I’m the girl usually behind-the-scenes – the one back stage, the one cheering talented people on, the one lifting them to a place where their art can be seen or heard and fully appreciated. I don’t see myself as the one the camera is focusing on – until now. I guess every girl wants to feel like a woman, sometimes. Sometimes people want to show a side of themselves very few people have seen.
Truly, I feel very lucky and honored to have had this opportunity to be photographed by Michael Abrams. He photographs Maxim and Playboy models. I’m not a model. I’m…well… just me.
If you look at his work, for his double-sided business, Sweet Emotion Boudoir Photography (where you can book an appointment to have him take the best photos of you that you’ll ever see), and for Michael Abrams Photography (where he works with models), you will see the beauty of the women he captures with his lens.
This convinced me to let go, trust in Michael’s talent, and give a photo shoot with him a try. If his photos of these women were terrible, then why would they come to him for their portfolios, and why would he get to work on these incredible magazine shoots around the world? Michael, like anyone else, wants to be proud of his work; his name is on the line; he certainly won’t publish pictures that look like outtakes with eyes closed or as I’m talking, right? It wouldn’t make sense! So I started to have a sense of security. It wasn’t just me putting myself out there for the world; it was him, putting himself out there, too, and of course we both wanted to show our best selves.
When Michael first mentioned the idea of a photo shoot to me, I was skeptical. I was thinking thoughts like “Me? Really? I don’t model. I don’t know how to pose. I don’t look like those beautiful girls that you’re used to taking pictures of.” But after months of me coming up with lists of my insecurities and self-doubt talk, and running my excuses past Michael; he assured me that I had nothing to worry about, and that I was in good hands.
I believe to my core that you only live once, and everyone should always live each moment to the fullest. I have reached a point in my life where besides placing my daughter’s happiness first, I want to put mine second. I want to live a life without regrets. I don’t want to wake up at 80 and wish I did, or have coulda, shoulda, woulda’s going through my head. I thought to myself, I wanted MY opinion to matter most – it didn’t matter if friends, family, or others wouldn’t make the same choices I would make. Most people don’t make the same choices as you anyway when it comes to anything.
Too many times when I was younger, I passed up opportunities to do things I wanted to do because I was afraid of what others would think, or put myself too low on my own priority list. Now, I’ve finally reached a place in my life where I can’t think of reasons “why not” – I can only think of reasons why I should. And that goes not just for this photo shoot opportunity, but for most choices I make now in my life. You only live once.
While you can see my face and the rest of me here on this page, I wish you all could have seen my face when I saw the first amazing photos of me that Michael took. I looked at them with utter surprise and my mouth dropped open and I laughed. I think I said out loud, “Oh my God! That’s me!?!??” with wide eyes, as I had first seen myself in a way that I had never seen before – with the disbelief that this was actually me. I could not believe it. He captured a side of me that very few people have ever seen. Usually people see photos of me posing next to friends and celebrities at public events. Different dress, different day. This – this was something different. It spoke to me in a way where I said to myself, “I need to show people this side of me. So they can see me as they’ve never seen me before – so they can see me like I saw myself for the very first time, in these photos – a sexier, sultry side of me. I can’t thank Michael Abrams enough for capturing this girl, like she’s never been photographed before.
Michael Abrams made me comfortable and I felt relaxed with his conversation and professional manner. He answered all of my 989 questions ahead of time, and he got me to smile throughout the photo shoot. It takes more than just a photographer with technical skills behind the camera to bring out the best in his subjects. Photography is a very social occupation, and you need to be able to put people at ease with your words, instruction, and mannerisms so the final art that both of you are creating is something that everyone can be proud of. Michael combines the best of all worlds which makes him good at what he does.
Michael and I connected through a mutual friend, model Ashley Salazar. Several months went by and he asked me about the idea of a photo shoot with him. Now, if you’re a girl on Facebook, you’ve probably gotten at least one message from one guy asking you to do something where you were skeptical, thinking “Is this guy hitting on me?” “Is he asking me something work-related because he has a hidden agenda to try to hook up with me?” So yes, I was questioning to a point if he was legit. Thus, I began checking out his work and watching the longevity of his business, and watching it take off. Finally, between his traveling, and my crazy schedule, we set a date for the photo shoot; the day after my birthday, at his studio in New York City. (Michael works primarily in New York City and St. Louis, Missouri, but on assignment he does travel all over globe.)
Yes, me, a woman, going to have a photo shoot in New York City, alone, with this photographer that I only met on Facebook, and messaged a few times, seems nuts. I know.
Just know this – the people I work with research me as much as I research them. And if anyone ever gives me any kind of creepy feeling, I run, faster than a speeding bullet in the opposite direction. All of my instincts were telling me that working with Michael Abrams was the opportunity of a lifetime, and it turns out, I was right. Models and magazines book him months in advance! Here he was making time for me. “Duh, girl!?! Opportunity isn’t just knocking, it’s pounding on your door! It’s not every day a girl gets a chance to be photographed by someone in such demand!” said the little voice inside my head.
Also, I have to be honest, if I hit the lottery tomorrow, I’d want him to follow me around and be my on-the-spot stylist. Michael told me that during the shoot, if he touches me, it’s not because he’s being fresh. He’ll say “touching”, and then adjust my crooked necklace, or move my hand if I have it in some awkward place that doesn’t look right through his lens, or he’ll fluff out my hair, or adjust a bra strap or move a clothing tag so it’s not sticking out. These are things that I would never notice on myself, but he catches every detail so the photos look perfect!
Michael does give fantastic direction so shots are well-lit in natural lighting and don’t look posed and uncomfortably artificial.
And here’s the part where I will be honest. I’m betting almost any woman would have the same concern. I was worried about my flaws on film.
Two weeks prior to the shoot I had scraped my leg and the bruise was still there. I had accidentally gotten some tan lines, and I had a black and blue on my arm. One of the first things I did was warn Michael Abrams ahead of time that if something could go wrong prior to the photo session, it had; and if he thought we should reschedule until I healed up from my klutziness, I understood.
This is where technology is awesome. After the photos were taken, he blended my tan lines into my skin tone, and erased my scrape and bruise.
While some may be totally opposed to Photoshopping, I take a middle-of-the-road stance on it. I don’t think you should make someone look ridiculously unlike themselves; but, I don’t think you really want to see my bumps and bruises either. Touché?
And if you think he Photoshopped my figure – I say to anyone who challenges that I am very real, to come meet me, and you’ll see what I look like for yourself. I try to take good care of myself and believe that your body reflects what you put inside of it and how well you treat it. If you eat crap, and treat yourself like crap, you’ll look like crap. In short, tan lines and bruises aside, this is me. What you see, is what you get.
And you still look like you!
Michael was great to work with. If you do work with him, you can use your own hair and make-up people, or you can do it yourself. I have learned how to do camera-ready make-up over the years, so I did my own make-up. But if you are not sure what camera-ready make-up means, then you probably should get your make-up done by a professional or you will look very washed out in the final photos. Try out at least two make-up looks before the shoot so you know what you like and are happy with the results. Even “natural” is not natural on camera. I also did my own hair. Honestly, I hate it when anyone else does my hair because 99% of hairdressers just don’t “get” curly hair or they try to morph it into wavy or straight hair, that is more the norm, and I wind up looking like a bad version of a Q-tip. (I had a photoshoot with a different photographer in January that was a horrendous experience in my view, all because I felt my hair looked awful. The hairdresser was clueless about curls. Needless to say, that experience shocked me, and I was really tepid about trying a photoshoot again.) What can I say, I’m so glad I gave a photoshoot with Michael a chance. I’m proud of my curls, and I’m really happy Michael let me show them off so I felt pretty and at my best, because that confidence translated to the final frames.
If you decide to book a photo shoot with Michael Abrams Photography or Sweet Emotion Boudoir Photography here are a few things you should know:
- Allow for 5 – 6 hours for the photoshoot.
- Make sure you get a good night’s sleep the night before so you look and feel refreshed because if you are tired, that will be captured on camera.
- Also, bring 5 – 6 outfits and a few pairs of coordinating shoes with you that you feel comfortable and sexy wearing. Most models and people that are professionally photographed
- And finally, go with the attitude that you will have fun! Because you will!
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