“I had no idea how impactful it would be for women to connect with their beauty.”
Atlanta photographer, Meagan O’Neal, loves a relaxing seaside holiday with her husband, frosty drinks and a book near by. But in 2018, Meagan was ready for an adventurous vacation and her husband was…not so much. After an online search, she found AdventureWomen and booked her first adventure trip with us to Japan. She later joined us in Indonesia, as well.
When we met Meagan, little did we know that she was a unique type of entrepreneur, a photographer specializing in capturing women’s beauty “in the boudoir”. Having run a successful wedding and engagement business, Meagan created a new niche, helping her clients build greater pride and confidence as they posed for her in boudoir portraits. We knew this was a story worth telling. We also think Meagan’s talent gives new meaning to this month’s theme of passion with purpose!
Here is her story…
Meagan grew up acting, moving from high school stages to movie sets as an adult. But, her day job complicated the flexibility she needed to audition or do a film shoot at the drop of a hat. Portrait and wedding photography seemed like a good option for income and it was important to her to have work that was fulfilling. With her background as an actress, she already knew to set up amazing shots, she understood body language and stage direction, use of props, lighting, and how to manage fast costume changes.
In 2010, Meagan launched her photography business. Wedding and engagement photography became her new day job!
Meagan became known for infusing her photos with vitality, depth, and authenticity, and having a talent for connecting with her subjects in a meaningful, trusting way. Then, brides-to-be began asking for boudoir photos…
As women began sharing their photo shoot experiences with friends, the demand became so strong that her business evolved into Meagan O Photography, an elegant boudoir photography experience.
Meagan’s clients include women of every age and every dress size, and she feels immensely proud of each one. From women in their 20’s to their 70’s, each client brings a deeply personal story to her photo shoot, from single women and brides-to-be to the recently widowed and rebounding divorcees. Her goal is singular: to show every woman who walks into her studio a side of herself she never saw before, utterly arresting and free.
When she started her boudoir business, she notes: “I had no idea how impactful it would be for women to connect with their beauty. They arrive with their self perceptions…’I hate my thighs’, ‘I hate my stomach’, ‘I’m not sexy’, ‘I’m the funny one’.”
However, Meagan and her staff are passionate about encouraging their clients to cast off self-doubt. They put on music, offer champagne, do their hair and makeup, and help with costume changes. Then they let the magic happen. It can be an emotional moment when clients first see their images after their shoot and it’s not uncommon for women to burst into tears. “Something beautiful happens when you’re coming in expecting to detest what you see but end up loving the way you look,” Meagan says and she notes that this seems particularly true for her clients over 40. The reveal is, in fact, so empowering to her clients that they feel different afterwards, truly transformed in unexpected ways. With their new-found confidence, her clients tell her that they have gone on to leave abusive relationships, launch career changes, or just start making better decisions and for themselves. It’s like they’ve been re-introduced to themselves. “They feel like a goddess when they leave.”
What’s her secret sauce for attracting such a loyal clientele and for growing her photography business? “My magic is in welcoming that girl who thought she couldn’t be beautiful, and I show her that she is.” Plus, she adds, “I don’t degrade the female form. I won’t do anything that degrades or objectifies a woman.”
“I’m blessed to do something I love”
Because of her exceptional skill in artfully capturing special moments, word of mouth is the only promotion she needs!
Meagan’s wonderful story as an artist and entrepreneur is just one of many in our exceptional AdventureWomen community. Are you an entrepreneur, innovator and change-maker, a woman doing work you love? Please let us know! We’d love to hear from you and share your story.
editor’s note: Thank you, Meagan, for sharing with us! Readers can learn more about Meagan’s photography business here.