Port photographer focuses on intimate portraits

Buxom Boudoir owner overcame self-image to help others show off their beauty

PORT WASHINGTON PHOTOGRAPHER Alicia Schmitt took an action shot inside her studio Buxom Boudoir Photography. She said her mission is to help people learn to love themselves through intimate portraits. Photo by Sam Arendt
Ozaukee Press Staff

Alicia Schmitt is helping her clients discover their inner beauty through intimate portraits.

She said it’s a busy time of year around Valentine’s Day in her Port Washington studio, Buxom Boudoir Photography, because customers want to reveal more of themselves to their significant others. But that isn’t her mission. 

“I want to focus on how much you love yourself,” she said. “Valentine’s Day is a good time to talk about body love because the whole day is about how much you love someone else, and we can get caught up thinking that’s the only form of love that we have.”

Schmitt opened the studio in her home at 1211 W. Portview Dr. in 2017. She previously worked as a hair and makeup artist for a couple boudoir studios in Waukesha, but wanted to pursue her passion for photography. 

“Photography was always something I did as a hobby. When I moved to Port, I wanted to do my own boudoir shoot for my husband and there wasn’t a studio like that around here,” she said. “I thought it was a cool concept and I wanted to do something beyond makeup.”

Most of her clients are women or couples, but Schmitt isn’t opposed to photographing men. She said her clientele is split evenly between married and single people, most of whom are between the ages 25 and 55. 

When the weather is more accommodating, she will do sessions in Upper Lake Park and other nature areas.

“We keep it PG. I like to put people in the river and we’ll also do things up in the trees,” Schmitt said, laughing. “I just shot a maternity session for a brave woman out there in 14 degrees.”

Schmitt said she will photograph nearly any part of someone’s body except genitalia. One of her past clients was an amputee, who wanted to show off her prosthetic leg.

Before taking photos, Schmitt offers a consultation to determine people’s motivation and their level of comfort. She often learns a client isn’t happy with their body image and is asked not to photograph the areas they are self-conscious about. 

“I shoot those parts anyway, and after the shoot I reveal those photos to them,” she said. “More often than not, they want to purchase those photos because they feel more confident.”

Schmitt said she used to have negative feelings about how she looked, but has learned to get over it.

“A few years ago, there were days I was crying about how I looked and something just clicked. I thought, ‘Why am I wasting my time doing this?’” she said. “I thought about all the things I’ve never done or felt weird doing because I was worried how my body looked.”

Her clientele comes from as faraway as Sheboygan and Racine. A number of them are Ozaukee County residents. 

“When I started this, I was a little worried because Ozaukee is pretty conservative. All of the women I have met are very positive about what I do. I’m like, ‘Thank you women of Ozaukee for understanding the importance of this, especially the little old grandmas,’” Schmitt said, noting she has photographed several grandmothers. 

Schmitt said she comes from a conservative family that was hesitant about her career path. After a friend of her mother did a photo shoot, her parents realized the positive impact it can have on a person’s mental health.

“My father told me it’s kind of like photo therapy,” Schmitt said. “I’m not a therapist, but people tell me this helps them feel better about their stomachs or legs and feel beautiful.”

She said clients often hang the photos in their bedrooms or bathrooms. Others keep them locked away for a special occasion or when they need a confidence boost. 

“I tell people to look at these photos when they’re having a bad body-image day because your inner critic is saying, ‘You’re not worthy, you’re gross and not good enough,’” Schmitt said. 

“I want them to remember that they are awesome. It’s not about the photos, it’s shutting down that voice that’s mean to you.”




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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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