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Redefining Boudoir – Meet Trailblazer Julia Badei

Today we’d like to introduce you to Julia Badei.

Julia, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I have always been drawn to art, particularly emotive art that moves the soul. And ever since I was a young girl, I have been fearless in the decisions of the heart. So, it is only natural that I have found myself reinventing again and again in search of the professional life that is deeply meaningful to me.

Every decade came with an evolution. In my 20s, I built a successful corporate career in IT. In the mid-30s, when I welcomed a baby into my life, climbing the corporate latter has taken a back seat. But I also found myself in need of creative stimulation outside of motherhood. So, I embraced a new business idea as a Newborn and Maternity Photographer. As much as I enjoyed babies, I caught myself falling in love with Maternity. Oddly enough, it had little to do with babies and belly bumps and had everything to do with how I made these women feel. My favorite clients were the ones coming in saying “I’m not very photogenic” and walking out like they were suddenly a famous supermodel. With my 40s in full bloom and the charm of my son’s toddlerhood long behind me, I once again reinvented my career. This time, I chose to work with my favorite subjects of all time, WOMEN. When a friend of mine convinced me to create a boudoir portrait for her bedroom wall, but she insisted it must be elegant and tasteful enough to be displayed where her kid roams around, a new passion was born. I have not felt this alive as an artist in a really long time. Boudoir, in all it’s glory, simplicity, sensuality, and emotiveness has consumed me entirely. Photography for the modern woman. As seen through a woman’s eye.

Has it been a smooth road?
As for any artist, it has been a challenge to not get carried away with the art side of things and to remember that you are running a business. Cultivating the business muscle, giving the business as much love as I do to the photograph, and empowering myself as a business person have been the most challenging but also a very rewarding part of this journey. After all, doing it for the art alone while neglecting responsibilities to the family, responsibilities to self, leads to a massive burnout. It is deeply important to me to be able to show my son how to build a career based on passion. That starving artist shouldn’t be a thing. And a career fueled on passion is worth all the hard work.

I would advise anyone starting out with a passion-based business to invest in business education. To study successful models that worked in their industries for other people. To seek mentors. To be open to constructive criticism. And to figure out how to offer the ultimate customer experience in whatever field they choose to pursue. I strive to touch every customer with an experience that is not only unforgettable but also deeply meaningful to them.

What do you do, what do you specialize in, what are you known for, etc. What are you most proud of? What sets you apart from others?
I simply love what I do. And it shines. While my work is categorized as Boudoir Photography, I like to think of it as photography for the modern woman. Women these days are so much more than just housewives and career chasers. We are all-encompassing powerhouses nurturing our families or building business empires, and sometimes both. And we do all that while balancing power with grace, strength with vulnerability. In my work, I love to paint a portrait of this woman. I love the idea of celebrating all the beautiful chapters in a woman’s life. I have an eye for women. I find all of them a perfect subject, no matter the color, shape, size, and those hard-earned “imperfections” they hide behind. I watch them shed their self-imposed insecurities, one by one. It truly is a transforming experience to see your beauty through the eye of another.

Our boudoir experience begins with a beautiful makeover by one of the talented makeup artists on my team. The transformation my clients undergo is incredible to watch. Sometimes, I photograph them based on the style we previously brainstormed together. And sometimes, they trust me enough to just improvise my own vision. Either way, it’s magic. And perhaps the most rewarding part of this process for me personally is watching their eyes light up (or tear up) when they finally get to see it all come to life at their private reveal and ordering appointment. They cradle their newly printed albums and wall portraits as they take them home, and I wonder what these photographs will mean to them 30, 40, 50 years from now? I hope they will look back to see a timeless beauty, empowered, sensual, nurturing, powerful, and gloriously feminine. And my hope is that they will continue to fall in love with themselves all over again.

Finding a mentor and building a network are often cited in studies as a major factor impacting one’s success. Do you have any advice or lessons to share regarding finding a mentor or networking in general?
I have not always been so empowered. Having immigrated to the U.S. as a teen, there was a period of turbulence and feeling utterly lost. My mom has been the angel in my life who exemplified this unconditional love, tenderness, and kindness throughout life’s challenges in a way only a woman can. Her energy and love have kept me grounded in chaos.

Later on, as I ventured into adult life, I have always been lucky to encounter wonderful mentors along the way, in my professional and personal life alike. With their help I torpedoed through my self-imposed limitations, insecurities, fears. I have experienced profound growth. I always encourage young people to seek out mentors. And if one is not freely available, then hire one. It is worth every penny.

We also live in an era of abundant possibilities. And who knows what I will reinvent myself into next. Besides the passion for your chosen vocation, it takes business acumen to succeed. When growing a business, most of us turn to networking. What I find worked best for me is when I started targeting networking groups that synergized with my business philosophies. Blindly attending networking events can cause burnout for the introverts, and simply waste valuable time for the extraverts. When attending a networking event, I also stopped seeking for my needs and started getting genuinely curious about the people I encounter and how I can help them. Cultivating relationships has made the biggest impact on my business. I cultivate my network. I also cultivate relationships with my clients. There needs to be a genuine connection combined with the ultimate customer EXPERIENCE, and then the magic of word-of-mouth will do wonders far beyond traditional marketing and advertising.

Pricing:

  • My session fee starts at $200
  • Portraits start at $200
  • Collections start at $1000

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Julia Badei Studios

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