Preparing for a boudoir session may seem daunting, nevermind actually getting up the courage to book one for yourself. Many ask,
"Should I be booking a boudoir session as a gift for my significant other, or should I use this boudoir session as a confidence booster and do it for myself?"
"And once I book with a boudoir photographer, how do I prepare for a boudoir session? Should I go the lingerie route or the slouchy-off-the-shoulder-sweater route?"
There are so many questions that go into booking a boudoir session and how to prepare, and sometimes those questions might even make you put it off till a later date. I get it. Too many options make people go running— even me. When a prospective client comes my way, I know that she has 101 questions and concerns swirling around in her head, and I’m sure to tell her that I’m with her 100% from the moment she books with me until the moment she receives her products. I want her to know that if at any point she’s unsure about hair or makeup styling, or her lingerie choice, I’m there to help. Or even if she gets cold feet & needs a pep talk before her session, I’ll be there to help squash her nerves. Because that does happen.
Boudoir sessions are meant to be fun and liberating. It’s time you set aside for yourself to get beautiful & let loose; to be unabashedly you and no one else. Not Mommy, not the wife, not employee, and not anyone else’s anything. That being said, you need to find a photographer that will help you find that release and embrace it. You wouldn’t want to rely on a newborn photographer to provide you with that confidence boost you’re looking for just like you wouldn’t want to hire a mason to fix your toilet.
Yes, generally, any professional photographer should know how to take a beautiful picture. But would they know how to light your body to accentuate your best features, pose you in a way to make it all look effortless, and make you feel like a goddess all at the same time? Probably not.
You should find yourself a Boudoir photographer — someone trained in posing and lighting women to emphasize their best curves and features. Someone who knows how to talk to women, relate to them and help them capture those intimate intricacies. And once you find that photographer, you might need some guidance in figuring out what to wear (or just as importantly what not to wear!) And even after you find a photographer you trust and something to wear, how will you know what to do during the session? You think, "Is it all on me to know how to look sexy??" So many unknowns and unknowns can be quite frightening for some people. Good news: I'm here to help.
Not able to get your butt to a boudoir session in West Hartford, CT with me but need some guidance in booking & preparing for your boudoir session? Don’t worry. I got you, girl. Just read on. You deserve this experience, and I want you to make the most of it.
Boudoir photography sessions are for every woman, and I say that with confidence. They are not reserved for women who are getting married, and they are not reserved for women who haven’t yet had the pleasure of giving birth. They’re not just for women under 40, and they are not for putting off until you’ve lost those 20 pounds. (Man, if I had a dollar for every time a woman has said that to me.) And boudoir sessions are also not meant to be just a one-time thing.
As women, we go through so many stages in life. As we change, so do our minds and bodies. The way we thought and looked when we were 25 is much different than how we think at 35. And how we looked and thought while we were single is much different than how we looked and thought after we got married and had kids. Our values have changed and so have our principles.
I did my first boudoir photography session right before I had my son (when I was two months pregnant, actually!) Pregnancy injected a bit of action into my chest that I never had otherwise and I was a bit nervous about how my body might change for childbirth. It’s so fun to look back on that album and see how my body has changed since, and I’m so happy I had myself photographed when I did. I had my second boudoir session after having my daughter, and while I always feel like my body could improve in one way or another, I am so grateful that I did another session.
I’m documenting myself, as I am, at essential stages of my life, and I plan to do many more sessions as my life progresses. I’ve never felt better about what my body has given me, and that deserves a celebration — many celebrations.
Boudoir is unlike any other kind of photography. Wedding photographers, newborn photographers, and family photographers are just not going to cut it. A boudoir photographer is trained in accentuating what makes a woman, a woman: the eyes, the hair, the curves, the collarbones, the soft touches.
Boudoir photographers are trained to use light and posing to emphasize the best parts about a woman while de-emphasizing the elements that don’t need to be seen. Even if you are a mom you don’t want to feel like a mom during this session; you want to feel care-free and sexy. And you don’t want to be put in a generic pose that makes you feel you’re having your senior photos all over again; you want a photographer who takes the time to get to know you, what kind of music or whatever makes you feel sexy, and uses that to help bring your sexy out in a natural way.
OR both? Here's my take on this subject:
If you're doing this as a gift for a significant other, also think of it as a gift to yourself. Are you a bride doing this as a gift for your future husband or wife? Keep their tastes in mind as well as yours. Tell your photographer about what they love about you and take note for yourself.
As the wise ones say, we're our own worst critics! Maybe your spouse loves your curves more than you do. Of course, there are parts of your body you like less than others, but what did you go through to get to where you are? Did you inherit your larger curves from the women who brought you up? There are so many benefits to being curvy; embrace them. There are women out there who are lacking in that area and are so envious of you! Show those babies off. Revel in them. Did you go through a positive transformation and come out of it with a few stretch marks? Celebrate them.
You are where you are because of where you've been. This session is just as much a gift to yourself as it is a gift to someone special. You'll be so thankful for this experience, especially once the photos are revealed, and you'll have the images to look back on for years to come.
Lingerie comes in many shapes and sizes, just like us women. What looks great on one person doesn’t necessarily look great on the next. It’s so imperative to know your body type and choose pieces that compliment your specific look. Want to accentuate your bottom? Boy shorts or “cheekies” will be your BFF. Are you most proud of your cleavage? Save the lacy bralettes for the itty bitties and wear a wired bra with more support to compliment your vavooms. Are you the more casual type who wouldn’t be caught dead in a babydoll? Let’s go with a slouchy sweater or a loose button-down shirt -- or even just a white sheet. Alternatively, maybe you’ve always wanted to wear lingerie but never had the guts to wear it in front of someone else.
Believe it or not, this is so common. You buy beautiful lingerie, you tuck it away for a special occasion, but you never have the guts to put it on, so it sits there for years and years untouched. I hear it all too often. Well now is your chance to rock the lacies and garter belts, girls. Let's get sexy with it! Who knows, maybe this experience will give you the confidence you've always needed to wear it IRL.
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I would say the three most popular places to shoot a boudoir session would be in your home, in a hotel or Airbnb, or a studio. There are upsides and downsides to each.
If you're looking for the coziest option, that would be your home. You have everything you need-- unlimited outfit ideas, your hair and makeup supplies for touch-ups, personal items-- and you won't have to worry about forgetting anything if we're shooting at home. It's also very personal. We'd be using your bed and blankets, and that can add to the sentimental value of your images. Especially if this is a gift for a significant other.
The studio is great because the photographer will have all of their tools and lighting at their disposal. You also won't have to clean and prep your home for a boudoir session! You can pack up your things and head to a location primed for portrait sessions. You want to make sure that the style of your photographer's studio or set matches with the style of photography you're looking for. If it doesn't, or it seems too contrived you may consider bringing along items from home to add to the style and make it more personal -- your comforter and pillows, your plant, some decor from your room, etc. Your photographer should be able to incorporate these items and be flexible enough to help you create images you'll love.
HOTEL / AIRBNB
Confession: I LOVE shooting at AirBnBs! With the right booking you could end up in a super chic apartment in the city with a fantastic view, or a rustic cabin with acres to work with and out in the middle of nowhere. I love being thrown into new locations with lots of inspiration. Some photographers don't. You'll have to coordinate this with whomever you hire. You should also make sure your Airbnb is a private location and not a room in someone's home. You'll want the entire house or apartment to yourself and the photographer. Hotels can work too; however, you'll have to pay strict attention to the decor.
Hotel decor can be quite generic, and many hotels bolt their artwork to the walls so it cannot be removed unless possibly later in retouching. Booking a hotel or Airbnb will add extra cost to your session (clients are usually responsible for booking fees) but could result in ridiculously beautiful images in places you couldn't otherwise afford to live in. Do your research, and you could find a gem!
One of the biggest misconceptions about boudoir sessions is that clients think they have to know how to be sexy. Like, they have to channel their inner Giselle Bündchen somehow that they didn’t even know was there and know exactly how to move in front of a camera. Come on. Nope. That’s crazy. Boudoir photographers are trained to help you in this area. It’s our JOB to direct and guide you through a session. We know how easily even just hand positioning can make or break a mood. And that if you rock your hips backward instead of toward the camera, your waist will appear smaller and change the whole balance of an image.
Have your hair and makeup done for your boudoir session, give yourself a chance to feel comfortable and confident, and your images to reflect that. “Well, what if I feel stupid?” you think. Well, sexy is not just how you look; it’s your attitude. Let go of your preconceived ideas about what it means to be sexy. Don’t act for the camera; be yourself and think about your inspiration for doing this session in the first place. If you decided to do this as a gift for your husband, imagine your husband’s reaction to the photos. Imagine yourself looking at him instead of at a camera. You might end up laughing just at the thought of this, but that laugh is going to be genuine, and that smiling photo might be the one you love most.
If you decide to book a boudoir session because your future self is going to appreciate the images, then imagine yourself looking back at your boudoir album in awe. Imagine that feeling of gratitude you’ll have for owning these beautiful portraits of yourself. When you look at the camera, that twinkle in your eye will show, and you’ll remember that moment years later when you look back at the images. Not only is this session vital to you right now, but it’s going to be even more significant to you years down the road. You’ll be thankful you did this for yourself.
I sincerely hope that this post has helped you move in the direction of booking yourself a much deserved boudoir session.
You only live once, girl. Make it count and count your blessings.
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