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Welcome to 2016. 

Do you make resolutions for the new year? I don’t. That isn’t to say I don’t have a million things to improve on, or I don’t want to lose 10 pounds. It just means that I now know that every day is the start of new year. Every day, every minute, every second is a chance for change.

Sometimes that theory works the opposite direction.

Sometimes, in a second your life is changed. 

We have all witnessed it. A death, a divorce, a diagnosis. Something that will change your life in an instant. Recently it happened to me.  I received a call in the tea and coffee aisle of the grocery store. I can remember the smell. Coffee, the scent of mornings and new beginnings. It was one of my dearest friends on the line. She had news. It was cancer.

Fortunately, this story doesn’t have a tragic ending. She is ok. She is still being treated, but thankfully she is ok. It shook me though. It made me wonder about all the seconds in my own life and how I am going to spend them.

Today, instead of returning to the office after a few weeks hiatus to celebrate the holidays, I took the time to have a mammogram. There were SO many other things that needed my attention today. I had a shitload of emails waiting for me, and deadlines to meet. I had laundry and cleaning for miles.

Today I made me more important. I put aside my lengthy to do list and took care of my health. As women, it’s not something that is so easy for us to do.

Women are GREAT at making sure others are cared for, but we rarely prioritize ourselves. 

I got to thinking… isn’t taking care of us also taking care of those we love? Maybe I will make a resolution after all. In 2016, I will take care of me as carefully as I care all others I love. Resolution made!

Who is with me?

xo,

Jen

 

  • Michelle - I am 100% with you! Thank you for that gentle reminder… I’m sending my sincere wishes of strength for your friend.ReplyCancel

  • Nathan - Firstly, Happy New Year from New Zealand :-)Glad that your friend is doing well, it’s not something we would wish for any friend, that’s for sure. It is amazing how we do care for the ones we love dearly and yet we do forget the one we should care for the most, ourselves. Take care of No.1 first and then worry what others do or say. What would they do without you if you weren’t around :-)ReplyCancel

  • Katrina Gallant-russo - Thank you for always bringing the truth and inspiration into your work and especially for encouraging all of us😘ReplyCancel

  • Lerou Silveston - Yes, I do agree … but also I wonder why that is so? Why always others before us ???? Sending hope for your friend and awareness for all of us.ReplyCancel

  • Angela - Thank you Jenn, for that reminder. I sat here and read you article and it was something I had just experienced. My sister and her husband were going to visit a lifelong friend who was on Hospice from cancer, and I offered to watch the grandkids when they got home from school so they could spend the day. Instead at 4am my sister called me and her husband had a heart attack, and I was on the phone as the EMT’s told her they could not revive him. Our world was turned upside down, 2 days before Christmas. A week later their friend died. It was very sad and tragic. We are picking up the pieces as I write this. Of course it’s hardest for my sister, as much as we all miss him and glad he was a part of our lives. They started dating when she was 16 and were together 51 years! I’ve always tried to stay on top of my health, appointments etc. With everything going on, I did not make my appointment, so your article was very relevant to me. I just added, make my appt. to my list of things I need to do, as I get my life back to a new normal. I hope your friend’s treatment goes well and you get to be friends for a very long time. May we all have a much better 2016!ReplyCancel

    • Jen Rozenbaum - I am so sorry to hear about your tragic losses. My thoughts are with you.ReplyCancel

Living your authentic self. When I think about it, it seems so easy. Wait, let me rephrase that. It shouldn’t be hard.

Why is just being simply who you are so…. difficult?

I don’t know why. I do know that I struggle with it, and I know other do too. Just today I received two messages from women asking for advice. One on how to be vulnerable as well as authentic, and one who is feeling burned after getting in touch with her own authenticity and living it fully.

I used to spend a lot of time trying to find myself. I have stopped that. Now, I live more in the moment and listen to my gut. (Thank you Yoga!) After all, I can’t find myself when I am ever evolving and moving.

The truth is though, I know WHO I am. That’s never been the struggle. It’s LIVING who I am that is. I mean, what happens if I am more myself than I have ever been and people stop liking me? What if I scream my message from the rooftops and people scream back to “SHUT UP!”? What if my authenticity is outright rejected?

Those questions (and others) keep me up at night sometimes. You know those nights when your brain is in overdrive and you think up every worst case scenario.

Truly though, is it ever worst case scenario if you are being true to yourself?

Isn’t authenticity where the fulfillment comes from?  How could you feel bad about being authentic. Yeah, some bad shit may happen (like a hater or a ruined relationship)- but bad shit is temporary.

Authenticity however,  is forever. 

xo,

Jen

 

 

 

 

 

  • Rebecca Nash-Emerson - Thank you for this reminder Jen!

    I have struggled over and over with living who I am (and I’m sure it will continue to be a struggle sometimes). I am a huge people pleaser but really need to learn to accept that while I will always want to do what I can to make others happy, it’s ok to first check in and make sure that the way I am trying to make them happy sits right with me and who I am.ReplyCancel

  • lulgi - Learning and understanding how to get out of one’s own way is key. My personal successes became much easier, more comfortable and more consistent (I even became a straight “A” student when returning to college to complete a degree at the age of 55) when I accepted this lesson and put ego aside.ReplyCancel

  • Robert Goldsmith - Just a fan of your whole philosophy of shooting women who enjoy the boudoir style and want to involve themselves in it for any of the many reasons we get on both sides of the camera.ReplyCancel

  • Brandi Engel - Oh how I love your wisdom. I find more wisdom in my 40’s than anything else. I also find more humility and patience. Or it could be that someone above is just giving me more grace now lol! Either way 40’s rock!ReplyCancel

This is a post that has been on my mind for a while. As I am moving into my 8th year of photographing women, there are a lot of things I have heard over and over again from clients as well as things I hear from fellow photographers. My hopes for this post is to get clients and photographers on the same page about what to expect from Boudoir!

1. Its ok to be nervous. In fact, I welcome it! Nerves mean you are outside your comfort zone. Guess where all the fun stuff happens in life? That’s right – outside your comfort zone!! That’s where growth and self discovery thrive. Embrace the nerves, I promise they won’t last long.

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2. We aren’t judging (or even really looking) at your body. I know that sounds crazy, but as photographers – that is not our job. Our job is to master posing, light, emotion, etc… So yes although we SEE you, we aren’t picking you apart. We are actually always aiming to capture the best of you and therefore, that is what we see.

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3. On that note, you should know – Both Men and Women make great photographers! Yes, there are some perverts out there, however some of the best boudoir photographers I have seen are Men. Men have the ability to see women a different way that Women can. It’s not that one way is wrong or right. They are just different. When searching for a photographer, keep in mind which would make you feel more comfortable. Want to bring a friend to the shoot to make you feel better? Great! Always make sure you bring a friend who won’t be insulted when you throw her out though. A true professional will never make you feel uncomfortable – so you might not need her as much as  you think.

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4. You don’t have to lose 5 or 10 pounds to book a shoot. Here’s a tip ladies -Wardrobe is key!! With the proper wardrobe, you are giving your photographer the ability to pose you any way they would like. By posing you properly, we will always make you look as good as you look in real life, if not better! And do yourself a favor – Get yourself measured!! Most women are wearing the wrong bra size. The proper bra size makes you look firmer, trimmer and way hotter. (Oh and PS… your period isn’t an excuse to cancel a shoot – a little bloat doesn’t really show on camera.)

5. No, we can’t just photoshop that out. Ok yes, there are SOME things we can photoshop out – like that little tattoo you got one drunk night when you were 18. Maybe that can easily go, but if it covers your whole back, maybe not. Talk to  your photographer about their photoshop policies before you book them!

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6. The more it hurts the better it looks. A lot of photographers bill a photo shoot as a fun sexy day in which you will be pampered. Almost like a spa day. I am here to tell you that even though you WILL feel amazing, it is a lot of work. We are going to pose you and make you wear uncomfortable shoes and wardrobe. Your back will be sore, you may have blisters on your feet… but trust me when I tell you it’s worth it. Even though it might feel weird, trust us when we pose you. Our expertise is what you are paying for! You will have a new found appreciation for models.

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7. Even though you say “it’s for him”, it’s also for you. Most women book shoots as a gift for someone else. The truth is, the experience is for you! The photos are the souvenir. Embrace the experience. The feelings that come along with it. Look back at the photos and remember how incredible you felt that day. You deserve the gift too.

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8. It sucks that I can’t share your photos. I am going to take really gorgeous images of you, and it SUCKS that I can’t share them. I mean how can I build my business if I can’t share my work? It’s not easy – trust me. That said, I will still respect your privacy. If you don’t sign a model release (some clients still do),  I will not share your photos without your permission and I will not hold it against you. Your happiness is the most important thing in the world to me. That said, we love when you tell others how awesome we are. Boudoir is built on referrals and trust. If you love and trust us, please tell someone!

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9. Size or age doesn’t matter. We don’t care if you are a size 2 or a size 22. 25 years old or 85 years old. For me, I want all women to celebrate their unique femininity shamelessly. That truly means ALL women. Don’t put boundaries on yourself just because you “think” it’s not for you. That is just your brain lying to you.

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10. Be prepared, this could be a life changer. You think you are booking a photo shoot for fun or a gift. And you are! However, there is often the most incredible side effect to this experience. Often women will realize their potential. Their secret powers. Their true worth. They will get in touch with feelings they repressed and forgot about a long time ago. These feelings open up their minds and worlds. It gives them power to LIVE. To go after what they want in life. To get out of bad relationships, to apply for new jobs, to travel, to fall in love… The possibilities are endless. This is not just a photo shoot. It’s a life experience.

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I hope this will shed some light on how fun and life changing boudoir can be! Please make sure to share with your friends… and take the leap – it’s SO worth it!

xo,
Jen

Today is my 40th birthday.

I almost made it up until midnight last night. I aborted my mission to do so around 11:35. I admit, I started feeling a little anxious. Not about turing 40, but about letting go of my 30’s.

My 30’s were busy, fun, exciting…. predictable. When I turned 30 I was a newlywed and pregnant with my daughter. We had just bought a new home. It was such a brilliant time of my life. When I turned 30 I didn’t have any anxiety. I was on the path I wanted to be on. I knew what I wanted from my 30’s. Maybe even what was expected of them.

40 feels different. 

 

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This decade doesn’t have the same road map. I am done having children. I am done buying houses. Done knowing what is next. I have NO CLUE what my 40’s holds for me. At times I get butterflies in my stomach about it. At first I think it’s anxiety, when I really think about it though, it’s not. It’s an anxious excitement.

Yes, I said it. I am excited about being 40!

 

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I’ve spent the last month counting down my birthday and celebrating the things that make me feel #ShamelesslyFeminine. One thing I do know is that 40 will bring more of that for me. I am finally feeling more comfortable in my skin than I have ever felt. I don’t mean that in a superficial way. I mean it in an all around knowing who I am sort of way. I am more confident in myself and my abilities to do and be what I want. It’s freeing.

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I have also realized that being #ShamelesslyFeminine isn’t always easy. It’s not always a pair of shoes and a new lipstick (although sometimes it is!). #ShamelesslyFeminine is a feeling. It’s an emotion. It’s just like all other emotions. Sometimes you feel it more than others. Sometimes you lose touch with it completely and other times it just oozes out of your pores.

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Today, on my 40th birthday, I feel many emotions. Happy, grateful, blessed, excited and yes… #ShamelesslyFeminine.

Thank you to my Friend Mike Allebach and my Beauty team of Diana and Toni for helping me celebrate my birthday with an awesome photo shoot. Love you guys!!

Hope you all have a beautiful day!

xo,

Jen

 

 

  • Amanda-lee Seely - Happy Birthday! Love you! I can’t thank you enough for always being there for me and always having the “answers” to every problem I have ever had!
    xoxo
    Amanda-leeReplyCancel

  • Kurt Krueger - Lovely photos. It looks like it was a nice birthday suit shoot! :)ReplyCancel

  • Kiran - Happy birthdayReplyCancel

  • Mary Gajda - Happy Birthday Jen! In two years I’ll be 50 believe it or not, and I hope to post a similar thing after my shoot with you some day!ReplyCancel

  • Kristina Houser - HAPPY BIRTHDAY Jen! You are such an inspiration! I am turning 30 this year and just bought a home, doing the baby thing etc. Looking so forward to the decade, and beyond. Be blessed and keep rocking on girl! You look incredible.ReplyCancel

  • Sandrine Photographer - Happy birthday !

    Great photoshoot, and your writing made me think : I’m about to turn 37, and all the things you get in your 30’s are the one I expect my 40’s to bring me… but in the end, indeed and just like you, I do feel more comfident and definitely feel on my way to be #ShamelesslyFeminine.

    Give me 3 more years, that’s probably what I’ll be for sure :)

    Happy birthday again, and a kiss from France :)ReplyCancel

  • Julie Feinstein-Kelly - Happy Birthday Jen! Stunning at 40!ReplyCancel

  • Dana Laymon - Happiest of Birthdays, Jen! You are truly an inspiration and have helped put the pep back into my step when it comes to my career and helping women! You are so beautiful and hope I can feel that comfortable one day!ReplyCancel

  • Elizabeth Zimmerman - Loving these photos!! So beautiful! Happy Birthday Jen!ReplyCancel

    • Stacey - Beautiful photos!!!!! Happy 40th and wishing you only amazing, exciting things to come….. xoxoxox

      P.S. I know from experience that the 40’s decade is the best yet!!!!

      StaceyReplyCancel

  • Christine Graber - Happy Birthday Jen…Your are fabulous and 40!!! Amazing :-)ReplyCancel

  • Diana MacDougall - Congratulations to you for making it to 40. It only gets better. You’re definitely on the right path!! ❤️❤️ReplyCancel

  • ravi - fought loved laughed
    smiled cried sighed
    failed succeeded tried
    held. holding fort
    hurrah it’s the
    naughty fortiesReplyCancel

  • Courtney - happy birthday I hope you have a wonderful one! thank you for being so inspiringReplyCancel

  • Mandy - Love it! Happy birthday! xoReplyCancel

  • Erica Peerenboom - Happy Birthday beautiful! 40s rock!!ReplyCancel

  • Philip - Feliz Cumpleaños Jen! I am 66 now, and believe me, it just keeps getting better. I am certain that it will for you too. ( I would post pix of myself, but first someone must iron the wrinkles out of my birthday suit 😉ReplyCancel

  • Tina S - Happy Birthday, Jen!

    I’m 50, and I love it! You’re going to be amazing. I’m the most comfortable that I’ve ever been in my life.ReplyCancel

  • Stephanie - Happy birthday!! You make 40 look fabulous. :)ReplyCancel

  • John Naccarato - Enjoy your 40’s. It’s the NEW 30’s. Have a great birthday! Thank you for what you do in the photographic community and II hope Tonya and I can see you at some point in the near future :-)ReplyCancel

  • Jenn Gregory Photography - Happy birthday to my friend and mentor! You look beautiful at 40 and I hope I am just as fabulous as you are when I turn 40 in a few years! Thanks for all of the knowledge and tips I’ve learned from you as a boudoir photographer! #shamelesslyFeminine #GirlbossReplyCancel

  • Vanessa - Happy Birthday! You look beautiful! Hope to see you soon.ReplyCancel

  • Sandy Edelstein - Happy 40th and exquisite images! I’m happy to report having just turned 49 with 50 looming in the not to distant future that I feel even more of this now than I did turning 40! Maybe I’m a late bloomer or maybe it does just keep getting better, but I have never felt more alive, more content while still being ridiculously excited about the future and quite honestly sexier then ever before. So keep on being self aware and feeling everything every minute!ReplyCancel

  • Adam Feldstain - Jen, you certainly handled it with class despite all the anxiety. Mazel tov on a fabulous shoot and keep on inspiring others.ReplyCancel

  • Travis - San Diego Boudoir Photographer - Gorgeous photos and happy birthday!ReplyCancel

  • Tim - I know I already wished you a happy birthday, but I’m just now getting around to reading this. I hope that your first few weeks into your 40’s has been an amazing experience.

    These are awesome photos of an awesome lady! :)ReplyCancel

  • Yucel - Yay 40… it really is the boudoir age… younger are too not ready.. older better get off the fence pdq.ReplyCancel

  • Tina - Happy Birthday Jen! Thank you for being an inspiration!ReplyCancel

  • Tom Henderson - We met in Atlanta (Hilton) at the Pop Photography portrait shoot. You know how to do it in front of or behind the camera!!!!
    Hope to see you again one day. If you are ever in the south I want you to work with my wife.ReplyCancel

  • Joe Tharp - Happy Birthday Jen! You look fantastic! Thanks for all your inspiration. :)ReplyCancel

  • Donnamaria - How beautiful Jen. Happy Birthday!!!!ReplyCancel

  • Gary - Happy Birthday Jen! Thanks for sharing your birthday shoot! You look great and 40looks wonderful on you!ReplyCancel

  • Duda Bueno - Yo rocks Jen, Happy birthday 😉ReplyCancel

Last spring I met an incredible woman named Sandra. Sandra came to me for a boudoir shoot after being hospitalized with brain cancer. You can learn more about Sandra from my first blog about her, HERE.

I received this email a few days ago from Sandra’s Sister:

“Hi Jen, my sister Sandra did an amazing photo shoot with you last year when she had just got out of the hospital.. Unfortunately, she has left us to heaven less than a month ago. I found her beautiful portfolio book that you created for her and I wanted to THANK YOU so much for  that. I remember you creating a blog on her that she shared with me and was hoping you can provide the link to me. We are collaborating a memorial for her in September with her friends and colleagues  because she truly was a remarkable character and has left such inspiration to hundreds of people.”

I was one of those hundreds of people.

Sandra, your time here although way too short, was incredibly meaningful. I hope you rest in peace. I will never forget you.

To my readers: If you want to leave some thoughts for Sandra and her family in the comments below, I will make sure it is seen by them. 

  • Kim G - Blessings for Sandra’s family. May you find peace in the love you have for her.ReplyCancel

  • David - My warmest thoughts and prayers go out to your family. I’ve last a mother and sister and know how hard it can be. Please stay strong and know she’s in good care now.
    Sincerely DavidReplyCancel

  • William Mock - My condolences to the family…May She Rest in Peace!ReplyCancel

  • Eliza Daniels - What a beautiful tribute to her strength and beauty. My thoughts are with her family as say goodbye <3ReplyCancel

  • Al Vandever - My heart is always saddened when I hear of the passing of someone so young and with so much life ahead of them. My sincere and profound condolences to Sandra’s friends and family.

    AlReplyCancel

  • Laura Luongo - I am so very very sorry for the loss of Sandra. May her memories live on and she will live in your hearts for ever and ever.

    While I feel a great sorrow for you, I am glad for you that you have the legacy of her pictures. They will provide you a wonderful memory and a great comfort.

    Whenever I hear of someone losing their battle, of someone who has lost a loved one to cancer, my heart is always filled with sadness.

    My deepest condolences to you and your family. LauraReplyCancel

  • Rick Steverson - Our family’s’ deepest sympathies for your loss. From looking at her image you can see that she was a beautiful earthly expression of God’s grace and love.ReplyCancel

  • Cathy nance - My sympathies for you and your family. It is a comfort to have beautiful photos to remember someone by.ReplyCancel

  • Kim Pedersen - The story went all the way over the ocean to Europe.

    I was touched and inspired by Sandras story, and the way she handled her situation with great strength and beauty.

    I am sadened to read that she has passed away in such a Young age.

    My sincere condolences to Sandras Family and friends and anyone who knew her.

    Sincerely Kim Pedersen, DenmarkReplyCancel

  • Ron Smith - Always a sad day when someone you get to know on such an intimate level passes away. Thoughts and prayers to the family.ReplyCancel

  • Mona-Marie Kuceluk - I am so saddened to hear this news….I had the privilege of meeting Sandra and her son in the Spring of 2014 and then again in the Fall of that year, as part of the Shoots for a Cure association. I found her to have the most positive energy on our photo shoots – and I was amazed by her strength, charm, dignity, humor, and grace.

    The world has lost an incredible young woman and Heaven has gained a very special angel. May God hold her in the palm of His hands and may she rest in peace. Sincere condolences to her entire family and friends for your deep loss.
    In sympathy,
    MonaReplyCancel

    • Sophia Glomann - Thank you Mona, my sister was a true fighter and inspired so many people around her. I’ve seen the pictures from Shoots for The Cure. If you have a link or blog, please send it to me: sophiaglomann@gmail.com.ReplyCancel

  • Celeste Brown - It is amazing how a day of beauty can lift your spirits when you are in pain or ill from a chronic ailment. My daughter, Sarah Celeste, passed away 2 months ago at the age of 30. One day we always had to cherish is when Sue Bryce did a session with Sarah. My daughter and husband loved those images. My heart goes out to Sandra’s family as I now know exactly the intense grief of losing a loved one so early. The images bring back memories that are a great comfort to me. I hope Sandra’s family is finding some comfort as well. Photographers should always remember how important those images are to families. I hope the family finds comfort during this season of great sorrow and grief. – Celeste Brown –ReplyCancel

  • Sophia Glomann - Thank you everyone for all your heartfelt condolences. Thank you Jen for capturing her beauty in the most natural way. My sister is missed so much, and truly inspired all of us in her own unique way xoxoxoReplyCancel

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