Boudoir Interview - Survivor - Peighton Hennessey & Sharla Ronée

February 2023 Issue Vol 2 - Interviews - Posted:

We interviewed Sharla Ronée, a boudoir photographer from Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, together with their wonderful shoot with Peighton Hennessey.

This was my last time working with Peighton prior to her starting her long battle with breast cancer, as a 24 year old mama. I am so unbelievably proud of this beautiful woman, and all she conquers every single day. She is a Survivor.

01) What does boudoir photography mean to you?

To me, boudoir photography is healing. It’s not just about sexy and intimate portraiture. It’s about the moment of healing and empowerment each client experiences during their session. Boudoir is healing. It’s raw. It’s intimate. And it’s empowering. In the hour I spend with a client, I see all levels of emotion. I see the moment of absolute uncertainty. Of terror. Of shock. Of awe. Of wonder. Of happiness. And finally, of realization. The realization that she is doing this, she is overcoming her fears, and she is everything she never thought she could be. She is real, she is perfectly imperfect, and that is everything to her. That moment of empowerment truly transforms the broken, the hurting, the struggling. She becomes a completely different woman. It gives her a voice. She is whole. And that, right there, is exactly what boudoir photography means to me.

02) Why did you choose to pursue a career as a boudoir / fine art photographer? What got you started in boudoir?

I got started in boudoir a couple months after I took a workshop learning all the ins and outs of shooting boudoir. It just scratched the surface though, and over the next four years, I’ve continued to immerse myself in boudoir photography.

03) What kind of creative process is there behind boudoir photography?

Boudoir is such a unique genre of photography. Not only do you need to have a pretty solid workflow, but since each session is completely unique and different, you truly need to have an understanding of both the client as well as yourself as a photographer. My creative process starts the moment I start talking to a prospective client and continues through the booking and planning process. I send out an in-depth questionnaire that helps me to better understand my client, their vision, their triggers and limitations, and their style, so that by the time our session date comes, I’m able to deliver exactly what they’re looking for. This creative process also helped me to design my studio, in which my style is consistently morphing.

04) How do you communicate with a client or model you’ve just met to make them comfortable for boudoir / nude photography?

I’m simply myself. I run an active, all womxn-VIP group full of past, current, and prospective clients with members who reside across the US, and I talk about the way a session runs, myself, and what to expect consistently. I’ve found that the more transparent and open I am with my clients, the more they’re able and willing to trust me.

05) How do you educate yourself to take better photos?

I’m always in search of new educational opportunities to ensure I continue to learn. I’ve invested in quite a few industry leaders’ education programs, including Alex Loveland, Janae DeMello, and Michael Sasser, and I attest my success in photography to my drive to learn more.

06) How would you describe your photography style?

I’d describe my photography style as intimate, candid, and vivid. I’m a true-color editor, and absolutely adore movement in my photos. I love to capture the in-between moments, and those always end up being my clients’ favorite photos.

07) What type of cameras do you shoot with, boudoir and/vs other?

I’m a Sony girl, through and through. I currently shoot with the Sony a7iii and am planning on upgrading to the a7iv relatively soon. For lenses, I frequently use either my 35 mm Sigma 1.4 or my 85 mm 1.4 G Master.

08) What kind of other gear do you use for boudoir and/vs other?

The only other gear I work with is a simple ring light, as I’ve found it helps to provide the little bit of extra fill light needed in my studio.

09) Among your works, which one is your favorite? Why?

I’d say any of my sessions that have a personal, intimate meaning behind them are my absolute favorite. I’ve worked with an endometriosis survivor, and the client you see in these photos is a breast cancer survivor.

10) What is the most difficult part of being a boudoir photographer for you?

I think the most difficult part of being a boudoir photographer is understanding that body dysmorphia, especially among womxn, is exceptionally prevalent. I do my best to capture each client in the here and now and preach body positivity and inclusivity throughout every day. However, regardless of the way I work with a client, sometimes womxn can’t see themselves as they truly are without struggling with self-love and self-esteem. So that’s probably the hardest part – seeing someone who is truly beautiful and knowing they can’t see themselves the same way.

11) What is the most rewarding part of being a boudoir photographer for you?

I think the most rewarding part of being a boudoir photographer is witnessing the complete and total transformation each and every one of my client’s experiences through their time with me. At the end of every session, and even during their reveal session, witnessing the way they fall in love with themselves… sometimes for the very first time? That. That, right there, is the single most rewarding part of being a boudoir photographer.

12) Just for fun, if you could shoot in any location, what would it be?

Greece, hands down. I’d absolutely adore the opportunity to travel to Greece for boudoir sessions.

13) Do you have any other profession or anything you are passionate about?

Cooking and baking are probably the two things I am most passionate about, aside from reading; however, in terms of professions, I’m an Executive Assistant/Virtual Assistant, and provide editing services to other photographers in the industry.

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