Taking Her Sexy Back

Recently, I had the privilege of meeting and working with one of the most amazingly strong women I have ever come across. Her goals are almost as beautiful as she is, and once she allowed me to know her a bit, I practically begged her to let me share them.

The title of her feature, here, is “Taking Her Sexy Back” because her mission in life aligns perfectly with Austa Feller Photography’s mission. Claiming her body, her life, and her self back from a life and a world which have attempted to capture them.

Katie has never felt like her body belonged to her. It was taken by a series of abusive and toxic environments throughout her life, as well as by a couple of truly beautiful ones.

Recently, though, she had the most wonderful epiphany: Nothing, and no one, could claim her body, her sexuality, or her Katie-ness. These things are Katie. They belong to her, and upon making this realization, she began a journey of reclamation; a journey, to which I feel so very fortunate to have been a witness. She is truly taking her ‘sexy’ back.

The photos below are only a few of my favorites from her session, to see the others, feel free to view her entire gallery, here.

 

“I’m doing this for myself.”

As soon as I met Abby, I could feel her sunshine. She has a spunky, bubbly, take-no-shit attitude, and the beauty of a fairy-queen, all in one small stature.

Obviously, I was ecstatic when she contacted me about having her portraits taken, and I didn’t quite know just how perfect she was until she arrived at her session.

We were chatting and she mentioned how excited her boyfriend was for the photos we would create, but she followed that statement with my favorite words: “But, I’m not doing this for him. I’m doing this for myself, because I love my body.”

These are my favorite words for a few reasons, besides the obvious ones (what is more beautiful than someone who loves themselves?)

When someone truly loves their body, and themselves, it SHOWS in their photos. It is a night and day difference, and Abby’s portraits definitely radiate confidence and self-love.

She is seriously goals. I’ve got a few of her images posted below, but if you want to see the rest in all their stunning glory, you’ll have to visit her gallery, here.

I had an amazing time creating for this beautiful woman, and I can’t wait until her next session!

New Year, New Goals

When Tawni’s boyfriend reached out to me about a birthday session for her, I automatically accepted. It was going to be a fun session with four to six of her closest friends celebrating her birthday, what could be better than that? Turns out, a canceled hotel party is better. Why? Because it turned a besties session into a beautiful boudoir shoot!

I received a message from Chance, Tawni’s beau, saying that the friends could no longer make it, and asked if I would be open to a change of plans. He told me that Tawni had been wanting to start a journey into the world of boudoir modeling.

This was actually perfect, because for the longest time, I have actually wanted to offer boudoir photography, but I had no idea how to begin. And, believe it or not, this last minute change of plans was about to get even better.

When we arrived at the hotel, Tawni was ready to be open and vulnerable. She was excited for the session, and she trusted me enough to tell me the amazing reason she wants to be a boudoir model.

She has overcome hardships that would have made me crumble. Instead of letting her past define her, she is standing strong, unafraid and unashamed, and she wants to help others do the same. Tawni’s goal is one of love; that every scarred, abused, imperfect body is worthy and deserving of love, and that no one should ever feel that they have to settle for less than that.

This is not just another body positivity campaign filled with nothing but empty words. It is so much more. Yes, it is about loving your body for all of the wonderful things it is and does, but beyond that, it is about rising above past abuses and shames, and climbing up from rock bottom to stand at the peak to say, “My past does not define me. I am not the sum of the things that have happened to me or which have been done to me.”

It is about taking back control and demanding nothing less than what you deserve.

So when I heard this, I’m sure you can understand why I was so honored and excited to be a part of it!

 

These are just a few of the images we created during Tawni’s session, but more can be found in Tawni’s gallery on the new Boudoir section of the site!

Here’s to breaking boundaries, finding and nurturing our strengths, and being beacons of light and positivity in a world which is so often negative.

 

Winter Anniversary Session

When Austin and Esperanza reached out to me for a photo session to celebrate their first anniversary, my mind went crazy with ideas! We had just gotten about a foot and a half of snow in the mountains around the city, and, luckily for me, these two were open for suggestions ;).

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They allowed me to choose the location, and so of course, I picked my favorite spot!

I found this gorgeous little area in one of the canyons surrounding Salt Lake City last summer, and if it was that pretty during the summertime, I should have known it would be even more beautiful in the winter!

Stunning or not, it was FREEZING. So freezing, that we kept returning to the car to drive to each little shooting location within the area (with the heat on full blast, of course), even though each photo was taken perhaps thirty yards away from the last.

Despite the numbing cold of the mountain air, we had a blast!

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I went easy on them for the majority of the photos and kept their feet on solid ground, but once the cold started getting to our bones, we decided to go all out for the last few, and I am SO glad that we did.

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The above image was taken in knee deep snow, and even though I’m nearly certain their calves were going numb, they still retained that happy “in-love” glow in their eyes! And every time I look at these photos, I can’t help but smile at how much they clearly adore each other.

Esperanza was in charge of deciding the “theme” if you will, for the session, but near the end, Austin came to me with an idea that would have to be carried out on the very last photos we took. Esperanza grudgingly approved, and the following images are the hilarious and adorable result.

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Clearly, Esperanza was quite a bit more gentle with her turn, but we all walked away laughing hysterically, and no one was hurt in the making of these photos.

I had such a good time on this shoot! Not only because of the perfect lighting and gorgeous scenery, but also because of the sweet relationship that these two share and the honor they gave me, of capturing their first anniversary.

Here’s to many more years, Austin and Esperanza, and I, for one, am hoping you decide to make anniversary photos a tradition! 😉

Change is in the Air

Lately, I have been receiving a large amount of inquiries for couples, wedding and engagement photo services. I normally specialize in children’s and family photography, and so this is a big jump for me.

I am not in the habit of turning down requests, nor will I ever be. But it did get me thinking; why must I corner myself into a tiny niche when I love taking all the photos of all the things?

It is something commonly heard in the photography classes and the groups of social media; you need a niche, a specialty. That is perfect and well and good, but every photographer I’ve come into contact with has said that they chose their favorite genre as their specialty.

The problem is, I legitimately don’t have a favorite. I fall in love with every session and genre as I discover them. Perhaps it is because I have only been doing this for roughly 2 years, but I just can’t narrow it down to favorites.

We will see how this new year goes, but as of now, it is looking like I may just insist on remaining a jack of all trades.

Progress Report

Every year or so, I like to go back and look at my old photos, then re-edit them according to my current style and standards. It is a fun little exercise that I actually find to be incredibly useful in showing not only how I’ve grown as an artist, but also in allowing me to use and sharpen my new skills in between sessions.

It is something I have done independently for a long time now, but this is the first time I have had a platform on which to post the results. I love being able to see the visible changes and improvements in my work, and hopefully they can be useful to others, the way they are to me. We all have to start somewhere, and photography is one of those fields where constant growth and improvement is necessary, so why not have fun with the journey?

Before:AfterNick

This first Before-and-After is from a high school senior session I did during this past summer. On the left is the original “finished” image, and on the right is the one I have adjusted to fit my current liking. At first glance you may think that I have only done minor lighting and color tweaking, but if you look a bit closer, my hope is that you will notice that my in-post sharpening skills have become much… well… sharper. His eyes in the “After” image have regained the sparkle that I was not yet skilled enough to include when the image was first taken. His features are clear and refined, and each of the adjustments that went into making this happen, I made by hand. This is why I am so proud of this image; because I didn’t just find a new filter or Photoshop action to apply and make the image more crystal clear, I hand applied each tweak so that the adjustments look more natural and original than had I simply applied a sharpening brush to the subjects entire face.

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This image is from a maternity session I had back in late July or August. On the left, you will see that I was not yet skilled enough as a photographer to know that bending the grass down during the actual session would have been much easier than trying to do it in-post, but I digress. I am proud of this image because I was able to bring out more of the individual details in this beautiful mom’s face, as well as the fact that I successfully removed the grasses which were blocking the belly.

As I said before, I love going back over previous work and looking at how my ability has grown. But I also adore being able to see how my preferences change. What I adored about an image from last year may be something that I don’t really like this year. Styles change like the seasons, and I believe it is a wonderful thing to be able to document each step along the way, so that we can look back at each evolution of our work and say, “Ah, so this is where I started, and look at where I am now!”

Have a wonderful New Year, everyone!

Photoshop Fun

This morning I woke up at 5:00 because my dog thinks sleep is for quitters.

Yes, the cute fluffy guy I posted photos of a couple weeks ago. He’s all better and has decided to use his regained vitality to keep mommy awake and available for cuddles, ’round the clock.

Well, because I had so much extra time, I decided to visit Pexels and throw together a fun little composite just from stock images. Pexels, for those of you who don’t know, is a stock image website which is completely free to use, without credit, for profit or not. Their stock is limited, because it is a free site, and so they keep their best stuff for their paying customers, but the beauty of a creative mind is that it isn’t too hard to come up with something awesome from not a whole heck of a lot.

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“Dreamer”

Prior to becoming a photographer, I was mainly a painter, though I have always needed some sort of artistic outlet. The above photo is the one I made this morning and loved so much I just couldn’t resist sharing it!

Vet Visits and Puppy Pictures

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This baby boy gave me the scare of my life this past week, and for several days I could neither eat nor sleep for fear that I was about to lose my baby.

We spent last weekend in and out of the vet’s office, and Wednesday night was spent in the veterinary hospital. And after lots of IV fluids and antibiotics, my little man is almost back to 100%. He still has a little trouble eating because his little tummy is kind of upset from the medications, but Baby Bear is home and on the mend.

This whole ordeal has reminded me that we never know how long our loved ones, furry and human, will be with us, and so it prompted me to take portraits of my fur-babies.

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The kitty cat would not sit still (typical) so I couldn’t get a photo of her today, but efforts are still underway.

Until then, hold your pets close; you never know how long you’ll have with them.

New Kid in Town

For the past year or so, I’ve been doing little more than working my way through college and taking pictures. College is a slow progression, but photography has proven to be another matter, and I’ve finally built up a cache of images I’m proud to share. This website is dedicated to those images.