It’s here! Phase Green is here and we couldn’t be more ecstatic to reopen! To celebrate, we’re offering $100 off every photographic experience we offer.
We’re taking all of the necessary precautions to ensure everyone’s safety as they come through our doors. We will have our face masks on, sanitizer pumps stationed all over the studio, and a UV sanitizer for our phones, keys, and payment devices. We are also only scheduling 1 session a day with room to clean and sanitize the entire studio before and after.
We’ve always wanted our clients to feel they are in a safe space and cared for. Now we are just adding on to what we already do by protecting everyone’s health as well.
The word boudoir comes from the French word for a woman’s bedroom or private dressing room. It was a place for her to be alone or to be with someone intimately. In the 1920’s, photographers would recreate this type of environment and photograph the beauty and sexuality of their female models.
In modern day, these photographic experiences can be incredibly empowering, reconnecting us to our most intimate selves, as well as with our partners, in the case of couples’ boudoir. They also serve as a cherished reminder of each person’s unique beauty and confidence, unveiling a new type of comfort within one’s own skin.
At Allebach Photography, we specialize in creating a safe space to embrace your true and best self. During your experience, we encourage you to peel away your own self judgements and critiques and honor the depths of your uniqueness. From the very first time we talk, right up to the moment you get to see your artwork in person, what we care about is you and your own story.
Our goal with each and every person who walks through our doors, is to make them feel like a rockstar! We pamper with hair and makeup. We energize with coffee, espresso, and tea. We nourish with some snacks during your break. And we have a knack for creating breathtaking artwork for your home! We all have a space in our home to retreat to in an attempt to decompress from a hard day. Imagine that space being decorated with artwork that reminds you of your power, your strength, and the love you have to give. That’s what we live for. Creating something that anchors you to those blissful spaces in your heart.
So let’s break down the Allebach Photography experience.
We start with a phone call. This is where we get to hear all about what this will mean to you and what you want your photographs to say each and every time you look at them.
Once we get your experience booked, we will also notify one of our incredible talented hair and makeup artists. We value the wonderful artistry they practice, from light and natural to heavy and punk rock! It’s important to us that you represent the inner badass that you want to channel in these photographs; and that’s why hiring a professional artist is incredibly important to these experience.
The day of, you get to kick back and get pampered for the first hour. Bring wine or beer or champagne if you’d like. Sometimes that liquid courage can shake out those pre-session jitters you may experience. That’s ok and totally normal!
During your session, you are free to get as dressed or as undressed as you’d like. We encourage you to step outside of your comfort zone but it is not something you are required to do. This, after all, is about you. That said, we do have a bell you get to ring if you do get fully naked! It’s hung on a wall with handwritten sentiments about others’ experiences and what they got out of it.
Once your session is complete, we bring out the snacks so you can take a break and unwind, while we create a beautiful presentation of your photographs. In our cinematic reveal room, you get to see a slideshow of everything you did and everything you achieved. You will get to relive those feelings and emotions and empowerment! And together, with your photographer, you will get to design the artwork you will cherish in your home, and in those sacred spaces, forever!
This experience is designed specifically to cater to you and what you want to get out of it. It’s not about us. You deserve to feel empowered. Your strength deserves to be honored. Your story deserves to be told.
Be sure to pick up the 2020/2021 Grey Sweats calendar by Allebach Photography.
https://www.boudieswag.com/product/2020-calendar-gray-sweatpants-season-extended Why enjoy sweatpants season only in winter. We’ve extended it all year long. A fundraising calendar benefiting Veterans with PTSD. So far over $1700 has been raised for drug-free PTSD treatment in PA with this calendar. Product: Wall Calendar Start Date: January 2020 Paper Weight: Heavyweight Gloss Other: Saddle stitch
Sale price is $19.95 . Regular price 24.95.
Interested in your man getting his own photoshoot? Text 610.539.6920 to get on the schedule.
“I just want to feel like me again.” She said in soft slow tones explaining why she wanted to be photographed, “Last year was a hell of a year and to be honest I got really lost. I want to feel at home in my body. I’m getting older and my body is changing. I want to love myself again because I’ve lost my way. I don’t remember who I am. Life has gotten so busy and I have to handle so much to do, so many people to take care of. I’ve forgotten who I truly am. I don’t know what it means to be me, I want to remember that.”
This is what my clients share with me Every. Single. Day. It’s so common, I’ve come to understand it as the new American anthem. People have lost their identity. They say, “Help me find me. Help me love my skin, organs, muscles, and bones. My body is changing. I’m getting older and if I can’t love myself now, when can I?” Or they say, “I want to look back on this body and appreciate it.”
Some days I hear the opposite. “For so long I’ve hated this body and now we’ve come to speaking terms. I’ve worked hard to get here I want you to document me. I am ready to be photographed”
Most people would agree, when we feel great we give the world our best. We show up for others. When we feel beautiful, when we own the space, when we carry our weight with pride, when we feel strong and hold our head high, despite all the things we were taught to hate about ourselves, we live our best lives. But how?
I work in the business of bodies. Specifically, I photograph them as a boudoir photographer. In simpler terms, I make space for people to play dress up. They get made up, strip down, try on different identities and clothes and peel off false ideals like onion layers off of their soul. They explore relationships with themselves or others in a safe place.
But this story didn’t begin as a photographer. It started 19 years ago when I played guitar in an idealistic punk rock band and penned the words in an anti-body dysmorphic anthem “Covergirl, you’ve been lied to and you’ve been tricked”.
The song goes on saying “I want you to love me for who I am.” Present-day Mike is still asking the same questions as high school Mike, “Are we our bodies?” and “What is acceptance?”
Before I dove into the question of body, soul, mind connection I had some personal work to do.
Living in a Culture of Body Dysmorphia
As a photographer, I’ve gotten to watch hundreds of people see their photos for the first time. It’s amazing to experience people seeing their photos for the first time and squealing with joy. “I can’t believe that’s me!!!”
And occasionally watching them notice things no one else would notice or things that aren’t there. I’ve photographed people medically diagnosed with Body Dysmorphic Disorder, a condition that affects 2.4% of the population. This condition causes people to obsess over parts of their bodies in an OCD way. It causes people to see their bodies in ways other people can’t see or imagine. What does that leave the rest of us with? If we haven’t been diagnosed, what is it that we have?
Body-negativity is the only term I can think of. I think we are living in a culture of body negativity. It sells. We are the collateral damage from years of marketing, messages, and media saying “we are not enough.”
Although we don’t have the disorder, the same messages have soaked down to our soul.
I will love my body when….
I will love my body if…
I will be worthy when…
And at the end of each of these statements is a host of companies selling products promising that result. The rhythmic drumming beats of the American marketing machine “You Are Not Enough.” Hundreds of times a day we hear that in subtle ways.
No wonder why we struggle to love the skin we are in.
I asked Teri Ledgerwood, founder of Body Image Bootcamp, why people are uncomfortable in their own skin. She said, “There are a plethora of reasons starting with the way our brain is wired for survival, comparison theory, and negativity bias. Combine that with the over-representation of one body type (thin, white, blonde). Marketing understands the way to get people to spend money is to highlight and create problems where the only solution is for people to buy a product or service to rectify such ‘problems’. This causes us to feel like we don’t fit in. Then, you add in the people you surround yourself with who have their own believes about certain bodies and you grow believing that that is true, until you start to do the work necessary to combat it. People think they want to be individuals, but what they truly want is to be accepted as an individual.”
One of the biggest surprises as a photographer has been seeing this in all types of bodies, no matter their type or gender. Body negativity does not discriminate. I’ve seen this in men who are skinny, those who aren’t, and every single body type in between. I’ve seen this in muscular bodybuilders. Even worse, how athletic men compare their bodies to their bodies at 21. American culture has given us two extremes that most men don’t fit into. While I’ve found most women’s insecurity about their body is more prevalent in day-to-day experience, most men have low-grade body negativity. It only comes into play when the subject of photos is brought up or in swimming situations. With many males it doesn’t affect them on a daily basis, they just will not want their photos posts.
“We cultivate love when we allow our most vulnerable and powerful selves to be deeply seen and known, and when we honor the spiritual connection that grows from that offering with trust, respect, kindness and affection.”
This is where I’m at and this is my work. When I love others, I love myself. When I love myself, I love others. When I accept, I am accepted. When I do the work myself, I allow others to do the work.
“When you go out into the woods, and you look at trees, you see all these different trees. And some of them are bent, and some of them are straight, and some of them are evergreens, and some of them are whatever. And you look at the tree and you allow it. You see why it is the way it is. You sort of understand that it didn’t get enough light, and so it turned that way. And you don’t get all emotional about it. You just allow it. You appreciate the tree. The minute you get near humans, you lose all that. And you are constantly saying ‘You are too this, or I’m too this.’ That judgment mind comes in. And so I practice turning people into trees. Which means appreciating them just the way they are.”
Taking My Own Medicine
“Seeing yourself in a new light” is a phrase I love to use because this work is visual. Photography is light work. There is something magical and healing about seeing yourself in a new light, captured by a different human. To see yourself through new eyes is an incredible gift. So it was time to take my own medicine. I was photographed by 3 different photographers in 3 weeks.
What I realized, when being put in front of the camera, is how much all of these things are brought to the surface with photos. I don’t enjoy taking my shirt off on the beach or to go swimming. Maybe the image of hairless ripped tanned men on the beach has etched itself into my psyche. My ego wants me to be seen but not that seen. I feel like I don’t match a stereotype or projection.
Although photographing people from all backgrounds and all body types has been freeing, I haven’t been able to completely shake the image of the “perfect man body.”
In being photographed three times in three weeks I was left with haunting questions. Do I have a low-grade body-dysmorphia? (maybe, I don’t know) Am I able to see myself in the way others do? Does any of this even matter?
Viewing the photos, there were many photos I liked and there were some I didn’t. But photography did the light work, I felt seen. My body became a thing that is. Even in the moments where I felt awkward and exposed, I felt alive. Being photographed by an accepting human is both slightly nerve-wracking and life-giving. Emotions and feelings are tricky. Is this excitement or is this anxiety? I’m not sure. What I do know is it was healing.
When I show people photos in the studio I prefer to have a supportive partner in the room. They see with beautiful, loving, compassionate, supportive eyes and explain the photos to their partners in moments; maybe for the first time.
This is the beginning of seeing yourself in a new light and this is the healing power of photography.
Unlike the marketing messages, photography starts with the statement that “you are enough at this moment, at your age, in your state in your body”.
Bodywork: Attaining Neutrality
What does self-acceptance and bodywork look like? Certainly, it’s not a destination or arrival. Maybe it’s not even quite a realistic goal in this image-driven culture. I love Mary Lambert’s suggestion in her song Body Love
Take your hands over your bumpy love body naked
And remember the first time you touched someone
With the sole purpose of learning all of them
Touched them because the light was pretty on them
And the dust in the sunlight danced the way your heart did
Touch yourself with a purpose”
Perhaps it’s a process of letting go of our ego’s nagging through questioning and inquiry of our own thoughts. It’s holding the door open to the possibility our way of thinking could be flawed. Are we flawed in thinking we are flawed?
Where do thoughts bubble up from anyway? Who puts that idea there? A marketer? Myself? Or, was that belief buried deep in my DNA?
We can only guess where thoughts come from.
The author Byron Katie has simplified this process of examining our thoughts into four simple questions simply called The Work.
Is it true?
Can I absolutely know that it’s true?
How do you react, what happens when you believe that thought?
Who would you be without that thought?
Finally, she recommends exploring opposites. What is the opposite of your thought?
Like all practices, it’s work (pun intended) and it’s a beginning to see ourselves, our truest selves. And it only works… when you work it.
“In my opinion, attaining BODY NEUTRALITY is much easier than body positivity. Body positivity is inherently shaming in that, if you have a moment/day/week/month that you don’t happen to feel “positive” about your body/rolls/cellulite/stretch marks, then you may fall into an intense shame & guilt spiral. You might feel like a failure and like you’re doing it all wrong. It’s just really a whole lot of pressure.
Look — the body positivity movement has done a lot of good…it’s definitely started the conversation. But I feel that body neutrality is actually where it’s at!
Accepting your body for what it is – in a factual way, not positive or negative – is something you’ll need to do first anyway before reaching body positivity. Your goal may not even be to ever reach body positivity…and that’s totally okay. I don’t even think I have body positivity as a goal – it’s body neutrality for me. “
Who were you before you recognized yourself in the mirror? In human development, we begin recognizing ourselves between 12 and 18 months. What was your story before then? What would it look like to go back there? With the recent passing of Ram Dass, I stumbled upon his description of a body which I hope you find as helpful as I did.
“When I was born I donned a spacesuit for living on this planet, it was this body, my spacesuit, and it had a steering mechanism which is my pre-frontal lobe and all the brain that helps with coordinating and stuff. Just like those others who go to the moon and learn to use their spacesuit…how to grab things and lift things so I learned how to do that. And then you get rewarded with little stars, kisses and all kinds of things when you learn how to use your spacesuit. You get so good at it that you can’t differentiate yourself from your spacesuit.”
I find this interesting. I am not my body. An ideal many Eastern and Western religions seem to agree upon and one that science is catching up to.
“Our quest for happiness leads to attempts to satisfy our desires – whatever they be. But in so doing we become attached to things that are unreliable, unstable, changing, and impermanent. As long as there is attachment to things there will be suffering – when they change when they cease to be what we want them to be. Try as we might to find something in the world that is permanent and stable, which we can hold on to and thereby find lasting happiness, we must always fail. The Buddhist solution is as radical as it is simple: let go, let go of everything.”
While it’s a beautiful idea, I’m not there yet. Can I let go of my attachments just slightly? I’m not quite ready for this Buddhist idea. I can see its value though. My mind does attach to the image of our bodies as a spacesuit. Buddhism points to the reality of our body is ever-changing. If we are attached to our ideal that this body will remain the same, we will suffer. When we use our spacesuit well it, or body if you prefer we will develop lines where we laugh, marks where we stretch and grow and scars where we bleed.
Mary Lambert paints this picture
“Love your body the way your mother loves your baby feet….
This is important
You are worth more than a waistline
You are worth more than beer bottles displayed like drunken artifacts
You are worth more than any naked body could proclaim in the shadows
More than a man’s whim or your father’s mistake
You are no less valuable as a size 16 than a size 4
You are no less valuable as a 32A than a 36C
Your sexiness is defined by concentric circles within your wood
It is wisdom
You are a goddamn tree stump with leaves sprouting out
An Invitation to Body Neutrality
Take this as an invitation. Like many things, this is just the beginning of a new way of seeing. Journeys aren’t straight lines, but zig-zags. You won’t shame yourself out of thinking this way. This is a journey of love. Meet your thoughts with love. Examine them. Question them. Talk to yourself with the love that you hold for your 5-year-old niece. Isn’t she is beautiful dancing in the bed in her pajamas with not a care in the world? So are you. Bathe in that light for a moment and try on that truth.
For some, this path starts with make-up, surgery, working out, movement, or gaining physical strength. I’m not here to judge your journey. These methods, like photography, are on-ramps. Choose your own adventure and turn to the next page.
My personal journey involves running, movement, meditation, inquiry, and breath-work (read about it here). I’m not there yet. I haven’t arrived. There are days where I subconsciously or consciously avoid looking in the mirror. But this is why I hold space for others to do the work. The work looks familiar. My soul knows this path.
Lastly a note, self-love isn’t selfish. It’s the deep well where we meet others. When this water is poured into our own lives it spills out into the world. Whether we start with ourselves or others doesn’t matter. See the beauty, and when you can’t… get closer.
So my hope for you is that you know you are worthy of being seen this year. That this is a beginning to regard your stretchmarks, scars, bumps, and lumps as parts of the story. Begin to deeply love this story you are living. May you learn to love the spacesuit you’ve been wearing and share this message with sons and daughters and share new realities with the next generation. May you allow yourself to be documented, recorded and treasured. It’s time to be seen. Get in that photo!
In short, I hope this is the year you start owning your time and space.
Extra thanks to MooseKleenex (buy artwork shown here) and Terri Ledgerwood & Elizabeth Zimmerman of the Body Image Bootcamp for giving their amazing insight. Check out the Body Image Bootcamp on April 2-5, 2020 in Austin, Texas.
“New Year, New You” is the saying right? How do you know what the “new you” should embody? What is it that you want to channel each and every day to really hone in on this concept we all talk about at the end of every year? What if the answer wasn’t as new as you’re wanting to be, but ancient? Ancient goddesses to be exact.
Cara came to us wanting to document her recent full-body transformation.
“I recently lost a life-changing 80lbs over the past 9 months. I knew I had to update my business headshot because people were approaching me at work with whispers of ‘Are you okay?’ since I looked nothing like my work picture anymore.”
“I was hoping to get a few pictures of myself feeling sexy in my new skin. But the results were worlds beyond anything I could have imagined.”
“The whole experience from the consult discussion, to the shoot and the ordering session left me feeling this immense sense of empowerment. And the residual ‘bad bitch/goddess’ vibe has stayed with me, even as I wait for my wall print and album.”
So if you’re inspired to explore your inner goddess and/or wanting to invoke the ancient powers of goddesses across all religions and cultures, Cara has one piece of advice…
Seven Reasons to Treat Yo’ Self to Birthday Boudoir
Treat Yo’ Self Day is a day for pampering, indulging and celebrating (and popularized by Parks and Rec’s Donna and Tom)– and at Allebach Photography we think there’s no better day of the year to Treat Yo’ Self than on your birthday.
Check out our reasons below to Treat Yo’Self to one of our solo (or couple) sessions with a Birthday Boudoir session in our studio located in North Wales, just 45 minutes outside of Philadelphia.
Celebrate this milestone
Whether you’re turning 21 or 40, every year we spend on this earth deserves celebrating and memorializing. Boudoir has no age.
Give yourself the gift of confidence
You will leave our studio feeling a different person than when you came in. This is more than a photography session; it’s a transformational and empowering experience that will leave you walking taller.
You deserve to be pampered
Between work, family, school, most of us find it way too easy to neglect ourselves. In our studio, you’ll be pampered by our professional hair and makeup artists and be treated like a rock star.
Did we mention it’s an experience?
The best gifts in life can’t be bought (though we wouldn’t pass up a trip to the King of Prussia mall to pick up some birthday fragrances and fine leather goods, #amIrightDonna?).
You’re going to enjoy yourself
Boudoir can sometimes sound intimidating, but trust us when we say we’ll keep you feeling relaxed (and even get a few laughs out of you). Boudoir is ultimately about making you feel good about yourself.
It’s the gift that keeps on giving
Even after the session, you’ll be able to look back on your session and your photos and remember how badass you look and feel.
You don’t need a reason to celebrate you!
Last but not least, gone are the days when you need an excuse to do boudoir. Heck, you don’t even need a significant other. YOU are the reason. And you are enough. Especially on your birthday!
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.”
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!
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.
Are those cute Snapchat filters actually making us feel worse about our bodies?
By Christine Wolkin
We live in a world where beauty standards are constantly evolving and now, with filters that can remove freckles, lengthen eyelashes and widen our eyes, edited selfies have become the norm.
Medical professionals are beginning to argue that those Snapchat filters that transform our faces into cute little woodland creatures with big eyes and smooth skin are hurting our self-image in bigger ways than we could ever imagine.
“A new phenomenon called ‘Snapchat dysmorphia’ has popped up, where patients are seeking out surgery to help them appear like the filtered version of themselves,” says Neelam Vashi, director of Ethnic Skin Center at BMC and Boston University School of Medicine.
Researchers at Boston University School of Medicine’s Department of Dermatology recently published an article in JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery, delving into how selfies and filters can negatively affect our body image and trigger body dysmorphia, a mental disorder that causes people to be extremely preoccupied with a perceived flaw in appearance that to others can’t be seen or appears minor.
People who have BDD tend to obsess over their appearance and body image, often checking the mirror, grooming or seeking reassurance for many hours a day.
“For someone with BDD, their entire life’s balance hangs on whether they look okay or whether they’ve camouflaged their perceived flaw appropriately,” says Tom Hildebrandt, PsyD, chief of the Division of Eating and Weight Disorders at Mount Sinai Health System in New York City.
Individuals that suffer from BDD will often go to great, and often unhealthy, lengths to hide their imperfections, including going under the knife.
In 2017, a survey by the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery found that 55 percent of surgeons reported seeing patients who requested surgery to look better in selfies.
“Today’s generation can’t escape ‘the Truman effect’ because from birth they are born into an age of social platforms where their feelings of self-worth can be based purely on the number of likes and followers that they have, which is linked to how good they look or how great these images are,” British cosmetic doctor Tijion Esho, who coined the term “Snapchat dysmorphia” earlier this year in 2018.
The JAMA article goes on to state that this alarming trend presents an unattainable look and blurs the line of reality and fantasy for us.
“Filtered selfies can make people lose touch with reality, creating the expectation that we are supposed to look perfectly primped all the time,” says Vashi, who is also one of the authors of the article. “This can be especially harmful to teens and those with BDD and it is important for providers to understand the implications of social media on body image to better treat and counsel our patients.”
Looking at a photo of yourself and not seeing the same thing reflected in the mirror or an unedited photo can make people unhappy, says Vashi.
“It can bring feelings of sadness, and then if one really develops this disorder, that sadness clearly progresses to something that can be dangerous and alarming,” she said.
Approximately 80 percent of people that suffer from BBD suffer from suicidal thoughts and about a quarter of those individuals have attempted suicide, according to a 2007 study by Primary Psychiatry.
Vashi says one of the most powerful tools in helping fight “Snapchat dysmorphia” is awareness, either through cognitive behavioral therapy or by simply changing your negative thought patterns. Simply being aware of what’s real and what’s been heavily altered with photo manipulation tools can ground us back to reality and remind us of our own innate beauty.
While posing with these filters can be fun, it’s important not to lose sight of who you really are behind them. Photo editing has been around for hundreds of years now and while digital manipulation and our high standards for beauty aren’t likely to go away anytime soon, we are the ones that allow them to hold any power over ourselves.
If you’re looking to capture your true beauty, ditch the filters altogether. Put on a favorite article of clothing and head outside for some gorgeous natural lighting.
Better yet, contact us at Allebach Photography to capture your true natural beauty, inside and out. We offer couples boudoir, boudoir, headshot, wedding, engagement and family photos and are located in the Philadelphia suburbs. Contact us today at 610.539.6920 or visit us at www.allebachphotography.com/contact.
Special Session Fee Available Now for Body+ of Fine Art Sessions
At Allebach Photography, our Body+ of Fine Art sessions (or what’s more commonly known as ‘Bodyscaping’), transform parts of your body into unique pieces of art.
“It’s great for people that aren’t sure if they want to do boudoir because it’s so abstract, it really does have a unique transformative power over people,” said the owner and head photographer Mike Allebach.
During a Body+ of Fine Art session, the human form is artistically expressed using lights and shadows to convey the impression of abstract landscapes or pieces of nature.
“I think that the bodyscaping was appealing to me because it is so hyper-focused on the human form that you truly get to appreciate the beauty of the human body,” says Emily Morales.
Morales recently did a Body+ of Fine Art session in conjunction with a boudoir shoot.
“Since he photographed my wedding, I became obsessed with his work and when I saw the bodyscaping on Instagram I thought it was so gorgeous,” Emily says.
While Emily has always had an appreciation for the beauty of all bodies, in her past she admits she’s struggled with accepting her own body, having overcome body dysmorphia and an eating disorder.
“I do believe that all bodies are beautiful, but I needed help seeing it for myself. I booked the session on a whim because in my heart of hearts I knew that it would help give me a boost and help me heal.”
“The bodyscaping, for me, was a way for me to see my body in its rawest and most real form. There was nothing to hide, it was just me. I think that seeing myself in that light was incredibly important for my journey to self-acceptance,” she continues.
Another client agrees. “Leading up to my session with Mike, I felt a mixture of equal parts terrified and exhilarated. I had never experienced a photo shoot where my partner and I were the sole subjects, let alone one where we’d be completely naked. The moment the shoot began, however, I realized how unfounded my fears were,” says W.G.
“Once the photos were developed and I saw how creatively and gorgeously he’d created landscapes out of my body, I felt a profound sense of gratitude for having had the opportunity to be a part of this project. I was able to see my body, with all of its imperfections, as gloriously perfect as it is. I felt beautiful, empowered, and more body-positive than I ever had in my entire life,” said W.G.
“Once the photos were developed and I saw how creatively and gorgeously he’d created landscapes out of my body, I felt a profound sense of gratitude for having had the opportunity to be a part of this project. I was able to see my body, with all of its imperfections, as gloriously perfect as it is. I felt beautiful, empowered, and more body-positive than I ever had in my entire life,” said W.G.
“I can’t emphasize enough how much more comfortable I feel. Seeing the bodyscaping shots in the reveal was almost an out of body experience. I couldn’t believe that it was me!” says Emily.
Body+ of Fine Art is an experience for couples, men, and women and gives you the opportunity to see your figure in a way you’ve never seen before.
And now for a limited time, all bookings made in 2018 will get a special session fee of just $100.
Let’s talk about creating amazing artwork! Contact us here or call at 610.539.6920 to get started!
Boudoir Solo Session Brings Out Former Catholic School Principal’s Inner Badass
Kristen doesn’t see herself as one of Mike’s “typical” clients.
“I’m not tattooed. I am 50, my only piercings are my ears, so I’m probably a little bit vanilla compared to most of the women he sees,” says the former Catholic school teacher and principal from Blue Bell, Pa.
Yet, Kristen decided she wanted to do a boudoir session following her divorce and a negative sexual experience with another man she thought she trusted.
“My confidence was not great, to say the least. I was ashamed of my body and went further into hiding as I doubted my ability to make good choices or avoid the consequences of looking good, being sexually active and my perceived inability to discern who I could be safe and vulnerable with,” Kristen says.
Despite being the same size she was in high school (size zero to two), she lacked a lot of self-confidence in general, much less in front of a camera, but saw a solo boudoir session as an opportunity to regain her sense of self.
If Kristen was going to do a boudoir session, she needed to know she had the right photographer, one she felt comfortable in front of and whom she could trust. When she saw Mike’s work on Instagram, she stopped.
“The more I saw, the more I recognized how body positive and judgment-free Mike’s work really is,” said Kristen. Seeing all of the different shapes, sizes, and ages of women really helped, she added.
“His work speaks for itself, but for me, it was much more than that. I started to think, ‘hmm…maybe I can do a solo boudoir shoot with this guy – be vulnerable in a non-sexual situation and see myself the way he shoots other women so beautifully,’” she said.
“Maybe it’s a way to move forward,” she added.
The idea of being vulnerable in a non-sexual situation was huge for her and a concern that gradually lessened during her shoot. Kristen started off in a full dress and by the end of the session, she was doing bodyscaping with nothing on with absolutely zero pressure or discomfort.
“I found my session to be SO empowering,” says Kristen. “I stared into his lens at first as an enemy that was challenging me but later with a less combative feeling. It was affirming to see my pictures look so beautiful and strong. Mike ‘got me’ and knew that I was looking for a reset and that I wanted and needed to look fierce and like a complete bad-ass.”
She continued, “For me, it was tremendously healing. I LOVED seeing my pics and choosing the ones I would keep. It was amazing to see myself from a distance and be able to see something other than shame and damaged goods thanks to Mike’s incredible work.”
Kristen is looking forward to one day hopefully doing a shoot with a partner someday and capturing that intimacy in the same way.
From Self-Loathing to Healing – Fighting Body Dysmorphia With Tattoos
When Erin, an Allebach Photography client from Warminster, Pa., got her first tattoo at age 22 – a small and simple Irish rosary on her right shoulder blade – she had “no idea most of her upper body would be covered over the next 10 years.”
Since then, Erin has gotten more tattoos than she can count.
“It’s easier to say what body parts I have done – or don’t done. I’m bare from the waist down. I have sleeves on both of my arms, my right’s covered and my left black and gray. I have a rib piece on my left side, an underboob piece, a chest piece, the Serenity prayer in Gaelic on my right side and the words ‘Just Breathe’ across my stomach and I just started my back piece which is going to be my entire back.”
Erin says she began getting tattooed for two reasons; one because they’re gorgeous and two because she finds the process healing after dealing with years of body dysmorphia, a common condition that causes a person to think negative thoughts about their own body image.
“I can’t point my finger to a specific time or place, but somewhere over the years since high school, I feel like I’ve retreated further and further inside myself. I’ve thought that part of it may be having three serious relationships and all three of those men cheated on me. And as time went on I became less accepting of myself,” she said.
As time went on and Erin’s self-confidence and self-esteem were lost, she began to find it difficult to take compliments about her body, seeing them as insincere.
“I’ve always hated compliments. They’re hard to hear when you don’t believe them – they’re almost cruel when it’s impossible for you to see. It feels like people are lying sometimes. Compliment my tattoos though! I’ll agree with a smile and tell you all about them! I don’t mind showing those off!”
For Erin, it’s not about hiding her skin, but rather beautifying it with artwork and inspirational meaning.
“It’s all directional pieces, things that keep you moving, things that keep you in place and things that guide you home. A compass, a lighthouse, an anchor, an albatross, just to name a few,” says Erin of her left arm.
She continued, “My right arm I started after my last relationship. My ex-fiancécheated on me and I had to call off our wedding a month to the day before our wedding. That arm is ‘there is beauty in all new beginnings.’ So I wanted it to be BAM! in your face colorful and beautiful. The mermaid is the beauty and the rest is all symbols of new beginnings – a butterfly, daffodils, peacock feathers, a phoenix.”
It’s funny how painful tattoos are yet the amount of healing they possess, she muses.
Erin has had two boudoir sessions with Allebach Photography and for her, the sessions have been as empowering for her as her body art.
“For the self-proclaimed most insecure girl in the world, this experience was life-changing and empowering. Also, just the way Mike talks about the human body like it is art.”
While none of her tattoos were specifically highlighted, she felt like each photo Mike took was with them in mind.
“He’s so confident in what he does, but entirely humble, a true master of his craft. He’s excited and passionate about what he does and it makes you more excited to work with him and trust in him. People ask me how can someone with no confidence and who is so insecure take half-naked and naked photos – it’s the genius behind the camera!”
Erin is currently working on her back, which will feature a pirate skeleton and ship with Kraken tentacles. Following that, she hopes to get her legs finished. We can’t wait to see how they turn out!