Get the Squeeze: An Interview with Jesse || Zest Sessions

At the end of January I finally had the chance to meet Jesse , the beautiful fashion icon behind ClosettCandyy. We connected over Instagram a few months (or was it weeks?) prior and talked about working together in the future.

At the time I was in the process of trying to set up my first boudoir shoot - and that's when Jesse expressed the fact her anniversary with Derek was coming up in mid-February and a session would make the perfect gift! The timing couldn't have been more perfect - I had my model and Jesse had the gift for her sweets handled!

Now that it's nearly the end of February, we had time to reflect on the session. We wanted to talk to each other about how the session went and pass on that knowledge to those who may be considering a boudoir photo session.

We had tried to meet for coffee but we are both very busy women with opposite hours and sadly we hadn't had the chance to. Instead, I was able to think of a few questions that I had planned to ask her and fired them off in an email. Below is the Q+A session with Jesse and her retake on the session with Red Lemon Art & Photography.

Interview with Ashlee (RedLemonAP) and Jesse (ClosettCandyy)

1. As a fashion blogger you're clearly comfortable in front of the camera, but how was boudoir different than the other photo shoots you've done? 

Part of the reason I’m so comfortable in front of the camera during my ClosettCandyy photo shoots is because I’m in my element: I’m wearing an outfit I’ve spend time composing that make me feel my best, and I’ve taken the time to make my hair and makeup look better than usual. So, for our Boudoir shoot, I was stripped of half of my confidence: my style. I instead was wearing lingerie and the focus wasn’t on the outfit – it was on ME – and that’s a little intimidating when you’re so used to rocking an outfit - rather than skin – in front of the camera.

2. What were you expecting before the session? What preparations did you need to make before you felt ready for the session? 

I had no expectations, but preparing certainly hyped me up for our big day. I started by creating a Pinterest board so that you could start to see my vision for the shoot. I also added my friend/first photographer Sabrina to the board because she’s always been my wingman when it comes to putting together a mood board before a shoot. She understands my style and preferences, and it was really fun to see what she pinned for me. The Pinterest board gave me a sense of the look I wanted to embody, and the poses I wanted to recreate.

Secondly, I took a trip to La Senza to see if I could find what I was looking for, and I wasn’t disappointed. It was important for me to have a few different looks because of my dynamic personality: sweet, sassy, and sexy. The outfits I chose certainly allowed me to slip in and out of each of these. And lastly, I created a playlist of songs that were either special to Derek and I, or made me feel sexy; which of course go hand in hand. I had planned on bringing over a bottle of wine to take the edge off, but I forgot and didn’t end up needing it anyway!

3. What advice could you give to someone who doesn't have modeling experience? 

Practice! Practice being your sexy self in front of the mirror. Put together a playlist that makes you feel empowered and your best and just have a dance party in your underwear. If you’re not comfortable being in your skivvies and looking at yourself in your own home – there’s no way you’re ready for a boudoir photo shoot. I would also recommend the Pinterest board for pose inspiration, seeing as you and I had our board open during the shoot. It’s nice to step away from shooting for a moment and take the time to look through the board to see what you want to recreate. This way, the pressure isn’t on you to come up with the way you want to present yourself – you have a bit of a guide and can try some fun new looks. And of course – don’t take yourself too seriously.

4. What questions and concerns do you feel were most important to talk to the photographer about pre-session?

I had to look back on our past text and Instagram conversations to see if I even asked you any questions! You initiated most of the conversation around the shoot, so my questions were fairly limited. The first and only question I asked was if I could wear a few outfits. We had already discussed a date, and you sent me a photo of the room so I was ready to rock. As far as concerns, I had let you know I was nervous because I was so used to modelling clothes and not lingerie, but you quickly turned my anxiousness into excitement with your sweet and encouraging words.

5. When you arrived for the session, what was your first, honest impression?

Aside from falling in love with your pets, I totally fell in love with the setup and the lighting in your room! We hit it off right away and because of our previous relationship on Instagram, I felt like I already knew you. i did feel a bit apprehensive about how simple everything was (brown headboard, white sheets, white curtains) but that quickly changed as soon as you showed me an image. The simplicity was the perfect backdrop for the colours in my lingerie and for the focus to really be on the intimacy of the shoot.

6. As far as environment is concerned, what do you need to feel comfortable during a boudoir session?

I think the most important elements of being comfortable during a boudoir session are the relationship with the photographer and what you’re wearing. If you’re outfit isn’t actually comfortable, there’s your first mistake. But if it doesn’t reflect you or your style, you won’t feel authentic during the shoot. If you have certain mementos that you know will help you feel comfortable, bring them. I brought a photo of me and Derek because the shoot was for him, and having that there was a nice little reminder of why I was doing what I was doing and made it a little more personal. Also, silence is a killer. Talking, singing to music, and dancing throughout the shoot is a must in order to make it more lively and not so awkward.

7. I like to make my clients feel comfortable, which is why I offered to shoot in my underoo's as well. Did this help the mood of the shoot? 

Yes! Not only did it make me feel more comfortable with you taking photos of me, but it also kind of made the whole vibe a bit more vulnerable. Plus, I got to stare at something sexy too! ;)

8. During the session, did you feel the overall flow of positions and brainstorming ideas was easy to do?

Yes! Much easier than expected. The Pinterest board played a major factor in posing, and it helped that you had a few ideas you wanted to try as well. I think when the model and the photographer both come prepared with ideas for the shoot, the outcome is much more aligned with the original vision.

9. Was the session what you were expecting? When the images arrived what was your first impression?

It surpassed my expectations! I wasn’t sure how we would work together and the kind of images you we’re going to take of me, but I honestly couldn’t have asked for anything more. I do think it helped, again, to create the Pinterest board not just for us to reference – but for you to see the style of images I liked.  You understood that I love little details and natural moments, rather than big moments and forced poses. I loved every single image I saw and the editing was exactly what I had hoped for.

10.  Did you feel there were a variety of images to choose from?

The variety was beautiful. No two images were the same and I wasn’t ready to fall in love with myself the way I did after seeing so many different angles and perspectives of my beauty. It was truly an eye opening experience that made me appreciate the skin I’m in.

11.  Did you feel the images were tasteful? What did you plan to use the images for?

The images certainly were tasteful, but I had expressed that I wanted them to be within our Pinterest board and conversation. I also think the class had a lot to do with the outfits I chose to wear, and the simplicity of your room. The whole reason for the boudoir session was to gift my sweets with a photo album of photos for our 3 year anniversary.

12.  Creating an album is a personal preference. Explain your experience with shopping for an album.

I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t a struggle! Call me old fashioned, but there’s something nostalgic I love about sitting down and opening a photo album and flipping through pages of photos. However, I don’t think many others feel the same because a decent album is hard to find. I went to Chapters, the Mall, Michael's, and Walmart before finding an album at Camera Kingston downtown that was suitable. I needed the album to be no longer than 100 pages (I had 55 photos printed and wanted room for more), and I wanted it to be suitable for a guy. Everything at the previous stores was too feminine or too big or too boring. I settled for a small album that didn’t leave room for notes and had a dark brown leather cover. Success!

13.  Do you suggest that people print their images or keep the digital files only?

It’s all about personal preference – but what’s the point in having your picture taken if you’re not going to print it? Stop staring at a screen to rejoice in your memories, print them so you can cherish them.

14. Would you do another session? What would you do differently next time?

Yes! The only thing I would do differently is switch up my look and opt for a different variety of poses – and that’s just to add to the current collection.

15.  Rate your overall experience.

10/10 again and again!