Anna’s birthday boudoir session.

She wanted something special for her boyfriend but be true to herself. Oh, and there was this cupcake.

Everyone struggles with coming up with a special gift for that special someone in their life. Anna, whom I’ve done a session with years ago, had an idea for hers and reached out to me to bounce ideas off of.

We talked about the usual things like outfits, what he liked about her physically so I knew what to show off, what she was comfortable doing, et cetera.

But then we talked about concepts to make it more about her, to bring her essence out in the images. My goal with any of these sessions is to bring out their personality in the images. To me, boudoir isn’t all about being a sex kitten. Far from it.

annas-virginia-beach-boudoir-session 15

The last thing I want to do is impose my vision of them. I want them to just be them, honest and open. If they are nerdy, I want to bring that out. If they are full of life and energy, I want to show that. If they feel flirty, sassy, playful…well, that’s what I love to capture. Them being themselves with no restrictions.

So, we talked about her likes, her personality, her desires. She’s a bit of a nerd. Ok, she IS a nerd. But she wanted to go past that as we covered that during our first session together. She wanted to be playful but also get a little edgier. Come out of her shell and explore more.

She also was doing this for her boyfriends birthday so she wanted to reference that. When I mentioned using a cupcake as a prop, she quickly agreed to it. So we made plans and then I held my breath until the session. I’ll let her talk about it. Needless to say, this would be a huge step for her.

The shoot went off without a hitch. We started slow and more reserved and then opened up and got more adventurous. Talk about a fish to water. Watching her come into her own was like watching a flower bloom. There were moments I forgot to breath.

I’d show her the image on the back of the camera and her eyes would widen. Then she would step back in front of the camera radiating even more confidence. She didn’t become a different person. I truly think that the person in front of the camera was who she is deep down. This person was finally able to come out and show off.

This is the reason I do what I do.

I’ll wrap up this entry with Anna’s own words.

“I fell into a deep depression over a year ago. It has been a struggle for me to open myself back up and to feel up to being in front of the camera again. But I wanted to do something nice for my boyfriend’s birthday so I contacted Mark and we collaborated.

Up until the day of the shoot I was so nervous and thought about calling it off but I sucked it up and went through with it. I’m so glad that I did!

I was extremely comfortable during my session. I had a lot of confidence in myself which I haven’t had in a very long time. The outcome was absolutely breathtaking, I love the photos so much! I definitely feel like a badass and it has made me believe in myself. If you haven’t worked with Mark, you need to!”

Mark Knopp is a Virginia Beach-based boudoir photographer covering the Hampton Roads community and beyond. Make sure to follow this page so you’ll get alerts when it gets updated and leave him some love in the form of likes and a comment. Contact him at mknopp1(at) with any questions you might have or to book your session today.

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