What the Women Say
Here is my story of one of the best experiences of my life. I was planning a wedding and with everything going on, one of the things on my checklist was "What should I get him for a wedding gift?" My now friend Sharon gave me the answer. I was very reluctant at first. EEEKKK! I don't think I would feel comfortable with this. What would I do? I'm not a freaking model. I'm not going to like myself wearing anything but jeans and a sweater. So, what do I do when I walk in? What if someone sees this?

I was so flippin nervous. I did buy some "lingerie" for this but my goodness, I'm lucky enough to feel comfortable in it around my husband but anyone else? I don't think so. What was to come was very surprising. This was not a school picture or a family picture or anybody telling me how to be or how to pose. IT WAS EXHILERATING!!!!

I went in there a scared little girl and came out a confident woman. Of course, I brought a bottle of wine. Well, maybe two. I went in with my guard up and worrying that I wasn't was going to look anything close like those cover model girls. What was I supposed to do?

Nervous, Nervous Nervous.

Sharon: Alright, Change and lets get this started.

Mary: Oh, Ok

Hmmmm, OK

Sharon: Show off those panties
Mary: Ok (stuck out my butt)

Eventually I felt like what every girl I've heard says about posing for Playboy. "I was so nervous about posing but afterward I felt I could walk around naked all day."

What it comes down to is that I felt good about MYSELF. I didn't care about the models on the magazines, it didn't even cross my mind. What I knew was that I was beautiful in many peoples eyes (Including my husbands).

After everything I think it was for me and my husband. I just didn't know that when I did it. I just felt so beautiful and I think every woman no matter their size or age should do this and I think it should be with Sharon.

All in all, I wish I could do this once a week. It was therapy for my soul and I hope every woman out there finds herself beautiful because she truly is.




Going into this experience I was a little nervous, worried about what my body was going to look like, stretch marks and just messing up the photos. The night before the shoot I was looking in the mirror, saying to myself, “Are you ready for this?” So, the morning came and I was ready, but still worried. We took a drive to Portuguese Beach at Bodega Coast. We got out of the car and walked down to the beach. I got my shirt on and looked at the waves, and said, “OK, Sharon I am ready”. As we started, I felt this overwhelming strength to just go with the sounds of music that I dance to in Hula. I didn’t feel as if anyone was there but me and the feeling of sand in my toes and the wind on my face. It took me to another place; a place that makes me feel connected to the earth and my family that has passed on.
After getting back from the coast it was time to get in the studio! I thought I was too tired but when I heard the music start I was in my zone all over again. I was there; I think Sharon was there – otherwise who took the photos?! I was in my zone again and felt the best I have felt in a long time. The beauty, passion and love I have for myself, Hawaii and Hula came to me and I felt like a million bucks. I have not felt like this in a very long time.
This experience has grounded me. It brought back something in me that I lost in the day to day life’s dramas and losses.
OK, so it’s time to view the photos. I had to watch the video four times, the first two times I could not stop crying. I kept asking Sharon, “IS THAT ME?!” and she said yes and you are beautiful Serena. I can’t explain what was going through my mind at the time. How beautiful I looked, family, my life and all the things I love. All in the photos.
Thank you, Sharon, for the most awesome experience and life changing time for me.



Sometime over the summer while killing some time on Facebook, I saw an event posting by Sharon Dawson, for a Studio Party for women. Instead of cruising past the event, I paused and thought for a moment, I remembered how much I loved the photo’s Sharon took of my daughter Yasamine in her first communion dress. Even more importantly, I recalled how much fun Sharon is. When I saw the event was on 8/8 that cinched the deal, as that date was significant in my life, (8/8/88 first marriage was ending, everyone said 8/8/8 was lucky and I ended up trying to run over husband’s foot with the car… hmmm, indeed it was lucky for me). So, I took a big step and clicked, I will attend.
The last few years have been hard, my current husband is not faithful and not a partner in this marriage. We stay together because we can’t afford to be apart and I don’t want my daughter to be shuttled between two homes at this point in her life. This shitty marriage and the many betrayals have made me doubt my self worth and have turned me into a fat, unhappy, self conscience and lonely person. I decided sometime in early July that I was not going to settle for this type of life anymore. I do a lot of things for everyone else, but never myself. I began working out and going out and living life.
The day of Sharon’s studio party arrived and I took some wine with me and had a blast. The beautiful portraits that we viewed showed each woman’s beauty. There were many ages, body types and personalities but each photo was captivating.
Sometime during the viewing, drinking, and storytelling, I decided that I would sign up to do a bella femme photo shoot. This sounded crazy for an overweight self-conscience person, but I felt this was just the shot in the ass I might need. I also want to leave something behind for my daughter to see someday. I don’t ever want her to feel like she needs a man or anyone else’s approval to feel good about herself or to be a success.
This photo shoot scared the hell out of me because I’m not at a weight I am comfortable with (even after losing 80 lbs.) and I’m not 30 something; I’m now in my mid-forties.
The day of the photo shoot finally showed up. I headed over to Sharon’s studio and the session began with a glass of Sangiovese (highly recommend wine when doing a photo shoot). WOW, I had a blast. Sharon made me feel great about myself and it was fun.
I left Sharon’s studio a few hours later, feeling very good about the experience and more importantly, empowered. This experience seemed almost therapeutic to me. I can’t wait to see the photos. I have a feeling that I might actually find myself sexy in them.


Dear Sharon:

Just sending you a little note, Years go by and it seems it was just a couple of days, my mind is the same, I feel the same, but oh boy! what a disappointment when you look at yourself in the mirror, the gray hair makes you dye your hair more often; before I did it because I wanted to change the color of my hair, now I just have to put in some color.
The wrinkles in my face are evidence of the years that I have lived, My body it’s not the same, I remember when I was pretty critical of the one’s who didn’t take care of their bodies and were overweight, How can you not take care of yourself? I asked many times
Same surprise, now it’s me; it doesn’t matter what I do, I just don’t lose any weight. let us call it age.
All of this accumulates and you’re not that hot anymore!, your spirit gets gray just like your hair, and the wrinkles of your face become the wrinkles in your heart that doesn’t let you be.
Taking a chance and wanting to leave some pictures for my kids and grandkids I asked you to work on me.
It was fun to feel like a model,( like long time ago) I see myself in this pictures and still it’s not me.
What I see is the image of what I can be if I really believe it. Years of not being me has made an impact in my soul. and I forgot to be me
I’m just a sad shadow of who I was, I need to recover myself and be a part of the world that you capture with your lenses to remind me of the wonderful future I can have if I can only believe again.

Thank you soo much for letting me see who I am again
Love you
Beatriz McCoy



I would like to share with all women out there an experience I recently treated myself to. I say, “treated” because when I saw the final results I was honestly awestruck by the beauty that I was seeing. It was Me! I was that person in those photographs and they were beautiful!
This all started when I went to visit my dear friend, Sharon, who I really hadn’t spent quality time with in years – you get busy, life changes and before you know it you are laughing about the “good old days”. 10 years flies by in a snap, So I walk into Sharon’s small, but quaint and comfy studio and I was instantly mesmerized by the incredible photographs I saw hanging around the studio – not just photographs – these were what I consider beautiful artwork! You really have to see for yourself and I guarantee you won’t be disappointed. There are photos of couples, children, animals, men and women of all ages and weddings. Sharon’s work is truly classy and serene.
So, during my visit, I mention how I wish I looked good enough to have my photos done. Of course Sharon has always told me I was beautiful, but when I look in the mirror I’m not seeing it, especially that day. I was having one of those old and frumpy days – far from feeling beautiful or even looking good. So my dear friend convinces me that I am a beautiful person and would be great for a photo shoot. Okay, Sharon doesn’t take no for an answer and I know she would never lie to me, so we set up a photo shoot.
On the day I show up with a bunch of outfits, shoes, makeup, jewelry and gobs of accessories. She instantly has me laughing, as you cannot be around Sharon and not laugh. She is exhillerating and makes you feel comfortable and relaxed. Suddenly I feel like, “Yeah, I can do this!’ Let the fun begin – I had so much fun that the three hours just flew by. I was thoroughly exhausted but I left feeling like a new person – I think I skipped all the way to my car. What a memorable day!
Now, I am 59 years old and have never seen myself look good in any picture. I thought I was the ugly duckling who was NOT photogenic. When Sharon calls me to come view my photos, I’m thinking, “Oh No! This is gonna be awful – I’m gonna look old and fat!!” Boy, was I wrong. When she pulled up my photos I was surprised. I remember the first thing I said –(after Sharon lifted my chin up to close my gaping mouth) was, “Oh my God! That’s me?” Really? All I could do was sit there mesmerized by my own photos. “Damn, I’m going on 60 and I still got it” was all I could say. After the shock I leave there floating on clouds. I suddenly felt beautiful and sexy. Wow, I can’t remember EVER feeling that way about myself – feels great!!
So I share my experience for all the women out there who feel less than you can. I feel every woman, young, aging, or whatever , should do this for yourself. When you’re feeling old, frumpy, unsexy and dumpy – just do it! Call Sharon and do this “For You!”
You can look beautiful and sexy without being pornographic. In fact, Sharon’s work is far from that. She has a talent that is so profound that it can only be viewed as beautiful artistry.
I am so happy I did this – my husband was pleasantly surprised with my photo album. I shared my album with my friends because I am truly proud of how they look – without touch ups, by the way!
So before you think, “Oh, I could never look good enough” I implore you to go to Sharon’s facebook or website and see her exquisite work for yourself. I’m not yanking your chain – you can and should allow yourself the luxury of the experience. You will have an exhaustingly fun day. You will feel much better about yourself – Go ahead and do it and have fun!
Sandi Hall



Home Weddings Contact Blog Photographer