Anitra’s Boudoir Experience

1. What/who made you decide to book a boudoir session? 

One of the women I was taking a French class with during my sophomore year mentioned to me that she had gotten her boudoir pictures done and shared them with me. As soon as I saw them, I knew it was something that I needed to do for myself to not only boost my own confidence but to be able to have pictures that highlighted all of the parts of my body that I love -- as well as the ones that I needed to work on loving a little more -- in a sexy and beautiful way. I decided that it was finally time during my senior year in college and wanted to do it as a graduation gift to myself. I had changed so much from the first time I was introduced to boudoir in such beautiful ways that I really wanted to highlight the ways in which I had grown up to become the woman I am today.

2. What made you choose Hillary West Studios?

I looked at a lot of different studios both in the DC and Virginia Beach area when I first decided that it was time for me to get my pictures done. It was really difficult at first because I wanted to make sure I did my shoot with someone who had plenty of experience in photographing plus sized women. I ended up narrowing it down to two studios but as soon as I met with Hillary I knew that I wanted her to do my pictures. All of the works she had on display were beautiful and Hillary has done pictures herself so I knew she'd know how I was feeling going into this for the first time! Most importantly, I felt comfortable around her (which is really important when you're going to be walking around her studio naked). Ultimately I'm so happy I decided to go with Hillary! My pictures came out beautiful and the experience was amazing.

3. What were you nervous about going into your session?

Part of why I decided that it was time for me to do my pictures was because I was finally making headspace in a journey to loving my body. I was and am in a place where I'm comfortable and open to celebrating my body with others and cherishing it for all of its curves and crevices, so I wasn't very nervous about going into the session. That being said, when the thought of doing boudoir pictures was just an idea and not something I knew that I was definitely going to invest in, I watched TikToks on how to do homemade boudoir pictures and though the pictures didn't come out great, I definitely think the experience helped a lot. Doing some fun poses in the comfort of my own home before doing them around someone else made it so that I was a little more comfortable when it came to the real thing.

4. What was your favorite part of the experience?

My favorite part of the experience would definitely have to be the actual session itself. Getting my makeup done and actually doing the poses not only made me feel pampered but it made me feel as though my body is one worth putting time and effort into being made to feel beautiful because it is. One of the best parts of the session to me is that you feel like a model in that you and your body are seen as the center of attention for your divine beauty and that experience is so important in a society that tells us that some of our bodies are not worthy of it. 

5. How do you feel now that you've completed the session?

I feel amazing and like a superstar! When I saw the pictures, I hardly recognized myself because even though I'm comfortable in and love my body, I don't think I ever truly allowed myself to look at it in a sexy light but good lord, has that changed! I loved getting to share the pictures with my friends and my partner and every time Hillary would post one on her Instagram, I'd immediately send it to them and be so excited for them to see me in this new and amazing light. 

6. Would you recommend Hillary West Studios to others?

I would 100% recommend Hillary West Studios to others, especially if it's your first time doing a session. Hillary made me feel so at home the entire time she's extremely flexible. Hillary will make sure that you're prepared for your session by emailing you tips and tricks on what to wear, how to do your nails, and things to do in the weeks ahead so that on the day of your session, you feel totally prepped and ready to go.

7. What advice would you give to women interested in doing a session?

Getting your boudoir pictures done is a big investment but it is 100% worth it. I would definitely recommend taking the time to do research into different outfits that you might want to wear as soon as you book the session so that you don't have to stress out about it closer to the day. I would also recommend not letting yourself get too nervous, you're going to look beautiful and amazing! 

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Beautiful woman of color on the bed

Author: hillarywest

I am a body positive boudoir photographer based in Norfolk, Virginia. Since 2015, I have been empowering women, and sometimes men, to embrace their bodies and celebrate their unique beauty through photography. My passion for boudoir photography stems from my own struggles with body image and self-acceptance. I believe that everyone has the right to feel confident and beautiful in their own skin, regardless of their size, shape, or imperfections. My goal is to create a safe and inclusive space for my clients to express themselves and feel comfortable in front of the camera. I am dedicated to helping my clients see themselves in a new light and feel proud of who they are.