ct beauty portraits

Courtney {Military Spouse, Boudoir Portraits}

This stunning Navy wife came to the studio back in November to gift her husband (and herself as well) a shoot to celebrate the hard work and dedication she's put into reaching a weight loss goal while he is deployed.

Courtney has three dogs, and admits she works way too much... but who can blame her! Her husband is deployed, and sometimes, working is the only way to keep busy and help the time pass until he comes home.

Sasha Dale Photography, curvy girl boudoir, boudoir photography, military spouse

Sasha Dale Photography, curvy girl boudoir, boudoir photography, military spouse

When she has free time, Courtney loves to kayak and do anything that brings her outdoors.  If the weather isn't the best, she enjoys curling up and reading a book.

Sasha Dale Photography, curvy girl boudoir, boudoir photography, military spouse

Sasha Dale Photography, curvy girl boudoir, boudoir photography, military spouse

Favorite Inspirational Quote:

"A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new"

Sasha Dale Photography, curvy girl boudoir, boudoir photography, military spouse

Sasha Dale Photography, curvy girl boudoir, boudoir photography, military spouse

Courtney's Testimonial:

"Sasha was absolutely amazing, she made me feel so beautiful and comfortable in my own skin. I would highly recommend her, When I went and looked at my photos it was me, it wasn't so photoshopped that I couldn't recognize myself. It was an amazing experience that I would highly recommend to anyone questioning doing a Boudoir photo shoot to do it with Sasha!!!"

Mrs. M {CT Boudoir Photography}

Dark and moody boudoir, blue babygirl, CT Boudoir, Sasha Dale photography

Dark and moody boudoir, blue babygirl, CT Boudoir, Sasha Dale photography

Meet this beautiful mother of 3 plus a furry child, and the wife of 17 years to a wonderful husband. She is a Nurse which is what she always dreamed of doing.  Ever since Mrs. M was a little girl, she knew she wanted to be a nurse. In her spare time (she laughed at this question as she responded with 'what's spare time?') she loves to cuddle on the couch watching movies, and W hen you are not working, what do you like to do in your spare time? Spare time?? Lol I love to read, cuddle on the couch watching movies, and going to Disney with her family.

Dark and moody boudoir, blue babygirl, CT Boudoir, Sasha Dale photography

Dark and moody boudoir, blue babygirl, CT Boudoir, Sasha Dale photography

This gorgeous mama also loves to read, though she admits she doesn't quite get enough time to do it.

Boudoir photography, red lace lingerie, christmas gift, CT Boudoir, Sasha Dale photography

Boudoir photography, red lace lingerie, christmas gift, CT Boudoir, Sasha Dale photography

These are a few of her favorite things:

Favorite drink: Coffee, Tea

Favorite meal: Pasta!

Favorite book/genre: Cozy novels and romantic suspense.

Favorite inspirational quote: "Live for today because tomorrow is not a guarantee."

Boudoir photography, red lace lingerie, christmas gift, CT Boudoir, Sasha Dale photography

Boudoir photography, red lace lingerie, christmas gift, CT Boudoir, Sasha Dale photography

What she has to say about personal insecurities:

"I think all people have insecurities. Are we pretty enough, skinny enough, smart enough? Are we a good mother and wife, do we work to much and not spend enough time with our families? Just like everyone I struggle with all of it, but as I get older I realize I am enough. I do the best I can, and I have to be happy with that."

Boudoir photography, red lace lingerie, christmas gift, CT Boudoir, Sasha Dale photography

Boudoir photography, red lace lingerie, christmas gift, CT Boudoir, Sasha Dale photography

I asked Mrs. M what message she wishes she could tell the thirteen year old version of herself about self image.  This is what she would say:

"Relax, enjoy being 13. You will be an adult soon enough."

Sasha Dale Photography, military spouse, boudoir photography, camoflage

Sasha Dale Photography, military spouse, boudoir photography, camoflage

I asked why she wanted her portraits taken:

"I wanted to give my husband a gift. He is always telling me I’m beautiful and I always respond with ‘you have to say that’. I decided to listen to him, and go for it. I realized I am, and I should have been listening to him for the past 18 years instead of picking at my flaws. We all have them, but so what!"

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The make-up artist for this shoot was the lovely Chelsea Krasnow of Beauty by Chelsea Dae.  She'd worked with this mama in the past, specifically with her tween daughter, so it only made sense to pair the two up again!

Sasha Dale Photography, boudoir photos

Sasha Dale Photography, boudoir photos

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We mixed up her looks a bit for some bright and airy, dark and moody, and some cool backdrop shots too.  Of course she also had to sneak her husbands old camo blouse in!

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Session took place at the studio of Sasha Dale Photography in Norwich, CT.

Cheryl's Testimonial:

"I don't know how to put into words how awesome of an experience today was! I could never thank you enough!  We have used you for our family portraits, a teen session, and now a boudoir photo session. You never cease to amaze me with your kindness, skill, talent, caring attitude, and just how comfortable you make me feel in front of a camera...and that says a lot as I strongly dislike having my picture taken!  As you know, the thought of stripping down in front of a camera, and posing in lingerie was terrifying to me. But you made it an amazing day, from start to finish!  I felt beautiful and completely comfortable the entire day, as nervous as I was going into this - you made me completely relaxed. You knew when to make me laugh, how to demonstrate how to pose, and even made sure I drank enough water! Sasha, you are an amazing person and photographer, thank you for this experience. I can't wait to see the finished product...or my husbands reaction on Christmas! Oh and my hair and makeup was amazing!!!! I need this done every morning!"

Christine G. {October 2017}

Meet this gorgeous Bride-to-Be!  She was our bridal booth contest winner back in February and we just completed here session this past October.  Her session hair and make-up was done by the talented Nicole of Beauty by Mineko!

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Christine loves to paint or make art but she doesn't do it as often as she could. Someday she would love to have an amazing little art nook in her home so she would have no excuse for not spending more time on it! She adores spending time with her future hubby, friends, and family and especially game nights at their home. Their go-to game is Mario-kart even though her hubby-to-be always beats her. They also love Scrabble, Uno, Rummikub, and more.

green satin, timeless

green satin, timeless

Christine has a black miniature poodle named Olive and apparently, she totally runs the house! The pup is about 7 years old now, and is Christine's baby!!

This gorgeous bride-to-be is a passionate and committed individual.  She's been at her current employer for over 12 years,  having started as a part-time receptionist and working her way all the way up to a department manager.  She's worked her butt of to get where she is!

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When Christine came to the studio, she mentioned she was on a weight loss/fitness journey. At the time, she had already lost 40 lbs over the two years she'd been at it. Though she still felt as if she had more to go, I couldn't help but notice how beautiful she was both physically and confidently. She even trained like crazy for her first 5K! She admitted that it was actually starting to feel like fun instead of torture!

vintage boudoir, blue satin, lace

vintage boudoir, blue satin, lace

Fun fact: Christine was born on Thanksgiving! Each year she celebrate her birthday with her family on Thanksgiving. She told me it always felt pretty cool being the only one getting presents during a big holiday! Every year her aunt makes her a cookie sheet sized giant chocolate chip cookie (which Christine devours in about 2 days) and her aunt promises to keep making it for her for as long as she's alive to do so!

vintage corset, tulle skirt, topless

vintage corset, tulle skirt, topless

Christine loves going on walks or just sitting outside and enjoying nature. Her family owns a cabin on a lake in Maine that she loves visiting every single year. All she has to do is kick back on the porch overlooking the water with a gin & tonic in hand, or going on a boat ride and that is her ideal way to relax!

Favorite Inspirational Quote: "Be you, for you."

80s boudoir, cocacola, coke, boudoir, sexy

80s boudoir, cocacola, coke, boudoir, sexy

I asked Christine what message she wishes to give young girls about self image.  This was her response:

" Its not about being skinny. Its about being healthy. But its also about understanding that there is no such thing as perfect. Even the people you see in magazines or movies are not perfect. They too have insecurities or things they hide from others. There is a lot of photo-shopping and make up to cover things that are deemed less than perfect. But its those things that make us human. Everyone struggles with self-doubt at some point. Someone can be self conscious about being "too skinny" just as much as someone who thinks they are "too fat." Stop comparing yourself and work on being your happiest self. Don't put others down for things that you have no right judging. Be nice to everyone because you don't know their story."

mermaid boudoir

mermaid boudoir

I love that she admitted the shoot was more for herself than it was a gift for her fiancé. She claimed it was something that had always interested her and now that she's been able to grow in self confidence, she knew it was the perfect time to show it off.

I usually don't include this part of my client questionnaire responses in my post write-up but I'm IN LOVE with Christine's response here so I just HAD to share:

My question: "Is there anything you'd like me to minimize, conceal or otherwise de-emphasize?"

Christine's response: "Ya know what... no. Its how my body is, so why hide it? How do you plan to showcase your photos?"  <--- YAAAASSS!!!!!

mermaid boudoir, little mermaid, bridal boudoir

mermaid boudoir, little mermaid, bridal boudoir

Christine's Testimonial of her experience:

"From booking my appointment all the way to receiving my final product, Sasha made the entire experience easy and stress free. She is so organized that you never need to worry about a thing. Sasha was always there to answer any questions I may have had. I loved the consultation appointment to go over outfit choices and jewelry to match. She makes you feel excited about the experience, rather than being worried about the unknown. I never felt uncomfortable with her, it was like she was just another girlfriend. The photo shoot itself was so much fun! Her energy keeps you going and you will laugh a lot! She will show you images on her camera throughout the day so you know what kind of shots she is getting. I felt like a movie star. I cannot say how amazingly talented Sasha is after seeing the final photos. They are beautiful! The only worry I had leading up to the appointment, is that I would be disappointed in the final product- NOT because I doubted Sasha, but I doubted myself and how I looked. I could not be happier. Every shot looks like a million bucks and the pictures filled me with a new confidence. The book Sasha put together is super well done. The quality of it is far beyond what I had imagined. I can't say enough about Sasha and my experience. I would recommend it to anyone! Whether you are doing it as a gift to your partner, or just for yourself, the entire experience is totally worth it."

Heidi J. {CT Boudoir Portraits}

This newly empty-nester works from home as she owns a sign/promotional business.  She loves being with her husband and when she has the chance, to relax, she enjoys laying on the beach with him, quilting, reading and working out.

Sasha Dale Photography, surrogate mother, boudoir portraits, business headshots

Sasha Dale Photography, surrogate mother, boudoir portraits, business headshots

I asked Heidi what message she wishes she could give young girls about self image.  She said this:

"This is a very difficult topic for me. When I hear "self-image" I think of size. I think obesity is a major problem in society that is overlooked. I think it is important to be healthy. I think you can be healthy at 5'7 and 130 pounds, but I also think you can be healthy at 5'7 and 160 pounds. I do not think you can be healthy at 5'7 and 220 pounds. And I don't think I am currently healthy at 5'7 and 105 pounds. I think we get too wrapped up in..."body size doesn't matter." It does matter. Obesity is passed down from generation to generation. Killing your kids by allowing them to overeat (causing heart issues, diabetes, and a string of problems later in life, including depression and other mental issues) is no different than killing your kids by letting them starve. My point is, it is important to be healthy. You can be many different weights and be healthy. As long as you are eating right, and exercising daily, you shouldn't worry about how you look. Because chances are, if you are actually doing those two things, you are exactly where you should be. I would be a terrible person to mentor young girls about self-image...because I don't fall into that category of adults that will lie to a child in order to spare feelings. I would be straight up honest (which is frowned upon). If a young lady came to me, and she was obese (I am talking obviously obese), and she asked me if I thought she was fat, I would return the question to her. If she said no, I might lead her in the direction of, "Do you think there is more you could do to be more healthy for your heart?" If she is honest, she would say, "Yes." If she isn't, I would encourage her to be honest with herself. I think sugar-coating is EXTREMELY dangerous in this area. This goes both directions (as far as being underweight). Educating children on a healthy lifestyle is SO very important...with that said, it is a fine line to walk. I struggle very much with my weight on a daily basis. I tend to overcompensate for a husband trying to lose weight. It is almost like I take on his struggle, internalizing it making it worse for myself. People look at me and think, "What is she talking about, she knows nothing! She is skinny!" What they don't understand is, I wasn't always thin, and I too struggle daily with trying to be healthy. Under-eating is just as bad for you as overeating. So I too, have work to do. I don't know anyone that doesn't have work to do as far as being healthy. It should be a daily focus in all homes and in all lives (including mine). If we are healthy, we will feel good about ourselves. When we feel good about ourselves, we have a good self-image. With that comes confidence. With confidence comes leadership. I want nothing more than ALL young girls having confident, healthy women to inspire them."

Sasha Dale Photography, surrogate mother, boudoir portraits, cozy sweater

Sasha Dale Photography, surrogate mother, boudoir portraits, cozy sweater

Heidi's husband gave this session to her as a gift for the hard work she'd been putting in on her body over the years.  She has been a surrogate three times and has given birth to two sets of twins and then the last one was an 11 pound baby. She has worked very hard to get her body back in shape. After working for two years, she was left with hanging skin that left her feeling ugly. She felt that she had done so much hard work and didn't get to see the results she expected based on the effort she put in. After talking to a plastic surgeon, she decided to do the Mommy Makeover which included a slightly larger bust size and a tummy tuck. Shortly after the healing process, she was able to see abs for the first time in MANY years she she'd been working so hard to get!! All of her hard work was there, it was just hidden under years of baby-carrying skin.

Sasha Dale Photography, surrogate mother, boudoir portraits, ribbed shirt, sexy casual

Sasha Dale Photography, surrogate mother, boudoir portraits, ribbed shirt, sexy casual

A few of her favorite things:

Favorite Book: Little Women

Favorite TV Series: Ray Donovan

Favorite Movie: Titanic

Sasha Dale Photography, surrogate mother, boudoir portraits, lace kimono

Sasha Dale Photography, surrogate mother, boudoir portraits, lace kimono

Heidi's favorite quote:

"The children don't have to come FROM you, they go THROUGH you"

One of the biggest reasons I admire Heidi so much is her selflessness in sacrificing her body for strangers, not once, not twice, but THREE times to provide a safe and nourishing home to 5 beautiful babies to grow strong until they were ready to meet their parents. Yes - you read that right! Two of those pregnancies were twins and in her third surrogate pregnancy, she birthed an 11lb baby! She also birthed and raised a biological son of her own, as well as welcomed a German foreign exchange student into her home for a year, and her niece for two years.

Sasha Dale Photography, surrogate mother, boudoir portraits, tub, clawfoot, black and white

Sasha Dale Photography, surrogate mother, boudoir portraits, tub, clawfoot, black and white

Heidi's journey through motherhood is so incredibly humbling, it's hard to put into words. There is no ONE way to be a mother, and she is the ULTIMATE example of this.

Sasha Dale Photography, surrogate mother, boudoir portraits, tattood girls

Sasha Dale Photography, surrogate mother, boudoir portraits, tattood girls

To commemorate her journey and all of the children that have come from her and/or gone 'through' her, Heidi had a stunning tattoo created along her C-Section line that features the 6 children she birthed and the two that stayed with her for a short time. The bird still on the branch represents her own son who will never truly leave her, while the rest of the birds represent the others who spent a short while in her life, but will forever be in her heart.

Sasha Dale Photography, surrogate mother, boudoir portraits, his shirt, tshirt, cozy shirt, flirty

Sasha Dale Photography, surrogate mother, boudoir portraits, his shirt, tshirt, cozy shirt, flirty

Heidi's Testimonial

"Empowering.

I don't like having my picture taken. I don't even like looking in the mirror at my body. I have put my body through years of tanning, years of pregnancies, years of eating all the wrong things. I have put my body through over-exercising in an attempt to be beautiful. My lower arms hold scars when my heart couldn't deal. For years I have thrown my body, soul, and mind in and out of depression like a yo-yo desperately trying to find a permanent place to stop.

My husband gave me the gift of a boudoir session with Sasha Dale for my birthday. I happened to mention once that I thought that would be fun. He remembered. As I stared down at the gift card, panic set in. How would I do this? My body? A camera? No way.

I work from home, and the card sat on my desk undisturbed for four months. One afternoon, my husband pulled a folder off of my desk. That folder caught the edge of the elegant white gift card, sending it to the floor. I picked it up, and reread it. I sat down and emailed Sasha for an appointment. I had a couple weeks to prepare. A couple weeks turned into a couple days, which quickly turned into a couple of hours. To say I was nervous, is an understatement. I was beside myself. The two days before I spent time shopping trying to find something suitable. I walked out of each store burdened with defeat that was spilling down my face. I opened a new email more than three times and typed, "I'm going to need to reschedule..."  Three times I closed those emails without saving changes.

Sasha Dale Photography, surrogate mother, boudoir portraits, cowgirl hat, floor poses

Sasha Dale Photography, surrogate mother, boudoir portraits, cowgirl hat, floor poses

...continued below... An hour before my appointment, I carefully blow-dried my hair, reminding myself this is why I don't blow dry my hair. Gray hairs sprouted in all directions screaming their individuality. I covered my face with moisturizer, looking closely at the wrinkles around my eyes...silently cursing myself for ever thinking tanning beds were a good idea. I put on sweats and a sweatshirt, because this is my comfort zone. My go to. Cover it all up.

I drove the quick drive, sat in my car taking slow deep breaths before heading into the studio.

When I walked into the studio, I was quickly greeted by Sasha. I'm not an outgoing person. In reality, I avoid people like the plague. Sasha is one of those down to earth people that immediately makes you feel like family.  My heart quickly slowed to a normal pace as my make-up and hair were done by Chelsea.  My chair was turned away from the mirror as I chatted with the two of them.  When Chelsea was done with me, Sasha said, “Okay, it’s go time!” I hopped up, turning towards the dressing room.  She said, “Aren’t you going to look in the mirror?”  I turned quickly and looked into the mirror. I saw myself. Me. I wasn’t made up to be some woman I am not.  It was me.  Wrinkles and years of tanning still there, but turned into something that resembled beauty. Chelsea not only made me feel beautiful, but she did it in a way that let me still be me.  She looked at me and she read me.  Then, she painted me.  I didn’t just look pretty, I felt elegant and beautiful.  

I spent the next couple hours in front of Sasha.  Thankfully, she guided me on how to sit, stand, pose.  She told me when to smile and when to relax.  She made me laugh in her attempts to actually try to make me laugh.  She fluttered around me like a butterfly sharing it’s beauty.  She made me feel comfortable.  She made me feel strong.  She made me feel empowered.  

Her attention to detail is incredible. Every hair, every smile, every pose…was planned.  She was in her element and it was apparent.  There is something about being around people that know what they want.  The confidence…she was professional, but in a way that made her feel more like a sister than a photographer.  She strategically helped me feel comfortable in my own skin.  

This entire process from the time I opened that card, was empowering.  I didn’t realize it at the time, but now looking back, I see it.  Empowering means to make someone stronger and more confident in their daily walk of life.  When that card fell, I took control of my insecurities, and set the appointment.  When I dried my hair and saw the gray, I took control of those negative thoughts by getting in the car.  When I looked in the mirror after my makeup and hair were done, I immediately felt confident.  Chelsea empowered me to be me.  As I changed in and out of clothes over the next two hours, Sasha empowered me to love me.  She assured me along the way, showing me quick pictures flipping through them telling me how much she was loving them.  After each group of shots, my confidence slowly made its way to the top of the hill…thanks to her assertiveness and passion.  

We all have things we don’t like about our bodies.  We all have scars, whether they are on the inside or outside.  And we are all beautiful.  It is hard to feel that way sometimes, but this session, gave me the confidence I needed.  It was empowering.  Every flaw felt empowering.  I felt ravishing in nakedness. And that was okay!  Sasha Dale made it okay.  She looks through a small hole, and she turns lighting, objects, and an insecure woman into a piece of empowering, exquisite art.  That, is a gift. "    -Heidi

Meet The Team: Christen {professional stylist, Make-Up By CG}

Hey guys!  I wan't to introduce to you another important member of my 'team'!  I put the word team in quotes because my make-up artists are not actually my employees, but when I hire them to come in a pamper my clients, we become a team as if we DO work for the same business. Please meet Christen Gundersen, a beautiful, and incredibly talented make-up artists, military spouse and the mother of three kids, two of which are teenage boys and one toddler girl!

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Christen is a certified make-up artist and esthetician, who owns Makeup by CG, located in Southeastern CT.  She has earned over 15+ years of experience, on top of an education at Brio Cosmetology school, and completion of the Master program at The Val Garland School of Makeup. Christen specializes in photography makeup, and has extensive experience working with photographers, models, art directors, fashion designers and stylists in order to help her better understand the artistic demands of the industry.  Although photography makeup is her speciality, she can also effortlessly fulfill additional makeup needs such as bridal, prom/formal, headshot, commercial, advertising, film and even underwater!  Christen has also offered make-up lessons by request.

Christen LOVES what she does.  Specializing in photo shoots gives her the chance to see all the behind the scenes and to experience the masterpiece come together with a team.  She feels that it is incredibly rewarding to be able to watch a vision come together from start to finish.

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Christen's hobbies include shopping, family time, dreaming-up creative set ideas and building her legacy. She loves 80's (rock) music, Halloween, comfy clothes and pumpkin spice. Christen admits that it's taken her a long time to find her true passions when it comes to her career, and in all the leg work, trials and errors she's gone through to get where she is, she humbly admits she wouldn't be there without the loving support of her husband and family.

Christen's favorite quote: "Well behaved women seldom make history." ~Laurel Thatcher Ulrich