Hailed by a Rock n Roll Bride as “the Original Tattooed Bride Photographer” Mike Allebach possesses an amazing ability to naturally photograph life on the fringe. He is a visual campfire storyteller. His journey into wedding photography started when he was in a punk rock band. Before photographing weddings, he photographed punk bands. Ariel author of Offbeat Bride said “It’s obvious that Mike Allebach so totally gets offbeat brides”
Mike says about his clients, “In my heart I’m instinctively inclusive, always looking for ways to draw others into the circle and make them feel wanted, heard, and appreciated. It’s my punk rock ethic. The uniqueness of my photos comes from the uniqueness of my clients. And I believe I have the best clients in the world.”
Allebach Photography will be at Exxxotica 2019 in Edison, NJ
EXXXOTICA is The Largest Adult Event in the USA Dedicated to Love & Sex. Taking place over three days, EXXXOTICA was created for like-minded adults who are looking to “celebrate sexy”.
Whether for date-night, bachelor or bachelorette parties or just good ole people watching, there’s something for everyone (over 18) at EXXXOTICA. You want to spice up your love life with a new toy or technique? Then shop from our 150 plus exhibitors or catch one of our many educational seminars. Want to meet your favorite adult stars, and take some photos with them? EXXXOTICA brings out over 200 of the top stars in the industry and they’re there to meet you, their fans. Are you in the mood for a live performance? We have a full blown entertainment stage where burlesque, male revues, and our very own Ms. EXXXOTICA 2018 will be crowned. You like to people watch you say? See something you’ve never seen before? Make your way to one of our most popular show features, The EXXXOTICA Dungeon Experience to see BDSM demonstrations on suspension rigs and spanking benches and learn about fetish lifestyle first hand. If you’re daring you’re welcome to participate.
Allebach Photography will be reserving couples boudoir dates for the holidays!
That’s the beauty of EXXXOTICA. The entire event is an interactive experience that allows you to engage at your own personal comfort level. We expect you’ll come out of your shell a little… or a lot, depending on who you are, but it’s all in good fun! Ladies, if you’re still not sure about it come on Friday. EXXXOTICA features Ladies Free Friday so no excuses! Get dressed up, and bring your girlfriends for a ladies night out or bring your hubby for the best date-night ever. From vanilla to swinger, there’s something for everyone.
If you’ve read this far, you’re obviously into it. Why not try something different? We promise we won’t bite… Unless you want us to.
Recently, we captured Sequoia, Thom and Tony’s polyamourous relationship. At Allebach Photography we celebrate all types of love.
Monogamist living – finding “the one” to exclusively settle down and build a life with – is still the most common type of relationship, more and more people are beginning to find that this mold doesn’t work for them and are embracing other ways to love.
Like Sequoia, who is in a polyamorous relationship (meaning involving more than one sexual or romantic partner with all partners agreeing to the arrangement) with her husband, Thom, and their friend, Tony. She describes the three of them as best friends and one big family.
After work, Sequoia sits on the couch with one hand holding Thom’s, and with the other enclosed in Tony’s.
“On a normal day we all sit together on the couch with me holding each of their hands and we Netflix and chill. Literally chill,” says Sequoia.
Sequoia, Thom and Tony live together, along with Sequoia and Thom’s three children.
“Thom and I keep a separate relationship from Tony and I’s relationship, then the three of us have a friendship together. We split time. Every two nights I rotate between Thom and Tony. So each week one of them ends up with an extra night with me. We keep two bedrooms. We are very honest with each other. If we weren’t this would not work,” says Sequoia.
She continues, “Because Tony is straight and Thom is bisexual, and I am pansexual, a romantic relationship between Thom and Tony is non-existent. The common thing between them other than being best friends is me.”
There are many ways to have a non-monogomous relationship (you’ve probably heard of open relationships and swingers) but polyamory is becoming a more widespread practice as misconceptions about the practice are being debunked.
“Poly lifestyle requires a lot of thought and complete trust. You have to understand how much emotional baggage you have to bypass in order for this to work. Jealousy. Fear. Insecurity. None of them have any place in a poly lifestyle. They are normal human reactions that you learn to toss aside and replace with compersion,” says Sequoia.
Sometimes, the hardest thing about being in a polyamorous relationship is encountering people who try to make sense of their relationship, she says.
“We are open about our lifestyle. We go out together in public and don’t hide affection. We have had to deal with some opposition, which to be honest we knew would happen. People have different values, morals. We all respect that. But when we come up against someone trying to shove their religious agenda down our throats and criticizing our lifestyle to the point of harassment, we all mutually agree to tell them to fuck off,” says Sequoia.
Ready for boudoir at Allebach Photography? Check out this video of our newest boudoir area in the studio called French Quarter. The tones of the French Quarter meld with the industrial loft of Allebach Photography.
Boudoir is the perfect gift for anniversaries, holidays or birthday! Treat yoself! You deserve it!
We are located only 2 hours from NYC and 1 hour from the Philadelphia airport. We are accessible via the Doylestown/Lansdale line on the Septa Railway. Call us or text us at 610.539.6920 or use our contact form at http://www.allebachphotography.com/contact/
Allebach Photography is located a short drive from Doylestown, Bensalem, Blue Bell, King of Prussia and Lansdale. In walking distance of the North Wales train station with trains running from Doylestown to Philadelphia.
10 Reasons for a Solo Boudoir Experience at Allebach Photography
Whatever the occasion, a photographic boudoir experience is a perfect way to celebrate YOUR life. People just like you are having boudoir experiences at Allebach Photography. All genders, ages, ethnicities and body types come into our studio for photography. You’ll start with professional hair & makeup and ending with designing artwork. Unveil the badass within. You’ll leave your boudoir session feeling more confident, empowered and sexy as hell.
Below are 10 of our favorite reasons to have a solo boudoir session!
1. It’s your birthday (we gonna party like it’s your birthday)
What better way to celebrate the birth of you than by slipping into your birthday suit and workin’ what your mama gave you?
Birthday Boudoir Reveal
2. You set and reached a goal
Whether you’ve been putting in the time after work or getting up at the crack of dawn to run around the neighborhood, you’ve hit your fitness goals and encapsulating them with a photo session is the perfect way to freeze this moment in time.
3. You just got a promotion at work (like a boss)
You kicked ass at work and you’ve been recognized for it. Instead of hitting happy hour with some co-workers you barely know, treat yourself to one of our empowerment boudoir sessions. Shoes and shirt optional.
4. You just ended a relationship or started a new one
Changing your relationship status is a perfect reason many of our clients have boudoir sessions. A boudoir experience can be the perfect way to boost your self-confidence and embrace the new single you.
Nighttime Boudoir at Allebach Photography
5. You just had a baby
It’s been 9 long months since your body’s belonged to you. Motherhood has changed you, mentally and physically. Thank your body for making a tiny little human and embrace the changes it’s gone through.
6. You just got engaged/married
A solo session can have the double bonus of being both a gift for you and your partner. Treat yourself to the session, and then gift your photos and artwork to your significant other as a wedding gift.
7. You’re celebrating sobriety
In today’s culture, not all milestones are created equal; in fact, society would even prefer to pretend some don’t exist. But celebrating milestones, whether it’s 30 days or 30 years sober, are what truly make the up the fabric of our lives. Staying on the straight and narrow route is worth commending yourself on.
8. You finished school The endless nights of cramming have come to a close and you’ve finally crossed that stage and gotten your hands on that coveted diploma. Break out the Vitamin C and instead of immortalizing this time in your life with that cliché studio portrait of you in a cap and gown, take some photos of how you really want to remember yourself.
9. You just retired
Many of our clients ceremonialize retirement with boudoir! Celebrate this next chapter of your life by proving that beauty and confidence are timeless.
10. You’re celebrating overcoming an illness
To come out on the other side of a serious illness, whether it’s a disease or cancer, is a truly transformational experience. Illnesses challenge us to change and to rise above. Solo boudoir, for many of our clients, has acted as therapeutical, as a sort of “Fuck you,” to the illnesses that tried to destroy them but wound up making them stronger. .
Whatever your reason or even if you have no reason at all, boudoir is a way to treat yourself. It’s time to take the step and book your boudoir.
You and your partner did it, you came out Allebach Photography’s boudoir studio, got all dolled up, and had a blast making fun and sexy memories together. Now what? The next step after your photo session is to sit down with us and create your artwork in our design gallery space.
Below are 10 reasons to commemorate your session by gifting your partner (and yourself!) a boudoir album.
They’re professionally curated Cropping, color correcting, making sure your photos are of a high enough resolution for print…we deal with the technical aspects of the album. Each album is handcrafted in New York.
You’ll relive your session every time you open it up
Think of your photo album as a mini time capsule. Each time you open up your album, you’ll be transported back to that magical day in our studio.
They don’t force you to choose a favorite Can’t decide which photo is your favorite? The best part about choosing an album is with its many pages you don’t have to!
No need to worry about losing your digitals “Having a physical album is nice because it’s private and you’re less likely to have an album destroyed than digitals (hacked, a computer breakdown, etc.)” says our client Desiree M.With physical, hard copies of your photos, there’s no need to worry about your digital versions getting destroyed because you forgot to backup your hard drive.They make for great foreplay .
Snuggling up in bed with your partner and pulling out your album can be a great way to spice up your foreplay.
They’re elegant Photo albums are timeless and no matter how many digital photo-storing crazes come and go, a well-bound album you can hold in your hands will never go out of style.“There really is something about being able to see your art on your wall or in a book. It adds an element of elegance,” says Kayla C.
You can showcase it on your coffee table While some of our clients prefer to keep their more risqué photos more private, many choose to display them in their homes, like on a coffee table for visitors.“I have our album on our coffee table for everyone to see!” says A. B.
It will make you feel sexy all the time “When we went back to pick up our artwork, we ordered a huge album with all the photos she wanted in it. I want her to feel pretty all the time,” Meredith T. said of the photos of her and her girlfriend. Couldn’t we all use a daily pick up like that?
You get the offline experience in the online world We spend so much time on our devices, staring at our computer screens until our eyes are dried out. The experience of scrolling through our camera roll on our iPhones can’t compare to the feeling of gently turning the pages of your special album.
It’s another tool to tell the story of your love and anchor your love If you could create a time capsule encompassing everything that celebrates you and your partner’s love for one another what would you include? A few concert ticket stubs, some love notes…how about a photo album of you two at your happiest?!
Ask anyone that knows Katye, a confident and bodacious plus-sized Jersey gal, and they’ll tell you her personality has always shined bright like a diamond.
“I have always been plus size, and I usually rocked out any outfit at any size and made it known to the world that I didn’t care what others thought of me,” says Kayte.
Finding her partner, Chris, boosted her confidence, even more, when he proved he loved her for who she was, regardless of size, by proposing to her.
But two years ago, Kayte’s confidence was shaken to its core.
Two days before her wedding, in June 2017, Kayte’s mother passed away after a grueling year battling Stage 4 Breast Cancer.
“She made me promise that I would still go through with it and party and be happy and go on my honeymoon, knowing that that is what she would have wanted,” says Kayte.
“It was literally the hardest thing that I ever had to do.”
When her and her new husband, Chris, returned from their honeymoon they took in her younger sister and nephew and suddenly she was married caring for two kids.
“My life took me in a whirlwind.”
Kayte put on the most weight she had ever gained at one time. Her weight gain, coupled with her mom’s passing, put her in a depressive state.
“Feeling confident in my plus size body went away pretty quickly and I stopped dressing up, going out and letting my ‘sexiness’ show for my hubby,” says Kayte.
Kayte came across an open call for an Empowerment session with our photographer, Annie.
“My husband and I had just had a conversation about wanting to do something like a couples shoot. This would be solo, and I thought it would be a perfect way to get back on my feet and get my head straight. I wanted to be able to show the ‘real’ me. The confident, fun-loving, bold personality that I am known for being.”
The Empowerment shoot did just say, she says, adding that throughout the process Annie was a “gentle soul”, putting Kayte at ease throughout the entire process.
“I was able to explore some spaces in the new studio, try on a number of different outfits (or lack thereof), and basically smile and laugh out loud the entire time. My hair and makeup were on point! Katherine [our makeup artist] is literally amazing and also made me feel like a million bucks! One of the highlights of this experience!”
While Kayte says she may not be exactly where she wants to be in terms of her weight, the empowerment session gave her back her confidence and helped her set some goals for when she returns for a couples session with her husband.
“I may not be exactly where I want to be, but I feel so much better than I did – and I know what my future goals look like. There is a light out of this tunnel. And THAT is when Chris and I will do a couples session – to celebrate being where we want to be (or at least closer) and share that special time with one another, capture it, and savor it. I absolutely cannot wait to come back and do a shoot with my husband.”
Couples boudoir photography is stripping down to connect, feel more confident and sexy with your partner. This photo experience is then turned into the most epic gift for you. I didn’t feel like counting, so put the number of photos in this article in the comments below, thanks! Take a look at these photos…and book your couples boudoir experience today!
Amy & Tim’s Couples Boudoir Story Will Make You Feel Better About The World
Amy and Tim are about to celebrate 11 years since tying the knot, but they’ve been together for much longer than that. The two began seeing each other in all the way back in high school, where they bonded over everything from mini-golf, to a shared inability to never get sick of pizza to “all things geeky.”
“Some couples take breaks or grow apart but we always knew we had a forever thing. Some people’s spouses aren’t their best friends and that’s perfectly fine, but for me, he’s my person, my better half, the person who allows me to be the truest form of myself,” says Amy.
“Tim told me he was gonna propose when we had been together for about three years – mind you he told me that when we were 17!”
True to his word, Tim proposed when the two were sophomores in college and the rest, as they say, is history.
Amy and Tim were married in 2008 and welcomed their daughter into the world that following year.
Being positive role models for their daughter is something that’s been important to them ever since, says Amy, who admits that over the years she’s struggled with her own self-confidence.
“As a bigger girl, I’ve always struggled with my confidence like most women regardless of size.”
She continues, “But by some miracle, it all changed for me when I hit 28. I think at that point in my life I had hit all those silly milestones people put on themselves – I had a husband, a child, a house and a good job – and once I had those I realized I just didn’t care what people thought about me anymore. Being plus-sized didn’t stop amazing things from happening in my life, so why should I punish myself for the way I was built? That’s when I decided that the most important thing for me to be, especially for my daughter to see, was to be confident!”
That desire was what first drew Amy to boudoir photography, who began to look into doing a solo session on her own.
“By a fluke, we stumbled upon the Allebach booth at the Exotica Expo in New Jersey. Both Tim and I were on board from the start, and once we joined the Facebook group (because obviously, I had so many questions), we really felt like we had found our people,” said Amy.
Couples Boudoir Nerves Calmed
While Tim and Amy both agree that they were nervous for their shoot, their fears were quickly extinguished.
“Honestly speaking the whole crew there helped me get over my fears. They were welcoming and made us feel at home and that made it easier to be ourselves. Seeing my wife all done up and knowing that we were about to have an intimate experience we would never forget made the butterflies worth it,” Tim said.
“Our shoot was so much fun, we were super nervous, but honestly we had no reason to be. Mike was like a friend we didn’t know we had and made us instantly comfortable. It was sexy and fun to roll around half-naked and then completely naked with my hubby, because how could it not be?” said Amy.
The couple can’t wait to do another shoot in a few years.
“Overall we would do it again in an instant, and honestly plan to again in a few years. We tell of all our friends they should do it, its a great experience for a couple to go through. I like to think Mike really captured the love between us, and I treasure seeing how we look at each other in those pictures. The pictures now hang proudly in our bedroom always reminding us how sexy we are and how much love we hold for each other, and its doesn’t matter how great your life is sometimes you just need those little things to put things in perspective,” Amy said.
Tim adds, “It was a great time for us and I’ll forever recommend them to anyone looking for something different and intimate.”
Check out these Couples Boudoir in Black and White
Our clients get to design their wall art in either black and white or in color. Any photo we take can be either black and white or color. So we thought it would be fun to put our favorite photos in B & W.
Schedule your couples boudoir session by calling 610.539.6920. Our studio is located outside of Philadelphia. Only a 3 hour drive from Washington DC, 2 hour drive from Baltimore, New York City and North Jersey and a 1 hour drive from Lancaster.
Our studio was designed around having couples in and building gifts of albums or wall art for each other! This experience is huge and loads of fun!
Leave your session with wall art or an album and more confidence than you walked in with!
How can you not want to try out a fun and sexy photoshoot after seeing this! Call us at 610.539.6920 to book your session.
Real Couples Boudoir Photoshoots Chronicles: Stories at Allebach Photography
Meredith was thrilled – not to mention a little shocked – when her girlfriend, Debbie, agreed to do a couple’s boudoir session with her.
“The photo shoot was right up my alley and not ever something I thought she would consider. Trust me, she agreed to do it for me. I never dreamed it would go so well! She loved it. Not just the amazing photos but the whole process,” Meredith shares.
Their love story is a little risqué for the stereotypical law enforcement type.
The two met in D.C. when Debbie (who recently retired) was a Deputy U.S. Marshal at Superior Court and Meredith was just a “baby” lawyer, having recently graduated from law school.
“I was a law clerk for one of the judges at the same courthouse. I, uh, developed a thing for the U.S. Marshals, who staff Super Court. So much so that when the judges were looking for a deputy to transport a prisoner or something and the marshals were not answering downstairs, they would call my judge’s chambers. There were always deputies in there!” says Meredith.
Letting loose and law enforcement aren’t exactly two terms people tend to string together; But Meredith says that’s exactly what their boudoir session allowed them to do.
“She had so much fun, laughing and giggling and talking about crazy stuff we did when we met 18 years ago. You caught that I said giggling, right? Just FYI, law enforcement types…not big on giggling… I am sure none of you know about that stuff, having never, ever interacted with an officer of the law before,” she jokes.
The next day Debbie sent Meredith a text about how much fun they had, using words like magic, fun, flirty and sensuous.
The most important part of the couples boudoir session
But the most important words were the ones Debbie said to her on the way home from the studio the day of the photo shoot.
Debbie said to Meredith, “You know I never like the way I look in pictures, but in these pictures, I actually look pretty.”
Isn’t She Beautiful?
“I was shocked. Look, she is gorgeous. I’ve been telling her that for years! But it doesn’t matter what other people tell us. We all need to see ourselves up on the wall in all that Technicolor glory to really believe it. To truly realize ‘I’m pretty. I’m hot.’”
The couple recently picked up their artwork, ordering a huge album to look back on.
“You absolutely cannot put a price on what it has done for our relationship, our confidence, our happiness & our mental health. Trust me. It’s the gift that keeps on giving! After our experience, I am confident Mike and his team can make anyone comfortable. That is the Allebach magic!”
Meredith has already persuaded her girlfriend to do a bodyscaping photo session with Mike for her birthday this summer.
“I’m planning to get hot and naughty in a session with her Dodge Challenger in the fall,” she said. “I could have worse vices…”
Couples Boudoir, Engagements, Weddings, Family & Boudoir Studio
For the last 14 years we’ve been the photographer for everyone who was a little outside the box. People just like you asked the question, “who can photograph us?” Who won’t judge us for who we are. Whether it was a tattooed punk rock wedding, interracial non-religious wedding or same-sex couple, we’ve been the photographer for EVERYBODY who didn’t feel like they could find a photographer.
These days you’ll mostly find us in the studio! You’ll love being photographed here. Every day we make people feel like rock stars. The process starts with a phone call where we find out how to bring out the best of you in the photos. Once you come in you’ll get hair and makeup to make you feel like a rock star.
After the photosession you’ll see your photos right away in our design gallery space! You’ll get artwork that will anchor you to your experience and your badass.
Dave and Cathy have a love story that goes all the way back to when they were little kids, sneaking kisses in the closet during a game of Hide and Seek or under the bushes outside playing Capture the Flag.
“Dave and I met when he was nine years old and I was seven years old. His sister, Michele, was my best friend growing up so I spent a lot of time at their house,” she said.
Though they never dated and each grew up, got married and had children of their own, Dave and Cathy reconnected several years later after a couple of failed marriages and a devastating cancer diagnosis for Cathy.
On July 14, 2010 she was diagnosed with kidney cancer. She had to have part of her left kidney removed.
“I was extremely sick during that time so it took 18 months for my blood counts to come up to levels where the docs were not freaking out. My body struggling to heal triggered an autoimmune disease and I started losing patches of hair in 2011,” said Cathy, who added that she tried to hide the severity of her diagnosis from Dave initially by covering up with hats and wigs.
“Dave knew I was wearing hats and hiding something but he had no idea just how bad it was until I just totally gave up and shaved it all off.”
She was so nervous he would bolt when she shaved her head, but Dave surprised her.
She continued, “I told him my medical history when we reconnected back in 2013 and told him he could get out if he wanted to, but he said he wasn’t going anywhere,” said Cathy.
“He said he wasn’t going anywhere and kissed my head when I shaved it!”
Taking control and owning her looks gave Cathy the boost of confidence she didn’t even realize she was missing. And the fact that Dave not only supported her through this, but told her she was even sexier bald made her smile more than she had in years.
“I decided to rock my bald look! When I looked into Dave’s eyes I saw love but I also saw how proud he was of me for being bold and he told me I had never been more sexy!”
When Cathy discovered Allebach Photography’s couples boudoir sessions through a former cake decorating student of hers she decided she HAD to do one.
“For me, I wanted to show everyone who sees these pictures that bald is beautiful and sexy! I know so many women (and men) through social media with alopecia in various stages and levels of hair loss. There are so many children out there with this disease also. At 41 this disease was horrible to deal with but I cannot imagine being a child with this. People are defined by their hair!”
She shared some photos with Dave and asked if it was something he’d be interested in doing, not sure how he would respond, him being the conservative and reserved one of the two. Lucky, he surprised her by saying he would LOVE to and so the couple drove the three hours from Binghamton, NY. to the studio in North Wales, PA.
Cathy says they did the session for so many reasons, from wanting to capture their unique connection, to inspiring others, to just proving that being 50 and bald can be sexy.
“Dave is 50 and I am 49 and we wanted to prove 50 is still sexy! We will never be this young again, so let’s record this point on our lives with pictures that we can look at when we are 95 and say, ‘yep! We were sexy!’”
Cathy and Dave’s session was both sexy and fun, exactly the way their relationship is in real life. At one point, Cathy jumped out dressed head to toe in a zebra print oneise.
“When we were talking about the shoot, from the beginning I told him I was going to wear footy pajamas! It is a running joke with us because, at most, I wear cheekies to bed! So when I was down to cheekies and he was down to his Calvin Klein’s, I said. ‘oh shit! I forgot something! Zipped behind the curtain to where my bag was, whipped on my footie pajamas and came out in my zebra print jammies and jumped on the bed!”
Cathy has always identified herself as a free spirit and so taking her clothes off for some more intimate photos was no big deal, she says. And as for Dave, he put his trust fully in Cathy and Mike.
“I really wasn’t sure how Dave would feel when it came to the shoot but he trusted me and Mike and just went with it.”
Some of her favorite photos from their session are the ones that simply convey their sensuality and closeness with each other, like the one where Dave is staring lovingly at her body or their hands are locked during a kiss.
“I see two people who have been through so much but are stronger together and holding each other up and so loving. I was hoping Mike would capture how Dave looks at me, and he did.”
Cathy is already looking forward to her next session with the studio. When she turns 50 next year she wants to do a solo shoot that focuses on bald beauty and strength.
“When I was diagnosed with cancer, it was really a wakeup call for me. What was I doing with my life? When I die, what will people remember about me? What will people say when they think of me? What do people think now when they think of me? I want everything that I put out into the universe to be positive, loving, full of life! I want to inspire anyone dealing with this disease to stop hiding! It is OK to be bald and to embrace it!”
Boudoir. Sexy. Raunchy. Exciting. Trashy. Empowering. Degrading. Everyone has his or her own opinion when they hear the words “Boudoir Photography,” but just what is it really?
In French, “boudoir” refers to a lady’s private dressing room or bedroom. Traditionally, a boudoir session refers to a solo woman posing partially clothed or in lingerie. The photos are tasteful, sexy, classy and elegant.
Couples Boudoir aims to achieve all a solo boudoir session does, and more. At Allebach photography, we believe couples boudoir is more than photography – it’s the art of getting close to that special someone in your life.
There are a lot of misconceptions and skewed beliefs around boudoir photography. Below we attempt to debunk them once and for all.
Misconception #1 – Boudoir Photography is like having sex in front of a stranger
Let’s get it out there in the open. Boudoir is not porn, it’s not even sex.
“I think the most common misconception is that we’re actually having sex while getting photographed. This is obviously not happening. There is a lot of kissing and caressing and closeness. It’s a super intimate and sexy and FUN experience, but no one is having sex,” says Kayla Cook.
Misconception #2 – You have to have a perfect body or be a model
Everyone deserves to feel sexy, beautiful, loved and to be proud of their body. Your jean size, your age, your shape, none of it matters. Couples boudoir is about celebrating your relationship, inside and out, flaws and all. We celebrate and bring to light what makes each couple unique.
Misconception #3 – You must get naked
You do not have to be naked. You don’t even have to get down to your underwear. Your boudoir session is about capturing the true essence of you and your partner. If that means sporting your favorite band tee, go for it! Then again, if it means stripping down to nothing but a pair of stilettos or converses that’s perfectly ok too.
“Mike let’s you do what you want, you don’t have to take off what you don’t want to. Initially, I was nervous and was standing fully clothed, by the end I was walking around topless and in panties. I felt sooo badass,” said Melinda Stinson.
Misconception #4 – You can’t hang up or show off your art because it would be considered pornographic or narcissistic
Who says you can’t anchor your love and life with wall art and albums – especially in your own home?
“That you wouldn’t be able to show off your art because it would be ‘pornographic’ – which is 100 percent not the case. I have our album on our coffee table for everyone to see!” said Antonia Blanda.
Misconception #5 – They’re only for women looking to please their men
Whether you’re interested in a couples or a solo session, boudoir is something you do for YOU, and you first. While there are many women that will book a session to give as a gift for their significant other, just as many women (and men) are signing up to do something special for themselves or their relationship.
Misconception #6 – Your photos are going to end up all over the internet
False. When you sign on to do a session with us, your photos are accessible only to you. We provide you with a password-protected gallery and all photos are completely private unless you decide you want to do a model call or sign a model release.
Misconception #7 – Boudoir is not for shy or “awkward” couples
Some of our most dynamic sessions are with couples that self-identify as “shy” or “awkward”. It’s normal to feel a bit awkward in the beginning of a session, especially if this is your first time, but once we get started you’ll see how quickly it can be to get into your groove and let the camera fade away.
Misconception #8 – Boudoir sessions are sleazy or tacky
Many couples out there on the fence about doing a session are hesitant because of this misconception, perhaps one of the biggest falsities. Boudoir is not trashy or tacky. With the right photographer, it can be not only sensual, sexy, and tasteful, but empowering too!
Misconception #9 – Boudoir is something you do only once
Many clients return for a second, even a third boudoir session. Clients say it makes them feel great about themselves and enhances the quality of their relationships. Think about couples boudoir as a fun alternative to couples therapy!
There are days when entrepreneurship spills black ink all over the pages of my life soaking into every corner with self-doubt, fear, and anxiety. Out of nowhere thwack, hit with imposter syndrome. The mantra “past success does not guarantee future performance” rings loudly in my ear. And I wonder can owning a business cause depression? Riding the roller coaster and feeling the excitement of launching new things also comes with the reminder of risk and bad days and weeks. For all of its highs, entrepreneurship has some terrible lows. Why is this topic so rarely discussed?
Most of us started our journeys riding high with excitement for the ways we were going to add significance and change people’s lives and our communities. At some point we are jolted with the reality of our decision, being an entrepreneur is not only difficult but it’s profoundly emotional work. Those who are willing to do the job of sharing their vision know, just as the pendulum swings to excitement and joy, it can swing just as far into darkness. We take on the weight for the success of our service, clients, vendors, and employees. Growing rapidly, learning new skills and crushing through personal barriers then waking up at 3 am mind racing wondering if we still have what it takes.
For many, it’s easier to put on a front as an entrepreneur and pretend that everything is all right. This dark side of entrepreneurship is not exactly fun coffee conversation. It’s easier to use our eternal optimism mask to power through. We use the “fear is just excitement” trick every public speaker uses as they step on stage.
Despite what the gurus and Instagram coaches tell you, not everyone has what it takes to be an entrepreneur. Some days I question if I am. Sure we entrepreneurs get knocked down, and we get back up eventually, it’s in our blood. But some days are hard, fucking hard and I feel this in my bones. There is a heavy weight of charting your path and success. When you own your dreams and passion so immensely, you can fall into a pit of self-blame when things don’t turn out as planned.
Like many people who have carved a path into the ground with persistently working hard to pursue a dream, there are days when the Fraud Police comes to visit.
Punk Cabaret singer-songwriter Amanda Palmer describes it this way.
“The Fraud Police are the imaginary, terrifying force of ‘real’ grown-ups who you believe – at some subconscious level – are going to come knocking on your door in the middle of the night, saying:
We’ve been watching you, and we have evidence that you have NO IDEA WHAT YOU’RE DOING. You stand accused of the crime of completely winging it, you are guilty of making shit up as you go along, you do not deserve your job, we are taking everything away, and we are TELLING EVERYBODY.”
What I know is creative, deep and meaningful entrepreneurial work isn’t free. It’s a heart investment. When we sow into our work and into products and ideas to make our corner of the earth a little better – our dreams and heart can get broken. Failure and the fear of failure, although we are told to accept them, doesn’t make for a good friend.
In my search for answers, the one that most resonated was Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl’s
“Don’t aim at success. The more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side effect of one’s dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself. Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success: you have to let it happen by not caring about it. I was hoping you could listen to what your conscience commands you to do and go on to carry it out to the best of your knowledge. Then you will live to see that in the long-run—in the long-run, I say!—success will follow you precisely because you had forgotten to think about it…Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with almost any ‘how.’”
So what now? I know bad days and weeks will come and go for both you and me. Maybe it’s time to break the taboo of talking about the dark side of entrepreneurship. I’m not suggesting the faux-authenticity of instacelebs talking about messy hair and wearing only sweatpants. Those are safe and easy admissions. What if we talked about the struggles, stress and mental health of an entrepreneur openly?
I hope this sparks a conversation in your corner of the world. How do you cope with the stress of entrepreneurship? Let us know in the comments below.
Mike Allebach is a photographer of couples boudoir and tattooed weddings . His book Viral Personal Branding arrives in 2019. His work has been featured in Offbeat Bride, Cosmopolitan and Huffington Post. Learn more about weddings and couples boudoir at allebachphotography.com.
Posttraumatic stress disorder, more commonly known as PTSD, can be a debilitating condition, making it nearly impossible for some people to even leave their homes, let alone be comfortable enough to strip down naked in front of a camera.
And yet, at Allebach Photography, some of our strongest and most badass clients are people living with PTSD to help take back their lives and give their PTSD a big “F You.”
Affecting an estimated 44.7 million people around the world (according to PTSDUnited.org), PTSD is a mental health condition that can occur after a person experiences or witnesses a traumatic event, such as a natural disaster, a serious accident, a terrorist act, war/combat, rape or other violent personal attacks.
For many, symptoms include nightmares or unwanted memories of the trauma, avoidance of situations that bring back memories of the trauma, heightened reactions, insomnia, panic attacks, anxiety, and/or depression.
“I do not do well in public, around anyone I don’t know. I struggle in stores often leaving a cart full of items and leave the store. I have serious driving issues… flashing lights bother me, I could honestly go on for days about my issues,” says Joe, a recent client of Allebach Photography whose name has been changed to respect his privacy.
Despite such daily struggles that can make social interactions with strangers difficult, the former U.S. Army soldier insisted that he and his wife do a couple’s boudoir session.
“I was actually the one who pushed the subject. I knew she’d be on board the moment I brought it up. She is my rock and has my back through everything,” said Joe.
He continued, “The day of the appointment I was nervous not knowing Mike, not knowing the area – I was completely out of my comfort zone. My wife had me from the second we walked in the door. Mike and the whole crew made me feel at ease.”
Studies have shown for years that therapeutic photography (self-initiative photo-based activities) can have lasting positive effects on our mental health.
“People are using therapeutic photography techniques to help themselves and others overcome depression, anxiety, chronic pain and much more,” says Bryce Evans, founder, and CEO of The One Project (the photography community for people suffering from depression and anxiety.
A 2014 study found that those who took part in creating visual art had a significant increase in Psychological Resiliency. The neurotransmitter dopamine can be increased through this process, which can be lacking in those suffering from depression and has been found to immediately start to help prevent depressive-like behaviors.
For Joe, doing a couple’s session with his wife was first and foremost about capturing his love for the person who’s been there through it all with him. The therapeutic benefits were just an added bonus.
“It totally showed you what our love looks like from the outside in. We look at the pictures and can’t help but smile because we truly are madly in love with each other,” he said.
Joe admits he struggles daily with PTSD, but that getting out there in front of a stranger with a camera was a great experience.
“I did it, I made it through it, had a blast, enjoyed every minute there. I could never do this without my wife. We had fun, made friends, and plan to do this many times over despite my anxiety.”
Why Bringing Your Best Friend to Your Solo Session Could Be the Best Decision You Ever Make
A solo boudoir session could be something that’s been on your bucket list for years, but maybe you’re a little intimidated to go it alone – and that’s ok.
Lots of our clients bring their friends along for moral support, turning it into a girl’s day, and the results have been absolutely amazing.
Why’s that? Because bringing your best friend along is like bringing a piece of yourself. Your best friend knows you inside and out, what makes you comfortable, what makes you laugh, and can put you at ease throughout your session.
“I asked my girlfriend Jenny to come along with me as my support person so I wouldn’t be alone, naked, in a strange place, with a man I didn’t know,” said Christina, a previous client of Allebach’s. Christina chose to do a solo boudoir as a gift for her husband but also as a way to feel in control of her own body, which had faced abuse in a previous relationship.
Not only was she 100 percent on board with supporting her friend, Jenny even ended up doing her own separate boudoir session with Christina on the same day.
“She decided to do a session with me so she ultimately became my partner in crime. We made a girl’s day of it. We had a couple sips of whiskey while posing with the whiskey we brought with us,” she says.
Christina and Jenny each had hair and makeup down for their shoots, helping each other in-between with outfits and giving each other feedback. Each girl had her shoot, with Mike taking photos of the two together between shots.
“We got to see the big reveal together. I actually broke down into tears during the reveal. Just seeing myself look so beautiful, being comfortable in my own skin…laughing or looking sexy or mischievous…and knowing that Jenny helped make that happen because she was there, behind the scenes cracking jokes or whatever,” says Christina.
Afterward, the two of them continued on their girl’s day by hitting the King of Prussia Mall, talking the whole time about their shoots and what their husbands would think of their photos and celebrating over a beer and dinner.
“The experience was amazing and empowering. Having her helped give me the courage to do the shoot. She also made me feel completely relaxed, which I feel gave me the most amazing raw footage of me,” says Christina.
She added, “Mike is an amazing photographer and Jenny was my anchor. Without a doubt having Jenny with me made the experience so much better. I was able to put myself in a completely vulnerable situation without a worry,” said Christina.
There are tons of reasons to come out with your bestie and come have a dual shoot, whether you’re celebrating getting married, having a baby, getting divorced, or just looking to check a box off your bucket list, contact us to today to book your session at 610.539.6920 or visit our website at https://allebachphotography.com/contact.
This New Year is all about body positivity for the Allebach Photography studio. Stay tuned for more tips and tricks on how to keep yourself not just healthy, but happy for 2019.
Practice self-love – Add a positive affirmation to your daily morning routine. Affirmations can be a great way to turn off those voices in our heads that tell us we’re not good enough and build self-confidence. Take a look in the mirror and tell yourself one thing you love about yourself. Were you proud of how you held yourself at a particular work meeting? Or do you simply think you look spectacular in the outfit you chose for yourself? Anything goes!
Take a deep breath – Take the time each day to sit quietly and get in tune with your breath. Whether that means signing up for a yoga class or just being mindful throughout the day, your body will be sure to thank you next time it finds itself in a stressful situation. When negative emotions run high, your breath becomes short and shallow. Deep breathing acts as a cushion that helps you process stressful events more quickly.
Own the compliments you get – The next time someone pays you a compliment, instead of downplaying it, accept it gracefully and thank the person complimenting you. For whatever reason, many of us struggle to accept compliments without awkward fumbling or straight up denial. Own your compliment, you deserve it!
Unplug and get some rest – Getting a good night’s sleep is extremely underrated – and in the age of cell phones it can be even harder to get the recommended 7 to 8 hours of sleep we need to function as human adults. At night, place your phone on silent on the complete opposite side of the room so you’re not tempted to check your emails or Twitter feed in the middle of the night.
Ditch the negative social media accounts – Are those picture perfect Instagram accounts giving you severe FOMO? Unfollow! Social media can trick us sometimes into feeling more connected, when the reality is, the more time we spend on it the less happy we end up being with our own lives. If you find yourself constantly comparing yourself to someone else and his or her experiences, do yourself a favor and ditch that account.
Find an activity you enjoy – We don’t all need to be gym sharks to stay fit and happy. Think back to what you loved doing as a child. We you a big fan of Frisbee? Try joining an Ultimate Frisbee team. Were you more of an artsy type? Pack up your paints and walk to the nearest park for some inspiration. Having a fun hobby can turn into a passion and boost the quality of your life.
Spend time with loved ones – It’s no secret that spending time with our family and friends makes us happier, but did you know that in addition to curbing depression, it can actually prevent premature death? And getting it on with our special loved ones is even better! There’s tons of research that show that sex is great for your health – it lowers stress, helps relieve migraines and boosts your immunity, just to name a few benefits.
Learn a new recipe to try at home – Why go out and spend a couple hundred bucks on a meal when you can enjoy the same thing with your partner at home for much less (and have much more fun doing it!) Besides being a fun bonding experience for the two of you, cooking your own food gives you more control over what goes in your body and how much of it. You can make healthy ingredient swaps if you choose, as well as control portion sizes. Put on an apron and get experimenting!
Grab that water bottle – Water is life, literally. Our bodies are made up of more than 60% of the stuff and its health benefits are enormous. In addition to increasing energy levels and elevating our mood, water can boost the immune system, flush out toxins and can be a natural remedy for headaches. Carry a water bottle with you in your purse or bag so you never have to go without it.