Boudoir by elle

October 13, 2020

How Boudoir Photography Challenged My Definition of Beauty | Chicago Boudoir Photography Studio

How Boudoir Photography Challenged My Definition of Beauty | Chicago Boudoir Photography Studio 

Written by:  Katie Kastner

In my 38 years of being a woman on planet Earth, I’ve been shown and told by society that beauty was big hair and too much eyeshadow, tragically skinny and bare faced, overly frosted and plucked, skinny but with curves, airbrushed but not in real life. I’ve had the “ideal” of female beauty shoved down my throat since I was old enough to recognize shampoo commercials by the cascade of iridescent hair…and I can bet you did too.

Well I’m here to tell you, they got it all wrong.  Female beauty, from a historical standpoint, is as ever changing as the weather. Trends, preferred body types, fashion and the ideal are different depending on the decade you and yourself in. Living in the 21st century, and with almost countless sources of information, female beauty and its definition has become a bit muddied and I think this is a great thing! There aren’t just one or two definitions of beauty, there are a multitude and women have the freedom, now more than ever, to define it for themselves.

When I joined the team at Boudoir by Elle Photography as the makeup artist, I figured I would meet some great women, have a blast and be a part of a really cool experience. Boudoir photography, as I had known it, was maybe a bit cheesy, sometimes overtly sexy and not always a celebration but more of an objectification. But the boudoir photography Laurie creates is miles away from that; it’s emotive and sensual, it’s deeply beautiful and subtle. It’s as special and original as the women themselves.

…’I am in awe during each and every session at the tenacity of the female spirit and how that comes through in the photographs. I leave each session feeling emboldened with that spirit; I go out into the world with each of these stories tucked away and inspiration for my own life.’

Each and every woman that has sat in my chair brings their own story. They come to us with a very clear reason for wanting to do a boudoir session and each reason is as individual as they are. They want to celebrate a milestone, they want to see themselves in a way they never have, they want to create images they can gift as tokens of love, they want to push outside their comfort zones and challenge definitions, they simply want to do something that’s just for them.

The beauty we see when our clients step in front of the camera can’t be captured by an Instagram post, it can’t be explained in a magazine article, it can’t be defined by anyone else’s checklist. The beauty we see in our studio is born from living lives full of all the messy, beautiful, hard, joyous things that make a woman who she is. We see strength that no trend can hold in, we see resilience that no self-help book can prescribe.  Our clients are living examples of true beauty. I am in awe during each and every session at the tenacity of the female spirit and how that comes through in the photographs. I leave each session feeling emboldened with that spirit; I go out into the world with each of these stories tucked away and inspiration for my own life. I’m learning, thanks to our amazing clients, to not worry so much about the world’s definition of me and my woman-ness.

I make my own rules, I define my own parameters, I create my own beauty.
To read more from Katie – visit her site here.

BTS with Katie, longtime friend and professional makeup artist

My definition of beauty a simple and modern boudoir sessionbehind the scenes with Boudoir by Elle makeup artistmakeup application at boudoir session and the definition of beautymakeup stylist applies makeup at boudoir photography sessionwoman gets makeup applied behind the scenes at boudoir session and defining what beauty is gorgeous woman gets makeup applicationmakeup artist and hair stylists at boudoir session and beauty defined all female stylist team at boudoir by Elle Covid and makeup artists makeup application during boudoir session

Defining Beauty ; A love note to my Hair and Makeup Team

Imma get a little mushy on you girls right now.  Girls, honestly, there really aren’t words to describe how I feel about both of you.  Never could I have imagined that both of you would seamlessly move into my life and drastically change the journey I was on.  The positive feedback I receive from all of my clients that work both of these stylists  is just amazing and just confirms we are on the right path together.  Your talents are incredible and a huge reason why Boudoir By Elle is a success.  I love you girls and that you bring their heart and soul to every single session, making our clients FEEL beautiful in so many ways.

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart for the never ending support and encouragement.  I will be forever thankful for your help making my dreams come true to this business into something I had no idea it could be.  XOXO love you both!


BTS with Renay, my insanely talented friend and professional hair stylist

hair stylist at boudoir photography sessionmy definition of beauty is pregnant woman getting hair done at boudoir sessionprofessional hair stylist at boudoir sessionhair and makeup stylist at boudoir session and my definition of beautyhair stylist fixing hair at boudoir session defining beautymy definition of beauty is hair stylist fixing hair at photo sessionhair and makeup stylists work together during boudoir shoot hair stylist fixing clients hair at session and defining beautyprofessional hair stylist at sessionbehind the scenes at boudoir photography sessionbridal boudoir session with hair stylistprofessional hair stylist at photography session


When is the best time to book your session?

The answer is ANYTIME!  I work with women in ALL seasons of their lives.  The ‘reasons why’ are countless.  From a life celebration, to engagement, birthday milestones, pregnancies and even losses.  I have heard so many beautiful stories that make each and every woman that comes into the studio unique and defining beauty in their own ways.

As far as product delivery and timing, if you are engaged and planning a wedding, the best time to schedule your bridal boudoir session is 8-10 weeks before your event date. This allows for gallery editing and processing as well as ordering albums and other tangible items on time.  But don’t fret.  If you do not book that far in advance I have a few ‘sneak peek’ gift ideas.

Maternity boudoir sessions are recommended when you are 30-36 weeks along, although oftentimes, women wait until their 38th week to truly capture their growing belly. I recommend reserving the actual session when you are in your second trimester.

Beauty boudoir and beauty portraits can be booked at any time.  Come at a time you feel the most confident and ready to show it.

Holiday gifts and bachelorette parties are also trending right now!  I do recommend booking your session at least 8-10 weeks before your event date to ensure a spot in my schedule.

Ready to book your session at my Homer Glen, IL photography studio?  Simply complete the contact form and I will be in touch !!

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