Rebirth of Self-Love | Valentine's Day Mini-Session : Lia

Each year since I began doing boudoir photography, I host mini-boudoir sessions in honor of Valentine’s Day in Israel. What I love about my work and empowering women becomes magnified when the experience extends to a group of ten. The energy of the day is always uplifting and nothing short of powerful. To see how women from all around the country and different backgrounds support each other in their celebration of their femininity is very special. In addition, I love how the mini-sessions have transformed Valentine’s Day into a way to not only show love and appreciation for the people in our lives, but to shine light on the love we have for ourselves.

This was Lia’s second boudoir session with me, after a couple years of immense growth and change in her life. When she decided to sign up for the Valentine’s Day sessions, I remember her saying, “I really want to feel like I’m present and connecting in these photos - something to have forever to showcase the kind of journey of the last 2 years.” I had every desire to give that to her, but I have to be honest, it was a lot of pressure for a 1/2 hour mini-session. During her consultation we spoke more in depth about what she was looking for, and when the day came, the session was exactly how Lia had envisioned it; present, connecting, meaningful and trusting. Her trust and ability to truly let go was what made this session so unbelievable, and it made me fall in love with Lia, her story and her beauty all over again.

Here are some of Lia’s thoughts and feelings about her experience, “I wanted to do this session for a few reasons. First of all, I am a single mom, and I don’t see my friends often. So on a really practical level, I realize that I have very few photos of myself that aren’t selfies or blurry shots that one of my kids took. I really like having photographs of the different stages of my life. Now that I’m divorced and my kids aren’t babies anymore, I really treasure the photos I have of myself and them during my marriage. I don’t think I appreciated photography on this level before my divorce. But something about seeing how drastically life can change, reminded me how meaningful photographs can be. They allow us to freeze time and take a piece of that reality, that will surely change, and save it forever.”

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“I wanted something physical to mark what feels like… a rebirth. Two years ago I did a boudoir shoot and it was weeks after my divorce and when I was really in the thick of the loss. I had literally just lost about 40 pounds. I was really confused and feeling really out of control. My last session marked a stage too - a stage that was beautiful and sad in its own right - it was an awakening. I’m glad I did it and that I have those photos. But it’s been such a full and intense two and half years, and I feel like I have lived an entire lifetime. So to get to do another shoot, that gives me these markers of these chapters in my life, is really meaningful.“

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“A lot of people want to do a boudoir shoot after they lose weight or when they feel like their body looks its best. My body has been through a lot since the last shoot. I continued to lose weight, to the point that my size zero jeans were loose, and my friends and family told me I looked sick. I also had a septoplasty surgery for a lifetime sinus migraine problem and decided to get a nose job at the same time. It was very “unlike me” to change my body like that. But I think it was part of my desire to start over somehow. It was that part of me that was determined to do what I wanted and move forward with my own freedom and independence. All of these huge physical changes happened when I was hitting my rock bottom emotionally. Thankfully, I found my way up.

At first for my kids, and then for my long forgotten self, I started making better decisions and climbed my out of the deep hole I had dug for myself. I started practicing yoga, got off of psychiatric drugs that had unfortunately started to do more harm than good for me, made some huge life changes, and began to reclaim my life. Between then and now, I have gained back weight. But I feel stronger and healthier and happier in my body than I have ever felt. It’s not perfect. There are days when I feel fat or ugly or not good enough. I don’t know if that will ever go away entirely. But that part of my relationship with my body has faded. In its place I have begun to create a deep love and appreciation for my body. I am so grateful for what my body has done for me, for how it has been there for me through these thirty one years, faithfully strong and wise and soft and beautiful. It has housed my three babies, nursed them, and it is the same body that left a dead marriage and demanded a happier life. I wanted to photograph this miraculous body of mine.”

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“With its stretch marks, with its softness, with its droops and valleys and curves. I want to treasure this body and not hide any of its’ beautiful story.”

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Makeup by Makeup by Shosh

Breaking Barriers Within | Boudoir : Barbara

One the main reasons I wanted to do a boudoir session with Rebecca was because of what I learned during my years in and out of eating disorder treatment. To me, it seems that the most growth occurs when we’re a little uncomfortable. The trick to this kind of growth is to find comfort in the discomfort; finding a way to push ourselves and still be safe. And this was that. A boudoir session is a really special way to challenge my body image and self-esteem issues in a safe environment.

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I was only a freshman in high school when I developed Anorexia. It started off super innocently, just dieting and exercising more regularly. Though, when I turned 15, I set a goal weight for myself that was significantly lower than I was at the time. I reached it pretty quickly and continued to surpass it. This led to the first of seven treatment stays.

Looking back, I remember feeling so alone and miserable. And yet, so powerful at the same time. Like if I could conquer my body, then I could conquer the world. The thing is, that is so not true. I ended up leading a life that I didn’t want. I was alone and sad and anxious. I spent a lot of high school in the hospital and simply hating every part of me. My last treatment stay was in the Summer of 2017. It was so hard. It was the first time that I had taken an actual look at my life and realized that I didn’t want this to be the way I lived anymore.

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So I made a choice. I flew back to America, and I fought and cried. I did my best. And now, my life is so great. It’s not perfect. And my food isn’t perfect. But when I look around at what I’ve built for myself, I get filled with crazy amounts of gratitude. I’ve realized that nothing about what I’ve done has to do with what my body looks like. I don’t love my body. But I don’t hate it. And I don’t love myself all the time, but I also don’t hate myself anymore. That is more than I ever thought I would have accomplished.

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As you can imagine, I was SO nervous for my boudoir session. I can’t remember the last time I walked around my OWN apartment in my underwear. Never mind, someone else’s photography studio. I have to say that it went really well. I’d give the experience a 10/10, and as a former gymnast, a 10 is a BIG deal. When you’re basically naked, it’s a really vulnerable place to be, but during the session, I didn’t feel like it was a bad thing. It was actually really cool. As much as my body was the main focus, it was so not about my body.

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When you have an eating disorder and a gymnastics history, most people only look at the negative side of it. But toward the end of the session, Rebecca complimented me by saying that I understood how to move my body. When I said gymnastics taught me how to pose and move within my body, she said something along the lines of how amazing that is. It was the first time that someone pointed out the positive relationship between gymnastics and my body. That is something that I’ve really appreciated reflecting on since.

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I think a boudoir session can be a really incredible experience for all kinds of women, especially women who have struggled (and continue) to struggle with body image issues. We don’t get more comfortable in our skin by doing the same things we always do.


Makeup and Hair by Tiferet Lehrman

The Ultimate Bachelorette Celebration : Boudoir Parties

A morning with your besties filled with pampering, delicious sweets, bubbly champagne and boudoir sessions has always sounded like an absolute dream to me! I’ve been wanting to offer boudoir parties here in Israel for awhile, and since I am also a wedding photographer, incorporating boudoir with bachelorette parties or bridal showers made so much sense.

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The ideas are endless, you can rent a villa or a hotel suite. Hire a bartender or a have a catered brunch. All of your girlfriends will get professional hair and makeup done, while rocking out to your favorite music and sipping your drink of choice. It’s really the ultimate girl time. Especially with all the pressure that wedding planning can come with, it’s an opportunity to really connect with your best friends in a meaningful way while having a blast doing it.

As your boudoir photographer, I will be there to document all those special moments, down to the smallest detail. We can take group shots of you and your friends together, and then each woman would get a private, mini-boudoir session in a separate room. Boudoir is an amazing way to celebrate milestones in life, and doing it with your best friends only makes the experience more empowering and uplifting…

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Floral Design by Sara Winter

Makeup by Shani Harar

In the Name of Love | Bridal Boudoir : Sylvia

I remember taking an online photography course years back, and a piece of advice that has always stuck out in my mind was, “Your ideal client is someone who you’d want to be friends with.” While every session is special, and I actually do find connection with all of my clients, meeting and photographing Sylvia seemed serendipitous.

Sylvia initially contacted Sigala Photography, our wedding and portrait photography business, run by my husband, Yehoshua, and I, about photographing her wedding. We immediately fell in love with her and her fiance, Paul. Not long after, Sylvia and I began talking about her bridal boudoir session. At first she went back and forth, with the time and expenses dedicated to wedding planning, she wasn’t sure she could make it happen. As we spoke more, it was clear how much doing a boudoir session meant to her, and since Paul was usually the one designing elaborate surprises, this was going to be a surprise for him!

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After the session happened and the afterglow of her beautiful wedding died down, I was able to ask Sylvia a little bit about her boudoir experience, and believe me, you’re going to want to read this…

Why did you decide to do a boudoir session, and what were you hoping to get out of it?

The original "trigger" that made me want to do a boudoir session, was wanting to do something special for my fiance as a gift on the night before our wedding.  Paul is the first man I was ever with that truly respected and admired my body, and persisted every single day of our relationship to make me love my body too.  As myself and many other women know, this is not a guarantee when it comes to significant others! Past boyfriends would tell me they preferred if I straightened my hair, or would ask me to put more make up on before going out.  I was also in one very abusive relationship when I was younger that basically destroyed my self-esteem.  When I met Paul, I couldn't even believe him at first when he would encourage me to leave my hair natural or beg me to not put any make up on.  "You are so beautiful the way you are, and you never need to change a thing" he would say…

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Slowly, over our almost 4 years together, Paul has helped me rebuild my confidence and regain my sense of independence and strength.  So, in celebration of getting married to my best friend, I wanted to do something that would show him and thank him for bringing me to a point where I felt confident and sexy doing a boudoir shoot.  Doing this session was proof to myself that I was where I wanted to be in regards to my mental perspective, that I loved my body.  Having Rebecca do this shoot for me was a little treat for my soul, and a little treat for the one who helped me learn to love myself again.

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Were you nervous leading up to the session?

A little bit. But after speaking with some of Rebecca's previous clients, everyone said they also felt a bit of nerves beforehand, but that the second I would start, I would love it.  This couldn't have been more true! 

How did your session go?

On a scale of 1 to 10, my session was a million billion trillion.  I loved spreading out on my bed, or leaning against a wall in my hallway and just feeling naturally sexy.  My thoughts throughout the session went back and forth from excitement about myself, and excitement for Paul to eventually see the results! I can't believe I kept it a complete surprise for him.  On the night before the wedding, (we weren't seeing each other for a few days) my maid of honor called him with directions on where to find the album in our apartment.  We decided not to speak until the wedding, but he couldn't help himself. He texted me and said it was the best gift ever! He loved the photos and said they were beautiful and sexy.

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Did you get anything out of the session that you didn't expect?

This is a bit strange, but I actually had a very special moment with my mother after I received the photos and showed them to her.  She smiled and said she was proud of me.  She was happy to see her daughter love and respect her body, and she was happy for me that I was marrying someone who loved and respected my body too.  Definitely wasn't expecting that reaction from her, but it really meant the world to me.

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Did your boudoir session have an effect on your perspective or body image?

Yes, an incredibly positive effect.  And the effect grows stronger each and every time I look back on the photos and remind myself to love and appreciate my body and all the little marks and curves.

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Would you recommend this experience to other women? If yes, who would you specifically recommend it to and why?

My mother! I'm hoping to gift her a session for her 65th birthday.  My mother is one of the most hardworking and independent women I know, plus she is the best example when it comes to loving your body.  In her 60's my mom isn't worrying about chasing her wrinkles or fighting the aging process, instead, she became a half marathon runner.  She wakes up every morning before work to run, stands on her feet each day for a 12 hour work day, and cooks all her food herself and eats extremely healthy.  She never touches her hair or puts on make up and has always encouraged me to follow her example of loving my own natural beauty. I think she deserves a few hours of pampering and special photos to hold on to! 

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Photographing this absolutely gorgeous, loving and sweet woman right before one of the most meaningful milestones in her life was an honor. Her reasons for embarking on this boudoir journey was a personal one, and yet, her story is a celebration of all womanhood. Being in a place of self-compassion and truly knowing that we are worthwhile enough to be in healthy and fulfilling relationships is everything.

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Makeup and Hair by Jaquelyn Mowszowski Lawrence