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Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder…

21 Sep 2017 | Categories: Beauty, Boudoir | Posted by: Michelle

…YOU are the BEHOLDER

Ladies.  I have to admit that most of my life I’ve been waiting around for someone to deem me beautiful. All I wanted was for someone to think of my wild curly hair as beautiful and that desire prevented me from cultivating that love for myself.

Waiting for someone to think that I’m beautiful has been so exhausting because looking to others to feel beautiful always comes up empty.

I’m done waiting around. I’m going to take back that power and claim my own beauty. There I did it.

I  am beautiful.

Does that make me full of myself? Maybe, but it’s better than feeling not enough and looking to others to validate my beauty. That leaves me feeling dis-empowered.

This is how we spread more authentic beauty in this world and the world needs to see more beauty right now more than ever, don’t you think? 

 
It’s called Beauty empowerment and this movement is long overdue ladies. 
 
We’ve sat back waiting around for others to validate our beauty for a very long time now. Who gets to decide what’s beautiful? Is there a committee? A task force of already deemed beautiful people? It sure feels that way sometimes.
 
The most liberating thing a woman can do is to know what makes her beautiful inside and out, claim it, and then shine that beauty back out in the world for others to see and be inspired by. Because when she knows that in her bones then it doesn’t matter what someone does, or doesn’t, think of her. That’s true power.
 
I know it’s easier said than done to proclaim “I’m beautiful!” and to really believe it. Women have been conditioned to believe we must look a certain way and ignore what makes us unique for a very long time. But, there’s a shift that needs to happen in how we think of beauty and it needs to shift back to ourselves so we can discover it and own it for ourselves. 
To me feeling beautiful encompasses everything on the inside as well as the outside that makes you unique. It’s everything from your big beautiful brown eyes, your laugh, your tender heart to your curly hair. I call this your Beauty Mix. It’s your own personal beauty receipt that no one else shares.

Here are a few easy ways to discover your own Beauty Mix

Be compassionate with yourself… 
Nothing good can ever come from beating yourself up about the way you look. This is a fact. You can not fully feel beautiful inside and out if you are shaming, blaming and wishing any part of your body was different. You see to fully embrace the beautiful you, you will need to love yourself. All of yourself. Yes, I know self love is a hot topic these days. But it’s the foundation to believing deep down that you are beautiful. If you can’t love yourself yet, then start with just accepting yourself now and see where it leads.
 
Take exquisite care of yourself…
When you take exquisite care of yourself you will develop deep self respect. Now I said exquisite care and that means giving yourself attention and being present while doing any form of care of your body, mind and soul. Anyone can spend an hour getting a massage or running, but when you are fully engaged in the act of taking the time to pay respect to your body you begin to feel so much better about yourself. You can slow way down and appreciate the delicate and beautiful relationship you can have with yourself. That’s self compassion and we need to be doing a better job at that. 
 
Stop comparing your beauty to others…
Comparison is the kiss of beauty death. We are all so uniquely different it really doesn’t make sense to try to compare oneself to another. I know the media, especially fashion magazines, likes to tell you straight up who is considered beautiful. But the world is made up of so many different flavors and styles we can appreciate just by walking out our front door! Why do we need a magazine to tell us who is considered beautiful? 
 
When you have compassion for yourself, take exquisite care of yourself and stop comparing yourself to others then you can begin to uncover what is uniquely special about your own beauty. 
I challenge you to find at least 3 things you find beautiful about yourself. You’ve done it for other people so I know you can turn seeking out beauty on to yourself.  Let me know what’s your own Beauty Mix. I’d love for you to share it with me and the world. 
 
 
To find out how you can discover your own Beauty Mix in a more in-depth, fun and empowering way email me to sign up for my next online 5 Day Beauty Mix Challenge or contact me to schedule a consultation if you’d like to experience a transformative photo shoot with me. 
 
XOXO
Michelle

How to prepare for your boudoir session – Michelle Hayes Boudoir Studio San Diego

05 Apr 2017 | Categories: Boudoir, Make up tips, What to wear | Posted by: Michelle

Planning and preparing for your photo shoot is a big part of the Boudoir experience and I want you to enjoy ever step of the process. Plus, getting ready for your session is the best excuse to take sometime to pamper yourself and get in some ME time. When was the last time you had any of that?

I  give you permission to take some much needed time for yourself whether it be to finally book a facial, get some highlights put in, have a body scrub or just taking the time to lather your body with that expensive body lotion you never seam to use. 

“Prepping for the shoot can be a great excuse to pamper yourself”

Here are a few tips to do (a month before and leading up to the day of your shoot) to ensure you are well prepared for your session and arrive ready to have some fun. 

Boudoir + Glamour Photography Michelle Hayes Studio NYC

 

After our consultation, where I get to find out all your ideas an desires for the shoot, I will ask you to create a Pinterest board. This is a great way for you to find inspiration, get ideas for wardrobe and hair + makeup and be a little creative. I have many boudoir boards where you can find inspirations. Feel free to pin anything that catches your eye and doesn’t have to be boudoir related at all. Then you can share the board with me and we can go over what you came up with. If you have no idea and don’t think you are the creative type, don’t worry. This is not mandatory, it’s just to have a little fun creating your ideal shoot. 

 

 

Once we have an idea of mood, clothing ideas, how you want your makeup applied and your hair styled, it will be time to get your wardrobe together. You have two options.

1. Go shopping in your own closet and use pieces that you love and feel good in. Here’s my “10 Ten Wardrobe Ideas guide” I put together to give you some inspiration. We can make anything look sexy it doesn’t have to be lingerie.

2. If you want to splurge and get yourself something new, go shopping! Have fun trying on different styles and colors and if you don’t know what you  look good in then ask a knowledgeable salesperson.

I  highly suggest asking a knowledgeable sales person in a lingerie store for their help and opinion.

They have a trained eye and will gladly fit you to ensure the proper garments for your body type. I have a list of boutiques I can guide you to for assistance. 


We all know that photo shop can fix many out of the ordinary “imperfections” that pop up, but I suggest prepping the skin beforehand as best as you can to reduce the amount of post processing. I don’t do a lot of editing to my images to begin with, but if we can start with a good canvas then you will not need any extra “fixing”. Here are some helpful things you can do to ensure your skin and hair look it’s best and that you feel good in general… 

  1. Get a facial (at a spa)
  2. Try a body scrub and facial scrub treatment (in-home)
  3. Start moisturizing you body with something decadent
  4. Get your teeth whitened (whitening strips work wonders)
  5. Start to increase your daily water intake
  6. Get a bikini/leg/armpit wax
  7. Get your roots/highlights touched up/hair trimmed
  8. Deep conditioning treatment (at home or salon)
  9. Treat yourself to a massage to relax
  10. Start moving your body with non strenuous exercise like yoga, pilates, walking, or this amazing practice called Qoya. It’s a great way to feel comfortable in your own skin!

 

You absolutely don’t need to do everything on this list. It’s not mandatory, but it will get you in the mood and we all know feeling and looking good will lead to being more relaxed in front of the camera which will give you natural and beautiful images!

 

Day of Shoot Checklist:

  1. Double check everything you will be bringing the night before and make sure that you leave plenty of time to get to the destination without stressing
  2. Eat something! You will need a lot of energy for all the posing. It can be a lot of work so please eat something!
  3. If you didn’t get a wax then shave necessary parts, legs, armpits, bikini area, etc. 
  4. Come with a freshly washed and moisturized face and dry, clean hair so that my hair stylist/makeup artist can start right away. 
  5. Don’t wear clothing with tight elastic bands that could leave a mark on your skin

 

Shoot time! This is where the fun begins…

If you want more info about designing and getting prepared for your shoot download my free Dream Shoot Planner and start dreaming up ways to pamper yourself before your shoot!

Top Boudoir Photographer San Diego & NYC

Exciting new addition to Michelle Hayes Studio… LimeLight Cosmetics & Skincare!

01 Dec 2016 | Categories: Beauty, Boudoir | Posted by: Michelle

I’m so excited to be using LimeLight by Alcone cosmetics and skincare in my studio! I’m a total makeup and skin care junkie and it just makes sense to expand into beauty.

To be able to offer an amazing and pampering experience in my studio, which includes having your makeup and hair done professionally is one of my top priorities. It is so much fun to see what looks we can create and it gets you in the mood for your shoot.  

I  have found a beauty company that shares similar values as I do, which is to allow the everyday woman to look and feel beautiful and to empower women to take control of their lives through running their own business. It’s a family owned company that is headed by two inspiring women, an aunt and a niece. How cool is that?

Oh and in addition to their awesome values their products are gorgeous, high-performing, and non-toxic. This is a rare combination in the makeup world so I am really lucky to have found this company.

Here’s a sneak peak of some of the products I will be using on everyone that comes in for a full Boudoir or Beauty shoot with me…

So LimeLight by Alcone and Michelle Hayes Studio is a perfect business and beauty match!

Want to experience a confidence-boosting photoshoot and be pampered by having professional (and non-toxic) makeup expertly applied on you? Doesn’t that sound delicious?

Contact me today for a consultation so we can design your dream shoot!

XOXO

Michelle

The ultimate Holiday gift! Free 8×10 print – Michelle Hayes Studio Boudoir

24 Nov 2016 | Categories: Boudoir | Posted by: Michelle

Looking for something new and exciting to give as a gift this Holiday season?

Skip the power tools and give something sassy and unexpected.

I  like to say that a boudoir session is a 2 in 1 gift. You get to experience a confidence-boosting photo shoot and you’ll also have beautiful images to give as a gift to someone special…or yourself.

Just imagine the look on their face when they open a sleek black book of your gorgeous boudoir images…

 

Book a Boudoir session by 12/23/16 and you will receive a complimentary 8×10 fine art print (valued at $150).

You have until 2/24/17 to complete your boudoir session with Michelle Hayes Studio to receive the special offer.

Book now!

Contact me to schedule your Boudoir Session today so you can have the ultimate Holiday gift to give to that special somone!

Women’s Health Magazine Feature – Michelle Hayes Studio

20 Jul 2015 | Categories: Boudoir | Posted by: Michelle

I  was asked to contribute to an article about doing a boudoir session in Women’s Health Magazine and I just love how this article supports doing a boudoir session for no other reason than a woman wants to…but sheesh talk about an attention grabbing headline! No you don’t have to be scantily clad to do a boudoir session! Do whatever you want. It’s YOUR session.

For years I’ve been saying every woman should get to experience this type of portrait session and you don’t have to have a reason, like you are getting married and want to give your fiance the gift of sexy photos of yourself. Why not give yourself that gift?

Most women leave my studio on such a confidence high that they wonder why they haven’t done this sooner and kick themselves for worrying about things they don’t like about themselves or can’t change because none of those things even matter.

What matters is that you get to feel comfortable about yourself, have a pampering experience while you are at your own private photo shoot and get to drool over your fine self when you see your beautiful images.

While this article gives some very good advice to help you get the ball rolling if you’re thinking about doing a boudoir session, you should talk with a few photographers to see if they will be a good fit for what you want and also get to know their style and personality. You want to feel comfortable with your photographer and that means having a few conversations either in person or on the phone.

Don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions because I have found that when a client knows exactly what’s going to happen then they feel at ease and trust me more which means more beautiful images!

I’d be happy to have a conversation with you about finally doing a boudoir session and giving you the scoop about how your session will be in my studio. Let’s chat!

Contact me today!

Not ready book a shoot yet? I totally understand. This is not a grab-a-pack-of-gum-at-the-checkout type of purchase.

At the right side of this page is my  free “TOP TEN OUTFITS GUIDE FOR YOUR BOUDOIR SESSION” guide I created to help you think about what type of session you may want to have. This will get the ball rolling and I guarantee you will start to feel inspired!

http://www.womenshealthmag.com/sex-and-relationships/boudoir-photo-shoots

How to wear garter belts for a Boudoir session by L’Ecole Nuit

27 Apr 2015 | Categories: Boudoir, What to wear | Posted by: Michelle

This article by L’Ecole Nuit offers 5 helpful tips on how to wear (and how to fasten!) garter belts for a Boudoir session or for everyday wear. Yes, you can go ahead and wear garters under that pencil skirt to work ;)

If you decide to add this sexy piece to an outfit for your shoot remember to try them on beforehand! I’ve had a few instances where women bring in these fabulous accessories and they have no idea how to fasten them. They can be a little confusing and hard to attach on your own, but don’t fret I can assist with that! As with any outfit you bring to your shoot try it on at home first to make sure you are comfortable in it and understand how it should be worn. There are some ensembles that can take some time to get in to! Remember, we are going to be doing a lot of posing so move around a little so you can see how they wear on your body.

 L’Ecole Nuit is a great place to shop for luxury lingerie for your boudoir session. They have beautiful lingerie sets, corsets, chemises and robes, and of course garters! They have been kind enough to offer my Boudoir clients 15% off their orders! Just use the coupon code MICHELLEHAYES at the time of checkout!

Mini Boudoir Marathon Event! It’s the perfect Holiday gift!

01 Nov 2014 | Categories: Boudoir | Posted by: Michelle

Yes, the Holidays are officially here. The count down to getting that perfect gift has begun. No, don’t even think of giving him that practical gift that he probably needs.

How about something he will never guess what is and will knock-his-socks-off?

This is the perfect opportunity to finally get a Boudoir session done if you’ve been dying to do it, but can’t afford a full session. Because I’m able to do multiple sessions in one day I can offer an amazing discount. But I only have 8 spots available because it’s just little ol me that’s doing all these sessions.

Here are the details and be sure to contact me soon to book because these 8 sessions will book fast…

Michelle Hayes Studio NYC Mini Boudoir Holiday Marathon

 

WHAT? – Holiday Mini Boudoir Marathon!
WHY? – Because I don’t want you giving your loved one a boring practical gift. How about a knock-your-socks-off gift?
WHEN? – TWO DAYS ONLY! Sunday November 16th & Sunday November 23rd

VIP CLIENT REFERAL!

If you are a past VIP client of Michelle Hayes Studio then you can get free prints of your own shoot! Refer a friend and if they book you get a free print from your own session.

Just forward the promotion on to your friends and make sure they tell me you sent them to get your special offers.

 

 

Refer 1 client and receive (1) 8×10 print from your own session

Refer 2 clients and receive (1) 8×10 print and (1) Hi – Res Digital Negative from your own session

Refer 3 or more clients and I will give you (1) 8×10 print and (1) Hi – Res Digital Negative and a $100 Gift Certificate to the spa of your choice.

 

Wouldn’t a facial, or a massage, or a deluxe mani/pedi be the perfect gift to yourself after the Holiday madness?

Book now for one of my **8** mini sessions spots!

Email me what date you prefer and I’ll let you know the available time slots.

Or forward to a friend who you know has been dying to do this!

Happy Holidays!
Michelle

I have curly hair and I accept it.

16 Sep 2014 | Categories: Beauty, Boudoir | Posted by: Michelle

So as you can tell from my “About” me pic that I have curly hair, really curly hair. But as a kid I didn’t know this because my hair was always brushed out. Check out this sweet Olin Mills portrait…

I  think my mom was trying to brush my hair straight. As you can imagine this lead to a lot of confusion as to what type of hair I had and how to care for it properly. On top of that I never saw anyone on tv or in the movies with curly hair so I really didn’t have anyone to identify with. There were no Taylor Swifts or Sarah Jessica Parker’s around for me to idolize their lovely locks.

In fact, I remember one day being at a friends house and browsing through their Readers Digest (yes the actual paper guide to see what was on tv) and I came across an article about who would be the new girlfriend for Alex P. Keaton on the hit show Family Ties. Yes, I realize I just dated myself with admitting to reading an actual Readers Digest AND watching Family Ties. The article matched up the two potential candidates. One was Courtney Cox (the unknown Courtney Cox at the time) and the other was an actress with curly hair.

Now we all know Courtney has amazing hair. It’s lusciously thick and probably can be curled or straightened and look fabulous either way. The other girl had equally beautiful hair, except it was of the corkscrew curls variety. Finally, I thought, a girl with hair like mine could be on tv! The article went on to list the pro’s and con’s for each actress and let’s face it, it was all about looks since neither of these two actresses were known at the time. I came to the end of the article and the last thing it listed as a “con” for the curly-haired actress was her hair. It said it was “too distracting”.

WTF? Too distracting?!?! At that moment my heart sank.

If this beautiful actress with the perfect-frizz-free-corkscrew curls could have her hair described as “too distracting” what could my unruly and thick be described as? I immediately felt the shame for having too different hair that I couldn’t describe.

I never forgot that article, obviously, and became even more self conscious of my hair. I already considered it wrong, or something I should not have, and I began to actually hate it. Since my pre-teen years my hair has been a major source of pain and shame for me. I had no idea how to care for it so it was a constant struggle to try to get it to look good. After many, many years of trying every product on the market trying to get it to change into something it’s never going to be (smooth and straight) I finally learned to just stop battling with it. It was a part of me and I was actually hating it!

I’m sure most woman can identify with hating a certain part of their bodies whether it be their hair, their smile, their boobs, their hips or their thighs. There just seems to always be something about our bodies to pick on and it really needs to stop. I know self-love is a huge concept and is not something you can one day wake and have, but I believe there is something even more important that needs to happen before that.

You need to accept yourself first.

Just accepting who are, without comparison, is a huge step and can get rid of a lot of turmoil you may have about not liking yourself, or a certain part of yourself. When I finally just accepted that I have curly hair, and that it’s quite awesome, I began to feel better about myself. The simple act of acceptance is saying “Hey, my body may not be anywhere near perfect, but I have this body, it’s all mine and that’s what make me unique” From that compassionate and supportive foundation, you can open up to the possibility of self love.

This is why I’m so passionate about helping women and girls to learn to love their hair. I’m also passionate about having women experience a portrait session with me and see themselves in a different light. To give them the chance to finally say this is me, I accept who I am and how I look at the moment (self-acceptance). Hopefully, when they get their beautiful images they can look at them and then start to feel some love for that woman in the picture. (self-love!)

Looking for more information about learning to love your curly hair and how to properly care for it? Or do you want to celebrate your curls with a photo session? Set up a free 30 min consultation with me and let’s chat curly hair!

A Simple introduction about the person behind the lens

14 Aug 2014 | Categories: Beauty, Boudoir | Posted by: Michelle

HELLO! I’M YOUR BOUDOIR/GLAMOUR PHOTOGRAPHER MICHELLE!

I  wrote this blog post so that you can get to know a little bit about me before your session, or help give you that extra push you need to finally book a session!

I’m a Cali girl living in NYC! I consider myself a native Californian proudly living in the great city of New York, which sort of gives me an edge. Well, not really, but I get a lot of attention in the winter when people find out I’m from San Diego. I often get the quizzical look and then the question, “what are you doing here?”. Luckily I get to visit my parents who still live in San Diego. It truly feels like a vacation every time I go home. I love the constant beautiful weather, laid back lifestyle and glorious beaches. When I return to NYC I appreciate the hustle-n-bustle of the city, the vast opportunities and the electrifying energy that kicks me in the butt to be a better business woman. I have the best of both worlds!

I  also want to share why I write these blog posts. I can add more and more pictures to my portfolio, but I’m sure you want to get to know the person behind the camera as well, right?

When booking a Boudoir session it’s so important to feel comfortable with the person you will be spending this time with. I want you to feel at ease with me during your session which will let you be your most authentic self in front of the camera which will produce better pictures! On top of that, I promise to never photograph something about yourself you don’t want photographed. I am very aware of the level of self-consciousness going on before and during a session, so creating an atmosphere of calmness and comfort is my number one priority. I guess what makes me unique is that I bring a laid back Cali attitude to my NYC biz!

Now that I have a beautiful light-filled studio (see pic above I just had to show you!) for these sessions I try to make the experience even more special. I’m intrigued in finding out the “Why” behind booking a session, in addition to wanting beautiful portraits of yourself. More and more women are opening up to me about wanting to look + feel beautiful and confident and they have heard that a boudoir session can give them that boost. So, I’ve been trying to have a conversation with women after the session to understand where they are coming from. I want to know how they feel about themselves before + after the session so that I can let other women know about the wonderful experience.

I  recently had a women say to me during our pre-consultation, ”I think this might be a stupid idea”. She was so afraid of looking silly and I totally get it. I assured her this was not stupid and besides it was no one’s business to judge whether it is or not. She went through with the boudoir session, which she rocked, and she said she ”amazed herself”. She did not think that she could ever feel that confident and beautiful and can’t believe she ever thought it might be a stupid idea.

I  generally know how women might feel before their session, anxious, nervous, scared about looking foolish. They may even think “what in the heck am I doing this for?” or “what will people think?” Now, I would love to hear more about how they feel AFTER the session. I can pretty much guess by the way every woman has left my studio glowing from the inside out once they see some of the images form the back of my camera. It happens every time and I need to let more women in on this little secret.

But, I don’t want it to be a secret! I want every woman to experience this!

So, the one thing I want you to know about why I do this is because I believe ever woman should know her own beauty and accept it because that will make you ok with yourself. And what better way to celebrate this discovery than with a personalized photo session to remember it for years to come?

I  can honestly say that if I didn’t get paid to do this work, I would still do it. It’s part of my journey to discovering the woman that I am meant to be as well. It fills me with confidence and pride each time I get to show a woman how beautiful she is through one of my sessions and that is the most rewarding feeling as an artist, a business person and a woman.

xoxo

Michelle

  • About Michelle Hayes Studio
    Michelle Hayes Studio is a modern portrait studio in San Diego & NYC for the everyday woman. Michelle strives to bring out the inner and outer beauty of every woman through Boudoir and Fashion-inspired portrait sessions.
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