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.
Honest and Humbling Moment in my years of doing Boudoir Photography
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?
The Definition of Confidence
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 is Nervous Coming into their boudoir photography session
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!
1. You Deserve to be Pampered
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.
2. You’ll look amazing!
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.
3. You’re Going To Grow Into Feeling Comfortable In Your Own Skin.
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.
4. It Makes A Great Gift For Your Groom, Significant other, or BFF.
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.
5. It Makes A Great Gift For You!
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.
6. You’re Already Working It For The Wedding.
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!
7. You Get To Go Shopping!
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.
8. Make It A Girl’s Day Out!
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.
9. It Will Empower You.
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.
10. It’s A Great Way To Celebrate A Milestone.
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.
11. Everyone Wants To Be A Celebrity For A Day.
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.
12. Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone. One of my favorite quotes:
“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?
13. Someone Thinks You Are Beautiful Just The Way You Are.
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.
14. You’ll Get To See Yourself From Someone Else’s Perspective.
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.
15. It’s An Opportunity To Show A Different Side Of Yourself.
Boudoir is a funny thing. When you do some research, you’ll realize that not all boudoir photography is alike or equal.
- It can be done poorly or well.
- It can show a sliver of skin or a person’s whole nude body.
- It can be high key (bright and white) or low key (dark and shadowy.)
- It can be casual cottons or black leather and lace.
- It’s almost like dressing up in costume, but at the same time, dressing down.
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!