A special treat on the blog today: beautiful, inspiring, unstoppable Efe!
I’ve been hoping to work with someone like Efena for ages, and I finally got my chance a few weeks ago. We had a great shoot – one that felt like it had real soul and purpose and left everyone feeling really proud.
What struck me most about Efe is the way her presence influences the people around her – I’m 100% convinced she makes those around her more grateful, more optimistic, more humble. Efe has been on an incredibly challenging journey the last few years, one she didn’t ask for and never could have expected. I’m in awe of how resilient she is, plus she has this giant, contagious smile and a graceful style that makes you love her straight away.
Personally, I found spending time with Efe a bit like going to church – you watch and you listen, and then you realise: the whole point is love. I left the shoot wanting to be kinder and more grateful, and to lead with an open heart. If you spend several hours physically moving a person’s legs into position with your own hands, you end up feeling incredibly grateful for your own working, functioning, slightly below average looking legs. It’s not fair what happened to Efe and I wish it hadn’t, but my oh my is she styling it out with grace and courage. I’m so grateful to have met her and to be able to show her how beautiful she looks to the rest of us.
I asked Efe if she would like to share her thoughts at this point of her journey, and she ever so kindly sent me this:
“Marking the three year anniversary of the horrific and catastrophic car accident that rendered me paralysed from the waist down was indubitably a bittersweet experience. On April 21, 2014, a doctor broke my heart in a way I never thought was possible; when he told me I had a complete thoracic spinal cord injury. In layman’s terms, this directly translates to zero possibility of ever walking again.
Cut to April 2017. Months prior, I decided the best way to celebrate how far I haf come was through what I call my #NoFear photoshoot. Inspired by the LA-based wheelchair model/makeup artist Steph Aiello, I wanted to send a clear message with the pictures.
The idea behind #NoFear is simple. My aim is to shatter misconceptions of disabilities whilst spreading awareness of spinal cord injuries. To show that being disabled does not necessarily translate to being unable.”
“Being suddenly confined to a wheelchair is certainly no walk in the park. Side effects of a spinal cord injury include sporadic & crippling nerve pain, bouts of insomnia and working out regularly becomes an excruciating must to facilitate recovery.
Stormy and Victoria were the fantastic team behind my amazing photos. Our natural chemistry and undeniable synergy made my first professional shoot extremely fun and comfortable. Everything was utter perfection. The location, the wardrobe, the shoes and especially the make-up. My eyebrows were totally on fleek!
Without Stormy’s genius guidance, my poses would probably have been kinda lacklustre. She has this ineffable way of making you feel immediately at ease; the shots can’t help but be absolutely beautiful. She creates an atmosphere of comfort and giddyness. Furthermore, the entire process from introductory emails to signing the contract is so streamlined; you just end up focusing on being thoroughly excited the whole time.”
Through some divine connection, Rebel and Romance and Efena Smiles (my social media brand) have produced something much larger than us. To me, they defied, nay obliterated my expectations. These photos declare that my disability isn’ t going to hold me back from ‘overcoming paralysis one step at a time’ (which has been my manta for the last couple of years).
All I can really say is a massive thank you to Stormy and Vic for helping me illustrate #NoFear in powerful, perception-altering visual imagery.
Back at you babe, it was an absolute pleasure:) Efe is wearing a beaded romper and heels from River Island above.
We wanted to make sure we were showing Efe’s wheelchair in at least a few images – not so much as an aid but as more of a high tech, futuristic accessory. If you’re curious about it, or know someone who might be, it’s made by a an American company called WHILL.
This is the first time Efe has worn lingerie since the accident <3. Pink satin sleep set from Victoria’s Secret, floral crown from Monsoon.
That prize winning smile I was telling you about:)
And a COVERGIRL shot if I ever saw one. Victoria did a top notch job, as always.
Efe’s brother was on hand to help with some of the logistics of getting on and off the terrace, which is the only part of this shoot venue that is not wheelchair accessible. But what a view right? Efe is wearing a gold embroidered party dress from Topshop.
Efe, you’re honestly amazing! Thanks again for a wonderful, inspiring shoot. Can’t wait to see what the future holds for you:)
Boudoir with a wheelchair: Efena’s #nofear photo shoot in London was last modified: July 10th, 2017 by Stormy Sloane
She said/he said from Cassie and Steve. The chillest, nicest couple ever.
“Stormy has boudoir photography down to a fine art, so when I had the opportunity to shoot with her again and bring my other half with me, I was on cloud nine. The whole experience with Stormy is of no comparison. It was amazing to feel so at ease and see my boyfriend getting on like we were a group of old friends, talking fine dining, job quirks and cute pet prospects whilst shooting glorious imagery. Stormy radiates calmness and positivity because she is such a genuine and uplifting person to be with. I was naturally quite nervous of this photoshoot because not only I am so insecure about my smile but Steve was never exactly a ‘photo kind of guy’ but I was confident that Stormy, with her keen eye and gentle prompts, wouldn’t do anything that was less than fantastic and the images are the proof in the pudding. Stormy made us both feel like we were magnificent together and the photos reflect that calm, happy and comfortable feeling on camera resulting in the most beautiful pictures of us. I definitely welled up when I saw them because having something so perfect of someone you adore is just indescribable. Here’s to my new favourite photo of us both smiling! Who’d have thought it?”
“If you’d have told me 10 years ago that I’d be in front of a camera I would have laughed, because I am the last person who would consider having general photos at the pub, let alone a boudoir shoot. But now, I can say nothing has made me feel so good. I was nervous and shy at the thought of being in my underwear in an intimate setting with my girlfriend, but I soon realised, after meeting Stormy, that everything was going to be fine. Stormy’s nature being so welcoming, friendly and conversational made the whole experience really enjoyable, and when I saw the photos it certainly exceeded my expectations. Seeing yourself in such a light for the first time really is sensational, I’ve never seen myself as a handsome man, but this experience has made me feel more confident. I’m definitely not ashamed to say I showed everyone those photos because they made me so proud and happy and it was wonderful being able to share that with an amazing photographer and the woman of my dreams.”
TESTIMONIALS: Cassie + Steve was last modified: July 14th, 2017 by Stormy Sloane
I started a “secret” Facebook Group for clients (past, present, and future) a few months back, and it’s been great. It’s a super supportive, girl-power sort of place where we’re chatting about all things Rebel & Romance, and you get a behind the scenes look at my scheming and planning. The goal long term is that it becomes a place for us all to connect and keep in touch, but also an online community you actually like. We’re posting feminist rants right alongside pop culture memes and what we’re up to, so there’s something for everyone. If you’d like to join us, just find me on FB and let me know. We’d love to have you.
Recently, a few people in the group have been asking if I shoot couple’s boudoir (I do!). You don’t see much of this type of session from me because my clients tend to have professional or public eye sort of jobs. You know – teacher, lawyers, academia, etc. from which they would be summarily fired for *gasp* having a life outside of work.
Anyway, I asked the group for volunteers and turned up these two hotties;)
Meet C & S
This is actually my favourite couple’s wardrobe combo – man in sharp suit, woman in high end lingerie. Cassie is wearing the Lascivious Kitty set in black.
Steve was concerned he wasn’t “model material,” to which I now say: rubbish.
Every couple has a different comfort level, so I also wanted to show a set that feels more approachable and casual.
Sunday morning in bed. Apparently these images are missing a cat, but otherwise pretty spot on:)
Easy enough right?
You and your partner could totally do this.
A last quick wardrobe change because this lingerie is so nice. Cassie is wearing the Freolic Grace Greige set here.
Black and whites work particularly well for couple’s photo shoots, and they have a nice, timeless sort of thing going for them.
It’s honestly not as scary as it seems. I’ll say funny things, y’know? Maybe do a little dance…whatever it takes so you both feel like you’re less weird than I am;)
C & S – you two are a dream to work with – and who knew y’all were going to look so hot as well?! Thanks a bunch. We must all do dinner soon! xx Stormy
Couple’s Boudoir: Cassie & Steve was last modified: July 10th, 2017 by Stormy Sloane
My longtime girl crush Olivia and I have been shooting again;) This time for her exciting new plus size collection with Manners Wear. It you’re not familiar with the brand, it’s a great little range of unapologetic basics that are ethically sourced, totally wearable, and high quality (read: material that is soft and thick, not the thin, mass produced stuff you can see though).
Olivia’s range is available for pre-order starting TODAY, the 1st of July, with pieces available in sizes L to 5XL. For more info, head over to the website or follow on Instagram at: @mannersbycurvycampbell. Each piece and colour has been chosen with care, and named after Olivia’s most important female friends and family members.
Shoot credits: Photography and retouching by yours truly @stormy_rebelandromance, makeup by @vanezalondono, wall mural by @hixxy, wardrobe/styling by @mannersbycurvycampbell @mannerswear @sallymanners @curvycampbell
Jordan Crop Leggings £52, and Xenia Crop Top £21
It’s always a bit tricky shooting outdoor locations in London, and this shoot was no exception. What a treat to have full sun, but OMG it was hot.
Like…baking. Vaneza working a miracle keeping any makeup whatsoever on Olivia’s face. Jordan Crop Leggings £52, and Louise Reversible Wrap Top £32
Louka Leggings £55, and Xenia Crop Top £21
S U N G O D D E S S in the Siobhan Midi Skirt – £42
As you all know, I’m terribly behind with this blog – Tanja and I shot this bump boudoir session around Easter! Better late than never though…right? Say yes, because everything from here on out is likely to be late lol!
Anyway, it’s always lovely to photograph women who are growing little ones, but as a lot of my clients prefer to keep these images private it’s an extra special treat to have a few images to share with you:) Please enjoy.
It’s no picnic being heavily pregnant, and although you’d never know it from these Tanja was feeling pretty worn out. This is nearly always the case with pregnant clients, which is why I’m in favour of bump sessions that are both quick and barefoot. Simple lingerie is all you need for a look like this.
We borrowed Tanja’s friend’s flat for the shoot – a magical little haven in the city that looks half French and half rainforest.
Tanja found this gown for cheap (somewhere like Amazon or Ebay), and it’s such a lovely way to show off a new figure.
The sheer lace is still sexy, but it’s less revealing than lingerie. Not to mention it will give you a bit more coverage if, you know, you’re not really feeling the water retention and cellulite that usually joins the party about now.
I mean – pregnant and super hot are not mutually exclusive. These aren’t the images you show your in laws, but you ought to have them for yourself. You’ve earned them.
Bump by firelight. The front split on this piece works really well for showing off a belly, and it is especially good for taking attention away from any baby-induced love handles.
Hot pink, because we can.
Gaahh this woman. She makes it look effortless.
I mean, it’s not though. Boudoir photo shoots are hard work, which is why we’ll keep it short if you’ve got a baby on board.
New momma love <3
Another simple lingerie set, this one in a baby blue:)
The garden was so tropical – a perfect set for swimwear.
Can you believe this was in London?
Beautiful new editorial style headshots with our two minutes of sunshine.
Plunging one piece. Grainy black and white. Messy hair. Everything working together here.
A few more commercially toned images from this set as well.
Ahhh Thailand – you’re on my list!
We did a bit of street style / bloggery type fashion too.
Such a cute outfit right?
And finally a floral dress that makes it look 10x warmer than it was;)
Tanja you were fab, thank you! Best wishes for the three of you <3
Bump Boudoir – Tanja’s pregnancy photo shoot in London was last modified: June 26th, 2017 by Stormy Sloane