Boosting confidence in boudoir photoshoots

We talk about health all of the time - but mental health can be so easily overlooked, especially for busy moms. But one photographer is making a difference in a way many wouldn't expect.

Family photoshoots, corporate headshots, senior pictures; these are all of the kinds of sessions you would expect in Ally Cohen's West Bloomfield studio at Frameable Faces - but sometimes she puts her focus on a different location. 

"There's lots of laughing; it's just fun and once that guards down, that's where the magic happens," Cohen says. Women from all over Metro Detroit come to her to bare it all in boudoir photoshoots.

"It's a really empowering thing for women to do. Especially now, women aren't seeing themselves as sexy - in the way that I see them, as the other people that really know them see them," she says. "Most people are very, very nervous. It's nerve-wracking to take your clothes off or be in sexy lingerie in front of a stranger with a camera."

Especially for moms, the moment alone with just Ally and her camera can mean the world.

"I would recommend Ally to anyone because she was so personable and made me feel comfortable in my own skin - and because of that, I feel like it could be for anyone. Just to give women that sense of, when you think you've lost it - when you've had kids and everything," says photographer and mom Latoiya Oldham.

Boudoir photography can be a surprise for a partner, but many of the women say that most of all it can be a great gift to give yourself.  

"I just needed a chance to get out and do something that was for me," Oldham says. "It was for him, too - but it made me feel good about me and that's important in a marriage - to feel good about yourself and then bring that into the marriage."

Just like any other photoshoot, boudoir pictures can be used to document a special time in your life that's worth remembering - like pregnancy. And worried about what the kids will say? Well, they'll get over it.

"I'm sure my little boy is gonna look at these and be like 'I'm a little embarrassed by you, mom, because you were pregnant with me and you look like that' but hey, he's got a hot mom, I'm sorry what am I gonna do."

But beyond just looking good - the photos can mean even more. Especially when you might need a reminder of how beautiful you can be, like breast cancer survivor Emma.

"Having seen myself at my weakest, there's something special about sitting here today and feeling as beautiful as I do and as fortunate to be back in this place," she says. "It's more powerful than I think I even realized."

Boudoir photoshoots can be completely customizable. Women are able to wear anything they want... or nothing. "Some women are covered up,  some are very comfortable in their own skin, some are a happy medium - so it just depends on the woman," Ally says.

The photoshoot can help many see themselves in a new light. 'I think for myself, it's going to allow me to see myself as sexy when I've always thought of myself as cute," Emma says. "So to see myself as sexy is exciting. I think for my husband having seen me so deathly ill, to be able to see me - in his shirt - looking fine, I think I'm gonna blow his mind."

The most exciting result is helping women feel beautiful in their own skin. "Hopefully all women can see it's nothing to be ashamed of or looked down upon, it's to build us up." Oldham says.