Trust me, this is one anniversary gift he will LOVE and would never expect!

Boudoir sessions are commonly done as a wedding gift, but I happen to think they make an even better anniversary gift. First anniversary gift to be more specific! For starters, the first anniversary gift is traditionally supposed to be paper. Hello?! Pictures?? Paper??? It’s perfect!

The other reason I like the idea of doing a boudoir session for your anniversary, even if you don’t do it for your first one, is because it shows that you still want to keep the spark alive. It’s so easy to do things like this when you’re in love and in the honeymoon stage of your relationship. But it’s almost more important to do after that stage is over. It’s an amazing gesture that shows you’re still fighting for this marriage and that you want it to be better than average!

He won’t know what hit him! The fact that you went through all of this effort for his gift and were willing to be vulnerable like this, says a lot.

Below are some perfect gift ideas that you can get from your session. My clients come over two weeks after their session for their photo reveal, where we pop some bubbly, “oooooh” and “ahhhhhhh” over their amazing images and decide on what would be the perfect gift for their man. That way they get to see everything in person, along with all of their images, and leave their reveal with their gift built and ready to order. And the best part is, all of the options below are paper! 😉

1.Luxe Album
30 of your favorite images are laid out in this beautiful fine art album! You have to see it in person to see how gorgeous it is! And you get to customize the cover so it fits your style.

best anniversary gift boudoir album

best anniversary gift boudoir album

best anniversary gift boudoir album

2. Gold Glass Heirloom Box of Prints
This beautiful glass box includes your favorite 30 images from your session and they can be even taken out and framed. But they just look so pretty all wrapped up in the box!

best anniversary gift gold glass boudoir box

3. Fine Art Print
I wish I could show you how beautiful these prints are, but trust me! You can get any of your images framed in these fine art metal frames from as small as a 5×7. Then your gorgeous picture floats perfectly right in the middle of it. They’re perfect for a nightstand, bedroom, bathroom or walk-in closet.

best anniversary gift boudoir album

best anniversary gift boudoir album

best anniversary gift boudoir album

4. Custom Viewmaster
I don’t know one client that hasn’t smiled like a little girl when they look through this! Imagine your own custom viewmaster with images from your session! It’s so fun, he’ll never want to put it down!

best anniversary gift custom viewmaster

The best time to schedule a session is 6 weeks before the time you actually need your gift, so click here to contact me and make sure you don’t miss giving him the best present ever!

North Carolina Boudoir

You’re not alone! EVERY.SINGLE.ONE of my clients experiences the same obstacles or fears that you do about doing a boudoir session!

You wouldn’t believe how similar all of my clients are. They don’t know where to start on outfits and they end up bring in amazing things, they say they don’t wear a lot of makeup and they always look gorgeous once we’re finished with them, and they all have the same insecurities and thoughts when it comes to doing a session.

I hear the same things from every client. But I also hear the same thing once they see their images! O.M.G!!!!!!!! I can’t believe that’s me! (rhyming not intentional 😉

  1. I’m not in shape enough, skinny enough, pretty enough, whateverrrrrrr.
    I get ittttttttt. No one just wakes up like Jennifer Anniston and is effortlessly sexy and beautiful, yet effortless, all at the same time. Definitely not moi! Being a woman takes work. And let me tell you- every single images you see of a celebrity takes a team of people. They like to let you think that they just woke up like that, but you have no idea. But lucky for you, we are your team. Not that you need much, I’m sure, but between me and my hair and makeup artist, we’ve got you covered. And can you think of a time that you’ll say, “Look guys, I’m at my ideal weight!”. HA. I don’t think so. You are beautiful the way you are now. It’s kind of like having kids. There’s never a “perfect” time to do it, you just have to take the leap.
  2. I don’t have enough money.
    I hear ya. Lucky for you, I take payments in all different forms and can certainly talk to you about a payment plan. If you plan ahead of time, a lot of my clients stash money away so their significant other is none the wiser and it’s not such a shock to their wallet. Not only is this the most perfect gift, it’s an experience that you won’t regret. You can’t put a price on a confidence and self-esteem boost.
  3. What if I don’t like my pictures?
    I work extra hard at getting the best images you’ve ever seen of yourself. Between my outfit coaching, amazing hair and makeup, and posing you from your eyelashes down to your fingernails, I’m confident that you’ll love your images. And even better, he’ll love them!
  4. I’m uncomfortable in lingerie.
    Hey, me too! I like a lacy bodysuit but I love jeans and a t-shirt. The “sexiness” in your images comes from amazing poses and the confidence you exude – no matter what you’re wearing. During our consultation call, we’ll discuss your style and outfits you like. Based on that, I’ll give you suggestions on what I think would be good options for you. If you love them and feel good in them, then it’s going to show in your images.
  5. I don’t know how to pose.
    Good! That’s my job! That’s why you pay me the big bucks 😉 Literally the day of your session is all about relaxing because you’ll sit and enjoy yourself while your hair and makeup is being done, and then as along as your a good listener and can follow instructions, I guide you through posing during your entire session. I make a game plan based on the outfits you brought and your body type and then show you everything I need you to do. Easy as pie! (and you’ll want some after this workout!)
  6. I want to make sure this is kept private.
    I take the privacy of my clients’ images very seriously. So much so that that’s one of the reasons why I do in-person photo reveals, so your images never have to be online. And only with clients’ permission, do I share images with prospective clients through a password protected gallery or in person.

north carolina boudoir

“Dana was very professional but also extremely polite and compassionate with me. This was my first boudoir shoot so I was extremely nervous and intimidated but Dana was very comforting. It was her confidence in me that made me feel beautiful throughout my shoot! Thank you Dana and I am looking forward to our next shoot!!”
-Mrs. M

Have any other questions about doing a session with me? Read more of my FAQs here! Or feel free to email me at dana@danalaymonphotography.com.

I’ve been in love with Spotify ever since it came out and today I’m sharing my boudoir playlist with you, my special friends. 😉

I love Spotify because I can make custom playlists and play them wherever I go. You can also listen to the thousands of playlists that Spotify already has or follow other friends and listen to their playlists. I love using it while my clients are getting ready in the studio and be able to control what we’re listening to. I can play their favorite music when they’re here or put on a fun playlist if they don’t have a preference. My playlist for my sessions is ever changing but I thought I would share it for you here for a little fun on this Friday.

I’m heading out to Texas next week so I’m sure I’ll be making a playlist for the trip! What are you currently listening to? You can follow all of my playlists on Spotify here!

 

P.S. I’m going to spend the day with the most amazing Kara Marie Boudoir in Austin and I can’t wait to share what I learn from her! It’s been a long time goal of mine to do a mentorship with her and I couldn’t be more excited! Follow me along on Insta for all the fun!

Image: Anchored in Love

I realize a lot of you may be wondering why I don’t have a boudoir gallery on my website or why I don’t blog a lot of my boudoir sessions. Boudoir is defined as “a woman’s bedroom, her dressing room”
essentially her most intimate space! Can you imagine the horror of finding out that strangers were looking into your bedroom? You have completely unveiled yourself and then eyes that you have never given permission too are gazing upon you. What would you think? How would you feel? As many of you know, my photography obsession is BOUDOIR!!! There is something about these sessions that fill my heart and creative soul. Often with boudoir, my clients do have someone in mind to reveal their most vulnerable self to. I get to step into that sacred space and it is not something that I take lightly.

I recognize that a woman is booking a session with me in the hopes of doing something amazing for her marriage and for her self-esteem. It’s a super vulnerable thing for them to decide to do and I take that very seriously. For these reasons and more, I’m very protective of my clients. Not only do I identify with them, but I feel for them, and I take responsibility and ownership for the experience they’re going to have with me. Part of that responsibility is choosing to not put their images out into the world for just anyone to see. If I put them out on Facebook or my blog or website, I no longer have control over who sees those images and that can be a very scary thing. For me and for them. I would hate to think that someone else’s husband, or man in general, was lusting after images of my clients that I posted, when the intent of those images was meant for one person and one person only, their husband. I’m not just using them to bring me recognition and grow my business. I want my business to have purpose, to be used to encourage others, to be more than just me sitting behind a computer all day. And this is how I choose to run this side of my business. I know it’s different then what everyone else is doing, but I’m ok with that. I didn’t start a business so I could look like everyone else. And I choose to believe that my clients know that about me.

I am always super grateful when clients give me permission to post and use their images, but I still take responsibility for what happens to them, no matter what. So, I’m sorry that I don’t have an amazing and inspirational gallery for you to look at on my website or weekly sessions to update my blog with, but you’re just going to have to trust me. It pains me not to be able to show you some of these images because I can’t believe how amazing they are half the time! But they do exist. 🙂 My clients love their images and they will tell you again and again. And gratefully, I have a beautiful private gallery that I’ve been able to share with prospective clients. I just have to trust in the Lord that He’ll use this business for good and protect the images whenever they leave my hands.

Does this make it extra hard to do what I do? Of course it does.

Choosing not to show my images just means that I have to work that much harder at building trust with my clients and I’m ok with that. It’s a good challenge for me. It forces me to put myself out there and be vulnerable just like my clients. And I would rather build a business and do it in a way that that I’m proud of and truly believe in. Therefore, I’m very careful about the images that I post. I don’t want anything that I ever post to make someone feel uncomfortable, and if it does, then I want you to tell me! I’m ok with being called out. I would hope my friends and family would hold me accountable to this.

You don’t have to feel as strongly about this as I do. A lot of my clients don’t feel the exact same way as I do but they certainly appreciate it and hire me for these very reasons. They know that they can trust me. Because even if they don’t share in my business philosophy, they believe in the reasons as to why I do what I do. They want to feel loved and encouraged. They want to leave here feeling better about themselves. And they believe in fighting for and doing something bold for their marriage.

So here’s to taking a leap together and fighting for something we believe in!

 

Maternity sessions are so much fun for me because a lot of my clients are my former wedding clients who are now expecting! Lauren + Kevin are one of those couples and I was sooooo excited to hear that they were expecting! I’ve known Lauren since college and it’s been so fun getting to be a part of her and Kevin’s wedding and now their journey of expecting their first child. They were smart and took a babymoon to Wrightsville Beach so I’m glad we were able to squeeze in a session while they were here. I’d been wanting to shoot in a nursery or greenhouse for a while and if you follow me on Instagram then you’ve seen me visit my fair share of nurseries 🙂 Well, Lewis’ Strawberry Farm has the most beautiful selection of flowers I’ve ever seen so I knew we had to shoot here! And how cute is Lauren’s dress??? A seersucker dress with ruffles AND pockets!!!

But just to be clear, they’re having a girl, even though they’re both wearing blue 🙂 We’ll blame that on the pregnancy brain!

maternity session wilmington, nc

maternity session wilmington, nc

maternity session wilmington, nc

maternity session wilmington, nc

Lewis Nursery and Strawberry Farm

maternity session wilmington, nc

maternity session wilmington, nc

maternity session wilmington, nc

maternity session wilmington, nc

maternity session wilmington, nc

maternity session wilmington, nc

 

Image via Cultivate What Matters

UPDATE: Giveaway Closed. Thank you to everyone who commented! The winner of the giveaway is Brittani!!! Congratulations!

Lies….tricky little things they are. They sneak into your thoughts like whispers and make themselves barely audible enough to notice. But whether we realize it or not, they stick with us. And before we know it, we start telling ourselves these lies and actually living them out. You name it, we’ve thought it: I’m not smart enough, tall enough, skinny enough. I’m not lovable, I’ll never be anything, no one cares about me, I’m not cool enough, I’m not….enough.

No matter if someone is telling you these lies or you start to tell them to yourself (maybe by looking through social media), it’s important to start recognizing when these lies occur and how to squash them. The only way to combat lies is to spend more time focusing on the truth and then you’ll see your thoughts begin to shift. I am living proof of that! My thought life used to be so negative but slowly but surely it’s getting better.

All my clients come in with the same insecurities. Somewhere along the way we learned this language and it’s even worse if we believe it! Hopefully I can help squash some of those lies when they come in for a session but it’s an everyday battle that we need to be better at fighting! I know as a business owner it’s hard not to compare yourself to others when you see them having successes in their business. And as business owners we start to tell ourselves things like “They’re going to realize I’m a fake” or “I wont’ ever be successful as XYZ” or “What if my work isn’t good enough” blah blah blah. And an even bigger lie is that we feel like we’re the only ones who feel like this and that we’re alone, but we’re NOT!

You may need to create little cards with these reminders below written on them and place them throughout your house or car. It’s like leaving yourself little love notes. I know I need to be reminded as much as possible and I even have stacks of cards in some places! God’s Word is truth and will squash any lie we tell ourelves so I’m choosing to focus on it more and more everyday. Will you join me?

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalms 139:14

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7

The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Deuteronomy 31:8

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:6-7

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. Jeremiah 17:7

The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Deuteronomy 31:8

Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then I will be confident. Psalms 27:3

The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still. Exodus 14:14

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Psalm 147:3

Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6

No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13

What are you struggling with? What battles are you fighting? What lies do you find being played over and over again in your head? You’re not alone! I want to help you so I’m going to give one lucky winner this week a set of Cultivating Faith Desk Cards from Cultivate What Matters! Just leave a comment on this blog post and you’ll be entered to win! I’ll announce the winner on Friday!

My love for shooting maternity sessions continues to grow and grow and I can’t get enough of them! Women are just so gorgeous to me during this time in their life! And I love the idea of getting to spoil them when I’m sure they don’t feel like they’re at their prettiest. I had the pleasure of photographing fellow photographer, Kate Supa, a few weeks ago and this mama made my job super easy during her boho maternity session! You’ve never seen a more glowing, beautiful lady! Thanks to Danielle Forte Makeup for making her feel special and giving her the utmost pampering treatment. We fought the wind a little bit but a session without a little wind would just be boring! This white boho dress from Filly Boo Maternity was absolutely perfect. And not to mention the blue and white kaftan from Lilies and Lace! These are perfect dresses you can wear well after you’ve had the baby! If you know someone who needs to document this time in their life, make sure you send them my way! I don’t want them to regret not documenting this moment in their life.

boho maternity session wilmington nc

boho maternity session wilmington nc

boho maternity session wilmington nc

boho maternity session wilmington nc

boho maternity session wilmington nc

boho maternity session wilmington nc

boho maternity session wilmington nc

boho maternity session wilmington nc

boho maternity session wilmington nc

boho maternity session wilmington nc

boho maternity session wilmington nc

boho maternity session wilmington nc

boho maternity session wilmington nc

boho maternity session wilmington nc

boho maternity session wilmington nc

boho maternity session wilmington nc

boho maternity session wilmington nc

boho maternity session wilmington nc

boho maternity session wilmington nc

boho maternity session wilmington nc

boho maternity session wilmington nc

boho maternity session wilmington nc

boho maternity session wilmington nc

boho maternity session wilmington nc

boho maternity session wilmington nc

boho maternity session wilmington nc

boho maternity session wilmington nc

boho maternity session wilmington nc

boho maternity session wilmington nc

boho maternity session wilmington nc

boho maternity session wilmington nc

boho maternity session wilmington nc

take fear away boudoir sessions wilmington nc 1

Boudoir sessions are so intimidating to think about, aren’t they?? Even for me to do one, as a photographer, is an intimidating thought. But I’m hear to help take that fear away. You know you’re going to be put in a vulnerable space, and as women, a million thoughts run through our head when we start to ponder doing something like this. Will I look good enough? Will I like my body? Will he like my body? Will I like the pictures? Will these outfits work on me? Will the session be awkward? Can I trust the photographer? How will I know what to do? How to pose? And so on…..

take fear away boudoir sessions wilmington nc 2

I think I make my clients feel so comfortable and at east because I know all too well how they feel, if not more. You may not believe me, but I’m probably the most self-conscious, insecure person around. It’s true! These sessions are like therapy for me because I feel like I walk through these emotions with you and when I’m coaching and encouraging you, on some level I’m talking to myself.

I almost revel in the chance to help someone overcome these fears. Because I know at the end of a session they’ll know longer have them and that’s a great feeling. In a matter of 90 or so minutes, I’m able to help those fears disappear. That’s one of the empowering parts of doing a session. You begin by having all of these fears, then you face them, you push through them (I make it sound like it’s so difficult even though it’s not!), and then you feel amazed at yourself at the end for having gone through with it, and realizing that none of those fears are even a thought anymore. It’s a little symbolic of life isn’t it?

take fear away boudoir sessions wilmington nc 3

I’m here to make this process as easy and fun as possible. I work at diminishing those fears right from the beginning and here’s how:

  1. Initial Email: Once you inquire with me, I send you an email chalk full of information to give you more insight about myself and my sessions. You’re able to see a full boudoir gallery with examples of sessions I’ve done and how the process works. You should feel comfortable about the person who will be photographing you, their work, and trust that they will make it easy and enjoyable. Hopefully you’ve gained some trust with me through looking at my website but if you need a little boost, this email will hopefully do that!
  2. Consultative Phone Call: Once you book a session with me, I setup a consultative phone call, or Skype call, with you to answer any and all questions you might have. We talk about what you want to get out of the session, what outfits you should bring, what hair and makeup you like, how to setup a secret Pinterest board, etc. This phone call will really help put you at ease. Fear usually comes from a fear of the unknown, so I try to give you as many answers as possible! This helps put you in the right frame of mind for your session, as well as set you up for success because you’ll now know how to prep for your session and feel good about what to bring.
  3. Secret Pinterest Board: I encourage you to create a secret Pinterest board and to invite me to view it. This way I can see the kinds of images you’re drawn to and what outfits you might be bringing. I will also pin some of my favorite outfits that I think you would like and that I recommend for your session. You can read all about creating secret Pinterest boards for your session and how to get the most out of them here!
  4. At the Session: I’m here for you! Just think of me as your personal encouragement coach today! We put your favorite music on, you get to start with 90 minutes of pampering from the hair and makeup artist, and even have a few snacks too 😉 Think of it as 90 minutes or relaxation and girl time. Then I help you decide on what outfits we’ll use and make sure you look your absolute best. And the hard work is up to me! I tell you how to pose right down to your fingertips through the whole session. Then it’s up to me and my camera to capture it perfectly! As long as you trust me and can follow directions, then you’re job is done!

confident boudoir session wilmington nc

I hope this helps if you’re thinking about doing a session. The most important thing is that you feel comfortable with your photographer. Your chemistry with them, their style, their professionalism…This isn’t something you want to settle on because it should be a great experience and something you’ll remember forever.

Here’s a fun infographic from Adore Me, an intimates designer, to help make sure you’ve got all your bases covered!

take fear away boudoir sessions wilmington nc 4

Hair + Makeup//Meraki Beauty

You are going to LOVE this session! And maybe even cry….You may remember Walker and Josh since I did their wedding last year. Well Walker texted me a couple months ago and asked if I would be willing to setup a secret photo shoot to surprise Josh with the news that she’s pregnant. Of course I was on board! I always love hearing from clients and hearing how they’re doing and watching their lives unfold. And I’m always so flattered when they ask me to participate in moments like these. So after chatting, Walker and I decided to plan an anniversary shoot, since their anniversary was around the corner, and find a way to tell Josh about the news during the shoot. These pictures are absolutely priceless! Just watch Josh’s expression as he figures out the news. I also have to give a big thank you to my sister who helped (got rangled in) with this shoot too. Now they have something precious they’ll always be able to share with their kids.

baby reveal idea wilmington nc

baby reveal idea wilmington nc

baby reveal idea wilmington nc
baby reveal idea wilmington nc

baby reveal idea wilmington nc

baby reveal idea wilmington nc

baby reveal idea wilmington nc

baby reveal idea wilmington nc

baby reveal idea wilmington nc

baby reveal idea wilmington nc

baby reveal idea wilmington nc

baby reveal idea wilmington nc

baby reveal idea wilmington nc

baby reveal idea wilmington nc

baby reveal idea wilmington nc

baby reveal idea wilmington nc

baby reveal idea wilmington nc

baby reveal idea wilmington nc

baby reveal idea wilmington nc

baby reveal idea wilmington nc

baby reveal idea wilmington nc

baby reveal idea wilmington nc

baby reveal idea wilmington nc

baby reveal idea wilmington nc

baby reveal idea wilmington nc

baby reveal idea wilmington nc

baby reveal idea wilmington nc

baby reveal idea wilmington nc

baby reveal idea wilmington nc

baby reveal idea wilmington nc

baby reveal idea wilmington nc

baby reveal idea wilmington nc

baby reveal idea wilmington nc

wilmington nc boudoir photographer

I’m sure you’ve all noticed a change around here. Things are looking a little different and my focus has shifted a bit. I’m really excited for what’s been happening and I realized I never formally shared about here on the blog. I recently rebranded my photography business to focus more on portraits, and mainly boudoir. For those of you who don’t know, I also own and run a business called Wilmington Weddings and Events. And while it has demanded more of my time, and that’s great, I’ve had to decide to pull back on other aspects of work. Mostly in order to save my sanity 🙂 Since becoming a full-time entrepreneur (and turning 30), I’m really trying to hone in on what I truly want to do long term and how I can better serve those around me. While I love weddings and my wedding clients, I just love doing boudoir more. My personality thrives on 1:1 meaningful interactions. Because of the time that WWAE is demanding of me, it’s much easier for me to schedule smaller sessions, like boudoir, when I have the time. PLUS I feel like I’m able to serve my boudoir clients better. Not only do I want to just run a business and make a living at it, I want to be able to serve those I come in contact with to the best of my ability. I know there are some people that don’t mind punching the clock and feel that as long as they’re bringing enough home to provide then that works for them, but I’m just not one of those people.

Boudoir to me is so much more than just a photo shoot. It’s being able to encourage other women, help build their self-esteem, and help them do something great for their marriage. I think their comes a time in your business where you’ve been in it long enough and you’re ready to follow your heart and not necessarily the money. I truly believe that if you work really hard at something you love, then the money will follow. Although I will still shoot weddings from time to time, I will only be taking a select few each year to be able to better balance my time. To hear a client send you a note after their session to say that they left finally feeling self-confident and beautiful for the first time in a long time after having struggled with an eating disorder….you can’t put a price on that. I want to serve the Lord and others through and in my business as much as I know how. Hopefully these changes will reflect that.

I have absolutely loved serving all of my past wedding clients and look forward to serving my future ones. And I look forward to seeing the wedding community grow through WWAE and seeing what the Lord has for me there. I also look forward to meeting many more women this year and helping them however I can. They actually help me probably more and they don’t even know it! I’ve truly appreciated all of your support over the years and could not do what I do without you! I’ll be sure to share more of the journey here on the blog and through my newsletter. So here’s to a beautiful weekend and finding more of that work/life balance!