5 "Outfits" in one hour - A simple, but sexy shoot with Lavish Albuquerque and Ms. J.

So many of my clients tell me they have no idea what to wear. This is from a recent shoot with J. After a dozen or more shoots together, we always wonder if we can get something unique. Well, we did. But here’s the coolest thing, we used practically nothing for this and got a huge variety of looks in a one-hour photoshoot.

Outfit #1: White sheets and a lot of skin

Outfit #2: nothing but skin

Outfit #3: a body necklace we have in studio

Outfit #4: a cute little bodysuit you can get pretty much anywhere

Outfit #5: a sexy bikini that she brought

I occasionally browse Amazon because prime means that even procrastinators like me can get last minute lingerie in time for their photoshoot. These items aren’t the finest quality like Agent Provocateur or Honey Birdette, but they’ll photograph beautifully in a pinch. Please note that the default color on the list is not necessarily what I recommend. When in doubt, black or red. Never white stockings. Ever.

See my amazon shopping list here.

Photography by Leslie Cersovski at Lavish Boudoir™ in Albuquerque, New Mexico
Makeup by Adeana Dillon at Makeup by Adeana

Lighting for Boudoir - New Mexico Studio

When I started photography back in 2006ish, I knew absolutely nothing about light. I knew how to point a camera at a subject, I knew basic posing, and I knew how to make a woman feel comfortable in front of the camera. My studio was called “Photography by Leslie Anne.” My photographs were as generic as my name.

In 2008ish, I attended a workshop with one of the most brilliant wedding photographers in the world. Jerry Ghionis offered a workshop just one state away and I jumped at the opportunity.

The first thing we did was publicly display our portfolio for critique. I was pretty proud of my work. Jerry had other opinions. He basically told me that all of my light was flat and boring. Well, then…

Turns out, he was right. Luckily, the next 3 days were dedicated to seeing light. To understanding the difference in high key, low key, short light, broad light and flat light. We learned to use buildings as reflectors, to tuck models into strange places to get some artistic framing and how to turn a warehouse wedding into a memorable photo op.

I don’t photograph weddings anymore, but I credit his teachings to knowing and understanding light.

This photo was taken in my studio with the same light and the same angle for the model. Each says something entirely different to me and appeals to different viewers.

Which light do you prefer?

Oh, and he’s the one who gave me the idea for the studio name, LAVISH. Huge improvement in the name. He still offers workshops, so if you’re still learning photography as a professional, I cannot recommend it highly enough.

Too... This, That, or the Other - Why Imperfect is Beautiful

I hear all the time from clients that they're too old, too fat, too droopy, too thin, too wrinkly, too flabby... too imperfect to be photographed.  It breaks my heart.  This week I had a 60+ woman in my studio who is waifish and tall.  Last week I had a 23 year old who is curvy and petite.  What made each of them sexy is that they put their insecurities aside and trusted me.  Trusted me to show them beauty isn't about a size, a shape, or a feature. It's vulnerability and the confidence to see that imperfections are amazing.  These are some of the things I've heard from clients, who ended up near tears at how much they love their photos.

  • I'm fat.

  • I'm old.

  • I'm too young.

  • I'm too thin.

  • I'm too short-waisted.

  • I'm too long-waisted.

  • My nose is too big.

  • I hate my smile.

  • My hair never looks good.

  • I don't know how to do my makeup.

  • My thighs are too thin.

  • My thighs are too fat.

  • My butt is too flat.

  • My butt is too big.

  • My ankles are so thick. (That one might have been me.)

  • My boobs are too big.

  • My boobs are too small.

  • M boobs are too droopy.

  • My legs are too long.

  • My legs are too short.

  • I wish I worked out more.

  • I wish I'd lost 10 lb.

  • My ears stick out.

  • My teeth are weird.

  • My face is too round.

  • My face is too narrow.

  • I have a double-chin.

  • My arms are too wobbly.

  • I have a huge zit.

  • I have so much cellulite.

  • My stretch marks are so bad.

  • My face is too wrinkly.

  • I hate my freckles.

  • My lips are too thin.

Some of these comments have come from these beautiful women.  Could you ever imagine one of them saying such terrible about themselves?

THE Tutu with K in Our Albuquerque Studio

Adeana and I attended the Association of International Boudoir Photographers (always learning to better serve you!) in Boulder, Colorado recently. We came back recharged and ready to play with a willing model. K was perfect the job. She’s a mom (like most of our clients), but she’s also a classically trained dancer. She is also studying acting, so I actually think I’ll have to have her back in for another shoot and let her take more control. But for now, I wanted it to be quite similar to a shoot I’d have with any other client.

She brought a pretty little tulle skirt of her own, but once I saw it, I knew I had to show her my huge pastel pink tulle skirt. She couldn’t see my grin behind the mountain of tulle I was carrying, but I couldn’t wait to see her reaction.

She just about squealed and said,

“Oh my god! My dream tutu!”

Here are a few shots I wanted to share. If you’re interested in where I got the skirt, shoot me an e-mail. I have a little girls’ version, too.

Makeup and Hair: Adeana Dillon
Photography: Leslie Cersovski
Location: Albuquerque Studio

J's Bridal Boudoir Shoot in Albuquerque

Dear J,

You were one of the most beautiful brides I've photographed. Women like you give me the urge to come out of wedding photography retirement.We met over the phone since you were coming all the way from Midland, Texas. We chatted between flights because we needed to get you booked asap. I remember hanging up and thinking that this was going to be so much fun. Your enthusiasm was obvious, and that's the best kind of photoshoot. We wanted to surprise your groom with a gift that he'd love. We created a photoshoot to be bright and airy. To show off your smile. I knew that we could create photos that showed him just how sexy and confident you are.

Some women worry about fading their tan lines before a boudoir photoshoot, but I think it adds to the allure. What do you think?

I'm so glad you wore your wedding shoes that had so much bling on top and the bottom had the prettiest teal bottoms for your "something blue." This is one of my favorite photos.

Your engagement ring is so beautiful. I'm sure that every time you look at it, you fall in love with B all over again.

Thank you J for trusting me with capturing you as a beautiful bride-to-be. I can't wait to have you and B back next year to celebrate your anniversary.



Photos: Leslie Cersovski Makeup: Edgar Campos Hair: Amanda White

What we retouch, and what we don't

I get a lot of questions about retouching for boudoir.  Especially, "You an make all my cellulite go away, right? Yes, but it's not usually with photoshop.  Here are the steps to ensure your photos display flawless skin:

  1. I instruct my clients to prepare their skin at least a week in advance. Drink lots of what, hydrate with coconut oil and exfoliate a day or two before the photoshoot.
  2. I provide my clients with a lotion that I LOOOOOOVE called Prtty Peaushun. You can buy it on Amazon directly. It diffuses the light without looking greasy.
  3. I light with flat lighting on the potential lumps and bumps. No shadows? No cellulite!
  4. If I get a fabulous pose with less than fabulous flat lighting, then I'll lighten up those unflattering shadows in post production (aka Photoshop)

So what DO I do in photoshop?

I delete bruises, pimples, spider veins, skin tone changes from being hot cold or nervous and stretch marks if I can even see them after the lotion is applied. I look for any wandering makeup that makes the eyes look dark where they shouldn't. I also will smooth out any bulges created by posing. For example below, I should have had her legs resting together slightly differently to avoid that tiny little curve on her leg. My bad. But I'm not going to punish my client for my oversight.  As you can see, I'm not making any changes to her beautiful shape or size, I'm just polishing out the things you would never notice in real life.

Because with a booty this fabulous, who would notice that tiny bruise on her top cheek?

before and after retouching with Lavish Boudoir studio

PS: Next time I WILL NOT put the client right in the middle of a background crease. Even I have duh moments.