Reclaiming My Own Power | Boudoir Mini-Session : Anna

I immediately became connected and excited about Anna’s personal vision for her boudoir session when we first spoke over the phone. As a photography lover herself, she mentioned how much she loved film, particularly black and white film, and how she’d enjoy pictures with movement and grain. It’s the best feeling as an artist when you know that your client not only appreciates your body of work, but that you are free to create. There’s a beautiful flow that happens between a photographer and their subject when that initial trust is established.

On a Friday morning in Tel Aviv, during our annual Valentine’s Day Mini-Sessions, I began photographing this breathtaking woman. I could just feel the depth of her story coming through my lens. With her quiet, yet graceful demeanor, I didn’t know much about Anna yet, but I knew she was special…

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“I came to Israel from Latvia at age 18. Until then, I was actually a very self-confident and strong person, I knew I was a good looking girl, and it came with benefits. It was never a bad or a scary thing, but suddenly it all changed.

Coming to Israel, a country today I love with all of my heart, made me to go through a "coming of age".  Only years later I've realized that putting on more than 10 kilograms of weight and changing my dressing style completely was my way to deal with this new self of a silent (no Hebrew, I was only trying to communicate in English) and a little bit scared young woman. Men were reaching to me, often flirting aggressively, and making me very uncomfortable. It took me years to get back to my voice, my confident self, and to decide, that no one shall make me uncomfortable because of my looks or for any other reason.

This boudoir session was a symbolic closure for me. I'm not afraid to celebrate my womanhood, sensuality or my looks anymore. I have grown into being proud of myself, to defend myself and love myself completely. My loving partner and father of my son also played a significant part in my becoming the woman I am today…

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For me, going through this boudoir experience is also  the way to get a piece of Art , by the Great Artist, that celebrates Me. One can call it a pure Narcissism, and I’m OK with it. A Narcissist. A Feminist. An Art Lover. I don't owe anyone the definition of Myself.

It's between Me and Myself.”

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“What surprised me most about my boudoir session was that I was able to let my control freak go, and I still enjoyed myself. I’m not perfect, I’m me. I believe that that whole experience made me a bit more loving and self-accepting.”

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“I would recommend this experience to every friend of mine and to any woman in general. Rebecca takes your self-love and brings it to the next level. She knows how to put a light on all of our best angles. She knows how to make you comfortable. Even her voice and her speech manner help you to believe that you're doing great and the results will surprise you, even if you are someone who already learned to love yourself. And if you haven't, Rebecca has even more to offer you. Rebecca brings a loving eye. That's the main thing that matters, not even her great technical skills and not her experience manage this act of love, but her eyes that see the best in you. I'm looking forward to a full boudoir session with her soon.”

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Makeup by Makeup by Shosh

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

Helping Clients Feel Comfortable Naked | Boudoir : Lee'at

When it comes to helping my clients feel comfortable for their boudoir sessions, I should start by sharing one of my deepest values when it comes to my work. I value creating a safe space for every single woman I photograph. This means both physically and emotionally. I want women to feel like they own their boudoir space, having permission to completely be themselves and express their sexuality.

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It's easier said than done, though. We all have this visual of being in a high school locker room, manipulating our clothing as we undress so that we are not fully uncovered. You can almost feel those judgmental side glances and whispers when we think of getting naked in front of someone else. I get it. It's scary.

I need to assure you that I am not judging you. One of the reasons why I am a good boudoir photographer is that I really do see the beauty in you. Call it cheesy, but it's the truth.

I'm not looking or caring about your stretch marks or your love handles that you can't stop thinking about. Those "imperfections" are things that I actually find so unique and gorgeous about the female form. As your boudoir photographer, I'm going to pose and photograph you with the most flattering angles, in the best light, and I think you're fucking beautiful no matter what. It's that simple. 

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Here are some other things that I think help clients feel more comfortable and free as they go through the boudoir process with me:

1. I have a privacy policy. All boudoir sessions are 100% private and confidential unless you choose otherwise. This, of course, includes the images, but also the knowledge that you have done the session in the first place. All images that I share on my public pages, or in my private Facebook group for women are only done so with your express permission.

2. Every session includes a consultation. It's a time when I not only get to know my clients on an intimate level, and they also have the opportunity to get to know me. I know that trust is earned, not given, and every client's trust is important to me.

3. Boudoir sessions are FUN! From choosing lingerie to getting your hair and makeup done, most of the time, my job feels like I'm hanging out with my girlfriends. Generally, by the time my clients look in the mirror after preparations, they are already feeling so much more confident and excited than ever before.

Lastly, I want to mention that when hiring the makeup and hair stylists that I work with, I am careful to find sensitive professionals who really appreciate and understand the importance of boudoir photography. As fun as the session is, it isn't just thrown together. It's carefully crafted for you.

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Lee'at's recent session was incredible. Having never done a boudoir session before (which is the majority of my clients), she was a bit hesitant about how comfortable she would be able to get in front of the camera. When she walked out of her session, she said, "It was definitely not as scary as I thought!"

She embodied her sexuality and confidence in a way that was inspiring to see. I truly love these photographs from that morning we shared together...

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Makeup by Makeup by Shosh

A Celebration of Womanhood | Boudoir : Hadar

One thing being a boudoir photographer has taught me is that while women share a common bond through our experiences, we are all unique, and there is always more to us than what meets the eye. As a photographer who specializes in intimate and nude photography, I often see the vulnerable and very authentic part of people that are not generally known to the public.

I think that is what draws me to my work. From the moment we are born, we are placed in a family, a society, and a world with expectations and ideals, with demands of defining “who we are,” but only on a surface level. Here, I am blessed to see and experience real reality every single day. I get to hear, see and document the truth.

Hadar and I met for the first time at her boudoir session, and I immediately fell in love with her and the energy she brought to my studio. She was open about her story, struggles and the personal journey of self-love and body acceptance which she held dear to her heart. 

Hadar believes that "women's bodies are fascinating and beautiful and should be celebrated," and this boudoir session was exactly that. A celebration of an intricate and amazing woman...

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"This boudoir session was a part of my journey of embracing and loving my body. I think looking at the images is very therapeutic in that sense. 

I’ve learned that in order to be less judgmental toward others, you first have to be kind and not judgmental toward yourself.” -Hadar

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When Hadar left, I felt like I had made a new friend. She's a woman of beauty and strength, and someone who I deeply respect. I'm so grateful for these intimate moments in time. 

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Hair and Makeup by Sarah Appel