We're going back to basics, and celebrating how far Cherry Tree has come. Because when I first started Cherry Tree Boudoir in August of 2016, I was so damn naive. I didn’t know what the hell I was doing. So much has changed since then, the least of which is related to the COVID pandemic, but it certainly has played it’s role. Enjoy the throwbacks that accompany this post. <3 It's Thursday.
In order to explain WHY I’m making these foundational changes to both the product prices, workflow, and order of operations here at Cherry Tree, I have to (want to) give you the back story of how I even came to be a boudoir photographer.
I was working an insurance job that I absolutely couldn't stand -- I’m talking crying-in-the-parking-lot-during-lunch couldn't stand. At the time I was sucked into Pure Romance, the MLM brand, and as someone who worked as a salesman for nearly 10 years before that, thought I could hack it as a MLM "business owner".
I eventually was given the opportunity where someone asked me (the apparently unembarrassed sexually-liberated person that I was) if I would take some sexy photos for her. She was a sex-worker and needed some photos for her clients. I was like .... ummm. I'll try?? (None of those photos are released for Cherry Tree Boudoir's audience's viewing, duh, she sold them! ;) )
Basically the photos were ultra-cringe because I only had an iPhone 5c, no knowledge of posing, composition, no lighting, no editing software or know-how.
But she liked them. They were better than what she was making herself, and I was like --
... is there something to this??
Fast forward -- and I started to realize what was happening. The people who were coming to me weren't really the people that I expected.
I was under the impression that the majority of people who did these kinds of photo shoots were blushing brides, and happily-married honeymooners.
It turned out that the people who were attracted to Cherry Tree were mostly healing from something. We had something in common in that way.
I was a sexual abuse survivor. When I was 5 I had a step dad who was sexually abusive.
I didn't realize when I started shooting boudoir that that part of my life was still relevant. In fact, I thought that 'it didn't affect me' and that because I was such an open book about it, that it didn't matter.
Because I had a loving relationship, no eating disorders, no depression, and a good relationship with my mom that none of that ugliness mattered anymore.
I'd moved on.
Until I found out that I wasn't his only victim.
Until the day that I found out his house caught on fire, and I was glad.
Until the day that I heard he tried to run over his girlfriend with his car and I told all my friends that "I’m so glad he finally got caught for something bad, where no one got hurt".
And then found out that he made bail and hasn't been back in jail since then.
Until I realized that I was carrying around a lot of resentment.
And not just for him. But for my real dad. And my mom.
For every old boyfriend, and friends who left me.
For all my siblings who I haven't gotten to get to know.
Wayne Dyer says "there are no justified resentments"
and that even the worst people in the world are doing a job.
Even your traumatize-rs are an integral part of your soul family.
I started to realize that The Universe, or God, or my higher self, or whatever you choose to call it and I had a conversation before I came to this Earth. And I knew that I would go through this bullshit.
I knew that I would be subjected to some of the worst abuse imaginable.I would live in a house with mental illness, domestic disputes, red and blue flashing lights out the windows, a mother who worked 3 jobs for a deadbeat to spend.
I knew that I would I would struggle with self - worth for a little while, before I would learn what my job is here on Earth, this time around.
The world's a stage and we're all playing a role.
I know that my role is to help people see their value in their physical vehicles -- the bodies that their spirits reside in.
And I don't care if I'm not solving world hunger, global warming, or lobbying politicians or researching the next life saving medications.
I'm doing something that feels right.
I have a huge amount of respect for every other type of photographer, too. Taking photos of inanimate objects is not as easy as an inexperienced person thinks. Weddings are not easy, at ALL. Staging photographs isn't easy. Making non-models look like they know what they're doing takes practice. Being a product photographer is not transferable to portrait photography. Studio photography is not the same as lifestyle photography.
But if I’m truly here to HELP people, especially those of us who are really trudging through some thick bullshit, then why was I gate keeping so much??
I know that there have been people who have come across Cherry Tree Boudoir in the past who saw the price of a retainer and said “thanks, but no thanks” and for some of them it was because they were completely capable of doing their own hair and makeup, or because they wanted to have their session in their own house. For some of them they didn’t care to pay the amounts that I was requesting for the products that I was selling.
Before this year, I didn’t realize that thoughts become things, and I had a fear based, lack mentality. Subconsciously, I didn’t expect people to want to be photographed by me, so I hiked up the prices.
I’m not sure why I did this. My best guess is that then I had a built in excuse as to why people might not book me ("it IS expensive after all….") and so that when I did get booked I felt like I had the chance to make some kind of livable wage.
But now, I have realized the hypocrisy surrounding the way that I’ve ran Cherry Tree in the past, even though I had the best of intentions, and really did want to help people embrace their physical bodies.
This is why I travel to wherever I'm needed, and why not every photographer is a boudoir photographer.
This is why I have decided to permanently slash my prices in half to make them more reachable.
This is why I offer no interest payment plans without credit checks.
This is why I removed the gates I was accidentally keeping by requiring larger retainers, full hair and makeup services, and picture-perfect shooting spaces.
My photography is about celebrating bodies, and self-loving
It's about serving you, and about having a
fun fucking time.
In celebration of the new prices at Cherry Tree Boudoir, (plus my wedding anniversary is today!) I am offering $0 retainers (reg. $99) until Wednesday September 16th, 2020 at 11:59pm. Just click below to make it official!
As a refresher, here is what is included in the new Cherry Tree Boudoir retainers.