4 Things To Know About Scheduling A Boudoir Session With Swiger Photography

Queer Boudoir in Philadelphia, PA 6

Whenever someone says the word "boudoir" a wide variety of images can come to mind.  And that's one of the things I love about it!  I often get asked to describe my personal style and what a client should expected when it comes to shooting boudoir!  So I wanted to take a moment and share a little with all of you the 4 things I tell the ladies looking to schedule their own boudoir session with Swiger Photography as well as share some of my favorite images from my session with the beautiful Meredith!  

1.) It's going to be a lot of fun!  
This is the first thing I tell any woman looking to work with me for a boudoir session!  Most of us get really nervous thinking about being in our underwear and that's totally normal!  But I always let my ladies know that boudoir is all about self love, capturing your favorite things about yourself, being a little (or a lot) sexy and having fun!  Its totally ok to be nervous, but 10 minutes into your session, I'll have you laughing with corny jokes and we'll have Bey on blast that the nerves will fade away!  

2.) You don't need to know how to pose!
I think the thing I hear the most is that women are worried they will do it wrong or have no idea how to pose!  And again, thats totally normally!  It's my job to walk you through poses and I'll even put down my camera and show you what I want you to do.  Most of the things we'll be doing are things you'd never do in real life so we take it at your pace!  This is why even our mini sessions are longer than most of our competitors!  We want to have time to teach you what to do and make sure the whole experience is fun!  

3.) There is no right or wrong body for boudoir! 
I get super sad when ladies say they are too big or too small, too young or too old for a boudoir session because that simply isn't true!  You do not need to lose 10lbs or cover up your wrinkles to look beautiful!  You, as you are, are beautiful!  One tip I give women who are more self conscious about how they look is to pick outfits that accentuate what they love!  Love your boobs?  Wear that push up bra to make them look great!  Think your butt is fine? Pick out something that shows it off!  Obsessed with the tattoo on your back?  Make sure its visible!  Suddenly the session becomes about celebrating what you love, not hiding what you don't!  

4.) My style is much more relaxed when it comes to sexy!  
Unlike a lot of other photographers out there, I encourage the ladies who book me to rock things that are more laid back and natural!  With so many different styles of photography and tons of talented photographers, I have focused on providing my clients with shoots that are more about celebrating who they are in a simple, sexy way where they scheduling these shoots for themselves, not for their partner!  So what do I suggest you wear for your session with me? Glad you asked!

  • Favorite bra and underwear
  • An over sized or off the shoulder t-shirt
  • All things high waisted
  • A simple, sexy dress
  • Sweaters or cardigans, especially if they are worn with cute underwear
  • Knee or thigh high socks

 

Got a question you want me to answer about boudoir?  Let me know!  I'd love to answer it and talk to you about how you can schedule your session with me!  No matter who you are, you deserve to feel beautiful!   So contact me now about our affordably priced sessions and lets make some magic together!  

Lokal Hotel Philadelphia Photoshoot Previews

Very rarely do I do a preview blog post from a session.  Usually I wait until everything has been edited to blog but last Thursday session at the stunning new Lokal Hotel in Old City Philadelphia had me itching to share some of my favs so I decided to do a little preview blog post of the entire day!  I had so many amazing women and allow me the insane honor of photographing them and these images are ones I am insanely proud of.  My goal was to photograph these women naturally, to push myself creatively and to expand my portfolio to include more of this style of boudoir.  And I say, mission accomplished!  While this blog post only includes 4 images of each session, hopefully it gets you excited to see each individual blog post as they are posted over the next month!  

Before I tell ya'll to scroll on, I just want to give a tremendous shout out to all of these women for coming and giving up part of their Thursday!  You each are incredible and I can not WAIT to share your galleries with you soon!!!  

Nicole - A soft and edgy boudoir session

This session is one I have been meaning to blog for a few weeks now but my personal life has been crazy doing all kinds of things for The Strong Catalyst.  But now that life is normal again, I am SO excited to share this soft and edgy studio boudoir session!  Nicole is one of funniest, sweetest people I know and you may see these photos and think you've seen her before on Swiger Photography.  And you're right!  You have!  I photograph this family every year for their holiday cards but I was so excited to just photograph Nicole and have some fun in the studio!  She brought a little bit of soft, sensuality and then a whole lot of edgy sexy too and to me, it was the perfect shoot!  Its fun when I get to shoot women I already know and adore and to create magic with them...and thats exactly what I would say this shoot was.  Magic.  

Nicole, you already know I adore you and your family but I hope this images show you a new side to yourself and that this won't be the last time I get to photograph just you!  Thank you for answering my model call, being a phenomenal friend and for always supporting everything Jordan and I do.  We love you!!!!  Now enjoy just a handful of my favs!  

Heather - LGBTQ Boudoir Session

If you think you recognize Heather, you probably do.  I have shot everything from headshots to family photos, engagement to wedding photos and even some of her shows over the years!  Heather is not only an incredibly sexy lady, she is a wife, burlesque performer, International Ms Leather, and PhD student.  And more than that, she is a gracious, sweet friend who I feel lucky to lean on over the last few years.  We've been fortunate to know each other in both professional and social situations in the LGBTQ community and have often had long talks over wine about how we want to see our world change.  She is wise and funny and both like a mentor and dear friend.  Last month, Heather came to the studio for a boudoir mini session and we had so much fun!  She is always stunning but it was fun to photographer her in a new way!  From her outfits to those long long legs to her laugh when I mentioned spouse Simon, I didn't want the session to end!  Heather, thank you for letting me be the one to photograph so much of your life of recent and thank you for your unending support of me and my business.  Jordan and I adore you, Simon and Patrick and are ever grateful for you.  

Gina - Birthday Self Love Boudoir Session

With Valentines Day tomorrow, we are sharing some of our favorites from our Boudoir Marathon last month!  And up next is the gorgeous Gina!  Gina gifted herself this boudoir session for her birthday and we were so excited to meet her!  Gina is good friends with one of our favorite clients Annalise and we always love when our clients share how much they love us with their friends!  She got a little help from The Velvet Lily (one of my go-to recommendations for the best lingerie!) and Sara from Elegance Artistry but mostly, Gina just brought her gorgeous self and vibrant personality to this boudoir session.  She happily agreed to allow us to share these with all of you and we were thrilled!  

Gina, I know it was a little intimidating to show up for your session, but girl you killed this session!  You are stunning, inside and out and I am so proud of you for taking the time to do this for YOU!  I wish more of us would take the time to pamper ourselves now and then and to realize that boudoir isn't just for having sexy pictures to gift the one you love.  It can also be for refinding all the things that make you sexy, gorgeous and worthy of feeling pretty, not just for an afternoon, but every day too.  We can't wait for the next time you're in front of our camera!  

Brittany - Actor Studio Headshots

Today's blog post is a little more special than normal, because the photos themselves are extra amazing, but because of the woman in them.  It isn't often I have the oppertunity to do studio based headshots or that I get to photograph talented actresses but when I knew I had an opening during our Boudoir Marathon on January, I reached out to Brittany to see if she might want to come in.  You see, Brittany happens to also be my younger sister.  My entire life, while she has been younger than me, I have always had this sense of awe when it came to her.  She was pretty, well spoken, smart, kind and could diffuse almost any situation growing up.  And as she has grown up, I have found myself more and more inspired by her own belief in herself.  She's 26 and starting to make steps toward an acting career the last couple years.  Despite this sounding like a near impossible idea, she has taken steps to understand what it would take, how to get where she wants to go and what her life might look like were she to get asked to do a role.  And I honestly couldn't be more proud.  

While I am adopted and we don't share the same genetics or family history, something about the way we grew up caused both of us to have the tenacious belief that the crazy and sometimes laughable is actually possible.  While we don't share a love of cooking or certain kinds of films or understandings of many things, we share a love of the creative and of telling stories.  And to be honest, I love that we are different in so many ways, but that we both share those things too.  

Brittany, thank you for taking the time to let me photograph you.  As your big sis, I know I often want to protect you or pretend that you are so much younger than I am but honestly, you have grown into a woman I both admire and respect.  I hope you love these headshots and that as you keep heading toward an acting career you always know that Jordan and I will always be some of your biggest fans.  

 

January Boudoir Marathon

I spent Tuesday hanging out at the GORGEOUS location for our boudoir marathon and let me tell you ladies - it's ahhhhmazing!!!  Beautiful vintage furniture, large windows for streaming natural light and of course a coffee and champagne bar!   In the heart of West Chester, this location is going to be so much fun to play in with 10 gorgeous ladies!  

Photo courtesy of Lauren Schwarz Photography - isn't it GORGEOUS!!!!!

Photo courtesy of Lauren Schwarz Photography - isn't it GORGEOUS!!!!!

So what is a boudoir marathon?  It is a specially priced mini version of a boudoir session, just in time for Valentines Day!  You'll get dolled up by our professional make-up artist before slipping into two different looks and getting to shoot for a half hour with me!  After your session, I edit your images and deliver them to you via a beautiful online gallery!  We are including around 15 digital images so you have plenty of options as well as a print release!  You can then share them with friends or that special someone in your life or keep them to remind you how amazing you are!  And we are offering special early bird pricing now through December 18th!!!  

Want to give this as a gift for someone special in your life?  What better gift at the holidays than one that says you deserve to spend the day being pampered and feeling gorgeous!?!?  Contact us and let us know you want to give a lady in your life this session and we'll send you a pretty present for them to open!  

We have already sold 2 of our 10 spots so we are expecting these to go FAST!  To book yours, see more of our work or have us answer any of your questions, please head over to the contact tab and drop us a line!  We'd love to chat with you!!!  We also offer incentives to get your friends to book and for those who are willing to allow us to use your gallery!  Let us know if you'd like more information on either!!

Forward Philly Philadelphia Weekly Feature

Now that the article is LIVE, I can officially share my favorites of the 13 amazing individuals who were featured in the article!  This was a first for Swiger Photography and it was so much fun to meet each of them!  My favorite thing about these shoots was how different everyone was!  As a photographer who photographs a LOT of weddings, these folks were a welcome change of pace to begin my summer off!  If you haven't yet, check out the Philadelphia Weekly Forward Philly Article and then leave this amazing group of people some love!

Confessions of Love, Worth and Comparison

Confession?  I really really really struggle to see that I am doing good.  Most days, I find myself staring wistfully at another photographers work, wondering when mine will look like that.  And its rough.  Because comparison is the thief of joy and without the joy, I so easily loose sight of how lucky I am to be a photographer.  

I was putting together an inspiration board of two weddings I did recently to send over to a client this morning, when I found myself overwhelmed with the sense of not being good enough.  I have amazing clients who have the most gorgeous wedding days and the sweetest love stories, but then I think of all the other photographers out there and I loose sight of who I am.  I think that I am not special.  I wonder if my work measures up in the eyes of others.  I worry that people laugh behind my back, saying to each other "she is actually quite terrible at being a photographer."  And what's sad is I know that there are those that have said those things, so I feel justified in comparing who I am and my body of work to someone else who isn't even like me.  The doubt and fear settle in and I'll have to take a few days to find myself again.  

You know what I realized this morning though?  When I compare myself to others, I feel worthless.  When I compare myself to who I use to be, I see my worth.  By taking a moment and looking back at a wedding from last year that I was proud of and loved shooting, I can see the growth in where I have come from.  That wedding wasn't bad!  In fact it was one of my best of 2015!  But here we are, half way through 2016 and my work has gotten significantly better. My style has changed a little and I am more confident on a wedding day than I ever was.  Comparing myself to the Amanda of October of 2015, makes me feel like a boss.  So why do I even bother comparing myself to the thousands of other photographers out there when that never ends with the same feeling.  

Maybe to some it seems odd for a business owner to share her struggles, maybe it seems weird to admit that my work changes.  But I hold on to the idea that out there in the land of the internet are those that need to be reminded that honesty is refreshing and that your worth is found in who you are and where you are going, not in who someone else is or what they do.  If that's you, especially if you are a creative, I encourage you to dig out something you use to be proud of and compare it to where you are now.  See the changes, feel the joy of becoming better.  And be daring enough to be honest with your journey! 

And because I figured I ought to show you what brought this whole post about, the first collage is a wedding from 2015 that I loved and the second two are weddings from the last month or so.  :)  

Confessions of Love and Worth and Wearing a Bikini

I have a confession to make.  And it might sound silly, but go with me for a moment.  

In my entire life, I never wore a bikini bathing suit.  The closest I got was a tankini in high school but even then, you'd most often find me in a one piece.  And usually there would be a cover up over top of it.  And some of that came from being raised in a conservative family, one where modesty was taught.  But even as an adult, one who has pushed back on a lot of the things I was taught, this one seemed to hold.  I shouldn't wear a bikini, and that was that.  

I bought the only bikini I've ever owned back in March for a photoshoot I did with The STRONG Philly.  The whole session can be viewed here but in short, I needed something to wear that people would be able to write words on me, calling to light the mean things I heard my whole life.  It was an emotional experience, being that bare in front of people I knew, people I barely knew and knowing that these images would be online.  I cried, A LOT, worried what people would think of me, if they would judge how I looked, forgetting to see the message behind the images.  But this message of no more bullying was one I felt so strongly about.  The day of the shoot, I was all nerves, but as I peeled off the layers of clothes, there was this strange sense of calm.  There I was, about as vulnerable as one can be in public, and it was terrifying.  But more than the terror. it was freeing.  

We got home though, and I buried that bathing suit away.  I was so proud of the shoot, but I figured if there was a time where I would need a swim suit, I'd go out and buy a modest one-piece, one that hid my belly better, one that covered as much of me as possible.  Because despite the freedom I felt for that shoot, I believed that it was a once in a life kind of moment.  That beyond then, this body, my body, should be hidden away.  

My whole life I have struggled with that - hiding - never knowing how much of me was wanted in any given context.  In high school I was this tiny 105lbs version of myself, that believed that my worth was found in how much I was involved in youth group, how many friends I had and where I would go beyond high school.  When I was younger, I believed my worth was found in light of the fact that I was adopted, figuring that if I could know who my birth parents were, maybe who I was would make sense.  In college, I was taught that my worth was found in God but being as I went to a Biblical University, I was also told over and over that the person I knew I was, a lesbian, was something that I should hide and run from.  I was also retaught the message that my body was for my one day husband and that if I wanted a good marriage, I should cover it up now, never understand it, as it wasn't mine in the first place.  

And then I got bigger.  After spending my whole life as someone who was small, but told all these messages, my world came crashing down when I looked in the mirror and saw I was another person bigger.  Clothes became what I hid inside, trying to draw attention away from my appearance.  Summer was the worst...when you are wondering how to understand your own worth and appearance, it's hard to not have a lot of it wrapped up in a little piece of brightly colored spandex.  I was depressed.  Anxious.  Scared that I was going to be alone for forever.  

And then I came out.  I remember sitting on my parents sunporch, Jordan (my at the time fiance) by my side telling my parents I was marrying her.  And while I remember very little of that conversation, 6 words have haunted me since.  "You use to be so pretty."  My mom said those words, reaching out and tucking a hair behind my ear.  I don't know what she meant by it, but I know what my heart heard.  

"You use to be attractive."  -  "You use to be so smart."  -  "You use to be worthy."  -  "You use to be apart of this family."  -  "You use to make me happy."  -  "You use to have value."  -  "You use to be worthy of love, worthy of my love."  

I bought my wedding dress out of my understanding of those 6 words.  I made decisions on how to handle decisions out of what I thought those words meant.  I wore the clothes I did for a year a half out of those words.  I heard what my wonderful wife said through the lenses of those words and I still to this day take compliments from strangers or friends out of those words...believing they are trying to find something nice to say to a person who is so unworthy of anything.  I use to have worth.  But now I didn't.  And this all came crashing together on Saturday when Jordan and I found ourselves headed to the pool.  

I put on that bathing suit.  The two piece, bikini top, high waisted bathing suit and quickly slipped my cover up over my head.  I'd be ok, I'd just keep that dress on and no one would see. Deep breaths, hiding would totally work.  We got to the pool, about 20 people were around and before Jordan had taken off her shoes,  this rush of emotions hit me.  I couldn't do it anymore.  I couldn't hide.  I couldn't listen to all the negative voices inside my heart.  I couldn't let these two pieces of spandex tell me how to live my life.  So off went the dress.  And with it the load I had been carrying for so long.  I spent two days in and out of that bathing suit, trying to wrap my head around the freedom I felt.  And while I am sporting some serious sunburn (#reallywhitegirlproblems), I came home realizing I had to share this as well.  

I am size 18.  I have bigger boobs and an ass.  My belly isn't flat and my thighs always rub together when I walk.  I have stretch marks and scars and pale skin and mascara smudges constantly under my eyes.  But this is me.  And I am worthy and loved and pretty.  My worth isn't found in a "good Christian husband" or in saying the right things or knowing my birth mom or making things right with my family or getting skinny again.  And neither is yours.  You don't have to hide, cover up, run away, disguise, fit in, or anything else to be worthy, loved, strong.  You are those things because your human.  You are beautiful and wanted and needed and have a place in this world.  And if you find yourself feeling stuck, believing the lie that you shouldn't wear a bikini or insert your personal you shouldn't/don't deserve _________ here, its a lie.  Its scary, but this is the hope I clung to, the hope you should cling to....that a life lived beyond fear, beyond hiding, is one where we can know and be known.  

This Monday, find that thing you are afraid of.  Sit with it for awhile.  Know why its such a big deal and what it would mean or feel like to try and conquer it.  And then, even if it takes you a while, go do it.  Be daring and bold and brave.  And then shout from the roof tops that you did that thing you didn't think you could.  Let people know you and in turn learn to know others as well.  Share your stories, confess those deep hidden lies you've told yourself for so long.  I'll be right here cheering you on, myself trying to find more fears conquer.  And writing more confession of love and worth as I do. 

In freedom, hope and sunshine,

Amanda

Our Giveaway Winner Is...

All week I have read tons of comments, emails, messages and so forth trying to decide who should be the winner of our Launch Day Giveaway!  So many amazing people wrote us telling why they wanted to win a free session with us and let me tell you, ya'll made me cry!  We have so many loyal fans, sweet past clients and friends who support us and Swiger Photography wouldn't be the same without!  And it seems that you all love the new look as much as we do!  Our clients images stand out, the client lounge is a hit and so many of you are asking when you will see your images on the blog!  And the answer is soon!  

But without further ado...let me introduce our giveaway winner and tell you why I am SO excited to photograph this awesome lady!  

Gracie Harringotn, girl you are our WINNER!  Your email moved me to tears!  From the moment I met you bubbly as can be at iCandy, I knew you were someone that I wanted to get to know.  Then once I started following you on social media, I realized that much like me, there is a lot more than meets the eye with you.  

"This is the reason I am entering this contest: I would love to have photos taken to show my friends and family over social media what a fighter looks like. I hope to give hope to those currently struggling with mental health disorders, by showing them that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I believe that your giveaway could be a way to do this."

You are right, there is so much hope to be given to those struggling with mental health disorders and if I can be even a small part of the journey, I want to.  When I started the section of Swiger Photography called The Worthy, it was for women like you that I did.  People who need a chance to see the worth inside themselves and to share that with those around them.  You dear, have found that worth and you deserve beautiful images of that sweet smile and adorable laugh and so let's get that session scheduled ok?  And a HUGE thank you to all of you who entered and made this launch successful!  

Stephanie - The Worthy Headshot Shoot at Ridley State Park

Ohhhhh ya'll this is a good one.  I have known of Stephanie for a long time.  Its hard to be out in the LGBTQ scene in Philly and not have run into this pretty lady but I hadn't ever had the chance to hang out and talk to her before!  And let me tell you, this sex educator is so down to earth!  Not to mention stunningly beautiful.  

She started a little nervous but by the time I showed her a few frames, the nerves calmed and the magic began!  I think for some of us, as comfortable in our own skin as we are, its nerve wracking to have your photo taken.  But we are all worthy of having beautiful headshots and a great experience getting them and judging by the comments on facebook, it seems she loves the results!  

Stephanie, Jordan and I loved having the chance to photograph you and get to know you better!  You seriously killed your session and I can't wait to follow along with all the places you will be using your headshots!  And seriously, you're gorgeous girl!