An opulent wedding at Chicago’s Radisson Blu Aqua Building.
With the exception of a brief, but heavy rain shower, Maura and Shane were married on a beautiful Saturday in May at St. Alphonsus Church with a reception following shortly after at the Radisson Blu in downtown Chicago.
The type of people who know no strangers, the kind and fun loving couple were celebrated by over 400 people. Maura was gorgeous in a beaded Ersa Atelier wedding dress that featured a removable tulle skirt. Shane wore a traditional black tux for the ceremony, which he swapped out for a striking midnight blue jacket just before cocktail hour.
Can we talk about the reception details?
The reception room was breathtaking—centerpieces seemed to burst with white flowers and drip with crystals.Flanking the entrance were two handcrafted trees arranged by Yanni Design Studio, a favorite florist of the family, each assembled with birch bark, hydrangeas, and orchids.
What a party, full of speeches that took you from tears to belly laughter, countless signature cocktails (a twist on the classic Manhattan), and so much dancing. The show-stopping moment came when Maura surprised everyone by borrowing a pair of drum sticks and laid down “Uptown Funk” without missing a beat. Needless to say, the crowd went wild, but none more so than Shane.
Curious about Shane and Maura’s wedding vendor? See the list below:
If you were to sneak inside my head for a week, my internal dialogue would include a lot of what you’d expect. A never-ending to-do list, constant reminders, and yeah, residual mommy brain that persists even though my son is now three years old. What you might not expect the inner voice of a self-described “champion of women” to include are the same critical thoughts I try to quiet in the minds of our clients. While my work is built around seeing the best in other women, I still struggle to do the same for myself. I’d be a big ol’ liar if I said I was Positive Piper all the time. Pull back the curtain of my psyche and you’ll find the same fragile spots like everyone else.
So what then? Chalk all this self-doubt up to a universal quality of women? Like a birthright, we must learn to accept? Ack, no thanks. There has to be another way.
How “enough” can lead to so much more.
A few months ago while driving past a pet shop, I spotted a store vehicle parked outside. The words “Unconditional love” had been painted on the side of the truck with pictures of a pooch. Since I was driving past, I didn’t have much context for the company’s marketing slogan, but I didn’t really need it. I knew what they were getting at. The relationship of pets and their people, people and their pets, well it often times means love without limits. I know a few people would give everything they have to take care of their dog if needed.
This got me thinking, “Why don’t we treat ourselves the same way?” Our self worth is subject to our variant moods and impossible to satisfy standards. In other words, it’s conditional. “I’d like myself more if…my pores were smaller, my boobs were fuller, my skin softer, my teeth whiter, my nose smaller, my legs tanner….” If we wrote down all the insecurities our clients have voiced over the years, the list would stretch down our stairs and out the door.
What if we simply said I am enough? Period. Not, “I’d love myself if” or “I love myself, but….” Adding those little words, but, if, except – effectively punts the benefits of self-acceptance beyond our reach. From this place of love comes the RGS–real good shit. What I mean is, when you stop focusing on the fixes and upgrades you think you need, you free up room for so much more. And I don’t mean in the superficial sense. I mean more peace. More courage. More confidence.
Letting go of judgment can make all the difference, (according to Oprah).
While I’m not a qualified expert in this area (and I tend to be wary of most people who claim to be) there’s one woman who’s earned the right to speak on this subject.
Oprah Winfrey wrote, “Say bye-bye to feeling bad about your looks. Are you ready to stop colluding with a culture that makes so many of us feel physically inadequate? Say goodbye to your inner critic, and take this pledge to be kinder to yourself and others.
This is a call to arms. A call to be gentle, to be forgiving, to be generous with yourself. The next time you look into the mirror, try to let go of the storyline that says you’re too fat or too sallow, too ashy or too old, your eyes are too small or your nose too big; just look into the mirror and see your face. When the criticism drops away, what you will see then is just you, without judgment, and that is the first step toward transforming your experience of the world.”
Like I said at the beginning, I’m no Zen master with an impenetrable wall of self-esteem. But I’m working on it. So, while you might think all this is all still a load of BS, why not try it out? You might be surprised.
Interested in an experience all about self-love? Contact us here or call today at 773-273-9063. Want to read more articles like this? Check out the links below for related content:
Couples Boudoir Photography – A whole new way to connect with your partner
At least half the people we know would go running for the hills if asked to do a couples boudoir session (our own partners included). But before you completely dismiss the idea, hear us out. Couples boudoir can be one of the most intimate and exciting things you can do with your loved one. As long as you’re in a judgment-free space with a photographer you trust, you might be surprised how much you end up enjoying the experience.
All the reasons we think you should give a couples boudoir session a chance…
Talk about a bonding experience. While it might be a big step out of one or both of your comfort zones, doing a shoot together is an intimate, connecting experience. It calls for you both to be vulnerable. Consider it a bit like the trust fall exercise. There’s a bond that forms when you’re both committed to the process. You’re saying, “We’re in this together,” and like anything that takes you out of your cozy, little status quo corner, the benefits can be freakin’ extraordinary. If you can go with it, you’ll walk away with so much more than beautiful photos. You’ll come out the other side feeling closer than ever.
It’s just the right amount of sexy. We’re not prudes or anything, but we have a PG-13 policy here at Revealed. For everyone’s sake, we find this is just the right level of spice. You can think of us like movie directors. We’ll set a bit of a scene, give you some cues, and prompt you into different scenarios. That way you don’t have to feel put on the spot. The “scenarios” will be more like the build-up or come down from the real deal if you know what I mean.
Don’t be surprised when you’re having a total blast.
Once you get past the nerves, there will come a point when it all starts to flow. Kinda like dancing. The hardest part is getting yourself out on the dance floor, but once you’re there, once you’re out of your head, it’s so much fun.
How to get the most out of a couples boudoir session:
Find a photographer you trust. The first and most important tip, find someone who makes you feel comfortable with enough experience to show they know what they’re doing! Once you do, everything will be so much easier. Every professional has their own way of doing things. Our main goal is to help you feel comfortable and take you through the experience in a way that feels natural and fun.
Be open. Everyone. I mean this in more way than one. First, as much as possible, have an open convo with your photographer and your partner to talk about what you want to be captured, and as importantly, what you don’t want. I’m not sayin’ you need a safe word or anything, but making your expectations on the front end is key to avoiding awkward moments later on.
Be open, continued. Keeping an open mind and heart throughout the shoot is huge. It helps your partner feel confident that you’re in it together and gives you photographer freedom to capture and create their work. Nothing’s more of a buzzkill than a negative attitude.
Plan your wardrobe. Solo boudoir sessions are a great way to really let your lingerie shine. Couples boudoir is a little different. Because you’re posing with another person, your bodies are often brought close together for striking compositions. Wearing super intricate or complex numbers can be lost in a setting like this. Unless you’re going for a more editorial vision, like Reggie Bush and Kim K or Brad Pitt and Angelina in W, we suggest keeping it very simple and classic. If you decide to book with us, we’ll give you our full style guidelines to help you plan beforehand.
Ohhh, and did we mention the photos?
Hopefully, by now you’re a little more open to the idea of couples boudoir photography. We talked a lot about how to overcome your nerves and get the most out of the experience. The photos are like the cherry on top. They’re not just tasteful imagery, they’re time capsules. Looking back at them will remind you how you felt during the experience. How you two felt together.
Interested in booking your own couples boudoir photoshoot? Contact us here or call today at 773-273-9063.
There’s nothing to be ashamed about with boudoir photography
Before I start, I should probably tell you, this topic gets me pretty riled up. I am oh-too-familiar with shame. Like most of you, I can think of countless times in my life where I’ve questioned myself, saying “maybe it was my fault.” When I became a boudoir photographer, I grappled with whether it was “ok.” The worst shaming came from a close family member, who made me feel like a straight-up pornographer. I felt like the biggest disappointment ever for what I was doing. While it hurt deeply at the time, the experience forced me to go deep and ask if I could really stand behind this work. And guess what? That deep dive led me to not only to a “yes,” but to a definitive “hell yes.”
We still have a long way to go…
We’ve come leaps and bounds from our parents’ and grandparents’ generation, but we’re still evolving as a society. There is more acceptance and knowledge about female sexuality than ever before. But what does it look like?What does it mean?It can be hard to really “get it” in this time of content overload. There is SO. MUCH. CONTENT. The internet has literally given us access to answers and imagery on everything! Like…everything. Yesterday I learned what a keto crouch was. And that’s tame compared to what I could have come across. Where we used to turn to our moms, our sisters, and our friends to talk about “sensitive topics,” or ask what was happening with our bodies, we now find whole streams of conversations anonymously online.
What we’ve learned from being boudoir photographers
In so many ways, this is A-MAZ-ING, but it also makes us vulnerable to both misinformation and unreasonable standards (think: insta-perfect figures, zero context behindwho that swimsuit-perfect body really belongs to, or all the “work” that went into making it look so flawless, be it under the knife or in photoshop.)
Having met and photographed hundreds of women in their undies, we’ve become really familiar with the topic of shame and female sexuality. By this point, we’ve realized our work is sorta…its own version of therapy. Sometimes, nothing is more healing than good ol’ girl talk where nothing is really off the table. What we’ve learned from all these conversations is that a lot of you are in the process, like us, of affirming yourself. Your whole self. Sexuality included.Eek!Yep, I’m gonna go there.
What’s Sexy is different for everyone
We’ve met many women who are just beginning to connect with their sensuality. Some identify more with their masculine energy (“tom boys”) and are ready to nurture their feminine sides; others are healing from past trauma and see boudoir as a safe way to begin opening parts of themselves they’d previously sealed shut. And every once in awhile, we meet the rare unicorn who comes in like the sexually enlightened version of the Dalai Lama.
What We Do vs. pornography
We’re not a pornography studio. How we create our imagery, the intention behind our process, even the way we select our images is done with a wholly different goal in mind. Our pictures are sexy. There is NO SHAME in that. It’s ok for you to be sexy and it’s ok for us to capture it. But, we reject, like big-time reject, the ‘male gaze’ idea of what’s sexy. What is the male gaze?Oh boy, that’s a whole other blog post, and I’ll tackle that one, I promise. In essence, it’s the perspective that dominates movies in Hollywood and the porn industry.
Contrary to what some people may assume, our audience is first and foremost…you. Yes, the pictures might be a gift for your significant other, and lucky them.But it’s you we really have in mind when we’re taking the photos. Imagine being able to let go of all your fear, shame, and doubts and let yourself be free. This will look different for everyone. For some, it may be as subtle as a sideways smile they suddenly make without thinking; for others, it could be letting their hands explore their body. We don’t set expectations on you. Our job is to be the reassuring force that says, “You’re good. You’re free. Go with it.”
When “Sexy” Happens
During shoots, some women want a good deal of direction (and we’re always happy to give it.) But eventually, the nerves will slip away. It’s kinda like dancing. It can feel awkward at first, then suddenly you’re just grooving.You’re in the flow and it’s so damn beautiful. That’s when “sexy” happens.
Interested in booking your own photoshoot? Contact us here or call today at 773-273-9063. Want to read more articles like this? Check out the links below for related content:
In the comfort of her own home, Ms. S leans into a sexy boudoir session, and the results are amazing!
What makes this latest photoshoot with Ms. S such a sexy boudoir sesh? For one, we love that it took place in her home, an apartment therapy worthy space in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood.It the setting felt intimate and personal, and probably added an extra sense of comfort for Ms. S.We also think she embodies a fully liberated woman— self-confident and comfortable expressing her sensuality.
If interested in a boudoir session in your home, visit our contact page to learn more.
Revealed Undone – Stripped down, natural, for this moment…
We’re ready to share our big secret..introducing Undone Sessions
Over the last year, we’ve been quietly creating a series of images to represent a new style of work. It’s been hard keeping this work hidden, but we’re finally ready to announce Revealed Undone—an alternative to the traditional boudoir.
What IS an undone Session?
Beginning at sunrise or sunset, we’ll set out for a secluded location in nature. This is about the moment and your expression, so wear something simple, something that moves with you. We’ll give you a little direction, like a yoga or dance instructor, but nothing overly intrusive.
Sessions will last around 90 minutes, give or take. Afterward, we’ll choose between 25 and 35 images that we feel best to tell the story of your experience. They’ll be web resolution and delivered to you electronically. These files are complimentary. We feel this type of work looks best as fine art prints or an unbound album, which you can purchase after you’ve seen your photos.
Undone vs. Boudoir:
Why offer this sort of session in addition to our boudoir services? There are a number of reasons—our personal love of taking pictures outside (the light, the natural beauty); we’re also suckers for the way hair and fabric move in the wind. But beyond those reasons, this is a response to something deeper.
In all we do we want to provide a safe space for women to connect with and express themselves. While boudoir is a great way to do that, this undone session take it one step further. In shifting the focus away from hair and makeup, away from lingerie, and away from the recipient of the images, the experience becomes even more personal and intimate. It can be meditative, playful, and releasing. This is for you. The whole you, free of the public gaze, of judgment, of pressure.
SPECIAL PRICING THROUGH THE END OF JUNE.
For a limited time, we’re offering Undone sessions for $499 (regular $599) and a portion of the profits from all Undone sessions will be donated to End the Backlog.
Slots are limited for 2018 due to the Chicago climate. Contact us today to secure your session while the weather allows.
“I feel like I can conquer the world with the right lingerie. And to this, I celebrate.” With pieces all the way from France, Ms. J stuns in her lingerie photography session
Sometimes one boudoir shoot just isn’t enough. Which was the case for Ms. J, who came in for her first session last February. In July we received an email with the subject line: “Virgo season, bday shoot.” Before we even opened the message we knew we’d already be on board for whatever she had in mind.
Her idea was to showcase the gorgeous pieces of lingerie she picked up in Paris over the summer in a sultry hotel setting. After some speedy research, we decided on a suite at The Waldorf Astoria, loving the clean lines, neutral color palette, and floor to ceiling windows.
When we arrived, Ms. J had each item laid out on the bed before us in a layflat design that would make an editorial stylist proud. When we saw the lingerie in person we knew exactly why she wanted to do another photoshoot. This time around though, we’re letting her share in her own words…
“I feel like I can conquer the world with the right lingerie. And to this, I celebrate.”
“I have no idea where my love for lingerie comes from…all I know is how I feel when I’m wearing it. Empowered.On my last visit to Paris, I decided to do a Tour de Dentelle. Tour of Lace. My journey brought me to some of the oldest lingerie boutiques on rue St-Honoré to the newest and trendiest departments at Galeries Lafayette. I wanted to do a photoshoot in them not only to celebrate myself for the 34-year-old woman I’ve grown to become and love but also to capture and commemorate the essence of the items that speak most to my soul.
The star of my show was made by Aubade. This company was founded in 1875 and was known for their girdles and corsets. I picked up this set because of the originality of the suspender belt design—so simple yet excellent at elongating the thighs because they hold the stockings from the sides, not from the front and back, like most. Easier access for all parties involved Another thing I love about this set is the tiny blue Swarovski crystals sewn into the lace. One can only see them if he’s lucky enough to get that close!
The bodysuit was made by Honey Bridette, which is actually an Australian company, but I couldn’t help but fall in love with the details. The deep v front leaves exceptional room for the imagination. The gold buckles add just enough of a bondage feel but are offset by the dainty lace trim on the open back. Paired with my favorite red lipstick and stilettos, easily one of the power pieces in my collection.
Lastly, the high waisted briefs. Love at first sight! Pairing this with a bra wouldn’t have done them any justice. The boning all around the piece and the placement of the lace will accentuate even the most petite woman’s curves. The drawstring in the back gives it a true under corset feel and also enhances the seduction factor 10 fold. These were made by Cadolle. Herminie Cadolle invented the bra in 1889 and today the boutique still makes bespoke corsets.
Interested in your own boudoir or lingerie photographer session? Contact us here or call 773-273-9063.
I first met Caroline nearly 10 years ago on the other side of the world. We were in Thailand. I was fresh out of college teaching a photography program for the summer and she was one of my students. Caroline was kind and sweet, the type of person you felt comfortable with instantly. I also sensed her intelligence, genuine interest in people, the world, and a pull toward what made it all stick together.
Well, nearly eight years later, I heard from Caroline in a message on facebook. She was getting married and remembered “her photo instructor” while in Thailand. She wanted me to document her wedding, or rather, post-wedding celebration. She and Nik were married in Canada nearly two years before this American ceremony. I couldn’t have been more touched.
Kelly fell in love with Caroline just as quickly as I did. And the object of her affection–Nik, well he’s as endearing and remarkable as she. These are just a few pictures highlighting their wedding day. What a joy and honor to be a part of it all and witness their love reaffirmed before their closest friends and family at the Ovation event space in Chicago.
If you’re interested in learning more about our wedding photography services, please visit our wedding site or contact page.
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