Monday, March 2, 2015

My shoot with Velvet D'amour of VOLUP2



Part of my journey to accepting my body and being happy in my skin has been recognising the beauty of bodies that looked more like mine than any I had ever seen in the media before. VOLUP2 has been a bible for me in this regard. VOLUP2 is a publication that celebrates body positivity and the beauty that can be found in all bodies. The marvelous and inspirational Velvet D'amour is the creator of VOLUP2 magazineand when I found out about an opportunity to shoot with Velvet here in London, I jumped at it!

I arrived not sure what to expect. I was pretty nervous, and a little all over the place. For the simple fact that I was doing something I'd never done before (but long had wanted to). I was unsure of myself, and had this creeping dread that it might all end in tears. What if, despite all I believed about bigger bodies being beautiful too and celebrating yourself as you are now, I just wasn't worthy. What if what I saw through your lens was the same collection of faults I usually see whenever a camera is pointed at my entire body and I don't have control of the final image?

The flat was pleasantly chaotic, with Velvet on the floor already shooting a beauty in a clinging dress. The wonderful Rachel of Rachel Williamson Hair and Makeup greeted me with a gorgeously warm smile and put me right at ease from the beginning. It felt just like a girly party really, all of us chatting, doing makeup, and clothes everywhere. I spent an hour being transformed into a vintage vixen by Rachel - she was just so incredibly competent creating look after look for everyone with no fuss. I had my fifties cat eye and pin up lips in record time, and she also managed to wrangle my incredibly unruly hair with absolutely no drama or difficulty - something I have never seen done before.

Shooting with Velvet was amazing. She has an incredible gift to put you at ease and really get the best out of whoever she is shooting. All thoughts of nerves were gone as she competently directed me (which is exactly what I needed, being 100% a newbie). What I love about Velvet is she really understands bigger bodies. What they look good doing, how to showcase their beauty. This is a woman who now dedicates her professional life to celebrating a myriad of shapes and sizes. And viewed through her lens I felt truly beautiful. Every now and again she would quickly flick through what she had taken, and wow! So I was pretty prepared to be blown away, but when I got my images last week, well, see for yourself...




White and black polka dot Dolores Doll dress - Collectif
Black braided belt - Primark
Black suede shoes, wide fit - Primark

I started the shoot in a few of my favourite Dolores Doll dresses. This is my go-to feelgood dress, so it was a good place to start, and meant that I was imbued with some confidence I didn't necessarily feel. I am wearing a cheapie petticoat underneath it that I got on eBay - I would like to invest in some better quality ones, but I must say the eBay jobs certainly do the trick. I was feeling quite wooden, so was super thankful for Velvet's direction. 


Red Dolores Doll dress - Collectif
Black suede shoes, wide fit - Primark


I was glad to have warmed up in a familiar outfit, as the next outfit took a little more guts. The tutu is something I had made by a seller on Etsy years ago for a fancy dress party. I have worn it on a couple of occasions since and couldn't wait to be photographed in it by Velvet. 

The corset is from an eBay seller - again this is something I would like to invest a little more in in the future but was totally effective for this look. I love the definition it gives my waist, and Velvet was very conscious of ensuring my poses accentuated this.





Biba black feathered cape - House of Fraser

I kept on the corset for the next look, but added my Biba feathered cape. Last year I walked past the cape in House of Fraser and it just nagged at me for days after so I eventually treated myself to it around Christmas. It's probably not the most practical thing I own, but it certainly is one of my favourites and I just love the way it looks with my hair in this photo. I wasn't sure what I was going to wear on the bottom, but Velvet dug out some amazing tulle shoulder pads she had used for something else and fashioned them into a tutu of sorts. They even had feathers on them - amazing! 




Red lace sweetheart dress - Lovedrobe

My final outfit was this absolutely lush red lace dress by Lovedrobe (you can read my review of this dress here.) Anyone who says red heads shouldn't wear red - pssssssh! Red is such a powerful colour, and this is one of my favourite images from the entire shoot. I just love the way my body looks in this image, which is a really big deal for me. I don't like it because I think it looks skinnier than it really is, or because it looks more like bodies I have seen in the media. I love it because it looks beautiful. Because fat bodies can be beautiful and should be regarded as such. They are a type - not something good or bad, just a type of body. 

Now that I know a little more about what these shoots are like I would be a little more organised next time. Have my outfits and all the details nailed down before I got there so I could change a lot quicker - I had no idea how quickly Velvet could shoot. She literally motors through and manages to capture something amazing in minutes.

I can truthfully say I have never looked or felt as beautiful as I did during the shoot, and looking at these images afterwards. As I said in a letter I wrote to Velvet afterwards, "It sounds a little crazy but it's kind of how I always hoped I looked, if that makes sense. In hindsight I wish I'd let go further, thought less, been more in the moment... next time, next time!"

Velvet now offers to shoot women of all shapes and sizes for a nominal fee, and then you can choose to purchase the images you like afterwards. She may soon be coming to a city near you (check out her Facebook page for more details). I could not recommend the experience highly enough. 

The black and white edition of Volup2 will be out soon, so keep your eyes peeled. 
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10 comments

  1. aah you look stunning in all of these photos!

    from helen at thelovecatsinc.com

    ps. you can win the GHD rose gold styler and hairdryer on my blog - click here!

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  2. Aw, thanks Helen you're a doll x

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  3. wooooow supercute pictures! you look amazeballs!

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  4. Thanks Nadja! I felt pretty amazeballs thanks to Velvet :)

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  5. You look absolutely AMAZING and I would love to have the Velvet treatment at some point. The feathered cape and tulle skirt are so beautiful. I agree everyone should wear red regardless of hair colouring. It's such a power colour. xx

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    1. Thanks my lovely! It was an amazing experience. That cape is my everything. Just need another excuse to wear it! I love that picture because it's so different and yet feels so me :)

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  6. So proud of you my sweetheart! Congrats on the well-deserved nomination!

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    1. Thank you my love! I am so pleased :) Be sure to cast your vote! xxx

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  7. love your confidence in these pics, you look absolutely gorgeous and you are giving 'sexy eyes' in every shot! <3

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  8. Such a gorgeous girl. I'm really glad you were imbued with even more confidence by this experience; I went through something similar having a boudoir shoot a couple of years ago and I honestly think the experience changed me for the better!

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