We had the good fortune of connecting with Valerie Spegal and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Valerie, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
In 2013 I married the love of my life who was also active duty military. Two days after our wedding day he received orders to Aviano AFB in Aviano, Italy. So you could say our world changed drastically in a matter of days from just being married to now moving to an entirely different country! This Arizona born and bred girl had never ventured that far in life so I was excited and nervous at the same time! I had left my normal day to day career and moved to Europe! In Italy, military spouses had very few opportunities to work. I needed something to keep my days busy, so I picked up a camera and taught myself how to use it while taking landscape images to collecting donations for taking family photos.
When we moved back stateside is when Boudoir Photography intrigued me. I loved what it did for women to build self confidence and that feeling of empowerment of doing something so out of your comfort zone and realize that you are stunning inside and out no matter what size or shape you were! Boudoir photography was known for changing the way women looked at themselves and changing lives as well. I wanted to be a part of that being a curvy woman myself and having had a negative body image on myself for many years after having children. So I learned! I learned how to pose the female body and enhance their true beauty and curves. I learned how to build them up with positive speech during each pose. I attended workshops to be better at my skill and provide the best experience for my clients. And that is how Valerie Spegal Boudoir took off!
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
As a Boudoir Photographer it’s incredible getting to work with so many amazing women. Boudoir photography is such an intimate, emotional, and empowering experience it’s so important to choose the right photographer for you. I focus much on body positivity and loving your body no matter what size or shape it is. I have photographed over 200 women of all shapes and sizes and watching their confidence grow as I walk them through posing and capture the moments for them is incredible. We all have something, at least one thing, we’d love to change about our bodies but to also open our eyes and see ourselves in a whole new light builds up self confidence and our own self worth as women. I photograph many moms who before they booked with me would always say I never spend that kind of money on my self because I feel selfish taking it from my kids. Then after they finally take the plunge they say to me, man I wish I would have done this for myself so much sooner. I deserve this too.
I specifically specialize in boudoir photography and I do not take on any other form of photography niches. I feel if boudoir is something you want to do as a photographer it deserves all your attention. You are photographing clients in their most vulnerable and intimate state. But it’s not just the session itself that is important for the clients psyche, it’s the communication leading up to their photoshoot. Helping them prepare for the session with wardrobe guidance and knowing what works best on what body type so they can feel the most confident. To making sure we have a professional hair and makeup artist on site to pamper them and give them a mini makeover. As well as hyping them up and letting them know you are there to support them, as for some women it’s terrifying to be vulnerable and it can be a very delicate state if a photographer is not paying enough attention to the clients needs if they take on too much other work. So for me building this boudoir specific business was a challenge as I had to turn down photo sessions such as family sessions, senior portraits etc. because to me showing my clients that I am 100% there for them and helping build their self confidence sets me apart from others. My boudoir clients are my main and only focus in business. It brings me much joy and empowers even me to work with so many amazing women on the journey to self discovery and valuing who they are. Our client experience is of the utmost importance to me.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I live in small town Kingman, AZ but our historic downtown area, where our new studio is located, is being built up with some incredible little spots from antique markets like 66 Marketplace right next to our studio and a cute local shop called The Farmhouse with some unique finds, to local breweries such as Black Ridge Brewery and Rickety Cricket both great lunch and dinner spots. But if a client were to travel to me and being so close to Sedona and the Grand Canyon I’d say it’s a must for them to tour both of those areas if they find the time.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
First and foremost, I dedicate my shoutout to my two beautiful girls, as they are the true reason I chose to empower women through photography. I want them to know throughout their life that they are beautiful, strong, intelligent, and kind-hearted no matter what size or shape their body may be or no matter what society states is the ideal shape and size of a woman. I want them to be true to who they are always uplift others who may need it! I hope that with my work I continue to teach them body positivity.
I also want to give a huge shoutout to a photographer who has been a mentor to me throughout my journey, Kira Wood with Jolie Boudoir in Winston-Salem, NC. I met her when I was stationed in South Carolina and attended a couple of her workshops in North Carolina. She reminded me of myself and seeing her thrive and succeed and someone I could approach and reach out to truly helped me build upon my business and become who I am as a photographer today.
Image of myself done by Lauren Gregory Photography