Today we're talking to Boudoir Photographer Kara Marie of Kara Marie Studios. She shares how she got her start, what she loves about boudoir photography, and she shares her tips on what makes a successful boudoir shoot.
We love your signature style! How did you get started in photography?
The short answer: very impulsively. I’ve always appreciated photography and had a good eye, but didn’t pick up a professional camera until I had my first child 12 years ago. I launched my business within a year and have been growing it ever since.
How would you describe your style?
I’m a beauty + boudoir photographer for the modern woman. I specialize in minimalist black and white imagery and depict women in a strong, confident, and cool manner while focusing on their authentic selves.
What drew you to boudoir photography?
Boudoir means different things for different people. For me, it’s all about helping women to feel liberated and gorgeous in their own skin. No need to cover it up with heavy makeup and tons of wardrobe. I love the simplicity of wearing nothing but sheets or your favorite sweater. It feels so much more authentic to me...at least the way I’ve chosen to shoot it!
What would you say to someone who is interested in boudoir photography but is hesitant to take the leap?
It’s so important that women do their research and find a boudoir photographer whose work and message resonates with them. I myself have had over a dozen boudoir experiences with other photographers and I can tell you that we are not all cut from the same cloth. The best photographer for you may not be the best photographer for your best friend, so research and follow along with that photographer’s social media and online portfolio for a period of time before making your decision. Just as an amazing boudoir experience can change your life, a terrible one can cause some damage...so don’t price shop. An uplifting boudoir experience with a photographer who you adore is priceless.
Boudoir by nature is very intimate. How do you get your clients to relax and feel comfortable with you?
Apparently, getting people naked yet feeling like they’re completely safe and comfortable is my superpower. Every single client says they can’t believe how comfortable they feel. I create a really inviting atmosphere with good music, an incredible all female staff, and I direct and encourage my clients every step of the way. They never have to wonder if they’re posing correctly or if their hair looks good...all of that is my job, they just have to show up and trust me! I also make a conscious effort to put myself out there on my blog and social media so my audience can get to know me...which results in the bulk of my clients walking in the studio feeling like they already know me and are just meeting up with an old friend.
How do you empower women with your photography?
I focus on uncovering maximum confidence and assisting in the building of inner beauty. A confident woman is a beautiful woman and a woman’s looks are the least interesting thing about them. I make sure that every woman feels valued, whole, and incredible during and after their photo shoot experience with me, which is an aspect that many other photographers neglect while focusing only on aesthetics. Beyond that, I strive to make my interpretation of boudoir free of hyper-sexualization...because while there is absolutely nothing wrong with sex or sexiness and it should not be shamed in any capacity, I feel that ONLY promoting that aspect of boudoir photography is not giving women the credit they deserve and would be doing a disservice to our industry. Perhaps, also, choosing not to only portray women in a hyper-sexualized manner in the media is my own personal form of rebellion. I’ve never been one to go along with the crowd. ;)
What is the most rewarding part of a boudoir session?
For my clients, it's the feeling of inclusivity and confidence in a situation that they expected to be incredibly timid and potentially embarrassed through. They leave the studio feeling beautiful, liberated, loved, accepted exactly as they are and proud of themselves for conquering their nerves. For *me,* it's the photo reveal appointment—the theatrical event in which each client comes back into the studio to view their photos for the first time ever. It is so rewarding to be able to give that to women.
A big part of boudoir photography are the keepsakes. How do you get clients excited about physical products?
I've spent many years curating a collection of physical products that I'm proud of, and spent a lot of time talking about them with clients because the images truly come to life once they are in print. When clients hold our luxury albums, they are in love. I display them all over the studio and talk about them often on social media. I'm also a huge advocate for wall art. I encourage all women working with ANY boudoir photographer to find the image that makes them feel like the most confident, strongest, best version of themselves and print it BIG to hang in their home as a daily reminder of how incredible they are. I'm sure to give them an experience and finished products so impactful that it would be a crime to keep them stuffed away in a drawer.
If someone was hoping to pursue boudoir photography, what advice would you give them?
While the photography community is important, I encourage new boudoir photographers to focus more on developing a strong brand and brand message and focus less on hanging out in photographer Facebook forums all day and seeking validation from their peers. Boudoir photography is an extremely impactful genre that has the power to spread an "epidemic" of confidence in women everywhere. I'd love to see more boudoir photographers filling the role of self-development advocates for their clients.
Kara Marie Trombetta is headquartered in Austin, TX where she operates two successful photography studios and is currently in the process of publishing her first book. Beyond the studio, she is the mother of two boys, a wife to her high school sweetheart, an avid traveler, and a food enthusiast. See more of her work at karamariestudios.com.