Here’s to you, the reader!

Lessons learned from daycare.

Hello friends, 

How often are you so mad, upset, frustrated (add your adjective) by a situation (or person) in the moment, then as time passes and you have already reacted (possibly poorly) does it no longer seem like the glaring mess of wailing sirens and burning buildings that it did at the time. 

I know it happens to me frequently, though I try to limit (to some extent) the outward show of anxiety. But when I don’t have that control, or I feel things spiraling, like: the house is a wreck; Liam just threw a toy at me (again); I have no clue what to write for my next email/blog post; I’m feeling guilt for wanting to work during family time (or vice versa), I can get down right snappy… 

And unfortunately it is those closest (and safest) to me that get the real brunt of it.. (sorry!) 

It’s been an almost 14-year running joke in our house that if mommy (me) is stressed or snappy, just shove a cheeseburger in her (my) mouth (LOL)

All that to say… I think we all need to do like the turtles do. 

Wait, Leslie, you lost me… what do turtles have to do with frustrated adult (or pint sized toddler) temper tantrums!? 

Dear one, they just may have the perfect solution. I will explain below. 

I was dropping Liam off at daycare, maybe about a month ago now.. And hanging up on the wall was a little cartoon poster reading ‘Turtle Technique’ that made me stop in my tracks, because I love turtles (and frogs, and most living creatures). 

And as I stood there reading this sign it truly resonated with me and I hope you find some value either in your own lives or as a teaching aid to the littles in your life. 

The Turtle Technique consists of four small, but mighty parts: 

1. Recognize you feel angry 

     2. “Think” Stop. 

     3. Go into your shell. Take 3 deep breaths. And think calm, coping thoughts. 

     4. Come out of shell when calm and thinking of a solution.

Brilliant! What a visual way to remind yourself (or your little love) of the importance of feeling though tough emotions and giving yourself a time out, to step away from the situation and cool down before reacting. 

What would the world look like if we all went in our shells more often? What amazing, innovative solutions might we bring back out into the world. Wouldn’t that be so much better not only to ourselves, our blood pressure, our families, but to the world as a whole. 

Today, I invite you to channel your inner turtle, and when a situation arises that pushes a bit too far, instead of pushing back simply retreat into your shell for three simple breaths of calming self-care. 

I would like to leave you today with a question. 

Please take a few moments to go into your shell, get quiet, and think this one over. 


What is your payoff for NOT leaving a painful situation? 

Well, that’s all I have for you today. 

Have a turtley great day and don’t stress the small stuff!

Read me first!

Project confidence & sensuality

Hello Lovely Lady!

Sensuality is in a woman’s attitude and her ability to enjoy herself and her body. It all begins with focusing on the unique body parts each woman loves and addressing her fears and doubts, which earns trust. If this can be accomplished, there is no limit to the stunning images we can achieve! Below are a few tips on projecting confidence (Even if you have to fake it ‘til you make it!).

Projecting Confidence

Faking confidence begins with relaxed breathing, set shoulders, and a smile.

Be Confident

Step one in creating allure is to brim with confidence. In fact, confidence is the sexiest thing a woman can wear. Confidence in how you move, how you look, how you feel, and what you do. Stay focused on your positive attributes and know that you can pull off nearly anything if you do it with self-assurance.

Have Fun

Men (and women) are often attracted to women who are genuinely enjoying themselves; that quality matters more than any individual physical attributes. Have fun! Enjoy being a woman. Enjoy being admired. Be playful. Have fun while strutting around. Make sure any doubts or concerns take a backseat to having a good time. Sometimes a shortcut to having fun is simply smiling. A woman’s inner beauty radiates through her brilliant smile and the sparkle in her eyes.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Comfort with your body takes practice. Get very familiar with your body, paying particular attention to the parts you love. Practice being naked: walking around the house, posing in the mirror, admire your body from all angles, focus on the good stuff, and be grateful for the gift of your body.

Know the innate Power of Attraction

A woman’s attitude is the most important aspect of feeling and looking truly beautiful and appealing, not physical beauty. Trust that your viewer loves it all. Know that any boldness, playfulness, and enjoyment of your body will be appreciated and enjoyed.

Focus on Feeling

When a woman feels sexy, she looks sexy. Make sure to focus on pleasure and feeling good. Show it in how you move and how you flirt, dress, undress, and touch yourself- even how you breath- should be guided by what feels good to you.

Take your Time

Tease! Do it slowly, and take your time in between each piece of clothing. Slower is sexier take you own sweet time with your movements and gestures making each one deliberate.


Move like you can barely contain your desire. Be playful and allow a bit of shyness to come out once in a while. Look at your viewer with a teasing glint in your eye. Let your inner good girl and naughty girl come out to play.

Keep smiling!



I personally will respond to every email, so please don’t hesitate to reach out!

Beauty is how you feel inside, and it reflects in your eyes. It is not something physical. -Sophia Loren

Here’s to you, the reader!

Who is your family histographer?

Shirley (Myers) and Glenn Thoman school portraits (My maternal grandparents)

If your phone or hard drive died right now, how many of your precious moments would be safe? If you are like a lot of us, myself included, you rely A LOT on the cloud and hard drives to store your family legacy. 

But how often do you actually go back to these photos? Does your computer still have a floppy drive, CD drive, USB port? The truth of it is that as technology continues to advance it is impossible to know how best to archive and keep your images safe and accessible in their digital form. 

For example, I have an original print of my grandfathers high school senior  portrait sitting on my shelf, but who knows if the negative has survived though all of these years. 

I cannot tell you how much joy it gives me to look back on this image and the suitcase full nearly 100 years of family history that we found after my Papa passed away. If someone had not made the conscious decision to have these prints made years ago I would have no visual knowledge of many of my ancestors and how they lived.

I would hate to have that happen to you, your children, or your grandchildren. 

Therefore I challenge you to the 12-month Print Challenge! 

Every month I invite you to choose 5 photos that are meaningful to you off of your phone, cloud, or dusty hard drives to print and cherish. 

No explanations or image post needed just start curating your family legacy offline and have fun looking back though all the photos you’ve taken over the years. 

Let us share ourselves with generation after us (and social media) 

Are you getting overwhelmed by the thought of wading into the sea of digital images you’ve collected over the years? 

This photo was purely captioned mother and father. And not knowing exactly who they are does not make me any less happy to have access to these photographs, because somehow, without these people I would not be here right now.

I would like to offer my services as an objective third party viewer to help choose your images monthly, and if you’d like, professionally print those photos on high quality archival paper and surprise you each month! 

I hope you decide to become the histographer of your family by starting the tradition of printing and saving your images for future generations to look back on and remember their family history. 


Just reply ‘YES PLEASE’ to this post or email me and we can discuss more details!

Read me first!

Do & Don’ts

Hello Lovely Lady!

There are a lot of things you can do before your photo session to make sure you get the most stunning results, there are also some things to avoid… take a gander at the list of Dos and Don’ts that I have complied so far. See something that’s not on the list!? Reply to this email and I will add it!


  • Get a good night’s sleep
    • No amount of retouching can eliminate exhaustion present in your eyes or spirit. You will need all of your energy and vitality to be coached and have fun while exuding sensuality.
  • Drink plenty of water
    • This will help keep you energized, hydrated, and reduce the look of chapped lips in the photos
  • Moisturize
    • Supple skin is a must and appears gorgeous on camera
  • Get all dolled up
    • I highly suggest that you get your hair and makeup done professionally before the shoot 
  • Bring multiple wardrobe changes
    • Many times, an outfit we think will work doesn’t whether it doesn’t fit, isn’t flattering, is in disrepair, or just doesn’t work with the rest of the styling
    • I suggest bringing five or more outfits along with accessories
    • An outfit can be anything lingerie is not required
  • Get a manicure and pedicure shortly beforehand
    • It is vital to have well-groomed hands and feet
    • Suggest a neutral polish that works with all outfits 
  • Come early
    • Showing up late starts the shoot off on a bad foot 
  • Bring a playlist
    • This one is helpful for some women who’d like the help of their favorite tunes to get them in the mood
  • Show up to have fun
    • The number one goal is to have fun. It’s important to put any other agenda on the backburner.
  • Leave the rest to me
    • Reminder that it is the photographers job to take beautiful photographs and yours is to have fun and perform the actions you are directed without the burden and worry of “trying to look good.”


  • Don’t come to your session with a bad attitude
  • Don’t wait until the last minute
    • If your session is meant as a gift, please make sure that you give the photographer enough time to edit, order, and deliver your products.
  • Do not wear tight clothing that will leave marks on your skin
  • No new haircuts right before the shoot
    • Schedule any planned haircuts for at least two or more weeks before the shoot
  • No fake tans immediately before the shoot
    • Natural skin tones are preferred, but if a fake tan is desired schedule it at least four to five days prior to the shoot
  • No botox or collagen injections a week before the shoot
    • Request that no appointments be scheduled within two weeks of the shoot
  • No negative self-talk allowed once on set
    • Make the set a ‘love your body’ only zone
  • Do not use Pinterest
    • It is fine to use this site for inspiration and to decide what style of shoot you would like, but please do not judge yourself against the women that you see. Also, while I will attempt to emulate poses you bring me, not every pose flatters everybody and therefore I hope you will trust me to pose you.

Keep an eye out for the next post where we will discuss How to Project Confidence Even if You’re Not Quite There Yet

Keep smiling!



I personally will respond to every email, so please don’t hesitate to reach out!

Smiling is definitely one of the best beauty remedies. If you have a good sense of humor and a good approach to life, that’s beautiful. -Rashida Jones

Read me first!

Nudity and model release forms

Hello Lovely Lady!

I briefly mentioned the Model Release Form in the last email, besides the Boudoir Contract Agreement, this may be the most important piece of paper a photographer ever has you sign your name to, why- because this piece of paper gives the photographer your permission to use the photos from your session pretty much in any way they see fit. For example, they can use your images on their website, promotions, contests, etc… 

In most instances, you may be fine with giving this permission, but it is always a good idea to think long and hard about your comfort levels now and in the future and what types of images may result from your shoot. Boudoir sessions can be extremely modest to very intimate- and there may be actual or implied nudity involved. 

It is your job to address concerns and voice your comfort levels, especially if you have a hard line that you do not want to cross, please make your photographer aware of it prior to the shoot and get it in writing to spell out exactly what, how, and how much of the specific body part is being seen in photographs. For example, you are comfortable with taking an implied nudity white sheet look, however you do not want to have nipples visible in the photographs. That is exactly the kind of detail a photographer should know before they pick up their camera to help avoid awkward or unsatisfactory end results.

Don’t be afraid to speak up, a good photographer will honor these requests and do everything in their power to make you feel as safe and comfortable during your shoot as they can.

Click here to download Sample Model Release Form 

Keep smiling!



I personally will respond to every email, so please don’t hesitate to reach out!

This idea that being youthful is the only thing that is beautiful or attractive simply isn’t true. I don’t want to be an ‘ageless beauty.’ I want to be a woman who is the best I can be at my age. -Sharon Stone

Read me first!

What do you expect!

Hello Lovely Lady!

As promised, here is the post you have been waiting for, what on earth even happens during a boudoir shoot!?

First, I want to reassure you that it is not as frightening of an experience as your imagination may have cooked up. Although nerves are completely normal. Hey, cameras are scary… why do you think I hide behind mine! 🙂 All kidding aside, I will be there guiding you though the entire process from booking to posing to ordering so you have nothing to fear and EVERYTHING to gain!

So, let’s get started!!

1. A good match

As I mentioned in my first email it is super important that you are completely comfortable with and trust your photographer! Sometimes, for reasons we may not quite understand, the magic just isn’t there and in those instances, rather than struggle though I feel it is in your best interest to find that photographer that lights you up like a sparkler on the fourth of July! Because good relationships yield AWESOME photos and YOU DESERVE THE BEST!

2. Identifying & Overcoming Hesitations

I touched on some of these in the eBook Common Reasons NOT to Book a Boudoir Session, which was sent out in email #2! However, no eBook can possible hold every hesitation, fear, or doubt that YOU are feeling, nor can a canned answer try to help alleviate those feelings. That is why I offer a Complementary Consultation to every potential client to really dig deep on: 

  • Why she wants to have photos taken,
  • What she wants the outcome to look and feel like,
  • Where she plans to use the photos,
  • What her ideal shoot would look and feel like,
  • And Most importantly, what body parts she absolutely LOVES and WHY!

3. The Investment

In many ways, the investment in yourself drastically outweighs the monetary one. By taking this time to pamper and love on yourself, you will leave with a completely new outlook on life not to mention a collection of beautiful heirloom images that will be cherished memories for both you and your loved ones for years and generations to come! On top of that, your session fee includes a hair and makeup appointment that will help you get the best out of your session. Once your package is chosen, you will be sent a digital Boudoir Contract Agreement with Model Release Form that we will both sign and a link to pay the deposit. After I have received both, you will officially be booked with Leslie Arakelian Photography! Yippee!

4. Shoot

It is completely normal to be nervous before your session, feel the nerves but be willing to step outside your natural comfort zone and be daring. By now most of the session styling details have been ironed out and all you have to worry about is having a good time. I will be there to model the poses for you and use simple coaching actions to get stunning results.

5. Post Production

After the session, I will go through all of the images shot and pick the best images to retouch. This process usually takes me about 2 weeks. My philosophy on retouching is that less is more and the point of this session is to celebrate who you are right now and proudly own it. That being said I will go through correct skin blemishes and wardrobe bulges as needed. These edits are meant not to change your appearance but to make you look like you on your very best day.

6. Image Reveal & Ordering Session

After the images are retouched, about two weeks after the session, I will contact you to schedule your image reveal and ordering session. At this meeting, we will sit down together and go through each photo, pick your favorites, and choose products that will meet all your needs. All product orders must be paid in full before your products will be delivered to you. Payment plans are available upon request and a 10% discount will be given to those who pay in full during the ordering session. 

7. Prints, Albums, and Wall Art

Some of you may be thinking, “Thanks, but I just want the digitals.”

And while having the digitals is a great thing, how often do you find that those images get lost on a hard drive somewhere never to see the light of day, get corrupted, or lost forever. By ordering tangible products, you can ensure that your images remain safe for future generations without fear of corruption or that the media format will become obsolete like the floppy disc or the soon the CD.

All products purchased will be delivered with its corresponding low-resolution digital file and print release usable for social media and printing up to 8×10”. 

8. The Future

Think having a boudoir session is a once and done thing. It doesn’t have to be, here are just a few reasons to come back:

  • To capture how you wish to be remembered.
  • To reclaim your femininity
  • To recapture your sexiness consumed by motherhood
  • To celebrate your triumph over breast cancer or other hardships
  • To honor your recent weight loss/gain or other significant life event
  • To give as a gift to your significant other (Birthday, anniversary, or any given holiday)

Click here to download The Boudoir FAQ Guide

Keep smiling!



I personally will respond to every email, so please don’t hesitate to reach out!

Inner beauty radiates from within, and there’s nothing more beautiful than when a woman feels beautiful on the inside. -Erin Heatherton

Read me first!

Let’s celebrate!

Hello Lovely Lady!

As you discovered in the last post, boudoir is an adventure, a transformation, and most important, a celebration! This is one of those few times in our crazy busy lives where we can slloooww doowwn and focus on ourselves.

Janey P. Poses for a stunning boudoir portrait in her husband’s work shirt and gorgeous black and white heels!

Sigh. Aren’t you tired? Don’t you want to take some time out?

Why not make it a girl’s night with two of your best friends while getting pampered by a professional makeup artist at the same time (Don’t stop there! Schedule hair and nails too!)!

Bianca Lara Studio pampers all of Rooted in Beauty’s clients with professional hair and makeup services!

This is exactly the opportunity I am offering you today! By booking you photo session you are reserving two hours of sanity away from husbands, kids, and everyday baggage to just relax, reconnect to yourself, and possibly learn something new!

Sound good?! 

By booking a session you and your two best friends will receive:  

  • Up to 5 outfit changes
  • 1.5 hours of photography, split between each girl
  • Professional hair and makeup
  • Full studio experience with multiple backgrounds
  • Natural, minimalistic edits that still look like you, but on your best day!
  • $100 print credit to use at the ordering session 2 weeks after your session

Keep an eye out for the next post where we will dig deeper into what to expect at your session!

Keep smiling!



I personally will respond to every email, so please don’t hesitate to reach out!

People often say, ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’ and I say that the most liberating thing about beauty is realizing that you are the beholder. This empowers us to find beauty in places where others have not dared to look, including inside ourselves. -Salma Hayek

Read me first!

Misconceptions about boudoir

Hello Lovely Lady!

I would like you to think about the word Boudoir for a moment. What comes into your mind? If you’re like some in our community it brings up unseemly thoughts of exploited women being put in compromising situations, lacy lingerie and behaviors not meant to be photographed, or even something completely taboo…

This however could not be farther from the truth. 

It is my thought that boudoir is one of the best things a woman can do for herself at any stage of her life! Boudoir in its truest form is a form of celebration meant to empower women, transforming her from shy and insecure to confident and truly loving her body. 

And who doesn’t need more confidence, or look yearn to in the mirror and love what she sees no matter if life has given her stretch mark or wrinkles. Learning to love the perfect imperfections is one of the hardest, but most rewarding things we, as women can do. We are constantly being bombarded by the media with highly unrealistic photoshop’d women and told that this, this is the model we must strive towards.

I say ENOUGH! I am GOOD ENOUGH just as I am! 

I will not lie to you I struggle with a lack of confidence and there are still parts of my body that I have not yet begun to LOVE, but together I think we can help each other see ourselves how our bestest friend in the world has ALWAYS seen us, and that my friend seems like it would be the most freeing thing in the world! 

So, I invite you to keep following my emails, make up your own mind if boudoir is right for you no matter what anyone around you may think (It’s not for them, it’s for YOU!)

For now, I leave you with some homework (yeah… I know… yuck!)

So here it is, I know I peeked your interest and you may already be dreaming up ideas for your session, that’s good! I want you to keep that going, create a secret (I stress secret, trust me it’s more fun that way!) Pinterest board or cut and paste inspiration out of magazines whatever floats your boat but come up with a clear idea of what your ideal final photographs will look like and gather at least 10 photos that help define what you consider sexy. These can be outfits, locations, lighting, color schemes, anything at all! And if your comfortable send the images to me I’d love to start helping you plan your session!

Sexy to me is a woman who owns who she is, feels comfortable in her own skin, and celebrates herself with freedom and openness!

Click here to download Common Reasons NOT to Book a Boudoir Session

Keep smiling!



I personally will respond to every email, so please don’t hesitate to reach out!

Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it is better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring. -Marilyn Monroe

Anni G portrait
Read me first!

Welcome to Rooted in Beauty Photography

Hello Lovely Lady!

Thank you so much for taking the time to come and chat!

Whether you are ready to book right now or need a little bit more information before you commit YOU are in the right place! Over the course of the next few weeks I will be posting all the information I think you will need to be confident in your choice to book a boudoir session (Even if it’s not with me! But, I hope it is!)

It is impossible to be completely comfortable in front of a camera, if you are not completely comfortable with your photographer! It is my goal to turn clients into friends and get you the most gorgeous images and products imaginable!

In the meantime, I would love to learn more about you, please click the link below to schedule a Complementary Consultation (in person or over the phone) where we will talk and learn more about each other and see if we are good fit.

Here are some questions I will ask at our consultation, I wanted to give you plenty of time to think about your answers!

  • Why do you want photos taken?
  • What do you want the final images to look and feel like?
  • What do you want to do with the final images?
  • What would your ideal shoot be like?

Keep smiling!



I personally will respond to every email, so please don’t hesitate to reach out!

The beauty of a woman must be seen from in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides. -Audrey Hepburn

Here’s to you, the reader!

This Thanksgiving I am thankful for you!

Hello Lovely,

I hope this email finds you well on your way to celebrating Thanksgiving with good food and your loved ones!

As we speak I am in a car headed to Nashville, TN with my parents, husband, and little one. We are going to see my uncle and cousins (26 of us total (15 kids) it is sure to be a fun and slightly chaotic week for us and I am so thankful that we were able to make the trip!

I am also very thankful for you and the support you have shown me and my photography business over the time I’ve known you!

Just for that I wanted to give you a special notice about a few new projects I am rolling out in 2020!

The first is my first annual ‘Empowered Women of Northern Virginia’ CHARITY PORTRAIT BOOK Project.

You can read more at the link above but the short of it is that I am looking for 10 lovely ladies to donate their $300 session fee to supply a years’ worth of hay to Warhorses for Heroes, a Veteran’s PTSD charity that provides equine therapy to soldiers in need.

The second? Rooted in Beauty Photography will now be available for PORTRAIT PARTIES!

In case you’ve never heard of such a thing, this is where you, as the party host, would pick a venue (hotel, community sender, park, your home, etc.) and invite a minimum of 5 (max. Of 12) friends to come socialize and receive 15-20 minutes of professional photography! The cost, each of your guests would pay $87 to secure their session time and to receive their resulting hi-res digitals. As a host, you will receive a FREE full session with me ($300 value) as well as a $50 print credit for every guest that gets photographed your party! It a win-win for everyone!

Well that’s all the news I have for now, please reach out to me with any questions or just to say hi! I read and respond to all my email!

Have a very happy Thanksgiving!

Keep Smiling,


Oh, I almost forgot I completely revamped my website. If you have a moment could you go take a look and give me some feedback. Thanks!