Girls On Film » Blog

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  • I’m Chelsea, and I have a passion for Photographing Women.

    While my wedding work with McGowan Images is my full-time gig, the art I create for my “Girls on Film” is one of the most challenging & rewarding things I've ever done as a photographer. I consider it a personal mission to make sure my clients always leave their sessions feeling powerful, and proud of the skin they’re in, and I’m honored to say I've been succeeding at that since 2008.

    What you’ll see on this blog doesn't always fit into the traditional “boudoir” genre, and I’m ok with that. While many of my clients show a lot of skin, my work is more focused on capturing each woman’s genuine spirit. I approach these sessions as a celebration of life… of womanhood… and I encourage my clients to think about them the same way.

    Girls on Film clients have been women from 19-65 years of age, all races, sizes & shapes. We ALL deserve to feel beautiful. If this sounds like what you've been looking for, email me. I’m happy to answer any questions you might have, and I’d love to get you on the schedule for an empowering experience of your own sometime soon!

J’s Night for Herself…

When Miss J contacted me, she made it clear that she was doing this session for herself. This amazing mama has a full time job AND a growing photography business, two children of her own, and six months ago gave birth to twins as a surrogate for another family. I mean, talk about a full plate! It was time to do a little something for herself… to reclaim her womanhood and celebrate the body that she’s put through it’s paces the last couple years.

Together with the incomparable MegB on hair & makeup, we did our best to make sure we gave this working mama a night she’d never forget… with gorgeous images to take home as souvenirs.:)

Check out a couple she approved to show off here on the blog!

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Not the lingerie type? Totally ok with us. A sweater and boots was a GREAT outfit for this setting!

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Another genius outfit choice… this long lace dress is actually a swimsuit cover up from Target, of all places. I mean, HELLO GORGEOUS.

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When this hot mama got the link to her gallery, her response email was pretty wonderful:

“This whole experience was so wonderful! Between feeling utterly pampered with hair and makeup by Meagan and then you making me feel SO comfortable in my own skin, all the nerves of the day just melted away. The experience was so liberating and when it was done I just felt gorgeous. At the end of the day, every insecurity that I had prior to the shoot, was gone. Thank you, thank you, thank you; I really couldn’t thank you enough!!!”

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J, thank you SO much for driving so far to see me. Your session is one of my favorites in a long time, and I enjoyed the heck out of getting to know you. Let’s definitely do it again sometime.:)

June 17, 2014 - 5:34 pm

Lesa - These are very beautiful!

June 17, 2014 - 6:06 pm

Amber B. - She’s absolutely gorgeous!! Our bodies are so beautiful!! Kudos to you mama and hard working woman for treating yourself! You killed your session

Miss M at the Beach…

Miss M had to meet us at 5 a.m. to start her hair & makeup and get down to the water in time for that gorgeous sunrise color. Anyone would be a little skeptical, I’m sure… but after she finished her Girls on Film experience, M was a complete believer.:)

  ” Choosing to do a boudoir shoot with Chelsea was a beautifully unique experience that I will never forget. This was honestly one of the most empowering and enjoyable experiences of my life. I think every woman should get a chance to do something like this so they can look back and go “WHOA mama, I’m one hot lady!” I felt just like that and even more.  
 My shoot was schedule for sun rise which meant getting out of bed, not AT the crack of dawn, BEFORE the crack of dawn, which needless to say, made for some pretty epic yawns. As I sat having my makeup done by Meg, I began to feel a little pang of nervous exhilaration run through me. Its not every day that you have someone as talented as Meg do hair and makeup for you making you look and feel like a glowing, gorgeous super model. And it certainly isn’t every day that you go frolicking through the waves with sky high hair and sheer outfits! 
  Walking down to the beach with the sun rising made for a surreal scene which Chelsea captured stunningly. It was the perfect weather for the shoot and I felt and looked amazing. Chelsea has an eye and uncanny talent for being able to capture a person’s natural beauty and personality through the lens of a camera. There wasn’t a moment at all where I felt shy or nervous, instead I felt bold and beautiful. I think that a large part of this was due to Chelsea’s amazing talent of knowing how to make a girl look and feel great in any spot. 
  The entire experience was enriching and made me love my body with all its curves even more. I cannot recommend the experience enough!”
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You are SUCH a fox. Thank you for road tripping 8 hours to see me!:)
June 3, 2014 - 3:14 pm

Dawn - OMG, I DIIIED at the first one! I LOVE that you got some shots with that moody sky. I’m so glad you got to experience this–you’re one amazing lady, and you deserved it!

Miss E in the Country

Miss E came into her session so nervous, she threatened to throw up. She kept telling MegB and I that she’s the most awkward person in the world, that the sexiest she ever got was sweat pants and a ponytail, that there’s no way we were going to be able to make her look gorgeous like “all those other girls”.

I’m here to tell you, she may have been right about being nervous, but the rest of it? All wrong.

And when she saw her photos, I think she decided to agree with me:

You know that feeling when you love something SO much you just want to smash it and squeeze it to death? That’s exactly how I feel about these pictures!! My body changed so much once I had my sweet baby girl, and I wasn’t prepared for that. Things sag, jiggle, and hang differently now – but my experience with y’all gave me something back that I’ve been missing since I’ve had my baby girl – my confidence. I want to run around naked screaming “look world – this mama still has it”!! Every woman should feel this beautiful. The main reason I did this was so my husband would have sexy pictures of me while he was deployed – but I got SO much more out of it than I thought I would. I’ve realized I’m a beautiful, confident wife and mother – and that those parts of my body that sag, jiggle, and hang differently are just sweet reminders of the beautiful creature my husband and I created in love.  Thank y’all SO much – y’all are amazing women with huge hearts and incredible talent!!

Check out these few images Miss E let me share… pretty sure you’ll agree too… SMOKIN’!

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This session is also a great example of outfit choice for a country session… I hear all the time from my girls that they’re “not the lingerie type”, and that’s 100% ok!

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For a husband on deployment, these American Flag scarf images are bound to be faves!

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Woman, you are such a stunner. This is one of my favorite sessions of the year so far, and I’m so honored that you spent one of your few short days in Texas celebrating yourself with me. Let’s do it again sometime!:)

May 27, 2014 - 3:58 pm

AmandaV - The b&w laughing photo is absolutely stunning!

May 27, 2014 - 6:17 pm

sam - i think this is my favorite session to date

May 27, 2014 - 9:01 pm

ann - Amazing session. Loved the reaction email too.

May 27, 2014 - 9:39 pm

Sophie Purke - Holy gorgeous!!! I hope I look that good after having kids. P.S Y’all are magical. I am ready for a round 2 session ASAP!

May 28, 2014 - 4:51 am

Amy - Wow, I agree… definitely one of my favorite sessions to date! The leather is awesome. And girl, I dunno what you are talking about – your post-baby body is 10x more amazing than my no-baby body! Ha :) Really though, you look absolutely incredible and I know your hubby will love these. Please tell him thank you for his service, and thank you for supporting him and sacrificing too. God bless you all!

June 4, 2014 - 6:06 am

Amber B. - Love the scarf pics times a million!! You are beautiful!!

June 17, 2014 - 2:52 pm

Monica Wilson - Not sure how I missed the original posting of this but WOW I LOVE it! LOVE IT! She is gorgeous and by far one of my favorites so far too! Where were these shot at?

June 18, 2014 - 1:00 am

Brittany - OMG!!! Beautiful :) Where were these taken at?

Frequently Asked Questions

Every single gal who’s ever booked a Girls on Film session has questions. Most have nerves, all have questions. And that’s totally normal! I run my business like I run my life… I’m an open book, and I never have trouble answering any questions.

But since a few of the questions I get seem to come pretty regularly, I thought I’d take a break from sharing my spring sessions to share a little “FAQ” post!

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Q: Do you blog EVERYTHING you shoot?

A : Absolutely not!

I only EVER blog what’s explicitly approved by my clients. Some clients prefer not to appear on the blog at all, others give me carte blanche to share whatever I want. My girls are never under ANY pressure to publicize their images if they’d rather not. Most, though, feel a sense of empowerment from the experience, and trust that I keep my blog pretty solidly PG-13 rated at MOST, so they’re happy to share a few favorite shots from their session.

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Q : Do you photograph full nudes?

A : Yup!

In keeping with the PG-13 rule I mentioned above, you won’t ever see full nudity here on the blog. But that doesn’t mean I don’t shoot it. I think the human body is the highest form of art, and I have photographed tasteful nudes for lots of clients over the years.

 

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Q : How Private are my photos?

A : As private as you want them to be.

Repeating myself again, I only EVER blog with my clients’ explicit permission. This blog is also my portfolio, so if an image isn’t released to go here, you can rest assured that McG & you are the only people that have seen it. We use an incredibly trustworthy gallery site and keep incredibly tight security around all boudoir images, so they’re only ever shared with the people YOU share them with.

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Q: Do you only shoot outdoors?

A : I shoot EVERYWHERE!

In 2012, I started a relationship with an amazing outdoor property in Arlington, and started offering natural boudoir sessions there. The idea kind of exploded, and my Girls on Film clients tripled. I used what I learned from shooting outdoors to affect every session I have, even the ones inside. Although I’m no longer shooting at that property, I do still offer outdoor boudoir sessions, as well as sessions in hotels, loft venues, private homes, bars, beaches… you name it, and I can photograph a girl there.:)

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Q : Can you make me skinnier / remove my stretch marks / etc?

A : You will still look like you… but awesome.:)

I definitely edit my boudoir photos. Every single final image spends one-on-one time with me, where I smooth skin, pop color, and remove distracting elements where necessary. I learned all my skin retouching tricks on MYSELF, and I can promise you, my two babies weren’t kind to me in the stretch mark department. I pride myself on my ability to fade stretch marks, veins, scars and acne marks on my clients, and keep them from being distracting elements in your images.

I also employ a little nip/tuck on my clients where I feel it benefits the image. I don’t make my size 20 clients a size 6, just like I don’t artificially add curves to my size zero gals… it’s important to me that my girls RECOGNIZE themselves in their photos. I will, though, trim down anything that’s a distraction, typically where clothes pinch or bulge. I also remove all but the one original chin.:)

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Q: Why do you work with the same makeup artist all the time?

A : Because she’s good.

As a busy wedding photographer, I get to work with a lot of makeup artists. I’m lucky, I work with a lot of GREAT ones. If for any reason Meg isn’t available for a shoot someday, I have a list of people I can call to step in so that I know my Girls on Film are going to look phenomenal.

But I use Meg because she’s fantastic. She’s done several Girls on Film sessions herself, so she knows how I shoot and what the process feels like for the clients. She listens to my input, and is dedicated to reproducing my vision for each client. She’s fast and efficient. She is an advocate for my business. And most of all, we’re a great team. We have a blast working together, and I love being “in the trenches” with her on these photo shoots.

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Q : Can I bring a friend for moral support?

A : I’ve got a better idea.:)

The short answer is, yes, you can bring a friend if you feel like you need to. Boudoir isn’t really a great spectator sport, though, and we’ve found that a lot of times, people feel MORE awkward if they’ve got a friend just sitting around watching the process.

If you’re nervous and want an outside hand to hold, we highly recommend booking a Duo session with your bestie. That way, you can be there to morally support one another, but also get to SHARE the experience with someone. You’ll be in the same boat. It’s a really fantastic way to do Girls on Film, and I love shooting Besties.

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Q: What if what “he” wants and what “I” want are different?

A : I got you, boo.

That’s normal. That’s usual. I pretty much get that every single session.

I make sure I know before we start shooting who the session is FOR. Are you shooting for yourself, or for a gift for him? If it’s a gift for him, what will he like? But even in cases where the session is solely for gift-giving purposes, helping my clients feel gorgeous & empowered is still my number on priority.

That said, I definitely work to make sure a session has plenty of variety, and we can have lots of final images for “him” and for “you”.:)

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Q : What in the world should I wear?

A : What makes you feel gorgeous?

Oh snap, I answered a question with a question.

Anyway, there are no hard & fast rules about what you should wear for a Girls on Film session. I talk to each of my clients before their sessions and offer my input on outfits… we’ve had ladies wear anything from dresses to string bikinis, french lingerie, nothing at all. What I suggest for your wardrobe will be entirely dependent on your location, your body shape, and your reason for the shoot.

The important thing is, don’t get stuck in the “corset & heels” box. That can be a KILLER outfit in the right situation, but it is NOT your only option.

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Q : Why are your Girls on Film sessions so expensive?

A : Because they’re worth it.

Since 2007, I’ve been working to try and be at the top of my game where boudoir photography is concerned. Empowering women through gorgeous photography is a passion of mine, and I have tirelessly pursued success in this genre. The experience I provide for my clients is top of the line, the images are completely customized, and the final product is incomparable in my market. It’s taken me years to get to the point where I can stand tall and be proud of what I’m doing without qualifiers, and I’m there. Girls on Film is worth it.

While I sincerely wish every woman I meet could get in front of my camera and get the Girls on Film treatment, I know that realistically, it’s not an option for everyone. We do offer mini sessions once or twice a year, and also BFF sessions year round where groups of friends can get mini session pricing for a private event. But really, I view Girls on Film as a luxury product. If you want a Kate Spade purse, it’s worth saving for, and a purse from Target just isn’t going to cut it for you.

I believe that every one of my clients is worth this investment in themselves, and I’m so proud that I can play a part in helping them embrace the skin they’re in!

 

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Q : How Do I Book?

A : Email me.

We’ve still got room for a couple sessions in June/July/August, and are starting now to book our busy fall season. Make it happen, ladies… you’ll never regret it!

chelsea@mcgowanimages.com

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May 22, 2014 - 3:49 pm

Dawn - This is a great post! Having been a Girl on Film, I can confirm there is a psychological change that happens when doing a session. I mean, scrolling through the blog and seeing all these gorgeous women in these gorgeous photos and reading their stories, you think, “wow, I could never be as beautiful as these women.” But what people don’t realize is that you ARE–already! These are not just pretty pictures, y’all. This is an EXPERIENCE! Yes, it is a lot of money. But is it worth it? Yes, YES, and a billion times YES! It is absolutely money well spent. Do something for YOU and book a session. You will not regret it!

Urban Session at Hickory Street Annex

When this foxy lady contacted me, she knew exactly what she wanted… and I LOVE that.:)Meg & I had so much fun working with her on styling, and by the time we actually got started shooting, it was just like a PJ party with girlfriends.

Hickory Street Annex made a fantabulous backdrop for this session… I love the way the light moves in that room, and all the wide open space! Definitely one of my favorite boudoir venues.

Enjoy just a FEW sneak peeks I’m allowed to show off!:)GirlsOnFilm_T@HickoryStreet_1GirlsOnFilm_T@HickoryStreet_2GirlsOnFilm_T@HickoryStreet_3GirlsOnFilm_T@HickoryStreet_4GirlsOnFilm_T@HickoryStreet_5

I extra-special love it when my clients are such fans of their sessions that they want to write a message encouraging other ladies to book one as well… this one’s a keeper!:)

“I had an awesome time with the AMAZINGLY TALENTED Girls on Film Team!! They made me look and feel beautiful…something I’m definitely not accustomed to these days as a stay-at-home mom!  I loved the experience so much, that I’m already saving up to treat all my BFFs to a Bestie Photo Shoot next year in celebration of turning the big 4-0! I think it’s something every woman should experience at least once. (I’m thinking a yearly birthday present to myself!!)  As women, we take care of everyone and everything endlessly.  Sometimes we need a few hours to remember we are beautiful and sexy no matter our size, weight, age or profession!”

 

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Thanks gorgeous… we’ll see you next year!:)