I’m going to begin this blog post of the reason why you deserve your own boudoir photography session with an excerpt from a previous blog post.
[A few weeks ago] I was photographing a woman in her 50s who broke down right before her session was about to begin.
She said to me, “Who am I to be doing something like this? What gives me the right to be here? What am I, crazy?” It really opened my eyes. For a moment, I panicked. For a moment, I thought she had a point. And then I recentered and remembered why I do what I do.
All of my boudoir clients' testimonials reminded me.
I replied, “Because every woman deserves to feel beautiful and own a beautiful portrait of herself.” And she smiled the most amazing smile of relief, nodded her head, and we began our session.
This moment that we shared was a sincere and humbling one. We’d spent months planning her boudoir photography session, and I sensed nothing but excitement until this point. She’d been hiding her anxiety very well, and it let loose without warning. There are so many responses that could have escaped my mouth, some better than others considering the timing. She was just about to start her boudoir shoot, and the wrong response could have killed the mood.
At that moment, the words that found me comforted her, and I was so grateful for that. I spent some time after her boudoir photo shoot thinking about our exchange. I also thought about all of the boudoir client testimonials I’ve received since I started photographing boudoir.
How many women experienced these thoughts and feelings before or during their session?
Then, last night, I went to a networking meeting I’d never attended before. It was a panel of female business owners discussing confidence. Someone read the definition of Confidence as, “ The reward when one overcomes fear.” That’s the first time I’d ever heard that before, and I’m sure it’s just one of the many definitions, but it spoke to me.
Every client, no matter how much research they’ve done, no matter how many of my blog posts they’ve read and questions I’ve answered for them, come into their boudoir photography session with nervous feelings. This is part of the reason I like to start with hair and makeup, to relax them and get acquainted before any shooting begins. In my initial questionnaire, I ask every client, “What about this session makes you nervous?” Followed by, “What about booking this session makes you excited?” I ask this because I know that even though my photos may have excited them enough to contact me, we humans have our insecurities, and I want to bring those right out in the open so that they can be addressed first and foremost. I want the fears to be acknowledged because overcoming them is just as much a part of the experience as the beautiful photos that come out of each session.
As a result of these two events, I decided to base this blog post around 15 Reasons Why YOU deserve your boudoir photography session.
Here we go!
How many of you take care of someone other than yourself daily? You might be a teacher, a mother, a wife, a daughter, a nurse, a daycare provider, or any combination of these titles. Many of us spend so much time taking care of others that we don’t take the time to treat ourselves. Guilty!
Yeah, okay, we get occasional manis and pedis, or get a massage here and there, but what was the last thing you did for yourself that would stay with you for the rest of your life? And was it something that would change your life for the better and help build your confidence? Probably not. A boudoir session is just as much an experience as it is the photos that come out of it.
Just about every client who books with me has their hair and makeup done beforehand right here on set. The makeup artists I recommend and work with are highly trained professionals who use healthy, high-end products and never fail to deliver. They listen to your concerns, answer your questions honestly, and make you look like the most beautiful you.
Though professional hair and makeup application are encouraged, it’s not 100% necessary. Even if you don’t have your makeup done, other factors like lighting, posing, and lens choice will play a huge role in how you look in your photos. Many don’t know this (even some photographers don’t!), but the angle of light hitting your face and body makes a huge difference in how your skin and curves appear in the image. Not only that, but lens choice can either make you look dainty or incredibly out of proportion. Booking your boudoir experience with seasoned professionals is an essential factor in how you will look in your photos, and GORGEOUS is the goal.
I don’t know one chick who is not self-conscious about some part of her body. I’ve seen the most beautiful girls with incredibly enviable bodies nit-pick about the tiniest little thing that she hates about herself. Then, I’ve had the curviest of girls completely ROCK a session because she’s spent her whole life comparing herself and has now decided to embrace the body she’s been given.
It’s a mindblowing phenomenon that I experience over and over again on a weekly basis. We are our own worst critics, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Before your session, we'll get it all out in the open. We'll talk about your favorite parts of yourself and your least favorites. During the session, we'll emphasize the positives and work with the body you’ve been given to deliver the most beautiful photos you’ve ever seen of yourself. If you didn’t feel comfortable in your skin before the session, you’re sure to once you leave the studio with your album in hand.
Have you ever tried to think of a gift for someone who has everything? In a world of Amazon Prime, if we want something we just order it and if it’s not here the same day, it’ll be delivered within two. Coming up with meaningful gift ideas is something I’ve struggled with time and time again, especially with my husband (and my dad, but he doesn’t count here.) Alas, there’s the gift of boudoir. Ready to blow your guy’s mind? Cause it’s about to go down.
Here’s another idea. You’re a part of your best friend's wedding party and you and your fellow bridesmaids are trying to think of the best wedding, bridal shower, or bachelorette gift. I’ve been in this situation so many times. The bride ends up with a basket of things, a spa package for her honeymoon, or a sweet toaster oven.
But why not give the gift of a boudoir experience? She’s literally in the best shape of her life, she’s (hopefully) excited as all hell to marry the person of her dreams, and you want to make this an incredibly memorable time her life. I can’t think of a better gift than a boudoir session. Put your pennies together, create a package with a photographer you all love and trust, and let the photographer and makeup artist do the rest. BAM.
One day I was listening to this podcast called Rise Together. It’s a husband and wife team who discuss self-care, relationships advice, and generally just living your best life.
One day they said something crazy and real. I can’t remember it word for word, but it went something like, “Self-care should never leave you feeling worse off than you felt before,” meaning that whatever you do, make sure that the way you take care of yourself isn’t going to leave you feeling guilty, hungover, sick, or any of the other bad things.
Don’t guzzle a bottle of wine calling it self care, because that isn’t taking care of yourself. Don’t go and kill a whole plate of loaded nachos to make yourself feel better -- a pound of cheese has never done that for anyone.
Do you know what does feel great? Building your confidence by overcoming fear and empowering yourself. You deserve to give yourself a gift now and then; make it a good one.
You’ve been working out, eating right, and you’ve probably gotten some cute pieces from your bridesmaids that they expect you to wear on your honeymoon.
Orrrrr, at your boudoir session? You’re getting your makeup and hair trials done, so why not make the most of them and line it up with a boudoir session? Hey, not a bad idea. You’re welcome!
When is the last time you bought a pretty little thing for yourself? Like me, you’ve probably gone into Victoria’s Secret or somewhere else to buy a functional new undergarment but secretly wished you were buying that sexy little piece over there instead.
But what would you wear it for?
When would you bust something like that out?
Well here’s your chance!
Everyone likes to feel pretty, and this is a darn good reason to buy that pretty little thing. Guaranteed it'll look even prettier on you, in my studio, and in your new favorite photo of yourself.
Nothing says a girls day out like shopping, but a boudoir girl’s day out?
Just picture it: You and your bridesmaids are wedding-ready. You’ve planned all the more significant parts of the wedding, and now you get to have FUN.
Your bachelorette is coming up, and they keep running ideas by you. Casino? Clubbing? A vineyard and brunch? Those all sound fun and very cliche.
What if you were to treat all of your girls to a morning of lingerie shopping followed by an afternoon of portraits? Makeup, hair, champagne… lights, camera, action!
Now that’s what I call a Girls Day Out.
Nothing says empowerment like a boudoir photography session all about YOU.
Women are in a funny place these days. I feel like we’re stuck between a rock and a hard place. We can be sexy, but not too sexy.We have to behave, but not be rigid. We have to be smart, but we don’t want to intimidate anyone… When can we just be who we actually are without feeling insulted or insulting someone else?
During a boudoir session. Drop it and leave it at the door. In the studio we’re not mom, wife, employee, or any of those other things.
This is a space where you get to be unapologetically you and not who anyone else expects you to be. Boudoir sessions are all about empowerment, so use the experience to take your power back. If you feel like you need a refresher, you’ll always have a beautiful album of photos from the experience to remind yourself who you were in those moments and who you want to be.
Most of my boudoir clients come to me at a critical time in their life. Honestly, I think that’s incredible. What a way to celebrate! Birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, and breakups are the most common occasions.
My favorite part about using boudoir to celebrate is when you look back at your album years after your session, that album will commemorate whatever it was that was important to you at the time. That’s what I call hitting two birds with one stone.
You show up untouched. A clean face, no makeup, your hair is dry and whatever, and you’re not wearing a bra. Besides packing a bag of pretty little things and maybe some heels, you don’t have to get ready one bit. You get to the studio, and immediately, the pampering begins.
You call the shots, and the makeup artist brings your vision to fruition. She curls your hair, and it immediately takes on this luxurious volume you wish you could emulate yourself. Your photographer helps you slip into something beautiful, fixes all the pieces so that they look flawless, poses you, lights you, and starts snapping away.
I’m not sure what it feels like to be a celebrity, but I have a feeling that’s pretty darn close.
“Make it happen, girl.
And even yourself.
"Don't be a lady,
Be a Legend."
Your future self will thank you for it. You’ll be more ready for things when they come your way. Again, confidence happens when you overcome fear. You know, happiness doesn’t come from things, it comes from experiences.
More quotes, anyone?
A few years ago I had an old friend come to me for her boudoir session. This girl was conservative, quiet, and super sweet. I knew her from college, but not well. She was my now husband’s fraternity brother’s fiance (now wife.)
We planned our session, we did all the things, I showed her her photos and she LOVED them. As I do with all of my clients, I did the last run through of her image order and ask her if there’s anything specific she’d like to me to touch up. Scars, beauty marks, stray hairs, etc. She said, “They’re all perfect, nothing else is needed.” Later on, while I was retouching, I noticed that she had a pretty large scar straight down the middle of her chest. How had I not noticed that before? Probably because during the session I was prancing around her focusing on light, hand placement, and the mood of the shoot. Anyway, I didn’t touch up the scar at all because she didn’t mention it.
Fast forward a year later and I run into her at a mutual friend’s wedding. She pulls me aside and tells me about her husband’s reaction to the album. She told me the story of her chest scar and said that he got super emotional when he saw her photos. He told her that he loved them so much because he knew how much she’d been through with her heart surgery, how sensitive she was about the scar, and that he was so happy she was able to see how beautiful she looked through someone else’s eyes. And they cried. And we cried. Sobbed. Hugged. She thanked me and I thanked her.
She, and others like her, are my why.
How many of you have had a photo taken of you that you’re not proud of? Hello, Facebook tags. You thought you looked great at that wedding, and then this photo was posted. “Oh, so-and-so, you look so pretty in this photo!” And you’re thinking, Seriously?! I have a double chin, I look confused, and I also didn’t realize that dress made me look 10 pounds heavier what a buzz kill. A confidence killer.
Well, give yourself a break because that person was not paying attention to the lighting, your posture, the fact that they were shooting up from a lower angle, or any of the things that help make a subject look their best. They’re probably just happy that they took an iPhone photo that wasn’t blurry and crooked. Find yourself a professional photographer whose work you love, who listens, who knows lighting and posing, and have them take your photo. Everyone should. When you see how you look from someone else’s perspective, someone who took the time to get to know your pain points and learn about what makes you feel good about yourself, you’ll feel something way different than how that Facebook photo made you feel. I promise.
Boudoir is a funny thing. When you do some research, you’ll realize that not all boudoir photography is alike or equal.
What do you imagine wearing for your boudoir session? Is it a dressed-down version of what you look like daily, or is it a much darker, sexier version of yourself? Are you a librarian by day and a seductionist by night?
There’s a full spectrum of possibilities when it comes to how one can run a boudoir session, but the key is making it your own.
Who are you when no one else is watching? How do you want to portray yourself for your significant other, or your future self?
Boudoir photography is meant to be fun, daring, and liberating. Make the most of it!
Boudoir photo shoots are kind of a new thing for the general public.
Throughout the past, models and actresses were the only ones you’d see posed intimately in a professional photography setting. The model and actress life, in and of itself, is a pretty mystifying idea.
I feel like when ordinary, every day, non-actress, non-model girls think of boudoir photo shoot sessions; they ask similar questions. Who is this person, posed and photographed like this, and why is she important?
Did she get hooked up with a session like this, or did she seek it out herself? What is happening during a boudoir photo shoot session?
There are so many questions. Just a few weeks ago, I was photographing a woman in her 50s who broke down right before her session was about to begin. She said to me, “Who am I to be doing something like this? What gives me the right to be here? What am I, crazy?” It opened my eyes. For a moment, I panicked. For a moment, I thought she had a point. All of my clients' testimonials reminded me about why I do what I do, and then I recentered and replied, “Because every woman deserves to feel beautiful and own a beautiful portrait of herself.” And she smiled the most fantastic smile of relief, nodded her head, and we began our session.
I’m here to assure you that a boudoir is not just for fancy or well-known women. I photograph everyday women. Everyone between 9-5ers and entrepreneurs. The college grad and grandmothers. There are bachelorettes, brides, and 10-year-anniversary celebrators. I photograph the thin ones and the curvier ones, and everyone brings something different to the table. I LOVE what I do, and I’m here to demystify it for you. Hear me out.
We have fun. We get hair and makeup done, we chat and become acquainted or catch up on old times, we dress up and dress down, and we make it one heck of an experience for everyone involved. And by we, I mean me, my client, and a makeup artist. I don’t have a team; it’s just me. No one is running around with a clipboard, and no one else is fixing lights for me. Clients get to have fun and feel beautiful, and I do all the technical stuff.
Once the makeup artist is done, it’s just my client and me, and we get right down to business. And by business, I mean oo-ing and ah-ing over beautiful lingerie, checking over our inspiration/mood boards, and going over posing pointers and what she can expect to hear me say during our session. Simple as that.
When does the Boudoir Experience start?
The boudoir photo shoot experience starts at the first inquiry. After we get to chat for a bit and nail down some basic info, I send a more detailed questionnaire. The questionnaire gives everyone a chance to start thinking about how we want to run our session. Is she going for a dark and moody look, or a light and airy look? Are we keeping it casual with natural light and cotton pieces, or are we glamming it up with sequins and fancy lighting? I would say that if you checked out my work on my website or Instagram, you’d agree I have a pretty consistent style of lighting and shooting. But curveballs are my jam. I love new locations and different ideas from clients. I also love it when they say, “You’re the expert, I trust you!” because that leaves me open to exploring the ideas that are always jumping around in my head.
I've been a photographer for a long time, and even before that, as a teenager, I assisted my parents, who are also Master Photographers and international print competition judges. I’ve photographed weddings, events, family portraits, newborns, seniors, and everything in-between. I can quickly adapt, and I think that’s what makes it all so exciting for me and reassuring for my clients. Once the questionnaire comes back, and we talk it over, we discuss possible boudoir photo shoot dates.
Once we have an appointment, we lock it in with a retainer and continue planning. We research what’s already been done and share inspirational photos using a mood board on Pinterest or email photos and links back and forth. I want to make sure I’m making her vision come to life, so getting on the same page ahead of time is essential. And if she doesn’t have an idea, that’s fine too. We’re going to make some beautiful photographs together whichever way it goes down. I provide her a few of my blog posts that talk about, Preparing for a Boudoir session. There is also a lingerie guide to shop from or at least help her decide on her ideal style. I also let her know how to prep herself the actual morning of the session.
The morning of the boudoir session, my makeup artist and I will meet her at our shoot location. The studio is the other location where it's going down! We’ll look over the outfits she brought so we can get a good idea of how we want her hair styled, as well as her makeup, and then the makeup artist will get right to it. I know that some photographers provide champagne or other alcoholic refreshments for the makeup chair, but I don’t. I don’t feel that it’s necessary, and drinking can also make someone’s face and eyes look more tired than awake. I want my clients to look and feel their best throughout the session, and I prefer to use conversation to lighten the air instead of alcohol or other substances. If she insists on bringing some, I let her know all the things I feel, and if she still wants to, then hey, that’s fine with me!
Once we get done with makeup, we thank our makeup artist and send her on her way. I’ve only had one or two clients insist on paying a makeup artist to stay throughout the session, and it’s so great to have the help! And while I’d love to have that more often, it’s not the norm. From there, we decide which outfit we’ll start with first. We usually begin more covered-up to ease into the whole shoot process and end up with the least clothed option.
You might not think so by looking at my photos, but every person I photograph comes in nervous. They’ve likely never done something like this before, and like you, they aren’t sure what to expect. They could read all of my blog posts and get the low down over and over again, but they’ll still be nervous until a certain point after the shoot begins. In my experience, starting with a beauty shot or two and letting the nerves go slowly is the best way to ease into this type of session.
Twenty minutes in, they’ve heard all of my posing directions, and they start to do the things themselves! When I start seeing the chin lift, the eyes and lips relax, and the wrist twist, I know I’ve gotten them to a more relaxed place, and that’s when the fun starts. She’s become more confident in her movements, and now she can focus more on letting loose and giving more of herself to the camera. I know some photographers do, but I don’t adhere to a strict posing flow. I believe that every client moves differently, and not every pose works for everyone. I especially don’t want to ask her to get into a position she can’t and end up sending her into a self-conscious downward spiral.
From the moment she walks in for hair and makeup, I start to observe her movements and nuances and keep a mental note of those during the session. Flow posing is also for high volume photographers, and I’m not pumping out multiple boudoir sessions in a day. Ideally, I photograph one girl and then have her back the same day for an in-person viewing and ordering session.
Typically hair and makeup start about 10 am and run for about 60-90 minutes. By 11 am, or 11:30 am, we start shooting and finish around 1 or 1:30. The client will leave the studio and grab lunch while I load up the images and get them ready for her to view the photographs.
About 60 to 90 minutes later, she’ll come back and start narrowing the photos down to her favorites. Once we have them down to a good variety with some similar poses, I’ll help her narrow them down even more by comparing similar images. When we reach a standstill, we’ll look through sample albums and decide which build is the best option for the images she’s keeping. I do my best to keep my offerings elegant and straightforward so that decisions are effortless. Once assembled, she can opt to add in a companion album, the digital files, a superimposed handwritten note into the album, or any prints and wall enlargements. At that point, she’d pay the balance due, or we’d come up with a payment schedule. Her final products would then be delivered straight to her doorstep!
I’m asked very often if I provide digitals instead of an album or prints, or if they can view and order from home. The answer to those questions is less simple than you’d think. I mentioned earlier about my parents being Master photographers and how I learned photography through assisting them. I’ve also watched the industry evolve from film and prints to digital cameras and download galleries.
Because of my experience, I’ve intentionally designed my studio based on offering a full-service photography experience. A large part of what I do includes guiding clients from start to finish, and that is something that will never change. I could easily be one of those low maintenance, shoot & burn, wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am photographers who charge next to nothing for a next-to-nothing-experience, but I never will be. I work with busy people, and there’s nothing like helping an active person check a big thing off their list.
They may insist and be very capable of putting an album together or having some files printed, but they’re likely to go to CVS or Snapfish. That just doesn’t cut it for me. There’s nothing worse than seeing your photos printed and poorly displayed. Most clients wouldn’t even know how bad it is until they see it next to the products and prints I offer. This is my area of expertise. I build time into the process so that they can spend one hour, with my guidance, to finish their order instead of taking a whole week, pushing it off to the last minute, and sitting behind a computer by themselves to make hard decisions that are easily made with my help. Not to mention arguing with their spouse about the importance of money spent on keepsakes rather than takeout four nights per week.
On the other hand, I’ve had clients grossly overspend because they were overwhelmed, pinched for time, and too afraid to let anything go.
This is why I’m here. I have the answers you’re looking for and an eye for what makes one photo more of a keeper than another. I’m here to provide you with quality, well-printed images you can be proud of. And digitals overprints? I rarely agree to this, but you can have sharing-sized images for viewing and social media for every print or album image you order with the option of ordering high res downloads. But not without tangible photographs to go with it. Why? Because print matters. Because the internet’s going to go down one day, your hard drive will eventually crash, or The Handmaid’s Tale could happen IRL, and everything in your life could disappear. And I’m sorry, but an image on a screen does not give you the same nostalgic feeling as a beautifully printed photo in your hands. You cannot display an image you love from your monitor so that you can see and enjoy it every day. I’ll always offer digitals because that’s just the age we’re in, but not without some printed version of it first. Okay, I think I just went off on a tangent, but print is something that means a lot to me.
In the case of Boudoir, specifically, I believe that these types of images belong in an album. They’re not exactly the kind of photos you’d go framing and displaying around your home. Generally, we like to keep these babies tucked away for enjoying in private, especially if there are kids at home. In 2020, you can expect to see lockable print boxes added to my list of offerings as well as albums. Beautiful little glass boxes holding your favorites images, printed on the best of the best paper. So exciting!
So now that you’ve heard about what a Boudoir experience with La Femme Boudoir would be like, what do you think? Does it sound less unattainable than you once thought? What object could mean more to you than the most beautiful photograph of yourself? And what other types of experience could bring you this kind of self-awareness and confidence?
One of my recent clients posted this poem as the caption to one of the photos from her session. It made more of an impact on me than I could have imagined, and spurred me to book my boudoir session. I think you’ll like it too, so I’ll leave this right here.
“The girl I used to be
Was never good for me
But she taught me how
To be who I am now,
So even though I left her
In the life I once had,
I still need to thank her
For walking me to
Where I am now.
Thank you for the lessons.
When you think of glamour photography, what pops into your head?
I’ll tell you what comes to mine: the 1990s, big hair, bright makeup, a boa or a big string of pearls, star filters, and JCPenney. Here’s a snapshot of google image results.
Bahaha-- kinda dyin’ right now. Luckily, personal style and also photography style has changed.
It’s basically beauty photography, in the plainest terms. And boudoir photography, my main gig, was basically born out of the Glamour Photography genre.
Fun fact: I seriously dislike the word Boudoir, mostly because it’s so painful to hear others try to pronounce the word correctly. Glamour though? It makes me think of the above.
While Boudoir was born out of Glamour, and a square is a form of a rectangle, Glamour takes some qualities of Boudoir but isn’t quite the same. So let’s re-evaluate what makes a glamorous photo.
In the photos above, you’re seeing everything feminine, including hair done to the max. Back then, that meant a perm, lots of hairspray and LOTS of teasing. You’re seeing what looks like professional makeup application as well. Back then, that meant lots of bright colored eyeshadow, eyeliner, lots of blush and contouring, and shiny lipstick. You’re also seeing decorative hats, gloves, and big jewelry, I’d love to ask, “What in the &%$# were they thinking?!” But I’m sure our kids will be saying that about our style at some point down the road.
You’re also seeing a style of posing and lighting that is very feminine. Hands framing faces, lots of angles and triangles in the arms and neck areas, shoulder and chest exposure, and light that is flattering to the face. While I’m not sure what kind of direction was used to evoke emotion and expression in some of these photos (which I’m sorry but some of them are just pretty silly) these aspects of glamour photography are pretty classic and stand to this day.
So let’s take a look at some modern Glamour photography. These are images that stand out to me and make me totally excited about shooting Glamour. Naturally, I made a board using Pinterest. Here’s the link and here’s the snapshot:
Let’s talk about the parallels between these modern Glamour photos and the ones that literally make me think of Fraggle Rock.
These are beauty shots. They focus on the face, hair, shoulders, neck, and hands. While Boudoir focuses on much more of the body and body language, glamour shots are more like beauty headshots with pizzazz.
So these are like beauty headshots with pizzazz, and what I mean by pizzazz is the added styling. Nowadays (thankfully), instead of using boas and generic costume jewelry, these images are styled with more intention. Instead of just throwing in props, modern glamour portraits use more body language, shadowing, and minimal but intentional props. And instead of color everywhere, the image is kept a bit more classic and neutral with a pop of color. Don’t get me wrong; some clients and stylists are all about color! But for the most part, unless this is a Mac advertisement, I think our generation values more of a timeless image instead of following what’s “in” at the moment.
There’s a good chance that if you went to JcPenney for glamour shots, your photographer sat you down, gave you the same couple of props they offered the last customer who walked in, told you to look at the camera, and it was up to you to do something with those props. Not much direction is given by a store employee whose job it is to hold a camera and just let the rest happen.
That’s exactly how those first glamour shots look to me, and to be honest, I’m not sure much has changed in the realm of superstore studios. (Do they even still exist?) Now, the world of professional photography is more cutthroat than ever. If you want good photos, you don’t go to JCPenney. Your cousin, my cousin, and everyone else’s cousin is or knows a professional photographer. And as a professional photographer, that forces us to set ourselves apart from the next, choose a niche, and really become the expert in that niche.
I wouldn’t. A glamour or boudoir photographer would be specifically trained in guiding you through the right kind of body language for this type of photo. They would be able to tell you exactly how to sit, which way to turn and tilt your head, where to look, and what expression goes with all of that. The photographer would guide you through your hand placement, and tell you how to hold your prop or clothing in a way that makes sense with the pose and your expression. Every little piece of the photo must jive, and that is a huge difference between 1990s glamour shots vs. today.
At the end of the day, Glamour photography shots are very much still alive, just in a very different form than the ones you discovered in your Aunt Doreen’s shoebox when you were little. Photography, and personal style have thankfully taken a turn away from gaudy and toward minimal and classy. Because of what they’re known as traditionally, you probably wouldn’t go to a photographer and tell them you want Glamour shots. Instead, you’d probably try to explain your vision to them and say something along the lines of,
“I kinda want Boudoir, but less nudity… more like a headshot, but sexier than a headshot? Shoulders-up, maybe? A studio lifestyle shoot mixed with boudoir?”
What you’re looking for is a beautiful, sensual portrait of yourself, and this is what today’s glamour shot is. Glamour shots are still very much relevant, as evidenced by platforms like Pinterest and Instagram; they’re spreading and being shared like wildfire across the platforms. And just as our moms and aunts did, we all want and should have a beautiful portrait of ourselves showing a bit more something than a traditional headshot, even if that something is mere personality. Millennials, especially, greatly value individualism and personal innovation, and they’re using portrait photography to display and share just that.
While I say that I shoot Boudoir photography, I feel like glamour photography is inherently included in that genre. I photograph women, and my main goal and passion is to guide them in expressing themselves in a sensual way. To show them how beautiful they are, through my lens. And just to come full circle with this analogy, while Glamour photography is a square, with specific parameters, it’s also a rectangle (or a form of sensual portrait photography, like boudoir.) Get it? Am I crazy? Maybe. I’d shoot Glamour shots all day, just the same.
My advice: If you’re looking for a session of this type, use the resources available to you and put together a collection of images that best portray your vision. Pinterest, Instagram, and Google images have a plethora of ideas and examples. How much skin do you want to show? How styled up (or down) are you looking to get? Share the images with your photographer so he or she can get on the same page as you.
You might feel silly asking for Glamour Photography shots, but rest assured, you’re far from being the only one in pursuit of a beautiful portrait of yourself.
So you’ve just booked your boudoir photo shoot with the perfect photographer, and now you’re wondering how to go about planning for it. What should you do before your photoshoot, and what are the big no-nos? It’s taken many years of photographing boudoir sessions to come up with the advice on my Boudoir prep sheet. Here are the tips that I provide to every one of my clients before our boudoir photoshoot.
Using light weights or body weight, and lots of repetitions, make some basic moves while you listen to music in the morning, or even for just ten minutes before you jump in the shower. You don’t have to do anything crazy like burpees or jump squats, mainly if you’re not used to high impact workouts; just the basics are enough. Some of my favorite moves are pushups on the ground or a wall, squats, side lunges, planks, crunches, butt lifts/bridges, and jumping jacks for in-between cardio sets. Stretching is also essential because there will be a lot of back arching and tall postures. You’ll likely leave your session feeling the burn, and the next day you might be sore like you did an intense yoga class. Stretching and toning ahead of time will not only help you in your posing, but it’ll also help you feel great upon arrival and to not be so sore the next day. You don’t need a huge space for these stretches and workout moves so they can be done just about anywhere at any time. (No excuses!)
To reduce bloat, cut down on foods with sodium and sulfur, and eat smaller meals throughout the day. If you know which foods affect you negatively, stay away from those starting a week before our session. (Dairy, eggs, and bread do it to me!) Eat slowly and mindfully, enjoying every bite, and drink a whole glass of water before and after each meal.
I cannot stress this part enough. Starting NOW make sure to keep up on your water, at least eight glasses per day. Bloating will disappear, the skin will come brighter and clearer; the list goes on. Down a whole glass before each meal, and a full glass once you’re feeling satisfied. Adding lemon or other types of citrus fruits not only makes water even healthier, but it also makes it less dull.
DRINK YOUR WATER!
As much as you think it helps your appearance in person, it only harms your appearance through the camera. It throws off my camera’s color balance (think: Donald-Trump-orange, and muddy black and whites). Also, some spray tans have a glitter in them, which ends up looking like white dots of dust. Spray tans can add hours to the retouching process which may end up being more expensive on your end, so it’s much better if you focus on getting a real, even tan.
Some people think tan lines are super sexy. That’s cool, so do I! Then, some clients warn me 24 hours ahead of our shoot that they just went on vacation and now have wicked tan lines, asking if I’d be able to “edit them out.” I will never say no to the retouching process because retouchers out there can do magic. However, that type of retouching is usually not included with most photographer’s sessions and will likely need to be sent out, incurring extra fees. My advice? If you have a boudoir shoot scheduled, keep your tan line preferences in mind while beaching, and plan accordingly
If you’re ever going to pamper yourself, now is the time to do it. You’ve done all the research to find the perfect boudoir photographer, bought new lingerie, and you've possibly rented out your ideal shoot location. You’re going to want to look your absolute best for this session. Unless you’re proficient in this area, I highly recommend hiring a professional to do your hair and makeup. A professional makeup artist knows that makeup photographs about 40% lighter than it looks in person, and they can also ask you all the right questions and apply techniques that will make you look like the best you. I have a makeup artist I work with closely, and I recommend her for all of my sessions. She regularly works with celebrities through ESPN and other networks, and she’s never failed to amaze my clients and me with her skills. She also adds waves or curls in the hair department so that we achieve that effortlessly sexy volume and movement. I could not rave about her work enough to do it justice. Not only that, but she comes to the shoot location and works with us there, and that allows us time to get comfortable and acquainted. Sometimes this is the first time I’m meeting my client, and more often than not, this is their first boudoir photoshoot, and they’re pretty nervous. Having Dawn there helps ease clients’ nerves and also gives us time to relax, talk, and get excited about the session. My advice: Pamper yourself a little and hire a professional. Make the most out of this experience by easing the pressure of getting yourself ready on your own.
Boudoir shoots are meant to be sexy and sultry; whether you’re going for the, I woke up like this look or the Victoria’s Secret Vixen look. Keep that in mind, when choosing any lingerie, clothing, or cover-ups for your session. Lingerie should be form/curve-fitting and up-lifting. Think corsets, bodysuits, and matching separates that fit just right. If they’re too small, the pieces will cut into your skin and create little bulges. Too big, and they won’t do your body justice. You also want to be wearing lingerie or clothing that makes you feel like a million bucks, not just any old piece you bought in a different era, at a different weight, that has sat in your drawer for years. This will make a difference in how you feel about the outfit, which makes a difference in how you look while wearing it, and fabulous is the goal all around. Plus, how exciting is it to buy new lingerie?! There's your permission-- go shopping, girl. You also want to wear something that suits your personality and body type. Make it fun! When choosing your pieces, take into consideration your body type, your best features which you’ll want to accentuate, and your least favorite features which you may want to keep a little more covered up. If you’re a bare it all, regardless kind of gal, keep in mind that while Photoshop is our friend, I’m not going to over-retouch and make you into someone you’re not. Photoshop (like lighting and posing) is used to rid the eye of distractions and make you look like the best version of you. If you’re sensitive about your upper body, incorporate a beautiful robe, shawl, scarf or delicate blanket that we can use to wrap around you when we need to. We can also use one of your partner’s shirts, which can be super sexy if you’re doing this as a gift to them If you’re sensitive about un-toned legs or cellulite, use thigh-highs, tights, or your favorite pair of jeans as part of the look. If you’re sensitive about a dimply butt, come prepared with sexy briefs or bikini-style undies instead of thongs. I suggest you keep jewelry to a minimum unless jewelry is all you’re wearing. Wearing high heels can make your legs look tighter and longer, whether pictured or not, so be sure you bring them along as long! And if you’re wearing black tights or lingerie, you should bring black heels; all of your pieces should match or at least complement one another. If you’re doing this as a bridal boudoir photoshoot, you may want to wear white lingerie and even include some wedding pieces, e.g. veil, garter, wedding heels, your engagement ring, etc. If clients aren't sure what to bring, I always advise that they bring more than less. We can look through it all, I can offer my input, and we can pick our favorite 2-3 outfits together.
Do you like manis and pedis? Great! Book yourself an appointment a day or two before our boudoir shoot, and you should be good to go. If not, that’s cool too. Just beware of dirty nails and chipped polish; think clean and evenly polished or not polished at all.
Worried about splotchy, uneven or ashy skin tone? Exfoliate and use body lotion to soften and even out skin. Dry body brushes feel great and also work wonders. I got mine at TJ Maxx. You’ll want one with soft, all-natural bristles, and use it right after you shower and dry off. Google it! Not only does it feel great, but it helps with circulation and evening out skin tone.
If you’re having your makeup and hair done professionally, come with a fresh, clean, moisturized face, wearing lip balm. Hair should be dry, not straightened, and ready for some curls or waves.
Wear very loose-fitting (or no) undergarments to avoid red lines in your skin.
Try your best to avoid conflict or stress before your session, and come with an open mind! Stress shows up quickly on your face, which is why I schedule my sessions first thing in the morning. I want you to come with a clean slate, fresh and ready to have a good time.
Ideally, after our boudoir session, we'd take a break for an hour or so to grab some food, and I'd get the photos ready for same-day viewing. We can see the photos right away, break them down to our favorites, and choose which ones will go into your album. If there's no time for a same-day viewing, we would meet back in the studio about a week later, and once your order is complete, the retouching process starts right away. An album proof would be sent for your approval within the next 1-2 weeks, and then a week after that you'll have your album in your hands!
I strive to do everything I can to make this a fun, empowering, and smooth experience. For someone who has never had a professional photography session, nevermind a boudoir photo shoot, preparing to be the main attraction can seem very daunting. There are many common and recurring questions and concerns— What do I buy, how do I prepare, how do I pose?! Since I’ve worked with so many real women throughout the years, I’ve taken note of the most crucial pain points and common concerns. It’s important to me to let clients know that they are not alone in these concerns, and here’s how we’ve successfully addressed them each time they come up. The Prep sheet goes over each one of these issues, and when new ones come up, I add them into the sheet. We are real women, with real concerns, and real-life experiences. A boudoir photoshoot is meant to be one of the most positive experiences of our lives. I hope this guide will help you prepare for your boudoir shoot and keep your focus on getting excited!
As a boudoir photographer, I am constantly faced with the question of, “What makes a photo sexy?” It’s not that people are constantly asking me that exact question, but I have to answer that for myself every time consult with a client, every time I go into a shoot and take a photo, and every time I cull through images after my sessions.
I would say that the answer to this question is very subjective and depends on the person answering it, and I think that those who would agree with my definition of a sexy photo are the ones that end up becoming my clients. In my opinion, there’s a huge difference between beautifully sexy and distastefully sexy, and I definitely prefer the latter. I am in the business of making women feel more beautiful than they felt when they walked into my studio; making her feel comfortable, confident, empowered, and gorgeous. So you ask, “What’s the difference, sexy is sexy, no?” Here is what I think makes a photo beautifully, tastefully sexy.
Revealing something, but not everything; I think one of the sexiest things a woman can do is to leave something to the imagination. In other words, if she’s going to show off her chest cleavage, she should keep everything else more subdued and keep the viewer’s eye on her chest. If she’s looking to showcase her backside, she should keep the front side a bit more covered so she’s not showing off both simultaneously.
If she’s going to show everything off at once, then the viewer's eye is not going to know where to look first and may become overwhelmed, leading them to look away. Then the photo may be regarded as distastefully sexy (or even smut) instead of beautifully sexy. That’s the last thing I want, and I’m sure the last thing my client is going for.
“What about nudes?” you ask.
There is implied nude and full nude. Implied nude can mean topless but still covered by shadows, body parts, or other objects such as plants or pillows. A woman can be nude, but still covered, and that is a beautiful way to leave something to the imagination. A full nude can also be extremely tasteful, and eye contact, body language, and environment have so much impact on how she will be portrayed. More on that in the next sections!
Eye contact can be extremely powerful and sexy when done correctly. Some eye contact can scream sadness; some eye contact can scream confidence. We want the one that screams confidence. In my experience, whatever is on my client’s mind is going to be spoken through her eyes. That is one of the main reasons I like to have hair and makeup done right here in my studio or wherever we will be shooting.
Many times, I have not met my client in person before our session. We may have talked over the phone, or even just through email, but I haven’t had a chance to observe her body language yet. The time we spend together and the conversation we have while the stylist gets her ready plays an integral part in making her feel comfortable and excited for our session. The more beautiful and confident she feels, the better the eye contact throughout the session. If she’s coming into my studio straight from work or taking care of her children, there’s a good chance her eye contact will convey stress and uncertainty. Stress will subconsciously show up first in facial expressions and body language, and that is the last thing either of us wants. Having to shift titles and/or responsibilities so quickly before a session doesn’t do much for making somebody feel sexy and self-assured. This is the main reason I like to have sessions first thing in the morning, on a day off from work, so my client can relax and enjoy her time without having anywhere to be and any stresses from earlier on.
Many clients biggest concerns revolve around posing. Many of them assume they will have to know how to pose coming into our session and that I’ll be leaving it up to them to move in the right way. That’s not the case at all, and I’m fully aware that they are not inherently a model.
When a client finishes up with hair and makeup, we go over outfits, and then we discuss the basic posing pointers she will be hearing from me throughout the session. Some of the most common are, in no specific order, “Chest out, shoulders back, bring your chin to your shoulder, point one knee into the other, soften your hands, twist your wrist,” etc.
All of these tiny nuances make a huge difference in what message her body is giving. Stiffened hands and fingers show stress and uncertainty, so I tell them ahead of time that it’s always best to give their hands a job so that they have a somewhere to naturally fall. “Hold your waist, the fabric of your shirt, slide your fingers through the side of your underwear, slide your bra strap down, and whatever you do with that hand don’t do the same with the other; try to keep your hands and body asymmetrical to create angles.” Viewers’ eyes are most often drawn to where the hands fall, which is important to keep in mind while posing.
Another pointer a client may hear from me is, “Wherever your chin goes, your eyes should follow, and vice versa.” This is very important when thinking about posing your face, which honestly, I think is the most difficult body part to pose; the mouth, most of all, which I will cover in the next section. All essential things to pay attention to. Body language can mean the difference between my client showing strength, confidence, and warmth vs. weakness, uncertainty and dispassion; it can also be a significant distinction between what makes a photo tastefully sexy vs. the opposite.
Every new client of mine fills out the same questionnaire before our session. This allows me to get to know basic information about them including their contact info, interests, what they like best about themselves, what their partner may like best about them, what makes them feel sexy, and what their goals are for this year versus last. All of these questions help me get to know them a bit better before we work together.
Again, sometimes I don’t get to meet them in person beforehand, so knowing these details is an important part of making her feel comfortable and relating to her strengths as well as her pain points. When a client tells me one of her favorite features about herself is her smile, and so many do, I feel the need to let them know that Boudoir sessions aren’t exactly the space for lots of smiles unless they are the real, genuine, “caught in the act“, unposed kinds of smiles. I let her know that while her session will be a lot of fun, I generally will not ask her to smile for the camera. Instead, I will catch her in a real smile, whether I make her laugh or if she laughs on her own. If I can capture authentic smiles, these photos tend to be among my clients' favorites. There is nothing better than a real, beautiful laughing smile with the right kind of body language. Not only for my client herself but especially for her groom who may be receiving the ultimate wedding gift of a boudoir album.
That being said, a super sexy, sultry photo is no place for an ear to ear smile with eye contact. This is not a headshot session; this is a session for sexy photos. Sexy photos are meant to show a client’s more vulnerable, private side, so if the smile isn’t caught in the act, it usually doesn’t belong. What expressions do belong? I draw those out by asking her questions about her partner, imagining certain scenarios, and asking her to think about something specific. If she has a certain thought on her mind, her eyes, face, and body are likely to speak volumes through sexy expression and body language.
Outfit choice can make a huge impact on the sexiness of a photo. Obviously, black lacy lingerie is extremely sexy, but so is wearing a slouchy, off the shoulder sweater with no bottoms, paired with the right body language. Again, I think some of the sexiest outfits are those that leave something to the imagination and don’t bare at all. Crotchless getups with hollowed out bra lines don’t exactly do it for me... unless maybe her hands (or his, if couples’ boudoir) are covering her naughty bits. That being said, one of my other favorite “outfits” would be topless, with chunky costume jewelry covering her up just enough. Generally, I’m not huge on lots of costume jewelry unless the jewelry is her actual outfit.
As you can see, boudoir outfits can come in plenty of different forms. Even wearing just a white sheet could be incredibly sexy. In fact, I love when clients come to me with the complaint that they can’t find any lingerie that they like enough to wear for their session. That leaves us open to exploring alternative outfits or coverups like their partners button-up work shirt or flannel, his boxer briefs, a robe, a big fluffy pillow, a slouchy sweater or tee, cut off jeans and a crop top… the list goes on. There are so many non-lingerie outfits to explore, which, in my opinion, makes our session more fun, creative, and original. And when paired with the right kind of body language and eye contact: BOOM. Insanely, beautifully sexy.
Down to the location and the tiniest of details, nothing says sexy like making your shoot your own. While hotel rooms can be a convenient, neutral space for shooting a boudoir session, I wouldn’t exactly call it personal, and in my opinion, the more personal you make your session, the better. I would much rather shoot in my studio, an Airbnb, or in a person’s home. “Isn’t an Airbnb the same as a hotel room?” you ask. My answer: No. Airbnb can have a very personal touch. Even if it’s not yours, you can pick a place that reflects your style with its layout, natural light, furniture, and artwork. AirBNBs these days are quite stylish, and hosts put a ton of effort into making you feel right at home. When you go to a hotel, every room is the same as the next— even the suites might have more space and bigger windows, but they still have the same generic artwork bolted to the walls which never fail to make an appearance in every.single.bedroom.shot 👎🏼 Nothing drives me crazier than generic art in the background of my photos.
My favorite spot to shoot is in my client’s home. When we shoot in a client's home, we are using the bed that her and her partner sleep in, and wrap her up in the sheets that they entangle themselves in, with personal items and photos of them together on her bed stand in the background. She can curl up in his T-shirt, pick up his favorite book, and with the right expression and body language, this could be in an insanely sexy photo. A boudoir session is meant to be fun and personal with your touch of style. Nothing says sexy like individualism and originality. Make it beautiful, make it yours, own it, and show it off.
SO, what do I think makes a photo sexy?
A confident woman, in her element, with relaxed but intentional body language and killer eye contact, wearing an outfit that leaves something to the imagination or bearing it all with class. BOOM.
Imagine this: You’re trolling Instagram one day and you came across a picture of a woman, not someone who would you would consider complete supermodel material, but she looked incredibly beautiful. The way she’s posed, the naturally sexy expression on her face, the lighting… and she was a normal chick.
You’ve heard of sexy bridal boudoir photos being the ultimate wedding gift, and you even know a few friends who had them done and sang praises of the experience. If only you could have these kinds of pictures of yourself to share with the person you’re about to marry.
Then, you realize that this specific photographer is actually based in your area. You love her style, you feel like she knows what you think is sexy, and you feel like if there was ever a boudoir photographer you could trust to deliver, it would be her. You muster up all of your confidence, shoot her a quick DM, and immediately second-guess your decision to inquire. Who are you to sign up for bridal boudoir pics?
But she gets back to you within moments, asks all the right questions, and within the next 24 hours you’ve booked yourself a session.
Fast forward two weeks and you’ve just left your bridal boudoir shoot. You walk out of that studio feeling like 100 million bucks. Never in your wildest dreams did you imagine that this boudoir session would do more for you than simply provide you with the ultimate groom’s gift for the love of your life.
You were so nervous going into it this morning! But not only do you feel more confident and sexy than ever, but you also feel empowered through the experience. You cannot wait to see how the photos came out!
Fast forward another three weeks and you’ve just picked up your beautiful custom designed bridal boudoir album at the studio. You’ve seen the album proof so you don’t bother to unwrap it; the gift wrap is so perfect that you just bring it as is to your rehearsal dinner. The idea is that you’ll leave it with your fiancé before spending your last unmarried away from him. The next time he sees you will be the next day, at your wedding, with these images burned into his mind, as you’re walking down the aisle toward him to say, “I do.” Is there anything more sexy, confident, and intimate than that? Gifting a beautiful watch is sweet and thoughtful, but this… this says more.
I want to say that about 75% of my clients come to me specifically for bridal boudoir photography, and that says a lot.
Fun fact: MOST of them never thought they’d do something like this.
Feelings of nervousness, vulnerability, unworthiness, or unreadiness creep in.
But when you’re planning a wedding you’re also usually trying to eat right and get into the best shape you can. That makes it a pretty perfect time to sign up for a bridal boudoir session. There’s more to it than being in the best shape of your life though. This session is about who you are, as you are, as you’re about to marry the person who’s chosen to spend the rest of their life with you. They love you for you, and that has a whole lot more to do with your personality than anything else.
The goal of boudoir photography is not only to look sexy in whatever you’re wearing (or not wearing,) but also to capture the most organic sense of “you”. Who YOU are, underneath your daily garb, titles, and responsibilities. This session is about letting go of all that and being photographed “undone.”
“Why then,” you ask, “do most girls have their hair and makeup was done before a session and dress up in lingerie if the whole point is to become ‘undone’?”
Undone, to me, means vulnerable. How many of you buy pretty lingerie but never actually bust it out because you’d feel silly? And how many of you still get dressed in a different room or while turned away, even around your fiance? It’s mostly something we do subconsciously. So many of us do it, and it’s because we feel vulnerable -- “naked” if you will-- when we are not dressed and feeling like we look our best. The idea of a boudoir session is to show the side of us that we wouldn’t normally expose comfortably, even to the person closest to us.
And while all of that may sound scary as hell, it’s also an incredibly liberating experience meant to help us to build the confidence we need to be that person, undressed and vulnerable, with the person we love most, at any time. Sure, we get done up and beautiful just to become “undone,” but hey, we can express our individuality however we want. It’s 2019 people; live your best life and live it well. Show yourself love, and share it with the person closest to you.
On the topic of bridal boudoir outfits, it’s always fun to wear something from your wedding day during a bridal boudoir session. Many women include their veil, wedding shoes, or the white lingerie they would be wearing underneath their wedding dress.
My FAVORITE idea would have to be the Undressing Session which goes a little something like this: A bridal boudoir client brings her wedding dress and white bridal lingerie, veil, and any other pertinent accessories. I’d start with a few beautiful portraits of her wearing her dress in natural light. Then, piece by piece, she would slowly take it off, revealing her bridal lingerie, and then some. Her comfort level determines where we’d end up. Sometimes what we’d end up with is some beautiful bridal boudoir nudes with the pieces all around her. It’s one of my most favorite sessions to photograph! I cannot think of anything sexier to gift your groom, right before he sees you walking down the aisle toward him.
When you choose a boudoir photographer for your bridal boudoir session, you want to make sure you’re doing your research and basing your decision off of what is most important: Trust, experience, and style. You want to be able to read testimonials from other women about their experiences and trust that this photographer will be able to deliver the kind of photos you’re looking for.
You also want to make sure that the experience will be a positive one and what better way to be educated than by past clients’ words? Actual business reviews are the most trustworthy, so check them out on Google, Facebook, Yelp, or anywhere else you’d do objective research.
Find out as much as you can about the photographer and make sure their style fits what you’re looking for. Are you looking for light and airy, or dark and moody? Even more importantly, do the women in the photos look naturally sexy or too posed? Whatever the look you’re going for, make sure that photographer can deliver. Boudoir photography is not cheap. In fact, it can be quite expensive, but for good reason.
This is an intimate session, and you’re expecting to bare it all both emotionally and physically. A photographer with experience will know how to pose you to make you look like your best you. They will know how to use lighting, how to relate to you and make you feel comfortable, and will add to the experience. A seasoned boudoir photographer will not be charging $100 or even $300 for a session if they know what they’re doing and value their own work. These photos also aren’t typically the kind that you would print and frame around the house; these belong in an album or print box you can keep private. Or as an inconspicuous, artistic piece of wall decor in a private part of your home. If you’re considering this investment in yourself, you should expect to spend upwards of $1000. If you’re looking for anything less you’ll likely be forfeiting the quality of both your experience and the end product. In other words, iif you’re looking to pinch pennies, this is not the time to do it.
Whether you decide to gift the bridal Boudoir album the night before the wedding, or you present it to your groom in a private place sometime before or after the wedding, a bridal boudoir album is an ultimate gift you can give. As long as you trust in the photographer you hire and you choose them based on what matters most to you, you’ll be in good hands and you will be forever grateful for what the experience has provided you. If you don’t believe me, read what my bridal boudoir clients have to say about it and decide for yourself.
Hey guys, we moved!!
And our new boudoir studio is located at 56 Arbor St, Hartford CT and is incredible. Three HUGE floor to ceiling windows filling the room with natural light. String lights through the ceiling beams, carefully curated furniture, minimalistic... everything we've ever wanted. Even better? It's going to be SO SWEET for nighttime boudoir shoots! Almost all of our neighbors are fellow creatives... I am so so so so so excited.
SO excited that I'm hosting a BOUDOIR SHOOT GIVEAWAY in honor of our new space! Because honestly, I just want to shoot in here all day every day and do nothing else.
I've had so many friends, family photography clients, brides, Instagram followers, etc. tell me how beautiful my work is and that they cannot wait to book their own shoot. The most common obstacles getting in the way of this happening?
"I haven't factored this into the budget yet. I'll have to save up and get back to you!"
"I'm so nervous and afraid of how I'll look! I wish I knew ahead of time how the pictures would come out. I feel like I should put a little more thought into it and get back to you."
"Well, I'd love to do this for a special occasion. Maybe for our (insert: anniversary, his birthday, my birthday, when I tone up more, move into our new house, pay off my student loans.....)"
"Well I don't like the idea of a hotel, and I'd really like to do it at my house, but it's just not in the shape I'd like. Maybe after we do our remodel... or I find a cool spot..."
Well, let me make this easy for you. Here are the details!
This shoot will be FREE, and you'll get small sharing files of your favorite 5 images. This offer cannot be combined with gift certificates, print vouchers, or any other offers.
Look at my website, my Instagram, and read my testimonials. Every girl on there came in with doubts and left feeling like a million bucks. They look stunning in their photos. YOU are going to look stunning. Leave that part to me!
This shoot must take place within the month of August, 2019. No need to wait, planning can be done within 36 hours. We don't need fancy outfits, to look for a location, or anything else superfluous. You, as you are at this time in your life, grab something new to wear or use something you have, get dolled up here in my studio, and let us worry about the posing & styling. If you decide to gift these images to someone at a later date, go for it! But this session must be used before Sept 1, 2019.
Lastly, this free session will require a full release. You must be okay with me using any of the images in portfolio, social media, and however else I choose to use them to promote my studio. If at any point you change your mind on this, you will be responsible for paying the full session cost of $500 plus tax.
This contest will take place on Instagram.
All you have to do is:
Tag however many besties under the Contest post
Under 3 of your favorite images on my INSTAGRAM Feed
**Tag them under MORE photos for EXTRA entries!**
NOT ON INSTAGRAM?
Follow my Facebook Page
Share this page on your Facebook profile usng the FACEBOOK SHARE below and shoot me a DM to let me know
Each friend you tag under your shared post will get you an entry into the contest.
This contest starts NOW! And it ends on Wed May 12th at 12:59PM Est
Can't wait to play with you!!
Posing for a boudoir session can be one of the most daunting parts of the whole process. Just the thought of not knowing what to do can stop you from going for it, and it’s actually one of the main questions clients have when they are thinking about booking with me.
Will you direct me during the shoot, or do I have to know how to pose?
Girl, you don’t have to know anything other than how to follow instructions. These are the same instructions I give to each and every person I work with, and I would consider them to be pretty universal. When we start a session I go through all of the pointers I’m about to share with you so that my client knows exactly what to expect during the session and can feel confident that their images are coming out great. Of course, there are many, many factors that go into a successful boudoir photography shoot but these are the main pointers I share up front broken down by section.
Let’s start with the hardest part first. Boudoir sessions are all about showing off the goods and all things feminine, but what you probably didn’t think about was your face.
Do you smile? If you don’t smile, what do you do with your face?
Boudoir sessions really aren’t the place for full on smiles unless that smile is super genuine. Like, I-caught-you-in-a-laugh kind of smile, and if I’ve got you in position and you start laughing you bet I’m going to shoot! Because that’s really the only time that a smile fits into boudoir photos, and when I do catch a smile in the act you're likely going to love that image. I’m sure you’ve heard of the “smize” or the “smile with your eyes” concept.
Go ahead, try smiling with your eyes. Yeah, it’s not as simple as it seems.
The key here is, while keeping a neutral face, to think about smiling or something that makes you want to smile. Once you think about smiling your face will subconsciously adjust. The outside corners of your eyes will pull back with your ears, your lips will widen and may slightly part to give you a more easygoing look. Because we really do want to steer clear of RBF (resting bitch face.) Alternatively, when your boudoir photographer has you in position and you’re wondering what to do with your face, think about your significant other or your spouse if you have one. And if you don’t have an SOS imagine meeting them for the first time or something similarly exciting. That thought in your mind will most likely show up on your face in the best way. Think about the last sexy scenario you were a part of and you’ll likely end up with a deviant smirk and an extra special sparkle in your eye.
Another pointer when it comes to face positioning is to keep your nose within your cheek line. When I started entering in Professional Photographers of America (PPA) competitions back in the day I couldn’t believe how intensely my images were picked apart by the judges based on scoring criteria. I learned that when a subject’s face is turned away from the camera their nose should never cross over the cheek line, but should stay “tucked” into their face (unless you’re showing a perfect profile.) Not only is it more flattering for the client, but in the photographer world, this is a must-know for professionals who are serious about their craft. So when you turn your face away at the request of your photographer, turn only about half as much as you think you should.
A woman’s neck, shoulder, and chest area can be extremely sexy and should be treated as so. This area also includes your jawline, neck, collarbones, and the top of your cleavage. When I first start a session with a client I go over all of the most common directions I give throughout the session and I usually start with, “Chest out, shoulders back.” This is so important for your posture especially when you’re being photographed. We want to keep our forms feminine and upright, not boxy and slouchy. When you look to the side or away from the camera, you might want to imagine connecting your shoulder to your chin. Your shoulder will rise and your collarbones will pop. Also very sexy. Even better, lay your fingers somewhere along your collarbone and the viewer's eye will shift straight to that spot. Body posture and connections among your hands, face, and shoulders are so important when it comes to creating a cohesive image.
Go ahead, try smiling with your eyes. Yeah, it’s not as simple as it seems.
The key here is, while keeping a neutral face, to think about smiling or something that makes you want to smile. Once you think about smiling your face will subconsciously adjust. The outside corners of your eyes will pull back with your ears, your lips will widen and may slightly part to give you a more easygoing look. Because we really do want to steer clear of RBF (resting bitch face.) Alternatively, when your photographer has you in position and you’re wondering what to do with your face, think about your significant other or your spouse if you have one. And if you don’t have an SOS imagine meeting them for the first time or something similarly exciting. That thought in your mind will most likely show up on your face in the best way. Think about the last sexy scenario you were a part of and you’ll likely end up with a deviant smirk and an extra special sparkle in your eye.
Another pointer when it comes to face positioning is to keep your nose within your cheekline. When I started entering in Professional Photographers of America (PPA) competitions back in the day I couldn’t believe how intensely my images were picked apart by the judges based on scoring criteria. I learned that when a subject’s face is turned away from the camera their nose should never cross over the cheek line, but should stay “tucked” into their face (unless you’re showing a perfect profile.) Not only is it more flattering for the client, but in the photographer world this is a must-know for professionals who are serious about their craft. So when you turn your face away at the request of your photographer, turn only about half as much as you think you should.
SO IMPORTANT! Hands can make or break a photo’s mood. A balled up fist or fingers pointing straight out can make an image feel very rigid whereas delicate “ballerina” hands can soften the mood. Literally, think ballerina hands and your fingers will immediately ease up. The key with portraits is to always give your hands a job. Idle hands will most likely get confused so giving them a job will take the pressure off. Hands show connection; hold the fabric of your outfit, for instance, and immediately the image feels more cohesive. Hands also attract the viewer's eye, so if you touch your face that's likely where the eye will go. If you want to keep the attention away from your midsection then don't put your hands anywhere near your midsection.
Another tip is to never show the side of your hand and wrist rather than the flat back or front. If you’re touching your lip take care to twist your wrist and hand so you can only see its profile. This small tweak will make the image feel much more delicate and keep the focus on what’s most important— your face and/or body— instead of the big, flat, bright back of your hand.
This is another area in which special attention should be paid because the position of your hips and backside can make or break a photo. In general, when you want something to appear larger you'd lean it closer to the camera. Alternatively, if you want something to appear smaller then you should tuck it back further from the camera. Say you want your waist to look smaller. You’re going to want to shift the weight of your body/hips back and the camera should be at a higher angle shooting toward the top half of your body. Imagine a person holding a string with the other end tied to your bum and that person is pulling the string; your center of gravity is going to shift backward. This makes your waist appear smaller and also creates a bit more space between your thighs. (#thighgap!)
Do yourself a favor and watch yourself in the mirror doing this: Without moving anything else swivel each hip backward and forward, alternating, while paying attention to how your waist appears. Now stand sideways and do the same thing; push your hip toward the mirror and then away. When you bring your backside toward the mirror it looks larger, and when you push it away your waist and backside look smaller and are less visible.
Legs and feet can make or break a laying down pose if they’re not positioned correctly. Say the photographer lays you on the bed, tummy down, and he’s shooting toward the left side of your body with your ankles up. You always want to cross your ankles in this scenario, but it’s important which way you cross them. If you cross your right ankle over your left, your closer (left) leg will seem cut short because your other ankle is intersecting it. In this case, you’d want you cross your left ankle over your right so the whole length of the leg closest to the camera is showing without any interruptions. Say the photographer flips you onto your side now so you're on your side and your body is facing the camera. If you keep your top leg long and bend the bottom leg on the bed, your body will appear longer. Alternatively, if you bend the top knee and let it fall over the bottom leg, keeping the bottom leg straight on the bed, it’ll create more of a curve to your body but your body won’t appear as long. Both poses can look great however one will make your body look longer and possibly slimmer, than the other.
If you’re standing up and you want to create a more of an hourglass figure, follow these instructions: Stand tall with your feet together side by side. Shift your weight to one hip and kick your opposite knee forward and toward the other knee. Bonus: If you’re sideways to the camera, you’re going to want to shift your weight to the back hip and bend the front knee in so that your weight is shifted away from the camera, making your waist appear smaller.
As for feet, when in doubt (and especially in laying down poses) keep those toes pointed. If you’re standing, you can fake the benefit of wearing heels by just getting up on your tippy toes. Your bum will tighten and appear to sit higher, and your legs will appear tighter and longer as well.
I hope this posing guide helped you to prepare for your boudoir session! Boudoir sessions are meant to be fun and liberating, not nerve wrecking, and preparation can help.
These are many of the pointers I share with clients right at the start of the session so they know what they can expect to hear from me throughout our time together. Hearing these instructions right off the bat gives them the knowledge they need to move thoughtfully and confidently throughout the session. Do you have a question feel free to reach out to me directly or if you want to share your thoughts feel free to comment below.
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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