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Life and Work with Molly Freund

Today we’d like to introduce you to Molly Freund.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Molly. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
Pinpointing the beginning of my story would not be an easy task. I truly believe that the journey I am on has been prepared for me for as long as I can remember.

To say that my story is as simple as picking up a camera, wouldn’t be giving the magnitude of my journey justice.

I started my true purpose when I started “rediscovering” who I was as a person.

After being in abusive relationships on and off for seven years, photography was merely a way of expressing myself.

It wasn’t until I started appreciating my struggle could I help women appreciate theirs.

When I first picked up a professional camera, I was four months pregnant and my son was one year old. Their father was (and still is) out of the picture. I was living with my parents, jobless, carless and completely broke.

Fast forward to today, only a short three years later, I own and operate a successful boudoir photography studio in Richmond, IL.

I am completely self-employed by my art and I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the passion of showing women their beauty and WORTH!

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
I would say once I found my purpose it slowly became “smooth.” It was discovering my purpose and knowing that I’m WORTHY of success that was the hardest, I was my own worst enemy.
My largest struggle was “you need money to make money.”

I started my brand with zero dollars. Every dollar I made, half of it went back into creating my business. A lot of times, it was hard to justify buying business cards over food or lenses over car payments. I kept what I had to to survive and support my children but my entire focus was creating Zealous Stills. Without having a co-parent around, I had to make money in very unconventional ways. I house sat, pet sat, picked up dog poop in peoples yards, waitressed, and worked on farms.
I didn’t consider myself “above” any means of making money to support my children and start my business.

One of the BEST things I did for myself, my family and my brand was work trade with another photographer.

My best pieces of advice is: “community over competition” and If you want to be successful in your craft, swallow your pride and learn from people who do it better than you do.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Zealous Stills Boudoir – tell our readers more, for example, what you’re most proud of and what sets you apart from others.
I am a boudoir photographer. I specialize in photographing women as their intimate, feminine selves. I consider what I do to potentially be a life-changing experience for my clients. So many women never allow themselves to LOVE themselves, see themselves as beautiful or let their sensual goddess reveal herself! What I do is create an environment where women can shamelessly be the most beautiful woman in the room and document it for the rest of their lives. As a brand, I try my absolute best to understand and get to know each one of my clients “whys.”

Why they are there, why they chose boudoir, why NOW?!

I believe that because I care so deeply on a personal level for each of my clients, their photographs tend to reveal a person that they know, love and adore and maybe even haven’t seen in a while.

After each of my client’s experience, I send out a questionnaire about their session.
These are my “Client Blog Features.”

It has nothing to do with yelp ratings, how I did as a photographer or even if they were happy with the final product. The questionnaire solely revolves around how they felt like a person before and after their session.

There hasn’t been a client blog to date that hasn’t brought me to tears. These women lay themselves all out there for other women to read so that MAYBE they can help other women find solidarity in how they feel about themselves or the experiences they’ve had.

Who have you been inspired by?
There are two women in my life that have significantly inspired me.

My grandmother spent the majority of her life as the director of a local non-profit organization. She spent decades upon decades helping women in crisis pregnancies have healthy babies. She helped clothe them, feed them and even helped the mothers emotionally and spiritually. She took in many of these women in her own home and still to this day at 80 years old is a part of this non-profit. Even as a mother of six boys, she was a foster parent in her younger years as well. She is the most powerful and humble woman I’ve ever met.

And my mother, she is a boss ass babe. She is a hard-working, goal setting, take no shit kind of woman. She started her career path as a high schooler and has continued her education even while raising myself and my siblings.

She taught me to be the independent woman that I am today but more importantly, the caring mother that I am.


  • Session Investment: Hair, Makeup, 1 Hour Session, Client Closet, Pose & Facial Direction, In person reveal, 3 Digital Photos included: $650

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Molly Freund Zealous Stills Boudoir

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