I NEVER IMAGINED I COULD BE ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE- TORONTO BOUDOIR PHOTOGRAPHER

I met Caitlin at a women’s retreat a few years ago. I knew she had a huge heart right away. She is truly beautiful inside and out. Keep reading to hear about her experience with her boudoir photoshoot.

WHY DID YOU WANT TO DO A BOUDOIR SESSION FOR YOURSELF?

I wanted to do a boudoir session for myself because I’ve always had a very low self-esteem. Despite generous compliments I have received, I see a skewed image when I look in the mirror, and when I see pictures of myself, too. For as long as I can remember I’ve focused on my many ‘flaws’, as opposed to the qualities I should be proud of.

Heck, deep down I know I should be proud of my flaws, too! 

I had admired boudoir photos over time and always appreciated how confident and brave the people in them seemed, but I never imagined I could be one of those people.

Just before I became a mom I had worked diligently to be in the best shape I’d ever been in. I was more confident then than I’d ever been, too, and had considered booking a boudoir session before getting pregnant ‘as a keepsake’. But then I got pregnant quickly, and my pregnancy kicked my butt. I was sick for the full nine months, ate poorly because of that, and basically ‘let myself go’. I assumed my chance of ever (even remotely confidently) doing a boudoir session was lost.

But then I met Sam at a women’s retreat.

I knew she was going to be there, and was offering mini-sessions to anyone interested. I was sure I wouldn’t participate, but packed some outfit options ‘just in case’.  

Funny enough I did participate, but didn’t wear a single one of the options I’d brought. I lent them out instead. 


It must have been a mix of the positive, encouraging women I was surrounded with, the energy of the retreat we were experiencing together, plus the feeling I immediately got from Sam that led me to get in front of her camera. I barely wore makeup, did nothing with my hair, and wore a white cut off tank top and jean shorts. So simple, and yet when I got my three images back, it was like I was looking at a stranger. I saw someone confident, brave and beautiful. It was so empowering to connect my reaction to the images to the fact that the subject was me.

Years of rampant and constant self-criticism paired with growing, birthing and nursing a child hadn’t ‘ruined’ me, after all; quite the contrary. Those three initial images (plus the feeling I had while Sam was taking them) were life changing.

I knew from that experience that I would someday do a full session with Sam.

toronto boudoir photographer
toronto boudoir photographer
toronto boudoir photographer

HOW DID YOU FEEL DURING YOUR SHOOT?

Sam may not have known, but when I arrived on the day of my shoot I was an insecure ball of nerves. I had gained a fair amount of weight since the mini-session we’d done. My life course had taken a drastic turn. I had been feeling small and ‘stuck’. It didn’t help that the night before something had happened to shake my confidence to the core. I was not feeling physically OR mentally prepared, but I knew I couldn’t cancel, so I followed through.

I was met by Sam and Cassandra (hair and makeup) who immediately made me feel at ease. They both have a subtle and yet powerful energy that lifted my spirits (and my confidence). I felt comfortable. I felt cared for. I felt seen. I was heard.

Cassandra did my hair and makeup in such a way that I felt my features were enhanced, but I wasn’t hidden. I wasn’t over-done. I was still ‘me’.

And then there was my shoot…


I felt shaky and unsure at first. But with Sam’s directions, her positivity, and her reactions, my confidence grew and grew. Throughout the shoot my nerves dissipated entirely. I was still me, but with layers and years of doubt stripped away. I wasn’t overthinking anymore. I wasn’t doing the photos for anyone other than myself. I got out of my head and trusted myself. Sam made it feel like I’d done it a million times. I felt so safe and celebrated.

I arrived that day feeling small, scared, insecure and sad, and she lifted me out of all of that and reminded me that I matter. I am enough. I am beautiful. I am worthy.

toronto boudoir photographer
toronto boudoir photographer
toronto boudoir photographer
toronto boudoir photographer

HOW DID YOU FEEL THE FIRST TIME YOU SAW YOUR IMAGES?

I remember telling Sam that I wished she’d videotaped my reactions to the slideshow of my images. I had no idea what to expect.

I loved that she had put her favourites from the shoot into a slideshow, with empowering music in the background. I also loved that she added motivational messages throughout the slideshow. But what I especially loved was that she left me alone to experience them the first time alone. If she’d been with me, I would have had an audience; someone to react for. Someone whose presence I’d be hyper aware of; not wanting to react in any way to let her down.

I felt so many emotions as I saw myself come up on her screen. I laughed (out of shock and disbelief). I cried. I was amazed by the woman in front of me. It sank in slowly but surely that the beautiful, confident and BRAVE woman in the photos was in fact me. I was in total awe; not only of myself, but of Sam’s talent and abilities to help women look – but more importantly FEEL – their best.

toronto boudoir photographer
toronto boudoir photographer
toronto boudoir photographer
toronto boudoir photographer

HAS THE EXPERIENCE CHANGED THE WAY YOU VIEW YOURSELF?

Absolutely! That’s an understatement.

I think especially because I am a wife and mom. Too often other people’s needs and comforts are my priority. I don’t have the time or energy for myself that I wish I had. I always feel like the day is over and I’ve done little to care for myself; and it shows. Not just physically, but mentally and spiritually, too. I feel deflated and drained so much of the time. And I am fully aware that may never change.

But now I know what I’m capable of. Sam helped me to see what’s under the layers, and what will always be at my core. And it’s so much more than the hair. The makeup. The outfits. The poses. The setting. The lighting. The editing.

What I see when I look at my pictures is a woman who matters. A woman who, under layers of doubt and insecurity and giving and serving others, still exists. Yes, I know my photos are beautiful. A lot came together that day to make that happen. But it’s more than the beautiful woman I see in the photos that has changed the way I view myself; it’s the spark in her I can feel again when I see them. It’s like I’m transported back in time.

It’s so much more than how I looked, and it’s all about how I felt.

Sam captured my confidence. Sam captured my cheeky side. Sam captured how powerful, classy and capable I am as a woman. 

No matter what my future holds, I will forever have how Sam made me feel that day frozen in time. To this day (months later) I return to them when I’m feeling lost, trapped, alone, insecure, anxious or unworthy. It’s incredible how that’s often the nudge (or the kick in the pants and shake up) I need to remember I’m more than all of that.

toronto boudoir photographer
toronto boudoir photographer
toronto boudoir photographer

WOULD YOU RECOMMEND THIS EXPERIENCE TO OTHER WOMEN?

Heck yes! Mothers or not. Wives or not. Confident or not. This experience from stem to stern opened my eyes (and my heart). I now see myself in a brand new way. I feel an ease in my own skin I didn’t have before. It has shaped how I see myself (physically and beyond), and has even shaped my relationships.

The way my boudoir session with Sam has changed me is not something you can put a price tag on. I will always and forever be eternally grateful for how Sam put me in front of myself and helped me admire who I saw. It’s something I don’t think I’d ever (truly) felt before.

toronto boudoir photographer
toronto boudoir photographer
toronto boudoir photography
toronto boudoir photographer

FASHION QUEEN. TORONTO BOUDOIR PHOTOGRAPHER.

This was my second time photographing this beauty. The first time, we did a very soft, classic boudoir shoot. This time, we decided to go for something a little different. We wanted to try out a high contrast, edgy look, and I am loving the result! 

Nicole is a stylist, so that always means awesome wardrobe! If you're looking for an amazing stylist in Toronto, be sure to look up @nicolecontador.stylist on Instagram, she's amazing!

toronto boudoir photographer
toronto boudoir photographer
toronto boudoir photographer
toronto boudoir photographer
toronto boudoir photographer
toronto boudoir photographer
toronto boudoir photographer

ALL BODIES ARE GOOD BODIES. TORONTO BOUDOIR PHOTOGRAPHER.

At Crave Boudoir, we are inclusive of ALL bodies. 

Bodies with abs, and bodies with jiggly bits. ALL are welcome in my studio, and ALL are important valuable bodies.

There is no one body type that trumps the other. I want to make that clear. 

A woman's body is her choice to do what she wants with. 

If a woman loves working out, that's fine.

If a woman loves tacos, that's fine.

If a woman chooses to have plastic surgery, that's fine.

No one body is better than the other. Our bodies as women ARE SO POWERFUL! Our bodies are our vessels which take us on this adventure called life.

My goal is to make you feel like a damn Queen no matter what your size. I want you to realize that life is NOT ALL ABOUT YOUR BODY!

We are all unique, sexy, beautiful babes. I am so happy to be able to show so many women they are perfect just the way they are. 

toronto boudoir photographer
toronto boudoir photographer
toronto boudoir photographer
toronto boudoir photographer
toronto boudoir photographer
toronto boudoir photographer
toronto boudoir photographer
toronto boudoir photographer
toronto boudoir photographer
toronto boudoir photographer
toronto boudoir photographer
toronto boudoir photographer

When life throws you curves, embrace them! TORONTO BOUDOIR PHOTOGRAPHER.

If you haven't heard of Fabuplus Magazine, you need to check it out! It is an amazing lifestyle magazine for curvy women. I was proudly published in the Summer issue when I photographed a very special client of mine, Kerri-Lyn. Read below for her empowering interview.

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What inspired you to do a boudoir shoot with Crave Boudoir? 

I am in my mid 40’s, I have always been curvy. I spent my teen years being ashamed of my size, my 20’s pregnant, and focusing on being a mom, my 30’s not really caring about my appearance at all, and now, I've decided that it's my time to shine! 

I had been considering doing a boudoir shoot, when I came across Crave Boudoir’s photos, they were exactly the look that I wanted, sexy but classy, sensual yet playful, but above all that, the women all looked beautiful and RADIANT! I immediately fell in love with all the pictures on the Crave Boudoir website and Instagram page. I wanted to feel like these women looked.

What have you learned since shooting with Crave Boudoir? 

I have never in my life considered myself sexy. In all honesty, I had never even considered myself attractive at all, until I saw the photographs that Samantha had taken. It took all of my self control not to tear up. I look GOOD, really good! Although I don't want to sound vain, I kind of looked hot. Never had I thought it was possible to look like that. All of the areas of my body that I was so insecure about seemed irrelevant. My focus wasn't on them , my focus was on the positives.

toronto boudoir photographer

Why has this been so important to you? 

I truly believe every woman should do a photo shoot at some stage of their lives, it has brought out a self confidence in me that I didn't know existed. I find myself smiling more, standing taller, feeling more comfortable in my own skin. The photos made me feel empowered, almost invincible. There is something about being shown what you look like to others that changes your perspective of how you see yourself. My body is in no way, close to society's definition of perfection, but it is MY body. I have been trying to be more involved in the body positive movement, and I have no problem finding the beauty in others, I am now starting to see it in myself.

What do you hope other women will gain when they see your photos? 

I would hope that they would lose any inhibitions or self doubt. That they would see their potential to feel the confidence and self discovery that the photos have awarded me. That they would see the beauty that exists in them everyday. That they would be inspired to book their own shoot and experience the exhilaration of feeling worthy of being photographed.

toronto boudoir photography

How did you find your experience shooting with Crave Boudoir? 

I can't say enough wonderful things about Samantha! She is absolutely amazing, she's so positive and encouraging. Before the shoot, she sent a questionnaire asking about your favourite features about your body and how exposed you want the pictures to be. I was a nervous wreck when I first arrived, the butterflies in my stomach were having a rave! Yet by the time my hair and makeup were done I was much calmer. Several times during the shoot, I got the giggles, and, still Samantha kept shooting, and although those pictures were neither sultry or provocative,they showed, the real me. I was sceptical of some of the poses she was asking me to do, but then when I saw the results, I was blown away.

FLORIDA CURVES

This September I travelled to Boca Grande, Florida for a photography workshop called Florida Curves. We got to photograph 3 models all with different body types, who were all EQUALLY stunning as you will see below.

I went in to the workshop thinking I would learn some lighting and editing techniques, which I TOTALLY did as you will see in this blog. However, little did I know how much I would learn about myself in the two days I spent in a house with the most incredible group of women photographers.

We got silly.

We got vulnerable.

We got fierce.

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During the workshop, the teachers asked us our "WHY". Why do we shoot boudoir?

Of course my first thought was "I love to empower women and help them embrace their bodies" 

Then we were asked to think deeper than that. I began to think of my own journey to loving my body the way I do today.

I thought back to my childhood- always being called "skinny minnie" by my family and how uncomfortable it made me feel. Even though I was thin, I was so self conscious of my body. I would wear a t-shirt over my swim suit to the public pool as an attempt to cover my flat chest. I would wear baggy t-shirts and sweaters to school because I wanted to hide that I didn't have hips, and felt my body was too boyish to be seen.

My body didn't look like the other girls in my class. I can even remember in middle school, wearing two bras under my shirt to a party to try and make my boobs bigger!

During college when I gained some weight and got some boobies, I still wasn't happy with my body. It is so hard to love yourself when you are constantly bombarded with images in the media that show you an unachievable standard of beauty.

There is a common misconception that skinny=happy. That could not be further from the truth. You never know someone's insecurities based on their size. 

It wasn't until I discovered boudoir photography that I started to truly love my body just the way it is. I saw the impact the photos had on my clients. Sometimes these women are seeing themselves as beautiful for the very first time in their life, and it is a very powerful feeling to give someone that gift.

I started to realize that there is no such thing as the perfect body. All bodies are valuable and all bodies are unique. Women's bodies allow us to live, love, thrive, laugh, succeed, learn, grow babies, travel, dance, and of course, eat all the pizza!! Our bodies are capable of SO many amazing things, I finally learned it doesn't have to be perfectly chiseled in order to be happy with life.

Fast forward to current day, where I no longer am ashamed of my body. At the workshop I did not cover my body on the beach, but rather frolicked nude and went skinny dipping with the entire group of women at the workshop. It was one of the most surreal and amazing moments in my life. I felt completely free and happy.  

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Here you can see images of the three models from the workshop.

Three different bodies. Three valuable bodies.

Toronto boudoir photography
toronto boudoir photography
toronto boudoir photography

Unique. Empowering. Fun. TORONTO BOUDOIR PHOTOGRAPHER

Unique. Empowering. Fun. - Those are the three words Abby used to describe her boudoir session, but I could truthfully use the same three words to describe Abby.

Abby Green is a recipient of a Body Confidence Canada Award in 2016. I followed her on social media, and have watched all of her makeup reviews and tutorials on her Youtube channel. Not to mention- she rocked her own makeup for her shoot, can you say- mad skills? So when she approached me to photograph her boudoir session, I was SO EXCITED!

I have photographed many women of ALL different shapes and sizes, but never a woman in a wheelchair. So for me, I was beyond excited to shatter another one of modern societies ridiculous cookie cutter standards for beauty!

Abby is one of the most brave, smart, independent, hilarious, empowering women I have ever met. She is the epitome of what a strong female should strive to be. She does not let her disability get in the way of ANYTHING.  

torontoboudoirphotographer

In Abbys words: "It takes thick skin to be me. Everywhere I go I have gross words hurled at me. Parents hide their cowering children from the Hideous Wheelchair Monster. And that's not even considering the gross things I've read online! It took a lot of work to get where I am today. And, if I can give myself credit, I'm proud of myself. I'm proud that I worked through all the garbage and found myself beautiful, even with all the times I've been told and taught that a girl in a wheelchair can never be pretty. I found the courage to put myself out there everyday, whether it's at my IRL job, or on my Youtube channel, regardless of the negativity"

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I hope Abby's session will inspire many women who have ever felt like their body has no representation in mainstream media, that it is such an empowering feeling to "break the mold" of societies ridiculous beauty standards. I am so proud of Abby and all the work she has done on her journey to loving herself. 

toronto boudoir photographer
toronto boudoir photographer

Young Self Love. TORONTO BOUDOIR PHOTOGRAPHER

All my clients who walk through my studio doors amaze and inspire me. Every. Single. One. This beautiful soul Breanna, came to see me last winter and we had a blast capturing some seriously stunning images. Breanna is amongst one of the strongest and inspiring young women I have ever encountered. Watching her embrace her curves and believe in her beauty was magic. Breanna is wise beyond her years, and should be so proud of herself as a young woman to be able to show such love and care for herself!

bodypositiveboudoirphotographertoronto
torontobodypositivephotographer
bodypositiveboudoirphotographertoronto
bodypositiveboudoirphotographertoronto

Lingerie from Additionelle by the Ashley Graham collection

Hair and makeup by Cassandra Campbell Beauty

Celebrate Yourself. TORONTO BOUDOIR PHOTOGRAPHER.

With Valentine's Day right around the corner, I was inspired to use these dreamy kimono robes by a lovely Toronto designer Sarah Catalfo in Layna's boudoir session. The robes are gorgeous, sexy, feminine, and unique just like my clients. Layna looked absolutely STUNNING in her session. Valentine's Day does not always have to be about celebrating your love for someone else, it can be about celebrating YOU and the amazing woman that you are!

torontoboudoirphotographer
torontoboudoirphotographer
torontoboudoirphotographer
torontoboudoirphotographer
torontoboudoirphotographer
torontoboudoirphotographer
torontoboudoirphotographer
torontoboudoirphotographer
torontoboudoirphotographer
torontoboudoirphotographer

Kimono's by Sarah Catalfo

Makeup by Artline Makeup Artistry

Hair by

Photography by Crave Boudoir

Sarah Taylor's Boudoir to PURE REDEMPTION

This past summer I got to photograph SUCH an amazing woman. Her name is Sarah Taylor and she is a Toronto plus size model, blogger, body diversity advocate, motivational speaker, just to name a few. Her reason for doing a boudoir shoot for herself, was to take back her purity as a part of her healing journey. Check out her blog post here to read more about her story.

torontoboudoirphotographer
torontoboudoirphotographer
torontoboudoirphotographer
torontoboudoirphotographer
torontoboudoirphotographer
torontoboudoirphotographer

White Dream Glamour Corset from Addition Elle by Ashley Graham

Black Rhinestone Lace Halter from SexyPlus Clothing

Photos by Crave Boudoir