Friday, May 19, 2017

Rebel and Romance: My First Ever Boudoir Shoot



All about my truly incredible experience shooting with Rebel and Romance, for my first ever Boudoir shoot.

Run by the warm and wonderful Stormy, Rebel and Romance is a premium boudoir experience. Based in Ramsgate, but also shooting in London, New York and Miami, Stormy really offers an amazingly chic, personal and supportive experience right the way through. I had seen her work with a few plus size models I admire, and I was so excited to get the chance to shoot with her.

Despite having shot with Velvet of Volup 2, and appeared many times on my blog in pretty much just my underwear, I had never actually had a full boudoir photography experience. A proper boudoir shoot ordinarily takes place, well, in a boudoir. Or at least a room made to look like one. The wardrobe tends to be lingerie, or for the truly bold, nude or implied nude! Good boudoir photography is sultry, sexy and classy. Rebel and Romance is ALL that. And a lot more.

One of my first mega reasons to recommend Stormy and the Rebel and Romance experience would be just how hands on she is. If you're a little nervous or tentative then Stormy's calm, friendly reassurances are exactly what you need. The Rebel and Romance experience began with us meeting for a cocktail (or coffee if you prefer) and a chat. (She is also happy to do this initial meeting via Skype) It gave us both a relaxed environment to get to know each other, and for Stormy to explain a bit more about how the shoot would go. She also used this time to ask me some questions about what I wanted out of the shoot - what I was hoping for from my images, what my general look was etc. I was struck by how warm she is, and how not intimidating. We spoke about her use of photoshop - this was my first experience of boudoir photography, and while I certainly wanted to look like the best version of myself,  definitely didn't want my body shape changed or every wrinkle or roll eradicated. Stormy assured me that was not what her experience was about. She comes from a really body positive place, which also reassured me - she is excited to work with different types of women in a supportive environment, and those reassurances made me feel this was definitely the experience for me.

When I got home from our chat she had already sent me a beautifully laid out digital guide that would help me to choose my four different looks for the shoot. She suggested I make a Pinterest board with any inspiration to help me narrow down my looks, which I did, and later shared with Stormy and she gave me her opinion which helped me to refine the looks further. I really like this kind of hand holding - some times I can be a bit indecisive or nervous, especially when I'm doing something for the first time - so having that advice was great.

Stormy is based in the rather picturesque seaside town of Ramsgate, a pretty easy journey from London and most places in the South. On the day I arrived at the beautiful Grade II listed building and Stormy bounced down filled with energy and warmth as before. She's ushered me upstairs to her apartment, and I was gobsmacked! I cannot tell you just how gorgeous it is. Stormy and her incredibly lovely husband have recently restored this space and it is utter perfection. The living room is an opulent dream of a room, with dark walls, warm metallic, and huge windows filling the space with natural light. Everything is absolutely perfectly decorated and finished. She has a white bedroom, which is chic and fresh, essentially a space where you can shoot anything really, and then the piece de resistance - a Marie Antoinette boudoir - all blues pinks and whites. Utter perfection.

Next Stormy's make up artist arrived. Lauren (of Lauren Elle Makeup) was an absolute dream. She gave me a proper consultation before we started, asking me lots of questions about my skin and how I tend to do my makeup ordinarily, what colours I prefer etc. I really felt like she wanted to understand how I wanted to look, rather than giving me a sort of "standard boudoir look". In the meantime Stormy was getting to work on my hair, further defining my curls with curling tongs. We chatted happily, and it felt like a bit of a pyjama party, and I felt my nerves evaporating. After an hour of pampering and primping Lauren showed me my face - and I was totally blown away. Basically she had done my makeup exactly as I would want to do it myself if I had some actual skills. I felt like the polished, classy pinup I always knew was in there somewhere ;) I honestly couldn't recommend Lauren enough! And I was also ridiculously pleased with my sleek corkscrew curls - an under control version of my usual hair.

Stormy and I then went through my outfits and decided which would be best shot where. She also helped me decide on accessories and finishing touches. We began with this burgundy piece from Curvy Kate. It has gorgeous copper embroidery along the cups and a built in bra for great support. I love a baby doll because I think they are the perfect lingerie choice if, like me, you are a little conscious of your tummy. I wore some big knicker shapewear underneath, some gorgeous red velvet platform heels from Evans, and my favourite holdups from The Big Tights Company (honestly these are the dream, I won't wear any others) and that was pretty much it for look one:








For Look Two, we moved into Stormy's dramatic living room. My bae Georgina from Fuller Figure Fuller Bust loaned me one of her most prized possession - the leopard print dressing gown from her Catherine D'Lish collection, and this incredible beauty deserved a super luxury setting. We had so much fun shooting the beautiful movement of this piece, and I honestly felt like the most incredibly glamorous Amazonian woman. Under the robe I was wearing an old faithful steel boned black corset from eBay, my very favourite bra Curvy Kate's Tease, some black knickers and my faithful black hold ups. The results were honestly phenomenal. I adore the woman in these photographs! (Am I allowed to say that?) Look Two:

Black Underbust Corset - Corset Boulevard (similar here)









After the total extravagance of Look Two, we took it down a notch for Look Three. I stuck with the same black basics underneath, but swapped the leopard print confection, for a black lace kimono from Viva Voluptuous. The lace kimono is still properly sexy, but infinitely more wearable. The all black ensemble really worked in Stormy's stunning French boudoir, and I think in a lot of ways these pictures feel the most me. I was more relaxed and I felt less like I was playing a part, and more just relaxing and feeling properly sensual in front of the camera. Look Three:

Black Underbust Corset - Corset Boulevard (similar here)










I think the images all pretty much speak for themselves. Looking at them I feel radiant, beautiful, confident. I feel incredible. My confidence is soaring. Not just because that is me there, but because it's a reminder that given the right lighting, makeup, direction, there is a siren inside all of us. Stormy gave me loads of direction, which as a total newbie I really appreciated. There were times when she was like "lift your head" or "arch your back" or "turn this way" and I was like Seriously? Some of the poses felt weird - and then I see the results... She knows what she's doing. We also laughed a lot. Which really put me at ease, and made me feel a lot less like I was in my underwear in front of camera, and more like I was hanging out with my friend. The photoshopping is subtle and I still definitely recognise my body in these pictures - which was very important to me. I don't want anyone to say "woah is that you?"

To be honest, posting these truly sexy and sensual pictures of myself on the internet right now - it feels like a rebellious act. Why? Because of that pervasive narrative about fat women not being sexy. Not being allowed to celebrate their bodies, to revel in them. But, um, why? Look at me! Hot damn, I am going to revel in this right here!!!

Honestly though, a photoshoot might seem like a strangely shallow way to build confidence. But as a plus size woman it is anything but. Firstly, it is investing in your body as it is now. Spending time dressing it, celebrating it, in some ways confronting it. It is saying to a professional - this body of mine deserves this (which it does!) and then allowing that person to do what they do best. Showcase your beauty! Celebrate that body!

Some learnings: In hindsight, I should have booked a later train as these things can sometimes overrun (especially if you are as chatty as me!) and in the end I felt slightly rushed. It would have been better to book a later train and to have had some time to sit at the station and have a coffee. Not that it had any impact on the images! Also, a more feminine, girly look I had planned fell through because a piece of lingerie I ordered hadn't arrived yet, so despite Stormy's brilliant advice I didn't have as much difference between some of my looks as I would have liked. Always bring a couple more looks than you think you are going to use, because some things might not work as you expected, or may not go as well in the settings as you thought. Stormy is really great at helping you sort through those and make the best use of your time.

So, I think you have probably gathered, but I really couldn't recommend this experience more highly. I am so glad I did it. So if you have been thinking about doing something like this, I would definitely recommend Stormy. She is incredibly professional, and yet makes you feel so comfortable and at home. So the actual day is fun - a way you would actually like to spend a day. If Lauren is anything to go on, her makeup artists are absolutely excellent. And the final product... Well... You tell me ;)

If you are thinking of shooting, do get in contact with Stormy. She is great at answering all your questions. Or if you have more specific queries about my experience, please get in touch. And I'll do my best to answer anything.

**This post features gifted items or sponsored content, and I was kindly invited by Stormy to be photographed in exchange for an honest review of my experience**

You can read about a boudoir experience in the North of England here.
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8 comments

  1. Those are some GORGEOUS photos!!!

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    1. Thank you darling! I felt very special xxx

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  2. Oh Hayley these are absolutely beautiful!! I think my favourite set is with the leopard print gown because they are just movement and drama and perfection, but I also love the shot of your laughing laid on the bed in the very first set. You babe!

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    1. Awww thank you honey. Yeah I just adore the leopard robe ones as well. The moment is everything x

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  3. You utter babe! And those pins, lady! Scorchio. xx

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