop and eating disorders.  

Perhaps this is the reason that my minds' selfies are all time-stamped. I have a handful of discrete images in my memory of my appearance.
The first, mentioned above, at 13, handheld mirror, indian style on my bed.
Another at 16, likely an attempt to understand what my newfound first love saw in me.
Then my next mental selfie isn't until 23, a new mother with Baby Todd in my arms. I know exactly what I looked like then.
Another time stamp in the year 2000, when I came out at age 26. I immediately cut my hair short in celebration of my new identity and wanting to look the part.
34 years old: a brush with my mortality had clarified much in my life..suddenly, looking the part wasn't as important as looking like myself. I let my hair grow out, embraced its newfound curl and my femininity.

And then, at 35, there's a shift in my mental selfie album, from snapshots to a flickering film strip. Paradoxically during some of the happiest years of my life, I was my most body self-conscious...perhaps it was the hyper focus on my fitness or perhaps the constant desire to document the joy in my life, or more likely - the combination of the two.  Regardless, both came to an abrupt halt when my marriage ended and with that loss, the film strip snapped. 

In the years since, while I've healed in many ways, I've also resigned myself to the loss of my 'glory days' and accordingly my mind's selfie camera hadn't bothered to document my appearance, instead creating a self-image from behind my eyes that was essentially adequate and unremarkable.

And all of that is the prologue to what has spurred me to write today. 

 Atlanta Boudoir Photography | www.meaganophotography.com

Amid an internet search for a lifestyle photographer to document myself and the boys, before the imminent empty nest, I stumbled upon a photographer of an entirely different nature and fell in love with her work.  Her eye for composition and lighting and the mood her work captured - I felt an immediate connection to her art.  (Because there was really no other word for it.)  

I read every word of her website, (including three and a half years of blogs), embracing her bubbly enthusiastic personality juxtaposed with the creative intensity evident in her photography.

But --- Meagan was a boudoir photographer. Gulp. What did it mean that I felt this strong pull to book a session of nearly naked, sexy photos of myself?? I didn't think for a second that I would walk away from the endeavor with photos that looked like the women on her website. I've already established that I believed my glory days were behind me, right? But I emailed anyway, tentatively, asking for a price list and hoping both that I could and couldn't afford the investment. The latter would make the decision a lot easier, after all. 

Her nearly immediate reply began with: "Thanks so much for reaching out!!! I would love love LOVE to get you in the studio for a boudoir session!" and went on to explain the ins and outs of the process in similar exclamation-point-laden excitement. I could hardly believe this giddy woman was the same one with what must be serious, technical skills and a mad eye for finding beauty in women. (Spoiler alert: She's one and the same. Imagine tigger, from winnie the pooh, with a creative streak that rivals the greats.)  

I scheduled her first available date - which was six extremely long weeks away - and descended into an obsessive internet vortex of lingerie shopping and boudoir photography study. Being the information junkie that I am, I quieted my nerves with an overload of learning. My research bore out two things in very short order: 
1. There's a science to this art. The extreme technicality of the posing, lighting, and shooting gave me some reassurance that little relied on me.
2. Very few photographers in this space have mastered both aspects: science and art. Meagan's portfolio left no doubt I had chosen one of the best.

 Atlanta Boudoir Photography | www.meaganophotography.com

As the day approached, my emotions were a curious mix of optimism and skepticism. 

The day of the shoot...well, it rolled out just like I expected. Hair, makeup, posing instructions, lingerie that did nothing to conceal my insecurities...but, as promised, Meagan left no oxygen in the room to feed my fear. Her supreme command of every finger, angle, and shadow required my full attention and it was only once I got home, afterwards, that my nerves found their voice in my psyche. 

I'd read blogs from dozens of women touting the confidence boost and empowerment they felt when walking out of their boudoir shoots. I, on the other hand, feared that I hadn't been able to relax enough or that I wasn't connecting enough in the ways I was supposed to. I feared that I wouldn't recognize myself in the finished images. And, to make matters worse, my anxiety post-shoot served to amplify my anxiety. Maybe I don't feel the way most women do because I didn't do it right! 

Thankfully it was only a week between my shoot and my reveal appointment. I don't think I could have held my breath much longer than that. I spent most of the week reviewing all the technical details I'd found in my initial research, reassuring myself that Meagan did it right, even if I didn't. 

At the reveal appointment, Meagan greeted me with a big hug, gushing about how much she loved my images. She says that to all the girls, my inner voice chided. 

And then she started the slide show.  'Seven minutes, two songs, five seconds on each picture' - she prepped me. 

I didn't hear the first song at all. I think my brain was receiving maximum input from my eyes instead and struggling to make sense of it all. That can't be me. But wait, it is!  
 

 Atlanta Boudoir Photography | www.meaganophotography.com

As my shock took a step back, relief sidled up next to it and tried to make space at the table for pride, who had the assignment of rating images with 'one for no', 'three for maybe' or 'five for must have.' Going through the images one by one, I heard myself saying 'five' over and over, and then my voice cracked. Tears filled my eyes. As it turns out, pride wasn't used to having much of a voice about my appearance...not in a long time. The realization was startling and cathartic and overwhelming. 

I left my appointment with all the images. All 57 images, to be exact.  After fearing there wouldn't be enough to make a small album, I floated out on a cloud of disbelief. It's been three days and I think I've probably looked through them 57 times. I've shown only very few, to very few...and yet, the simple knowledge that they exist has fired up that selfie camera in my mind. 

I've come to realize - through this experience - that my selfie snapshots have been triggered by love, most often for or from someone else. But, for the first time in 30 years perhaps, I am both the giver and receiver of that love. I am beautiful in my own eyes and that's enough.  

This blog was originally posted here and if you want to read more of her gorgeous writing, DEFINITELY check it out!!!