Adrian and her son, Parker (photo taken from House of Rowan Facebook account)

Recently I experienced my first boudoir session and I am SO excited to share it with all of you because boudoir is such a beautiful art form that celebrates all bodies and because I want to celebrate the photographer behind House of Rowan – Adrian Rowan. I first came to know of Adrian Rowan and her boudoir sessions here at Fantasy Gifts NJ because Adrian actually took the owner’s, Dee Bertino, headshots (those in the industry may recognize it next to articles written by or about Dee). Even though I hadn’t spoken with or to Adrian myself, I saw her work on her Instagram account and immediately knew one day I was going to work with her.

There are many amazing things about Adrian that drew me towards booking with her (before I even got to know her). She is a veteran, an amazing single mom (proudly by choice), business owner and all around amazing woman who brings out the best body positivity for her clients. She resides in a beautiful Victorian home that doubles as her studio and it is just as magical and full of life as Adrian! Once you start to get to know her, you quickly find out she is so funny and also mindful about her words.

Taking the Leap

I’ve always wanted to have a boudoir session, but being a working mom with a very active kid made it fairly difficult to find the time to even research where to go for a session. Fortunately working at Fantasy Gifts NJ has its perks with connections and in the summer of 2022, Adrian had advertised a giveaway for a boudoir session giveaway. Of course I gave it a shot and filled out the form for a chance to win. I didn’t win the grand prize BUT I did receive an email in August that I had won a retention for a session and I had to use it by December 2023. I was so excited and surely did not want to waste this opportunity so I immediately started looking to book as soon as possible – I was hoping for 2023 but House of Rowan is was pretty booked already and with not being sure about how 2023 would pan out, I decided on a November date.

Trust Her Process

Although winning a retainer is different from just deciding to go for it on your own, the whole process was exactly the same and very easy! First, you go to the boudoir website and click the big “Book Now” button. This is where you will book your session first and a 15 minute phone consultation which is perfect because I felt like I definitely needed it and utilized it to my advantage. Once booked, you will receive a thread of emails giving you access to create a client portal with different forms and such so Adrian gets to know who you are and how you portray yourself and how you WANT to show yourself in your session. Sessions and the collections can average over $2000 easily, however you do NOT have to pay for it out of pocket if you do not want to – Adrian offers Klarna and I was able to use my Shop account to pay for it! There is a contract you will receive that is to be signed within 24 hours of purchasing a session, so make sure you get on that! You’ll also pre-pay for hair and make-up which is amazing because as a person who is just learning how to deal with her curly hair and never wears much make-up, it made my life a lot easier! Another thing you will book is the 1 hour meeting you will have with Adrian so she can also explain a lot of what is being sent to you and how the session will go. This is also a way she allows clients to meet her for the first time so they can begin to feel comfortable (you know, compared to meeting you for the first time half or completely naked). If this already seems a bit overwhelming, do not worry! Follow all the emails and documents in order and don’t be scared to schedule a call or email them with questions – Adrian is there to help! Adrian also sends email check-ins and reminders so if you are not great with remembering things, it feels impossible to forget which I absolutely appreciate.

Once it is time for the session, you will pull out at least two outfits you absolutely want – do NOT bring anything “just in case” because chances are you will either not loving it as much in the pictures or you will take up a lot of time changing and questioning your decisions. Choose two things you absolutely love and feel confident in and TRUST yourself. Adrian recommends keeping it tights to show off your curves and avoid too much jewelry or accessories as some poses may make them look odd and take away from you in the image. With the session, you can go topless if you are comfortable enough and Adrian is very good at asking to adjust your hair, hands, or straps if needed, which is very much appreciated as a survivor. She also shows you how to pose rather than explains is which is awesome because it really helps when you aren’t sure your body can even move in certain ways. Nothing is too difficult and if you have any type of physical restrictions, she works with you and poses that do work for you. I was worried some of the poses made me look odd, but those ended up being the most amazing pictures I saw of myself during the reveal. I also laughed and smiled so much between the conversations we had, the jokes we could make and of course the compliments she gives you that my cheeks were hurting (my face cheeks – not the other ones).

One of the pictures from my session – falling in love with the stretch marks!

Speaking of the reveal – once your session is completed, you’ll get a couple of more emails about scheduling an hour meeting for the reveal where you take a look at all the pictures taken and you decide which ones to keep as part of the collection. Adrian will make each of them into a black and white photo as well as a color photo and you can decide from there. I chose Collection 2 which included 20 pictures and I got to choose 2 options from the collection package. I personally chose an album and the retro viewfinder because they’re so cool, but you can pick things such as wall art or digital prints if you would prefer those. I also thought I was going to choose more black and white photos, but I think I had chosen more color than I expected! It will take a few weeks to get everything but I was so happy just seeing those pictures because I truly felt as though I was beautiful. Let me tell you about one picture – my stretch marks looked amazing and I was thrilled to see them on the screen, like about to cry at their beauty! Oh, and if you’re nervous about them being posted or want them to stay private, you have that choice!

I would recommend going to House of Rowan over and over and over again because it was all so beautifully conducted and I felt so absolutely safe with Adrian being there as the photographer. In fact, I can’t wait til I can book my next session with her! You can look at some of her work on her Instagram account as well as her gallery. You can also find testimonials from other clients on her website as well to gain more perspectives on how their sessions went. If this is something you truly want to do for yourself, trust me – it is WORTH it.

“All Bodies Are Good Bodies” (image from House of Rowan’s website)

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