At FOTO, we are committed to helping our fellow creatives flourish. In our Q&A style blog series, Coffee with Creatives, we are highlighting the unique expertise of some of our favorite professionals, sharing tips and information on relevant topics to bring you some practical insight and inspiration for the important work you do.
Today, we are talking with blush session expert, Kim Lyn Chauvin, to discuss tips on making your clients comfortable in their own skin and empowering your subject to unleash her inner goddess!
First things first, how do you take your coffee? (And if you are not a coffee drinker, what is your go-to beverage for fuel?)
Kim: I'm not going to lie, I'm not a HUGE coffee drinker...I was addicted to soda (coke + mountain dew) for a little while, but when I do drink it, I like a whole lotta cream and sugar with a splash of coffee! Haha! I like hot coffee at night especially after a wedding and iced coffee in the morning, yes even in the winter.
Can you share a bit about yourself and your photography business?
Kim: My name is Kim Lyn Chauvin and I've been in business since 2013. I got my start a lot like Jasmine Star (I know you all know her!). I was a bride turned photographer. My passion began with Boudoir and it transitioned into weddings. I do this full time, photographing about 20-30 weddings a year and upwards of 100 Boudoir sessions. Add in a few families, brand sessions, and maternity sessions and I'm a busy woman! I'm blessed to have a husband (Shiloh) that supports my dreams and loves photography as well! He actually photographs weddings and lifestyle sessions with me! I have a 14-year-old son named Ayden, who is my everything! Shiloh has three boys, 15-year-old twins Azariah and Issiah, and a 14-year-old named Judah. We also raise my 16-year-old niece Cali Kim and my 13-year-old nephew Madden. Together we have the most perfect blended family. Needless to say, our house always has a ton going on and I wouldn't trade it for the world!
We've read that you love to photograph women of all ages in hopes that you can inspire confidence in their lives. Tell us more about what makes a photo shoot and the resulting images so special for a woman.
Kim: Boudoir is such an empowering experience. Before my husband and I got together I was in a really bad relationship. I suffered a lot of emotional and physical abuse. When Shiloh and I got together I started to love myself again. He taught me how to see past all the hurt and to see me for who I truly was. I gifted Shiloh a Boudoir album for our wedding. I had a friend photograph it and I felt inspired. I knew in that instant that I wanted to share that experience with other women. Every single woman that steps in front of my camera has insecurities. We all do. It takes courage to be photographed in such an intimate way. From the first contact we have through email, I work with my clients. We talk about what they love about their bodies as well as what they might not want to showcase. We talk about their comfort levels and what this session means to them. I help them choose the outfits they will wear by giving them a Pinterest board with ideas and having them text me or email me with any questions or if they want my opinion. When they arrive we go over everything again. We work through their outfits and start photographing. I talk my clients into poses and will even pose right along with them. Sometimes it's easier to show than to explain. We play music, we talk, we laugh, it's such an amazing experience. Once the session is over we talk about the process of choosing images for their album and how the gallery will be delivered. We hug and then I get to work on editing. I am a very light editor. I want my clients to know that when I photograph them, the images they will receive are 100% them. I do not use photoshop to manipulate my clients into something that is unreal. I truly want my clients to see the beautiful body they are in! It makes the experience that much more authentic to me. I deliver the album and wait for their reaction. I'm always brought to tears when a client responds with how much it changed their life!
Can you describe what a Blush session is? What about a Blush Party session?! How do these differ from Boudoir shoots?
Kim: A Blush session is basically a boudoir session but with my own little spin on it. Boudoir tends to be super sexy and sultry. My Blush sessions can be that or they can be cute and cozy! They empower you as a woman, no matter what type of outfit you're in. They don't even have to take place in the bedroom! I've done Blush sessions outdoors, at Airbnbs, and even in professional spaces. It's honestly just owning your self confidence! A Blush Party is a photoshoot for a group of women who want to celebrate each other! They can be family, friends, or even co workers! I used the term Blush because I want people who view these photos to Blush when they look at them. I want them to feel the power these women have taken into their lives. I want them to see the confidence and to embrace their energy. So often women are just objects in photographs, used to sell products. Blush sessions are NOT that. They are ALL ABOUT THE AMAZING WOMEN and everything they embody! They are Moms, CEOS, entrepreneurs, gardeners, mangagers, nurses, teachers, the list goes on. I want every single woman who steps in front of my camera to feel so empowered they make everyone around them Blush just a little for ever doubting their greatness. We are badasses! Blush sessions are about owning that.
We adore the Blush sessions you do. What inspired you to start doing these and what do you try to capture?
Kim: Awh, thanks! I adore them too! It's my whole heart. My own insecurities and coming out of my shell was the inspiration. Wanting to show everyday women that they are beautiful and sexy and that it's okay to be confident. I try to capture the women that step in front of my camera in their most natural state. If they are a tomboy I want them to wear clothes that match the way they feel. Boy shorts and an oversized tee? We got this! If they LOVE dressing up and wearing heels, then we will pose to the nine in 4-inch stilettos! If my client is more comfortable in a bra and undies while barefoot then that is what we are going to photograph. I am all for my clients trying something new and picking one outfit that might not be something they would normally choose but my main objective is to bring out their natural sexy in the clothing that they feel comfortable in. I believe sexy comes in all different shapes and sizes. I believe it comes from within and that's what I try to capture.
What does a Blush session look like? What can a client expect to experience? Do you provide wardrobe guidance?
Kim: Our Blush sessions range from 30 minutes to two hours depending on the collection clients choose. We have mini sessions and also sessions that include hair and makeup. Most of my clients choose our middle collection that includes makeup and an album. I am there for my clients every step of the way. I love walking them through the process and answering as many questions as I can! Yes, I will help choose outfits that work with their body type and comfort level! I also help with posing and give lots of how to prepare tips! Our current studio is located on our property, so my clients come to my home for their session. I have found they feel a little bit more at ease because it's warm and inviting. When they arrive we walk through outfits, they will have their hair/makeup done, and then we will photograph for their set amount of time. Our sessions are really laid back. We listen to music, I'm always talking throughout the session, and I'm always crawling on the floor or getting into the poses to help nervous clients! Every year I try to do at least one session where I am in front of the camera with a photographer I haven't worked with yet. I think it helps me to feel what my clients feel, I learn new things, and I get to experience it all over again!
We bet you have photographed some really meaningful friendships. Can you share the story of a session that really impacted you?
Kim: Ouuf this one is tough. I have made a connection with every single Blush client that I have photographed. It's such a liberating, empowering, and intimate experience. I do have a few that continue to shoot with me year after year because of the life changing effect it has had on them. I have photographed moms who were lost and didn't know who they were anymore. After our session they found themselves again. They found a new sense of confidence and have gone on to make big changes in their lives. I have photographed women who have been in abusive relationships who thought they were worthless, who have gone on to leave those relationships and have come into themselves and believe in themselves again. There have been countless times that I have cried because of the reviews I have read and the stories I have heard. Women are strong and fearless and so so powerful. I am blessed to be surrounded by so many amazing women. I just want to share a few of the reviews I have gotten over the years, that have made an imprint on my heart.
"I decided to do a blush shoot with Kim during a trying time in my life. It was during a moment in my life where I was second guessing myself, and my confidence was at an all time low. I wanted, and needed, to do this for myself. Of course I was nervous, since I hadn't done anything like this before, but I put my full faith and trust in Kim after seeing her previous work. I loved that her style was classy and fun, while still giving sexy vibes that were NOT raunchy. Let me start off by saying how FREAKING CUTE Kim's studio is! Clean, warm, and inviting! Once in her presence, I felt so at ease. She made me FEEL so beautiful and she made the awkward poses, not awkward at all! When I received the photos from my shoot, I started to cry. I was overwhelmed with emotion that was, and still is, difficult to put into words. I couldn't believe that what she had captured was ME in those photos. She gave me the confidence I had been missing for so long, she made me appreciate myself and view myself in a way I never had before. I am forever grateful to Kim for reminding me to love myself- and whenever I have any doubts- I know where to look." - Garineh
"Where do I even begin? Doing a blush session was something I decided to do as a grooms gift for the morning of our wedding, but I may have had some alternative motives as well. I have had a tough year and have not been feeling as beautiful and confident in my skin as I once did. Well, I worked hard to lose my 10lbs and attended this session that I didn't realize would actually change my life. Kim is AMAZING. I walked out of her studio feeling beautiful, sexy, confident, fierce, and strong. I was reminded that even though I have flaws, they are beautiful and make me who I am. Kim was so welcoming and comforting. Working with her was natural and easy. She also had all of my images completed within 1 week, and sent some sneak peeks just days after our shoot and let me tell you, they are ALL AMAZING. Thank you Kim Lyn Photography for the best grooms gift ever but more importantly, the most empowering experience I have EVER endured. Every woman needs a blush session, and Kim is the girl for the job. Thanks again Kim" -Rebecca
"My first session with Kim was when I did my boudoir shoot and let me tell you I was really nervous! But Kim made me feel so comfortable and made me feel absolutely beautiful. When I saw my pictures and let me tell you right now, that I cried happy tears. She captured the beauty in me that I've never seen before. From then on I fell in love with her work and Kim, herself. I told myself she would forever be my photographer." -Tiffany
"Two years ago I saw the most amazing picture on Facebook. It was a girl laying on a bed in lingerie and it was absolutely stunning, tasteful, and beautiful. I fell in love with that picture and wanted one day to be that girl. I didn't feel comfortable in my own skin and made it a goal of mine to lose weight and feel better about myself in order to one day have the confidence to do a blush album. Well I just completed my first blush session with Kim Lyn Chauvin and I had the best experience and can't wait for more opportunities to work with her again. She is above all else extremely professional and makes you feel so comfortable through the entire process. I never believed I could be that girl but the end results are beyond anything I could have imagined. I wish every girl would try it because you gain so much more than beautiful pictures. Thank you Kim Lyn Chauvin !" -Jill P.
"I started following Kim on IG last year and knew that I wanted to do a Blush session with her. I always thought I needed to be a certain size or look a certain way. Her motivational posts and the fact that she photographs women of all different sizes and shapes made me realize I could do one now. I booked a session with her and it was one of the best experiences of my life. She made me feel so comfortable and confident. I recommend this to everyone, no matter your age. Thank you Kim for making me feel young again." -Susan
In your opinion, what do you think holds women back the most from getting in front of the camera.
Kim: Insecurities or budget. I think as women we have this idea that we have to be a size 00 but have the figure of a barbie doll. It's what society has always said of us. Models, photoshop, music videos, tv ads, all of it. I also think we are afraid to spend a little bit of money on ourselves. Even something like getting our nails done or getting our hair done is considered frivolous. I think over the last few years things have been changing. Women are starting to support each other and the industry is starting to embrace women of all shapes and sizes (I see you AERIE). We are also talking about mental health and doing things for ourselves is a necessity. I'm here to tell you that every single woman deserves a Boudoir session at least once in her life! My mother-in-law even did one at 68 years old! It doesn't matter how old you are, or what size you are. You are beautiful and sexy and you should take some time to see that.
How has your experience as a mother and entrepreneur affected how you photograph other women?
Kim: I'm a mom first and foremost. Our babies are my entire world. I have been a single mom of one and now I'm a step mama to three and a co parent with my sister to her two children. I have felt invisible in relationships. I have felt unworthy. I have struggled with finding myself especially being a mom and living for my kids. As much as being a mom is the most rewarding experience in the world...it is also one of the most confusing, hardest things in the world. You have days of pure elation and days where you want to curl up in a ball and cry on the floor between laundry and spilled messes. I have been on the rollercoaster of solopreneurship for 7 years now. I know the ups and downs and comparison and doubts that come from it. I take all of those emotions and all of those experiences into my sessions. I know that when a woman steps in front of my camera, she can't see the badass woman I see when I look at her.
And lastly, what Fotostrap do you wear?
Kim: So I used to wear the Black with a personalized shoulder pad. That was passed down to the hubby! Now I wear the Dutch with a personalized shoulder pad with my logo on it! Not going to lie, I get complimented on my strap at every single event I do!