temporarily moving backward- with intention

We all need words from people who inspire us, encourage, and motivate us in a new way. It’s one of the many reasons I push people to read and journal. It truly manifests deep within us when we start focusing on the words of someone we trust, and then use that to thrust us towards our goals, self-love, and, even sometimes just forgiveness.

like she owns the place- blogger

I started reading from a new author Cara Alwill Leyba, and to say i’m already in love with her work is an understatement. Cara has pink hair, obsessed with working from home for freedom, wants to give women confidence, and oh has an obsession with Stevie Nicks. Honestly, I’m halfway through this book “Like she Owns The Place” and I just felt compelled to write to the author a huge thank you already, so I did. she wrote back within an hour, and I about fell out of my chair.

It might not be monumental, but sometimes it’s WHEN we read the words that matter, when our hearts and mind are open and it’s manifested in a whole new way. I have been on the verge of rearranging some of my life. (I know, how much more could it be rearranged with all the changes in the last few years?) and it lead me down some serious paths and conversations about how I feel sometimes i’m moving backward. It’s hard for me to even type that to you. But it’s true. don’t get me wrong, i’m happy, I love what i’m doing and who I am but I guess in the comparison of life, it’s just not where I thought I would be at 31. Then I read these words just two days after I told someone I feel like i’m going backward.. and the author said “Sometimes moving forward means moving backward, at least temporarily.” yup. it’s exactly what I needed in that moment. The Ah-Ha moment that the direction i’m going and about to go is still the right one for me. It’s hard and draining, and I work my butt off. But words from someone I connected with, lets me know this is the right path still. The hard work I put in, will pay off, and all the gut feelings are of sound reason even if from the outside, they aren’t a normal path.

temporary going backwards- personal blog post Shanna star Magnuson

so now the reason for this post for you, because believe it or not, it’s not just for me to babble about my life. Being authentically you is going to look vastly different from every single person around you. For me, it’s pink hair, lifting heavy, reading books, being extra,and wearing pink practically everyday while willing to work 80 hours a week for my passion so I won’t always work 40 hours a week for someone else. The best non-monumental but true words I can share today is, to learn who you are inside and out, and embrace whoever that is. Learn self love and practice it daily (because it is a DAILY practice), and then listen to those gut instincts. Living life according to the needs of your inner body, the things that make you happy and make you beautiful..I mean that make you sparkle and shine and glow, all of those energies that make you beautiful on the outside because you are on the inside. And if you’re thinking about putting pink in your hair.. DO IT. 80 year old you will be so glad, and also I fully intend to have pink hair at 80. I mean, i’m guessing i’ll still be extra then too. So, figure out what makes you light up from the inside out, and even if it looks not normal to those around you, and go for it so 80 year old you can look back and know you did everything you wanted to pursue your purpose.

Keep Shining

Shanna Star

How to prepare for your boudoir photoshoot

For those of you with a boudoir or beauty photoshoot ahead, first of all- so proud of you, an expression of self-love, bravery, and badass-ery! (it’s a work now.) Here’s a few preparation tips so your shoot can go as smooth as possible! Below you’ll see 10 boudoir preparation tips and also 5 day of tips!

**Wardrobe is a whole different blog post, so click HERE if you want some tips on what to wear and where to shop!

10 Boudoir Preparation Tips

Take this time to pamper yourself, you’re worth it.

1- stay away from junk foods and alcohol for a couple days prior or foods you’re allergic too, it’ll help with bloating.

10 boudoir preparation tips

2- If you get your nails done, make sure they’re fresh, or if you don’t wear any that’s fine too! As long as they’re not chipped, believe it or not, it is distracting in photos.

3- Getting your hair done just a few weeks prior is always a good idea, touch up your color, roots, or whatever fabulous style you have!

4- try to schedule it days away from your period or days surrounding your period when you know you retain more water or bloat.(midol can help though)

5- refrain from spray tanning especially close to the date. It ends up looking orange in camera, and if you do tan, try not to get burnt too close to your shoot! Although UV tanning is more harmful, it does look better in camera.

6- False eyelashes- um yes please! Most of my makeup artists will add them to their fee, but if you get them done, go for it!

7-Keep drinking lots of water to flush out, and to keep your skin looking full of natural glow

8- Wash your face before bed (especially if you don’t) starting a few nights prior, you’ll notice a huge difference in how your skin looks when you wake up!

9-if you are waxing/shaving do it a few days prior so red bumps aren’t an issue.

10- overpack your lingerie bag!- We’ll go through what will look best in camera, and it’s always good to have a few extra pieces.

how to prepare for your boudoir photoshoot

5 Day of Tips

1- eat a lighter breakfast, don’t skip it all together!- you’ll need energy for all that posing. It’ll feel like a light workout, holding all those muscles.

2- wear loosely fitted clothing. Tighter bras and shirts tend to leave red marks.

3- wear clear deodorant

4- clip out all tags from lingerie. a lot of sheer pieces have the tag right on the booty, and it can be a process to edit out.

5- Relax and enjoy your session! I know it seems like a lot of instructions, just want you to feel your best for your photoshoot. I’ll be there the whole time helping with posing and making sure you feel comfortable and gorgeous!

Panama City beach boudoir phtoographer-davista photography
Panama City beach - how to prepare for your boudoir shoot
Panama City beach boudoir photographer
tips on boudoir preparation

Keep Shining

Shanna Star

Florida underwater photoshoot

Meet Amber, my fabulous hairstylist, friend, and she was willing to experiment for my first underwater photoshoot. Did I mention not only was it freezing but we ventured to the natural springs that was constantly moving her and her gigantic tulle dress? To say she was a boss is an understatement!. She brought her friend to help us maneuver and we ended up having to PUSH Amber under the water so she could stay. the springs are constantly pushing up water and in her dress it made it incredibly difficult to stay in one spot. I’m telling you this as a little insight for all the photoshoots, there’s always more than what you see. a lot of times for beach shoots, the women are splashed (they’re warned and willing to do so for the shot!) and pushed by the waves. There’s lots of falling down, both by the model and by me but always filled with laughter and fun. I’m so proud of each woman who steps in front of the camera and also is willing to get their hair full of sand and salt, be vulnerable and get some fabulous photos along with an experience.

Not only did we test the underwater skills but I took my drone for a little spin through trees.. VERY carefully and got this first lovely shot! Wanting to offer underwater shoots too, so hopefully more soon to show ya’ll!

30a underwater and beach photographer
florida underwater photoshoot tulle dress

Keep Shining

Shanna Star

A letter for my younger readers

Just a few weeks ago I noticed some young ladies that I know following me on social media, and liking photos, it immediately hit my heart I needed to write a post just for those girls. so young ladies, this is for you!

letter for my younger readers

I see you following my social media accounts, and liking the photos I post. I specialize in women’s portraits and many times that looks like boudoir and fitness with women in less than conservative clothing including myself. I’m writing this with you on my mind and the word that comes to my mind is wait. I waited until my mid twenties to start wearing clothes that showed off my body and if we’re being honest, I waited until I was 30 and knew exactly who I was before I wore thong bikinis. I’m not saying a young woman shouldn’t have confidence to wear what she wants but I am saying you will change, and change and change again. Not until your mid to late twenties do you know who you are to the core (and I know that sucks to hear, but something just changes around this time) and even then, life will throw new obstacles your way. I’m 31, and as much as I read and discover things about my heart and know who I am i’m still learning. So wait. I know you see women all over and not just on my page showing off their bodies and they get a lot of attention, but the women I post aren’t looking for attention from men. They’re women confident in who they are, but just need a reminder. Women who already have discovered themselves and went through those years of being unsure. we all go through them, so as you go through those years, just wait.

It’s okay to want to feel pretty and beautiful, but at a young age guard that heart of yours. You are still gorgeous without showing off your body, and I encourage you to wait until you’re in your mid-twenties and know truly how you feel about your mind, body, and soul before you step in front of a camera in something less than. I realize I sound like an old woman telling young girls to wait a bit. But I just want to let the ladies know that we all have a desire to feel seen and beautiful and lovely, but at a young age that should look differently than when you’re a woman.

some women feel empowered covering up and some feel empowered when they show off a little, it’s not for us to judge those women but I do think it’s up to us to be examples young girls, and I know photographs have a huge impact on our minds especially those that leave little to the imagination. It’s never my intention to simply say wearing less makes you beautiful. What makes you beautiful is knowing who you are, being brave, strong, and proud of the body you have. It’s okay to wear sexy little bikinis and lingerie, but there’s a time and a place especially to be photographed in it. It should be when we know who we are, what we believe, and how we truly feel about it. you’ll have plenty of opportunities to go on those trips, wear cute tiny bikinis, and feel sexy but I promise you that where you are now is perfect. Don’t try so hard to grow up, enjoy every moment of being young, wild, and free. and if you’re wondering yes of course we can still have a photoshoot together and you will still feel lovely in front of the camera.

something for young women
something for young girls to read about photos
what young women should know about modeling

Keep Shining

Shanna Star

Christmas in Panama City Beach

To say the last couple of years have been a whirlwind would definitely be an understatement. Many of you know some of the hardships (but also some wonderful things too!) that have been happening. This year Im finally back to sending out Christmas cards, put up my tree(s), and can enjoy baking goodies in my own kitchen in my house here in Panama City Beach. Mostly I just want to reflect as I continue to work for and through some things, i’m very thankful for the people in my life. All over the country since i’ve lived in 5 states, people have been supportive and reached out and I appreciate that more than I can put into words. Not a time for whining, i’m grateful for what I have. On a mission of not wasting time, as so much can change in a year, a month, or even a weekend.

Today I want to remind you to reach out to loved ones, tell them you love them, squeeze and kiss on your kids and your animals, and be around people that make you laugh, bring out the best in you, and encourage you every step of the way and always see you for your good heart, and maybe tell you when you’re being a butthead and need some honesty in your life. I plan on laughing and crying and grabbing hold of opportunities while I work my butt off. And probably still calling my mom at least once a day. AT LEAST. Even though I feel like i’ve changed my perspective and growth in more areas than I would’ve cared to venture into lately, i’m confident in making this season a good one. Merry Christmas and a truly Happy New year to you all.. mostly to those who visit me in Florida, and i’ll secretly glare at the ones that don't.

Below are a few that didn’t make it to the Christmas card, i’ll be sharing more on FB soon! ***SEE below for some words for those of you going through difficult seasons.

Panama City beach Christmas photos
Panama City beach Florida Christmas
rosemary beach Christmas photos

Keep Shining and sharing your heart

Shanna Star

*** I do want to add something for the people that don’t have anyone, or have toxic people in your life, or are in a hard season. I’m not going to say it’s magically going to get better, because when I was in that season, I hated hearing that. But I am here to talk, I mean it. send me an email at and we can get in contact about moving forward/on/through hardships. I don’t post details of my personal life but i’m open to sharing my heart one on one. It’s tough being in a hard season and feeling alone and it’ll never get better and can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. for me personally it felt like one step forward, two steps back.. for months and I couldn’t emotionally get through it. There are some things I can help suggest or if you need, just be a listening ear. even in that time, remember to tell yourself you’re enough, you’re needed, you have great purpose. I know that’s hard.. so say it out-loud on the good days. it might not get better for a while, but you can keep going.