How to Prepare for a Boudoir Photoshoot

When you boil it down to basics, each wedding is nothing more than a celebration of love. The who, when, where, and what of that love is pretty important for the big day, but all details aside, it comes back to love.

Part of what makes this particular kind of love so special that it calls for a giant day-long party that takes months of planning to orchestrate, is the comfort that comes from having a partner in this big, scary world. Which, in turn, offers space in the relationship for each person to grow into their best selves alongside each other.

They say that loving someone else requires a bit of self love too, though, in order to really flourish. Getting comfortable in your own skin before getting comfortable with another person is what we’re supposed to do per our mother’s advice, right? Right. But as well-intended as that advice is, it misses a big part of picture: the whole rest of your life!

Building up self love before you commit to a relationship is always a great plan, but even within that relationship, it’s important to keep practicing self love.

Which is why we’re so glad that boudoir shoots are officially back in vogue. Sure, we love suggesting soon-to-be-spouses do a sexy shoot before the wedding day — it makes the perfect honeymoon gift! But we also suggest boudoir shoots to unmarried people, couples on their 50th anniversary, and couples on their 5th anniversary.

Because there is no time limit on practicing self care and empowerment, and there is no wrong time to show some love to this body of yours.

It can be a little nerve-racking though, being so vulnerable in front of a camera. So we asked one of our favorite boudoir photography experts, Jennifer of Stripped Boudoir, what you can expect walking into a boudoir shoot with her, to hopefully mitigate those anxieties and replace them with excitement.

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Getting Started

“Well, the first step in any of my shoots is a FREE one-on-one consultation. This is where I like to get to know each other so you feel comfortable with me and my ideas. I also ask that you gather some ideas of poses that you’re most comfortable with.

This shoot is not all about my creative side, It’s about yours as well, and I like to collaborate on photos that make you feel confident and beautiful. Plus, I have a great make up artist that works with me as well so if you decide you want that service, she offers free consultations as well!”

Getting Ready

“Next in preparing for the shoot: Like I mentioned, this shoot is all about you. So in the days approaching the shoot prepare your self and your body in ways that make you feel confident. Try on outfits, practice posing, and the like.

I know you’re probably thinking, “what about my diet?” but something I stress that’s very important is, you don’t need to starve yourself before a shoot to look sexy. Just eat healthy a few days leading to the shoot, and I only say this because in my experience I see that in general it just makes you feel better on shoot days.”

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During the Shoot

“Nerves are expected so don’t worry, that’s normal! One thing to remember is it’s just you and I in the shoot, AND the best part, I always bring a bottle of champagne for those left over lingering nerves.

We’ll collaborate through the whole shoot, and I’ll even show you what they look like so you can make changes if you’d like to. You’ll be surprised at how fast it will go. I know it’s a vulnerable situation so I make it as fast and smooth as possible. Before you know it, we’ll be done, and within an few days I’ll have some previews to show you.”

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To book Stripped Boudoir and collaborate with Jennifer on a shoot of your very own, you can contact her here.

Hidden Gem Photographers in New Mexico

Yes, it’s true — we just said earlier this week that the fickle weather of spring had given way to steady sunshine and…..then it rained. So it goes in this beautiful, mercurial desert state! While we might not be able to rely on the weather for consistency, we can at least know that whatever rain comes to New Mexico won’t last very long. Plus, because temperamental weather is often on the horizon, local creatives have learned how to work with and around it, especially our wedding photographers.

We all know that rain on your wedding day is good luck — what with the symbolism of cleansing, renewal, and fertility and all — but what about the wind? Or the blazing New Mexican sun that occasionally becomes a bright and shining nuisance? Despite how perfectly you may plan your wedding, there are always a few uncontrollable weather variables. So, if you can’t control the weather, you’ll need a team of wedding professionals who aren’t afraid of a little Mother Nature.

Which is why we’ve put together a list of our 5 favorite hidden gem photographers. With years of experience in rain and shine, these local wedding photographers have been put to the test and come out on the other side with gorgeous visual art, a fine-tuned understanding of lighting, and a considerable dedication to their craft. So, if you maybe want someone you can count on to capture your wedding day — take a peak below.

1. Beth Waldron Photography

We’re starting out strong here with the creative known as Beth Waldron Photography. Like an amazingly talented fly on the wall, Beth photographed our Bridal Board + Vendor Mixer just a few weeks ago, and totally captured the essence, fun, and special moments of the event. (Not to mention, the photos were beautiful despite coming from a dimly-lit ballroom.) With an expressive edge that comes through in each shot, her wedding photography should be properly classified as works of art.

 

2. Jared Kellogg Photography

I feel life has a soul and there is nothing more beautiful than capturing it in a smile or in the twinkle in some one’s eye.

We couldn’t have described the creative driving force behind Jared Kellogg‘s photographic art any better than he does himself! With a unique blend of digital and film photography in his portfolio, Jared has come to understand the medium on a personal and artistic level, which shines through in his business. His clean and even approach to each couple makes his work feel comforting and familiar, with a kind of timelessness to last through each and every anniversary.

 

3. Chandelier Studio

It’s hard not to love Shannon, the creative powerhouse behind Chandelier Studio, from the first moment you meet her. All of her photographic work — weddings and boudoir — comes from a deeply artistic, deeply collaborative place, and it shows. The focus of her lens and creative practices is on making sure the women and couples in front of the camera feel beautiful, and know they’re beautiful. It’s no small wonder then, that each shot comes out looking comfortable, crisp, and perfectly balanced.

 

4. Rick Saul Photography

Rick Saul approaches each engaged couple in New Mexico with a keen awareness of the fact that his photos will long outlive the ceremony, reception, and even the honeymoon. It’s this knowledge that motivates his work, and ensures his talents are used to encapsulate all the most important moments of the day, whether they are precious and heartfelt, or silly and fun. His photographs are, essentially, his way of cementing your story in time forever, so that they may remind you of your unique love for decades to come.

 

5. Shutter Force Photography

To finish just as a strong as we started, we’re wrapping up here with Shutter Force Photography. Although we just did a special feature on the husband-and-wife photographer duo, it’s worth reiterating that their fun and loving approach to photography is totally unparalleled. Meagan and James, as they’re also called by, cultivate real, genuine relationships with their couples. It’s with this connection that they are able to express the inexpressible emotions, details, and depth of each love story within their photography.

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New Mexico Wedding Photography with Shutter Force

We were particularly impressed with Megan and James’ infectious enthusiasm, which made the day even more fun and memorable. They are truly adventure photographers and are up for anything to get a great photo. It is obvious that they enjoy their jobs and love spending time with their couples while providing great pictures.

-Amanda, local + engaged

One of the many things that makes New Mexico oh so special — besides the green chile, intoxicating desert landscapes, and mañana mentality, of course — is the variety of people, cultures, and communities coexisting here together. There’s no one, dominant kind of person here, but rather a collection of different experiences of the world, values, stories, and lives.

When it comes to choosing the wedding professionals you’ll work with to make your dream day come true, then, the options are endless. Taking a look at even just the range of skill we have from local photographers, and those who have come from all over the world to be ceaselessly inspired by New Mexico, your choices are definitely not limited. Which means you have the opportunity here to spend time with your decision, and choose the photographer or photography team that matches your aesthetic preferences and personality. How lucky is that?!

Every photographer in New Mexico is talented in their own unique ways, too, so there really is no wrong decision when it comes to choosing someone in-state. But there are a few who we can say, from personal experience, go above and beyond to capture your celebration of love in all its grandness — and all the important, tiny moments too — with collaborative hearts and full dedication. You see where we’re going here?

Meagan and James are the husband and wife duo behind the respected name, Shutter Force Photography, and when we say dedicated, we mean dedicated. Now, of course the couple had their own wedding photographed, so they’ve been on both sides of the lens and know how to move and operate within the bustling business of a wedding day without being obtrusive or missing a special moment. This, paired with their adventurous and fun-loving personalities, makes Shutter Force Photography feel more like a couple of your close friends, Meagan and James, who happen to be supremely skilled behind the camera. Which you can see, through the candid smiles, comfortable postures, and wide open hearts of everyone who collaborates with them.

We could talk endlessly about Shutter Force Photography‘s particular strengths and aesthetic style, but no matter how heavily we lean on the thesaurus, nothing comes close to describing their ability to capture sweeping landscapes and delicate details like, well, their photos of sweeping landscapes and delicate details. So we’ll let them take it from here.

To book Shutter Force Photography for your wedding, you can contact Meagan and James here.

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Outstanding, caring and enthusiastic photographers, who do an amazing job of catching the big and little details that make up a special day!

-Mark, local + newlywed

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Smitten Ceremony: Real Wedding in Albuquerque with Kayla Kitts Photography

They’re smitten, adorable, and officially Mr. + Mrs.!

Kayla Kitts Photography

Since we, Perfect Wedding Guide, exist in a liminal space between engaged couples and local wedding pros, we have quite the vantage point over the love stories that begin, and begin again, here in New Mexico. With so many weddings, each intricate and impossible to replicate, you’d think it’d be the details that really set apart certain weddings for us. But to burst your bubble, it’s actually quite the opposite — the common threads of love which weave in and out of every individual story, that’s what really makes our hearts beat in overtime.

After all these years, we’ve come to learn a few things about those common threads which unite every love story together in pure, unadulterated experiences of life. Nikki and Bobby, happy newlyweds married last year at Hotel Albuquerque, remind us so clearly of one of those lessons in particular.

When you look back, every tiny decision made was actually an enormous leap in the direction of your fate.

Like when Nikki and Bobby both happened to join the same softball team. Minimal in the moment, maybe, but that choice brought them close enough together so that love, mysterious and mercurial as it can be, could do the rest of the work. Which, of course, it did in no short time.

Thankfully, Kayla and Dominic of Kayla Kitts Photography also made a series of choices that brought them into collaboration with Nikki and Bobby for their wedding. Knowing the Kitts‘ romantic, fun, and impossibly sweet personalities, we can’t imagine a better photographer in Albuquerque to capture the all the smiles and scintillations of their wedding day.

{Pssst… This wedding + more will be featured in the 2019 Spring/Summer edition of the Perfect Wedding Guide magazine. Preorder your free copy here!}

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Photographer: Kayla Kitts Photography Venue: Hotel Albuquerque Florals: Shannon Loves Flowers Dress: Ann Matthews Bridal Officiant: Randy Joslin Makeup: Chelsea LeMendola Hair: Ashlee Mendoza with Amp’d Up Salon DJ: Cutmaster Music Shoes: Dillard’s Jewelry: JC Penny Rings: Ben Bridge Jeweler and Zales Men’s Attire: Mens Wearhouse Cake: BitterSweets Bakery

 

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Pastel Perfection: Real Wedding with Chrisi K Photography

Perhaps we use the adjective perfect a little bit too frequently…But we are the Perfect Wedding Guide, after all! Plus, every wedding that graces our pages, both print and digital, was conceptualized and executed to perfection. But don’t let that fact dilute the word, because Aja + Johnny’s celebration of love was — yes we’re going to use it again — absolutely perfect.

When we say perfect, we don’t necessarily mean without hitch or hiccup as the traditional definition would suggest. Anyone whose been to a wedding, whether attending as a guest or collaborating as a vendor, knows that no celebration so large, so detailed happens without a few little bumps. Especially when a healthy number of family members are gathered in one place, if you know what we mean. What makes weddings like Aja + Johnny’s perfect is their persistence.

Despite the hours of calling, researching, and booking local wedding professionals, despite New Mexican weather that stays finicky all year long, despite all the budgeting, the love persists. Because the love between Aja + Johnny is bigger than any wedding-related trial or triumph — it steadfastly remains the focal point of their celebration, no matter the circumstance. We’re lucky Chrisi K Photography was there to capture this facet of their love, and ensure every detail was solidified in memory for their lifetime. Because, well, their life together as husband and wife began on this glorious and bright summer day, but the love that brought them there had already been existing and persisting all the while.

And, as if this simple truth didn’t make their wedding day perfect enough already, the couple truly slayed the summer wedding palette, and incorporated some of the most darling details we’ve seen to date. From the paper parasols to shade their guests from the New Mexican sun, to the adorable and surprisingly realistic succulent cupcakes, to the buoyantly cheerful bouquets of rose that complimented the bridesmaids donned in ethereal pastel. Aja + Johnny cared for every detail of their wedding day, and Chrisi K Photography cared for every moment.

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2018 Four Seasons Connection Luncheon Recap

Okay, so maybe we’re a bit nostalgic, but is that so wrong? Especially since we’re only a few days into 2019, and here in New Mexico, 2018 was one of Perfect Wedding Guide‘s best years yet. We had wedding shows, luncheons, and parties galore, plus relationship building, contest-throwing, giant giveaways, and more. The only way to rectify our desperate reminiscing is to start look eagerly toward our upcoming events, which we’re definitely doing, don’t get us wrong.

But before we jump ahead, we have to spend at least a moment discussing the experience of our Four Seasons Connection Luncheon that was in December of 2018. Because that’s exactly what it was — an experience. Four Season‘s unparalleled elegance, the crisp, clean air of Santa Fe, and Alena Bard LLC.‘s wisdom all combined to create a truly moving afternoon.

Lucky for us, Keara Lloyd Photography was there to capture every moment, too, from the first course to the last lingering conversation. The former being, if you can believe it, warm quail on a bed of roasted fennel salad, decorated with a complimentary beet puree, roasted almonds, and white balsamic glazed blueberries. Then came the duel entrees: slow braised short ribs with green chile mashed potato, and chorizo and macadamia roasted Chilean sea bass.

Accompanying every bite was a light and refreshing sparkling wine that prepared the palette for our team’s personal favorite, the dessert: strawberry trifle with sponge cake, vanilla and Chantilly cream. The only thing that rivaled the dessert’s sweetness was the absolute treat of hearing local wedding planner Alena Bard LLC. share her knowledge to the group of local business owners. She talked finding your purpose, holding onto it, and weaving passion and self-compassion into your business practices. We walked away feeling filled to the brim with inspiration and delectable cuisine.

The best part of being positioned between local engaged couples and the businesses who serve them is being able to spoil both parties. For our engaged couples, it’s through our giveaways, wedding shows, online tools, print guide, etc., etc., etc. And for the local wedding professionals, who work so hard to elevate and evolve Albuquerque + Santa Fe’s market, it’s through indulgent, invigorating, innovative days like this.

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T. Rayne Photography {Local Vendor Spotlight!}

I love to freeze moments in time that would otherwise fade away.

That’s what motivates one of our new favorite wedding photographers here in Albuquerque, T. Rayne Photography. It’s also what makes her take on the age-old craft stand out from the crowd with its intrinsic uniqueness.  Well, that and her superhero-like ability to make every couple, group, and human feel comfortable and relaxed, even with her lens trained on them. Which we all know is no small achievement, even in the digital age!

I have always had a hard time feeling beautiful, especially in photos, but she made sure I felt like a beautiful bride and it shows. I am absolutely obsessed with our wedding pictures!

-Ashley, local bride

We all want to look and feel at ease in our skin every single day, but a wedding day comes only once, and simply can’t be left up to fate or hope. Taylor, the name and creative force behind T. Rayne Photography, knows this and that’s why she strives to create a gentle and contented atmosphere for her couples. Reflected in each and every one of her photos, Taylor cuts through the clutter and captures the essence and personality of her couples with her clean and refreshing photographic style.

It’s really no wonder T. Rayne Photography is able to accomplish such feats for our local engaged couples in New Mexico — at least it’s not when you consider the lifelong bond she’s had with the medium. Even as a little girl, Taylor carried around disposable cameras with her everywhere she went! And how lucky are we, that her devotion to photography and diligence in creating safe atmospheres, is longstanding, and not a passing hobby? T. Rayne Photography truly elevates the photographer community here in Albuquerque + Santa Fe, and we’re grateful that she’ll be sticking around for awhile to continue the good work.

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Exquisite Details: Local Styled Shoot Spotlight

How blessed are we to live in a city with such an abundance of wedding expertise? Getting married in New Mexico means you have a huge array of choices for the wedding professionals you decide to hire. Which then means, of course, you get to choose to work with people on your special day who you actually get along with, on a human level. Being able to connect with your wedding pros before your wedding ensures that on the big day, things are smooth as can be, because everyone is on the same page.

Even with this connection though, we’re still continuously amazed with how Albuquerque + Santa Fe wedding businesses manage to perpetually go above and beyond with the love they bring and showcase for every couple. Which is why we adore styled shoots so much, too. What better way to illuminate the dedication to detail and venerable knowledge each professional has about weddings?

This styled shoot was coordinated and cultivated by the New Mexico Wedding Professionals — a group of likeminded, hardworking wedding businesses who are experts at their craft. From venues, to florists, to officiants and more, the New Mexico Wedding Professionals are an eclectic bunch who all have one thing in common: excellency.

Shot at Isleta Resort and Casino by one of our most beloved photographers, Photographic Perspectives, this styled shoot was all about highlighting that excellency.

An evening of romance, exquisite details, and the exploration of the uniqueness of Isleta Resort and Casino took place. From using custom-made Renee linens for the Santa Fe Opera, to the whimsical florals and carefully chosen lace gown and veil, the vision of sophistication and elegance was truly captured.

New Mexico Wedding Professionals

This gorgeous moment, captured in time forever more by Photographic Perspectives, was the amalgamation of so many moving parts, that came together for one, collaborative manifestation of a dream.

To meet these vendors in person, connect with them over mutual love of weddings, and chat about the excellency they can incorporate into your wedding day, you can stop by the first wedding show of 2019: the Wicked Wedding Show at the Albuquerque Sheraton Uptown Hotel! This years theme is Elegance at an Angle — RSVP here, before it’s too late.

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Concept: New Mexico Wedding Professionals Photographer: Photographic Perspectives Venue: Isleta Resort & Casino Bridal Gown: Bridal Elegance by Darlene Men’s Attire: Suits Unlimited Linens & Decor: Occasion Services & Events Officiant: Amor Ceremonies    Florals: Something Special with Flowers

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From Albuquerque to Iceland: Real Winter Wedding

With the winter chill covering our Sandia Mountains in crisp, white snow, but not gracing the city with the same, it’s no wonder we’re feeling a bit envious of this real wedding from local couple, Sara-Irene + Alex. Can we all just pack up our things and hitch it over to Iceland, like the lovebirds did for their wonderfully intimate, wintery wedding?

Alas, there’s much to do in here in New Mexico, so we’ll have to live vicariously through the photos of their breathtaking ceremony. Luckily Maura Jane Photography was there to capture every detail and darling moment between the couple. With her magic-making gear in tow, Maura hopped on a plane to Iceland with just the couple and their officiant after they decided to switch up their plans.

Sara-Irene and Alex had originally planned a large local wedding here in Albuquerque. After a month of planning, they realized that the upcoming wedding didn’t portray the two of them very well. It didn’t feel like they thought their wedding should. It didn’t take long for them to flirt with the idea of an elopement. After all, Sara-Irene already had her dress and none of the invites had been sent. After scouring Pinterest for ideas, they fell in love with and settled on Iceland. One quick phone call and they changed their plans and dates to head to the land of fire and ice.

Maura Jane Photography

While we don’t advocate for ever leaving our Land of Enchantment — why would you ever want to?! — we’d be lying if we didn’t say it was the perfect move for Sara-Irene + Alex. Ultimately, each wedding serves as a reflection of the values and love between its respective couple, in all their deeply unique and incomparable ways.

It may have been cold but the wind blew Sara’s bouquet ribbons in the most beautiful fashion adding to the ethereal look of all their photos. It also made it so only they themselves could hear each other say their vows, adding to the intimacy of the day. Afterwards we traveled around the island to some of the most picturesque locations for photos that you have ever seen. From the black sand beaches in Vik to the icy glaciers on the south side of the island, we were all completely awestruck by its beauty. Sara-Irene and Alex could not have picked a more ideal place to say I do. With their adventurous hearts and desire to keep their wedding intimate, it all fell together perfectly.

Maura Jane Photography

A hearty and warm congratulations to Sara-Irene + Alex for leaping together into the evolution of their love story. And, of course, thank you to Maura Jane Photography for ensuring that the moment will be preserved in their hearts, and ours, for lifetimes to come.

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Photographer: Maura Jane Photography Venue: Reynisfjara, and Jökulsárlón Dress Store: A Dressy Occasion Dress Designer: Mon Cheri Veil: Bridal Elegance by Darlene Ring: Heidi Gibson Ribbons: Table and Vase Flowers: Upplifun, Be Inspired – bækur, blóm og gjafavara Desserts: Alchemy Confections Invitations: Funky Olive Invitations + Stationery Officiant: Tryggvi Gunnarsson of  Sidmennt

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Kevin’s Photography: Albuquerque Wedding Photographer Highlight

We could give you a hundred reasons why to choose local, small businesses over corporate chains for your wedding. {I mean, that’s kind of literally what our team is all about, right?} But our favorite reason, and the reason we also chose to work with small businesses owners is as such: they’re real people.

Well, yes, they’re obviously real people, with skills they’ve worked hard to cultivate and be able to share with you. But more than being tangibly real, their businesses are also their lives and passions, which means their actual personalities are on display and influence their work. So when you work with a real person, you get the chance to connect with them on a more human level. Instead of having a troupe of strangers parading about on your wedding day, you have people there who you trust and actually get along with.

Take Kevin’s Photography for example. Their studio of handpicked artists here in Albuquerque, New Mexico all share a common vision and all work together on human levels with one another. For over 33 years Kevin’s Photography has been connecting with engaged couples, cultivating working relationships with them, and giving them the best for an invaluable aspect of their wedding day.

Yes, their work speaks for them, but when you sit down for a consultation with Kevin or one of his highly qualified team members, you get to actually meet, face to face, the person who will be there capturing your wedding. You get the chance to check out your photographer’s personality and style, and make sure its inline with yours and your vision. Plus, you can see and know that it’s more than just a job for Kevin’s Photography — dedicated to their craft and doing what they love, Kevin’s team pours their hearts into their photographic art.

We feel infinitely lucky to have such a variety of local wedding experts in Albuquerque + Santa Fe to choose from, and with businesses like Kevin’s Photography keeping the love in their work, it’s no wonder we’re always staying inspired. So stay local friends! You won’t regret it.

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Kevin Dooley of Kevin’s Photography is an over-qualified individual who loves what he does. He really is enthusiastic about taking photos and turns out some of the most beautiful photos I’ve ever seen. Some of the photos of our daughter’s wedding look like they belong in a magazine! He was fun and easy to work with. We would hire him again! 

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