January 11, 2018

What It's Like to Have a Boudoir Photoshoot After Losing 240 Pounds! (a guest post)

A Boudoir Photo Session After Losing 240 Pounds! (a guest post)

A couple of years ago, I decided to have a boudoir photoshoot.

My sister had had one done, and her photos were AMAZING. I saw a Groupon for it, and (probably after a couple glasses of wine) bought the Groupon and made the appointment. I ended up upgrading it and having a full shoot, and it was one of the best experiences I've ever had.

I never felt so pretty, confident, and sexy as I did that day. I went in there shy and self-conscious, but I left feeling like a supermodel. After that, I told everyone I knew that they needed to do it--not for a man, but for themselves. (You can read about my experience here, and see a few of my photos here.)

Can you believe this is actually ME?! I couldn't. Hahaha

My friend Caitlin was going through a rough time with her self confidence, and a couple of weeks before her most recent visit out here (from Boston), I had the idea for her to have a boudoir shoot with the photographer who did mine (Catherine Kellie Studios). Caitlin was very hesitant and was SURE that it wasn't going to help her confidence. Her weight was up a little, and she wasn't feeling her best. (Caitlin is my friend who lost over 240 pounds--you can read her weight loss story here.)

I told her that if she didn't love every second of it, I would pay her back for the session, so it would cost her nothing. That's how sure I was that she would be thrilled with the experience.

To spoil the ending, she loved it so much that she wanted to tell everyone (just like I did!) how empowering it is. She went into the shoot thinking she would hate it, and left there wanting to tell everyone she knew that they should do it too. Haha!

So, she wrote a guest post about the experience, and even wanted to share a few modest photos. I hope you enjoy her post :)

When Katie first approached me with the idea that I should do a boudoir photoshoot with the woman who did hers, the phenomenal Catherine Kellie, my immediate reaction was hell no! First off, I have put on seven pounds, and even if it doesn’t seem like a huge difference, I can see and feel the gain.

Having my weight up for a while has made me feel bad about myself, so why on earth would I want to be photographed in my underwear?! After initially losing all the weight, I was always able to keep my weight stable within 1-2 pounds, and if it went above that I took it off right away.

Secondly, growing up, my family was fairly conservative and I couldn’t imagine stripping and posing in my underwear in front of a stranger. But Katie convinced me I should do it and I would feel incredible about myself after. Long story short, she was right!

The photographer, Catherine, sent out a great deal of information beforehand so I knew what to expect. She had me list favorite my favorite music so that the whole time I could relax to music that I enjoyed.

She had me list areas of my body that I liked and the areas that I was less than pleased with. Although I was skeptical and did not think I would enjoy the experience, I was starting to look forward to it after receiving all of the information from Catherine. I think knowing exactly what to expect and having so much communication made a huge difference.

I was spending Thanksgiving with my boyfriend's family in Michigan and then staying a couple extra days so I could hang out with Katie. I picked out my favorite lingerie to bring with me. Katie and I also went shopping so I could pick up some shoes. While we were there, I found a bustier that I just had to buy.

We also stopped at Dunhams so I could pick up something for a sportier look. I tried to sneak my Red Sox jersey to Michigan but couldn't find a way to keep it hidden (I did not tell my boyfriend about the shoot)! Shopping was fun--but the whole time, I was sure that I was making a mistake, wasting money, and would hate the photos.

The morning of the shoot I was so nervous; Katie and I had decided the night before that we would  get up and go for a run in the morning. The run helped me mentally, even though I knew a last minute 5K would do nothing to change my appearance. I always feel better after a run and it was so much fun running and chatting; normally I am a solo runner.

After a long drive and a bit of confusion with the directions (haha) we arrived at the studio. I was extremely nervous but both Catherine and the stylist, Kelsey, immediately put me at ease. It was a lot of fun having my hair and makeup done.

I do not normally wear much make up or make a big fuss with my hair so it was wonderful being pampered and made up. I was relieved to see that the makeup was not too heavy. Kelsey was wonderful and asked what look I preferred and would be comfortable with.

Catherine explained what would go on, went over my lingerie, and pretty soon it was time for me to change. Katie hung out with me as I was being made up, which helped calm my nerves, but then she left for the actual shoot.

At first I felt awkward and uncomfortable--I was never one to change in front of other women in the locker room or at races. Living in a body I despised and was ashamed of for so long made it very hard for me to let go and relax.

I know my body bears the signs and scars of losing a large amount of weight and I felt self conscious about those. Catherine assured me that I looked fantastic and that I should just have fun and indulge in my femininity and sexuality.

The first outfit I chose was the most modest so it was a good one to start with. After a couple of test shots I could feel myself loosening up and having fun. Catherine knew exactly how to pose me and assured me that although some of the poses felt odd and awkward, they would look fantastic.

The whole time she was telling me I looked great; or, if something was not quite right, how I should change position. When she showed me a couple test shots, I was blown away! I could not believe that was me on the camera! After seeing those I felt so pretty and feminine that I embraced the whole experience.

Before long, I was actually having fun. Kelsey did an amazing job with my hair and makeup and stayed through most of the shoot to touch me up as needed. They both put me at ease and made me feel wonderful about myself. Catherine gave genuine compliments and made me feel empowered.

I'd been so afraid to do the shoot because I'd felt bad about putting extra weight on, but the experience made me feel fantastic about myself and gave me more confidence in how I looked.

After leaving the shoot, I felt so much better about my appearance and I saw myself in a different light. I have never been a girly girl, worn much makeup, or taken extra time and care with how I looked. I figured it wasn’t worth the effort because I was living in a body I had "ruined" and would never look as good as people who had never been overweight.

After the shoot, I lost the feeling that I was not worth the time and effort, and that I could never look as good as “normal” girls. I would have loved to go out with Katie that night with my hair and makeup all done up, but unfortunately, I had to fly home that night.

As amazing as I felt during the shoot, I was sure that none of my photos would come out good and I would hate them all. As I am not local, Catherine and I did a Skype call about a week later. I was excited but nervous. She started with a video she had made of my photos and I was blown away.

I had no idea that I could look like that--that I could like how I looked and feel sexy and beautiful. I absolutely loved the majority of the photos--there were some I just liked, but there was not a single one I hated. And when I started to nitpick areas I did not like, I was able to take a step back and stop myself from being hypercritical.

After losing so much weight--despite the fact it has been seven years--I still do not always see myself as I am. I am still in the habit of thinking clothing will be too small or thinking that I would just look better if I could take off a little more weight.

After the shoot, I began to look at myself in a different light and see that all the work and effort was worth it and although my body is far from perfect, I looked beautiful just as I was. I was starting to feel a bit vain because I could not get over how much I loved the photos of myself.

I did the shoot so I could surprise my boyfriend for Christmas but I never expected to love the pictures for myself. I feel more confident with my appearance, more feminine, and empowered.

After Katie did her shoot and recommended all women do it, no matter how they feel about themselves, I could still never imagine doing one. There are still parts of my body I don’t like and can’t change, so I figured I would only feel bad about how I looked in the photos. The whole experience was the exact opposite--although I still do not love certain areas of my body, I can see that I can be sexy, alluring, and pretty.

The whole shoot was a real eye-opener, and I agree--every woman should do a shoot and do it for herself. Don’t do it to give pictures to a significant other; do it for yourself so you can feel empowered and amazing about yourself.

So you can see yourself through someone else's eyes and know that you are beautiful just the way you are.

I am already looking forward to doing another one in the future. While the package was pricier than I expected, it is worth every last penny. When I am beating myself up for how I look or my weight being up a little, I can look at my photos and remember that no one is perfect--I can be feminine and beautiful and own my sexuality.

I can understand why many women would say that doing a boudoir shoot isn't worth it for them or they won't like the experience or how they look. All I can say is keep an open mind and remember you are not obligated to buy any of the pictures.

Had I hated every photo I would have been out $149 (and the money I spent on the extra clothing). The photo shoot itself was worth every penny--I actually felt like a real model (especially holding some of the poses - that is hard work!)

I wish every woman was able to feel that good about herself, even just for an afternoon. I am the last person I could ever imagine to do a boudoir shoot, let alone love the experience and photos.  Katie was right--and I hope anyone considering it goes for it and has an amazing experience!


  1. Caitlin, you truly look stunning!!! I met you in California years ago when you came to speak to my class in Irvine during Ragnar. Take pride in those photos and in all that you continue to accomplish.

    1. Thank you so much! It was so nice meeting you and your class during th Ragnar!

  2. Gorgeous!! I would still love to do a shoot someday. Especially after reading both Katie's and now your experience! I'm still working up that courage though haha. All the pictures look stunning!

  3. This is so inspiring! Thank you Caitlin for sharing your story and photos. You look gorgeous.

  4. Absolutely gorgeous! You are stunning.

  5. Wow Caitlin, you look amazing. I especially love this last black and white with your blue eyes and the shadow on your face, you do look like a super model! Thanks for sharing your experience and your photos!

  6. Caitlin, what absolutely stunning pictures! Thanks for the post. You are right..everyone should do this!

  7. Gorgeous pictures, Caitlin!! I also booked a boudoir shoot after Katie wrote about her experience, and I loved how good it made me feel - even though I was, and am still overweight.

  8. Caitlin, thank you for being so candid and sharing your story, and pictures, with us. I can't imagine how hard it was to work up the courage to do the shoot I'm so glad you did, for YOU. I've thought about it, especially after Katie originally did her story a few years back but I haven't had the courage yet. I LOVE your photos...they are beautiful of course but I love them more because of how they made YOU feel. That's truly the most beautiful part of it all. I may just do it one of these days...maybe haha


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