One Photographer’s Journey on the “Other” side of the Lens {Asheville Beauty Photographer}

I had my shoot yesterday. Eeeeeeep! You know, the one I told you about…where I’m in front of the lens instead of behind the camera? Well, I did it. Many of my clients ask me if I’ve been through one of these shoots before (boudoir or beauty) and while I had done some modelling about a hundred years ago, I never could say “Yes”. Well, I can now! What a fun day yesterday was!

Many of you might be wondering WHY I’m blogging about this experience and sharing details about where I went and which photographer I chose, etc. It pretty much is an advertisement for THEM instead of my own business here with Studio 828 Photography. I feel that it is important to share the totality of my experience from how I chose the photographer, to what I experienced with that photographer and to be completely transparent. I chose Jesseca (explained below) for many reasons. Maybe some of you will also choose her, She’s WONDERFUL! I didn’t come by my decision lightly and, if I am truly going to tailor my business model to shoot primarily with women, then I needed to choose a photographer that I not only admire but one that embodies the whole package from her steps of service before, during and after the shoot all the way through to the delivery of product. I suppose I don’t have to share my experience with you, but I’m choosing too as I need to be able to relate to as many of my clients as possible. What better way to do that than to experience a session AS a client? I had a blast with my session and while I did feel awkward, it is part of the process…a process I adore.

When I first started my journey into finding the right photographer for my session, of course there were a million options. As I started thinking about it one of the main goals that kept coming up was “Why am I booking a session? What’s the real purpose here?” The easy answer is that I wanted to experience everything from start to finish as my clients would with my services. Sounds easy enough right? Haha…not quite. There are many beauty and boudoir photographers here in Asheville, and many photographers that offer beauty and boudoir as a service in their photographic umbrella. So, I start scouring websites and one photographer (that I’ve been following for a year or so now) kept coming up in front of me. You see, there are other factors playing IN to my easy answer. Other questions that play into my “Which photographer do I choose?” portion of my experiment into Beauty Photography as a client.

  • Do I choose someone that might work on trade for portfolio building?
  • Do I choose someone that is offering a great deal on portrait photography?
  • Do I choose someone that is just starting out?
  • Do I choose someone that is well established as a beauty or boudoir photographer here in Asheville?

Ding! Ding! Ding! OK, so aspect one is that I needed to choose a photographer that had the qualities as a photographer and a business person that I work diligently to be in my own business. Our photographic and editing styles don’t need to match but, I was looking for a woman (no offense guys), whose body of work is proficient and creative, whose reputation has integrity and a history of kindness and last but not least whose purpose in her work has similarities to my own; the passion of helping women to embrace their own beauty being my number one. So, after communicating a bit with a few photographers, I emailed Jesseca Bellemare.

I was very open about my purpose for the session and, I certainly didn’t want any photographer feeling like I was coming in for a session to steal their ideas or anything weird. Jesseca was very kind in our communication and very professional. Up front with her pricing structure and how her process works.  It is more than apparent 🙂 that I already admire her work and her business model, so she’s my ideal choice as a photographer. I moved forward with the retainer for our session and started planning outfits. I’ve been working up savings as our ordering session is in a few weeks and I already know I’m going to want 90% at LEAST of what she shot for our session yesterday. She even sent me a sneak peek from our session yesterday, last night. Talk about service!!!

So, what was my session like? Well, I seesawed a little with my outfit choices but with Jesseca’s help, settled on two options: 1. a little classy rock n roll with a blue satin top and faux leather pants with my FAVORITE boots and 2) a beautiful emerald green dress I borrowed from a friend. Lemme tell ya, that dress is ALL about the curves and I’m a little more than excited to see how everything comes out.

So, I arrive at Jesseca’s studio in Biltmore Forest, a little flustered and almost late (I HATE being late) with my outfits and my Red Sox bag full to the brim with shoes (I have kind of a slight addiction with boots…). Jesseca introduced me to her makeup artist and close friend Meghan Pulliam (a super duper sweetheart with chops for beautiful eye makeup) and we moved right into hair. She and Jesseca talked with me about the goals for the session and I was tempted with some bubbles. Our noontime session lead me to coffee and water though.

One thing I thought was funny is how comfortable I was just running off at the mouth about “Me”. Whether it was about my insecurities about my age catching up with me or, my work with 828…it all just came tumbling out. For those of you that know me, I’m a fairly guarded person and try to stray away from talking too much about myself with strangers. I laughed to myself. Jesseca was recently on the cover of Verve magazine and one of the points that was made was about how “we’re women, we can talk about anything”…and it is totally spot on.

During the session, Jesseca was great about giving direction and being very detail oriented with everything from head to toe. The placement of my fingers, relaxation of my face, how to carry my chin and where to turn…everything. I’m pretty thankful for the experience. I’m finding that while this experience is an investment into my business, just yesterday alone reminded me why documenting mySelf is an investment in Me. Thank you Jesseca. Looking forward to our viewing appointment.

beauty photography, asheville beauty and boudoir photographer cat ford-coates
The sneak peek from my beauty photography shoot with Jesseca Bellemare
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