Why I Shoot Boudoir: A Personal Blog

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Founder of Chestnut Artistry & Design.
Julia's mission it to transform everyday women through an impactful boudoir photoshoot experience. Learn more about Julia and how she is giving women their power back here.


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Hi, I'm Julia

When I sit down with clients on session day, the question always comes up – “So, Julia, what made you get into shooting boudoir?”

Although I hear this question all the time (and I totally don’t mind it!), you’d think my response would be auto-piloted by now. But I still find myself in a pause replaying the events and challenges that led me to that pivotal first boudoir session, which transformed my life forever.

A Piece of Time in My Story

In my early 20s, I left the nest and moved from North Florida to South Florida with my high school sweetheart, now husband. He got a great job and I worked to keep myself in school as I was pursuing a pre-med bachelor’s degree after completing my AA back at home.

Motivated and ambitious, I always sought opportunities for growth and ways to use my creativity thinking outside of the box….it’s funny when I think about it now. I thrive so much better without someone else telling me what to do or where I need to be. Love entrepreneurship for me!

Anyway –

One of the jobs I worked at prioritized appearance over merit. The work ethic did not matter. If you didn’t have enough smokey eye on or if your uniform was not in tip top shape (among other things which I will get to in a moment), then there was a problem.

Despite excelling and even securing a role in the marketing team (what I thought was my prime), came to a dead stop with one conversation from management. Catching me off guard and my heart sank lower than the ground beneath my heels.

“You are what, 118? You need to lose some weight to be a part of the marketing team – and this workplace.”

Those words instantly shattered my trust and self-esteem. Hearing I needed to lose weight to fit a workplace’s “standards” left me feeling defeated and ashamed.

The Transition

About a year after this young adult inner-crisis, I had my firstborn and decided I would purchase an entry-level Nikon to document her journey. Photography became more than a hobby—it became my escape from the confines of a traditional job.

We moved away from South Florida into Volusia County when my husband got a transfer. I was not doing school at the time to focus on our daughter and I began working a “big girl” 9-5 just so I could have human interaction. (I did the SAHM for the first 6 months after we moved and was going stir crazy)

I did this for three years and felt stuck. That nagging feeling again of being told when, how, and where to show up started putting a drain on my mental health in conjunction with the early stages of first-time Motherhood.

Exhausted and disheartened, I called my husband often in tears the last few weeks at this job all while COVID started making it’s debut shutting down everything in it’s path. His question—’Why don’t you quit?’—awakened something within me. After spending several years with little trust in others to safeguard myself, I didn’t realize how much trust I lost in myself in the process.

But I knew one thing, this was going to be now or never.

I spent a couple of weeks thinking about what I would do with a photography business. Would I stick with families and kids or try to do everything?

Boudoir came up somehow on my Facebook and it kinda peaked my interest. I did an impromptu one before with my girlfriend in South Florida to surprise my husband for Christmas one year (haven’t we all?!)…but never on a professional level.

I decided to give one a go and literally posted on Facebook to grab interest…and then came my first message.

Healing and A Calling

I remember internally freaking out before my first babe walked in to the AirBnB I had rented for half the day to host this session. So much of what was said is a blur, but I remember vividly going through the posing with her and guiding her from start to finish. A complete transformation was witnessed with her — from self-doubt to radiance.

She was in complete shock (and so was I) seeing her images for the first time on the back of my camera. Her gratitude shook something within me–almost like a small little thread being sewn to patch a piece of my own heart.

Time went on, I jumped in to the boudoir world full-time March of 2020 and with each session, I found fulfillment in empowering women to embrace their beauty and worth. Boudoir photography became more than a job—it became my calling. Something that I needed back in my early 20s. I discovered my purpose: to guide women out of darkness filled with self-doubts and into a life filled with self-love and confidence.

That’s me! 😊

Boudoir photographer Julia Rabon

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