What Happens When you Book a Boudoir Session: The Side Effects

Booking a Boudoir Session can seem scary at first!

Let’s face it. Getting the guts to up and book a boudoir session is not easy. Your mind starts going to all of these dark, scary places like,
What if I don’t like how I look in lingerie?
What if I can’t pull off the poses?
What if I don’t like my photos?
What if I don’t feel sexy?
What if… what if… what if??

My clients inspired me to book a boudoir session, and I'm so happy I did.

You’re either going to completely feel overwhelmed by anxiety and try to postpone your session a bajillion times (which won’t fly with most photographers), or you’re going to take that shit by the reigns and woman up. Let me tell you though, it made me woman up x100. I knew for a long time that I wanted to get on the other side of the camera and put myself in my clients shoes, and my clients told me that it had to be done. So from that point on it's been on [the fun part of] my to-do list. They had me thinking! I wanted to know everything my clients  felt going into a shoot. I wanted to try on all the outfits, feel all the feels about how I looked in them, ask my photographer all the questions about the way he/she does things, and get the anxious “what if” feelings leading up to the day of the shoot. And let me tell you, I’m so happy I did.

There are side effects of booking a boudoir session that I wasn't aware of.

Not only did I get to feel and do all of these things for myself, but I also didn’t realize that there are other things that happen once you finally woman up and set a date for your boudoir session. In retrospect, I call them “Boudoir Booking Side Effects.” Read along to hear what happened when I finally booked my boudoir session.

Here's what happened when I finally set my Boudoir Session date.

My "dream routine" fell into place and I found a better work/life balance.

I finally got the routine down that I’ve been wanting for a long time. I knew I needed to rearrange my schedule to make for a better work/life balance. I wanted to wake up before my kids wake me up, get more done in a shorter amount of time (be more efficient), be able to fit in a workout without stressing about it, and go home and enjoy uninterrupted time with my family at a reasonable hour. This all seemed impossible… until I booked my boudoir session. All of a sudden, getting my workout in wasn’t an “if” but a “when.” The only real time to fit in a workout without taking time away from work and my family was to do it first thing in the morning. So I started signing up for the (what I once considered insane) 6:30am small group training classes at my gym. Having had two early rising newborns for years, there was no way I thought I’d ever elect to wake up that early again on my own, especially to subject myself to torture like lifting weights… but here I was. Pushups, burpies, and all. And I was enjoying the HECK out of it. From the gym, I started going straight to the studio to get an early start on work. By the time I was done with my workday, I was able to gladly put my laptop away, run home to my family, and not look at a single email til the next morning. And it felt AMAZING. It’s everything I wanted for my routine, and it all came together because I booked a damn boudoir session. Who'd have thought?

I finally got my butt back to the gym.

 I'm sorry I cannot work out at home. The kids and animals think I'm a jungle gym as soon as I hit the floor. I started to a bit more right before my gym opened up following the Covid shutdown, but not consistently enough. (Who does all the reps at home anyway?)  I knew I wanted to get fit for many more reasons than to look good in lingerie. I’ve always been an active person, and before having children I was an avid gym-goer. But then with kids, owning a business, and having chores at home, all of that fell to the wayside. I knew I wanted to get back in shape to feel stronger and less stressed, I just couldn’t find the time. But lo and behold, booking a boudoir session gave me just the kick in the butt that I needed. There was no way I was going to book a session and not do everything I could to look my absolute best. So there I was, 4-5 times per week, at the gym at the ass-crack of dawn, lifting heavy weights and doing the damn thang. I feel stronger, more energetic, more confident, and less stressed. I’m also so much happier with the way my body looks, which is the big fat cherry on top.  I'll take it!

I began to drink less coffee and alcohol, and a lot more water.

 Drinking alcohol is probably my biggest downfall when it comes to doing life. I wouldn’t call myself an alcoholic, but I do like to have some glasses of wine, maybe some old fashioneds, espresso martinis…. you know, all the good stuff. And I like to have fun; All of my friends would say I’m pretty down for whatever at any given time. But I’ve learned some things about myself and drinking throughout the years, and I am definitely my best self when I am able to reign it in and keep it to a minimum. I wake up more clear-headed, I work more efficiently, and I make better decisions. I also was listening to the Rise Together podcast one time and they said anything you deem as “self-care” will never make you feel worse in the end. Like, if you’re stressed, don’t go eat a huge plate of nachos and cheesecake and call it self-care cause you know that shit will just make you feel like crap. And don’t go drinking a bottle of tequila to soothe your soul, because it will likely make you feel just the opposite — especially the next day. It’s all true, and I’m happy to say that when I booked myself a boudoir session and started waking up much earlier for workouts, drinking a few glasses of wine every night seemed less than glamorous. Also, I was friggin’ tired by the time 9:30pm hit so there wasn’t much time for me to have that extra glass or two. This was a boudoir booking side effect I really didn't expect, but greatly appreciated. I didn't have to decide not to indulge in extra; it just happened on its own as an effect of my routine change. Sweet!

I made better food choices and realized a few things about my eating habits.

I started paying more attention to how food made me feel, and eating less of the stuff that I know makes me feel uncomfortable. I’ve known for years that I can’t eat dairy, however I also know that bread makes me feel extremely tired and bloated. Eggs too. According to an actual intolerance test, I have huge issues with dairy and egg whites, and a mild issue with wheat and gluten that could get much worse if I ignore it. But for the most part I've ignored it. But then, when I booked a boudoir session, I suddenly started making better choices about what I put into my body without really having to think of it -- I just went by how I felt and wanted to feel. I wanted to show up to my workouts feeling ready to power through, and I didn’t want to ruin the results of my workouts by eating crap. I also wanted to look great in my photos, so my meals shifted to more meat and veg, less bread, pasta, and sugar. It has made such a difference in how I feel after eating that I don’t really ever care to go back. I don’t feel the immediate need for a nap after scarfing down a huge grinder. (If you know me, you know I easily have the appetite of a 6’5’’ 250lb man.) I started prepping my meals more often so I didn’t go starving and run to fast food. I’m also spending money less frivolously because I’m not carelessly ordering out. I’d say that’s a win-win-win.

I started speaking up. This one is my favorite.

Once I booked my boudoir session date, I also started being more honest with myself and the ones I love most. This one is a biggie, and I didn’t see it coming. All of a sudden I felt more empowered to share my true feelings about how things were going in my life. It was like I made the big decision to be photographed in a vulnerable state, and suddenly I felt confident enough to say how I really felt and ask for what I really need to be happy. I actually felt like I couldn’t hold back, and that these things needed to be said and heard. I needed some things to change, and I was ready for it. Luckily, I’m an eternal optimist and I truly feel that whatever the outcome is, it’s what it needs to be and that struggle means progress. I think that helped me to justify the release and know that everything would be okay in the end. I wouldn't take a word back, and I feel like my relationships have only gotten stronger.

My boudoir photos came out great, but that's not even the best part.

I kind of feel like I've been on a “high” since setting the date, and that high is still in effect. I booked my session in May, shot in July, and now it’s August and I’m still on a roll. In fact, I have another boudoir session coming up soon and I’m even more excited about this one since I have the first experience under my belt. Honestly, the photos from the session almost just seemed like the cherry on top of the whole experience. I loved how some of them came out, and also didn't love some of them; you know the saying, "we're our own worst critics." But I think ultimately the experience of it all was and still is my favorite part about it. The “side effects” leading up to the shoot and actually being photographed are together an experience unlike any other. It’s empowering in a way that I never thought possible, and before this all started, the word “empower” was starting to get really annoying to me. It’s such a buzz word in the boudoir photography world, and it seemed like it was getting thrown around an awful lot... but there’s no other better word to describe the way you feel when you make a decision to do something outside of your comfort zone. All in all, I dig it, and I think I’m going to allow myself to be photographed more often.

Every boudoir experience is different.

I'm not going to sit here and insist that you're going to feel all the same feels as I did, and that your life is going to magically fall into place once you decide to take your clothes off in front of a camera. (Consider that my disclaimer.) Obviously, we all experience life differently based on who we are, where we came from, and what holds the most value to us. I do think, however, that when we do something that scares us, we don't know how beneficial it can actually be until we are doing it. No one can tell you for sure how you're going to feel about any given thing; it's up to you to find out for yourself. All I'm saying is that if you're feeling like you need a pick me up, a boost in confidence, or a reason to appreciate where you are in your life right now, or even a push in the right direction, there's nothing like doing something that scares you. You'll be surprised at what you're capable of, regardless of what others have said. And if you're on the fence about committing to a boudoir session as a means to reaching that point, I completely recommend it, and now I know why all of my clients do too.

My advice for you for when you DO book a boudoir bession

Find a photographer you trust with your Boudoir Experience

Talk to them a lot about their process, policy, shoot experience, and image delivery. Ask them questions about customizing the experience, and any resources they will send you to help you prepare for your shoot. Will they be accessible for questions?  Will they keep your intimate boudoir images protected?  What is their policy for sharing the photos with others? And do they send a gallery for you to choose them on your own, or will they help you during the ordering process?  How long will it take for you to see your photos? Definitely good things to know.

Do they have any testimonials you can read?

Are there any Google or Facebook reviews where you can read about others experiences shooting with them? Do they have any testimonials on their website to help you choose to go with them or someone else? Talking to others who have worked with them can help greatly in making your decision to move forward with this experience. The photographer can make it or break it for you, so it's very important that you choose a photographer right for you.

Will this be a shoot-and-burn type of shoot, or will you get the full Boudoir experience?

What is your photographer's plan for your experience? Will you have a generic shoot without much guidance, and then have a gallery sent to your email for you to break them down all by yourself? Or will you be able to have their input and professional eye to help you unleash your sexy and choose which photos you love the most? And will you be offered any type of prints or album with your session, or just the files?  Depending on what you're looking for, this is important to think about. What will you do with the files if that's all you're getting?  Or, how do they lay out their albums? Do they have any album samples you can see?  Ask, ask, ask, and then think about what's most important to you, and why.

Will they pose you and direct you throughout your Boudoir session? (I hope so!)

Do they use a posing flow, or pose each person differently? (...Or not pose at all... EEK!) In my opinion, every woman looks, moves, and just is different. I strongly feel that, after doing sessions with a few different photographers, posing is very important, if not the most important aspect that will determine how much you love the way you look in your photos. We can pose ourselves all we want in the mirror, but during a session, there will be no mirror in front of you. It will be up to your photographer to let you know if you should tilt your shoulders a bit, fix a curl, or lift your chin. And let me tell you, those little pose tweaks can really, really make a difference in a pose. You might know how to move, but you also want to make sure that they're going to take control of fixing those little things so that you can relax and enjoy your session, knowing that you're looking your absolute best.

Interestingly enough, I think this is one of the distinct characteristics of my own sessions with my clients that sets me apart from other boudoir photographers. I'm not a perfectionist in my personal life by any means, but when I'm photographing someone, you better believe I'm looking for anything and everything that can be tweaked to make it look better. I think it's important to see what my client does naturally, and then make adjustments to improve their body shape in the light they're in. That, I realized, is not something that every photographer does, but man do I know how essential it is now that I've been on the other side.

Will your Boudoir photographer deliver the style of photos they show?

You do your research, you check out their work and photography style, and you decide they're the boudoir photographer you've been looking for! But will they deliver the same kind of aesthetic they show on their website and social media?  If they're showing all natural light, then you should be able to expect that look for your own session. If their photos all have a certain look, and that's the look you're going for, you should confirm that that is style and look that will be delivered. You wouldn't go to a baby photographer for boudoir photos, just like you wouldn't go to a Black and White photographer for bold, bright colored images. Do your research and make sure to have the right conversations.
Here are a few from my first two sessions,
Photographed by the lovely Gabby Rodrigue @ Gentle Bull LLC, Hartford CT

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