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

5 Ways to be More Body-Positive

As women, we have endured centuries of beauty standards and societal expectations with messages about what we “should” look like and how we “should” act. In a time when we are more bombarded than ever with social media, it is amazing to see that businesses have chosen to widen the scope of what is considered to be beautiful. I’m constantly seeing models and celebrities coming out as body activists, and it’s inspiring.

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But are we there yet? Are we feeling body-positive on a personal level? Are we cultivating social norms that will benefit our children in ways that will allow them to love themselves more freely?

According to Wikipedia, Body positivity is acceptance and appreciation of all human body types.[1][2] It is a social movement rooted in the belief that all human beings should have a positive body image, and be accepting of their own bodies as well as the bodies of others.[3] The movement sets forth the notion that beauty is a construct of society, and poses that this construct should not infringe upon one's ability to feel confidence or self-worth.[3]  

For me, I started to become much more accepting and loving towards my own body once I began actively looking for beauty in others. The more women I photographed, the more I was convinced that all women are beautiful and have attractive qualities, both inner and outer. I re-defined what beauty meant to me, as it was “taught” to me through media and brainwashing and years of disservice. I don’t think it’s easy to unwind or choose to see something through a different lens. I think it takes time, but I think it’s important.

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Here are 5 things that have helped me and may help you be more body-positive:

  1. Create your own body-positive online community. Filter your Facebook and Instagram feed to only see things that inspire and uplift you.

  2. Spend time around people who are self-aware and are striving to accept and love their bodies. Remember that your inner circle affects you in huge ways! Don’t let others bring you down, and cut toxic relationships, if needed.

  3. Eat healthy & workout because you love your body, not because you hate it. Ditch the scale mentality. Stop counting calories. Nourish, love and take care of your being.

  4. Take time to compliment other women. Do it with authenticity. Remind yourself that recognizing beauty in someone else doesn’t negate your own beauty or self-worth.

  5. Do things for yourself. Think of the things that would add value to your life, and then make them a priority.

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If you want ideas on who to follow, which groups to join, or have any questions about body-positivity in general, feel free to e-mail me at rebecca@rebeccasigala.com

Hair and Makeup by Tiferet Lehrman

Home Sweet Home | New York Boudoir : Lea

Lea’s dreamy childhood home, located on the outskirts of New York city, had a perfect ambiance for the boudoir session that we had been envisioning. While I’m based in Israel, I offer destination boudoir sessions, and this past summer, I had the honor of traveling to New York for Lea and several other clients. So while I had seen pictures Lea sent me beforehand, it wasn’t anything like seeing it in person. The architecture, the plants, the windows, the colors. Every detail was exquisite. New and old were woven together beautifully in this 1960’s home, remodeled for a modern day family.

Doing her boudoir session in the place where she grew up was significant to Lea.

“I wanted to explore my femininity and a side of myself that I didn't feel comfortable expressing in the past. I grew up in a pretty male dominated and immigrant/traditional family, and I felt that it was hard to find my place.”

Boudoir sessions are often about reclaiming parts of ourselves that we feel like we have lost or never properly tapped into. It’s incredible to see the healing that often times takes place through this experience. Having an intention beforehand, like Lea did, can be extremely important.

When I asked Lea if she got anything out of the session that she didn’t expect she said, “A sense of accomplishment. Like ‘Hey I did this!’ It’s something I wanted to do for ages and never went for it cause I didn't feel like I looked right at that moment.”

On the morning of her session, we were all focused on creating something unique and artistic together. Lea’s makeup and hair was done by the talented, Marcus Santiago, and she looked absolutely incredible.

Beautiful, sensual, emotional, and expressive are words that come to mind when I think back to this day…

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Makeup and hair by Marcus Santiago