With Valentine’s Day around the corner – ’tis the season to get sassy! You may have heard about a trendy, sexy phenomena known as the Boudoir photoshoot.
Boudoir photos are typically used as a creative and sassy gift for a loved one, for a special occasion or just for fun. The most popular occasion is for your fiance as a pre-wedding or honeymoon present – talk about a wedding gift he won’t forget!
I think that the most appealing thing about a boudoir photo is that it gives you an opportunity to celebrate yourself – the sassy gift is just the perfect excuse. You can look back on these images anytime – way in the future or when you’re just having one of those days.
Ask your wedding photographer if he or she also does boudoir shoots. Male photographers typically don’t offer this service, though there are some that do and it’s completely whatever you are comfortable with.
The best way to find your boudoir photographer is to ask your friends. Boudoir photography is very popular and chances are that someone you know has already done a session and would have some excellent advice for you. Whether it’s word of mouth, online or in publication, it’s important to go with a photographer that you have a good feeling about – quality of their work and personality.
How do I prepare for a shoot like this?
In advance of having these photos taken, I would recommend stretching first as arching the back may be strenuous if you are not used to it. Girls will usually have an appreciation for modeling after this – it’s a bit like power yoga. Be sure to notify your photographer if you have any physical limitations.
I would also recommend having your hair and makeup professionally done – it will give you a confidence boost and help get you into character – not to mention it’s lots of fun and you can use your bridal trial for this or test-run a potential wedding day stylist. Your photographer will likely have someone in mind. Go a bit over the top with the hair and makeup – false lashes and some extra eyeshadow. Your reflection will shock you, but the camera will see it much more tame.
What Can I expect?
A bride’s expectations should be to feel amazing and relaxed during the shoot, and be pleased with the results, as the photos will most likely exceed your expectations. As women, we tend to focus on our physical flaws. As photographers, we see you differently, and put you in a light and angle that will highlight your assets and cause you to appreciate yourself.
For this reason, I would not recommend being very specific about poses for your shoot. Though if you have something very specific in mind, definitely explain your vision, or provide the image of inspiration.
Trust in your photographer is the most important thing, especially in a shoot of this nature. Some poses will feel silly and exaggerated, though just like the hair and makeup, the camera needs exaggeration in some positions to make it work. Just laugh at yourself and unleash your inner vixen.
Investments vary among photographers based on experience, quality, length of shoot and services. The average range is $300-800. The shoot itself will typically last one hour.
An experienced photographer will know exactly what they are going for, enabling them to pose you effortlessly as well as utilizing the entire surroundings for optimum variety in your images. If the photographer is confident, you will feel confident and at ease during the shoot. Some photographers offer options like a hair and makeup stylist, hotel room setting, and albums.
Above all, be sure to choose a photographer with work that speaks to you and makes you feel something.
Where does it happen?
Most photographers will have a studio setting available or an option to rent one. Many photographers come to your house and photograph you in the comfort of your own home, or a friend’s home (if it’s a sweetheart surprise!).
With portable studio lights, anywhere is a studio! Hotels are extremely popular, and your photographer may have an affiliation with one. It has a more artistic feel without the studio background, and I recommend doing it on location instead.
The most common question – What should I wear (or rather, not wear)?
Wear anything that makes you feel sexy or confident. Corsets, garters, swimsuits, funky lingerie, pearls and heels are popular. Sometimes we will incorporate a prop that relates to the husband/boyfriend/partner.
For example, don an apron for your chef or hug a guitar for your musical beau. Some popular themes are Cowgirl (cowboy hat and boots), pin-up (vintage lingerie + red lipstick), and the man-shirt (or sports jersey).
Talk to me about the airbrushing!
The #1 reason why women are hesitant about doing a boudoir shoot is because they can’t believe that they would know how to pose, or could look sexy in front of the camera. This is understandable because it’s the unknown, it’s natural to feel anxious when you’ve never modeled before – It’s not unusual to take a swig of wine or tequila shot before you get your bearings!
The truth is, as long as you’re relaxed and having fun, you’re going to look great! If you feel you would not suit a boudoir shoot because you are older or heavier – pish posh. I once did a groupon deal for boudoir photo shoots and shot over 200 in one year. During that time, I had the pleasure to photograph all different shapes, sizes and ages – just last week I photographed a boudoir with a 65 year old (and she rocked it).
Everyone feels sexy after a shoot like this! I promise you will be surprised with how comfortable you will feel, and how much fun it actually is!
Photoshop doesn’t hurt either! I edit the images like I would edit myself – conscious of small bulges and skin retouching but nothing major as I like to preserve your natural beauty.
Posing Sexy 101
Your photographer will be with you every step of the way – instructing you into the correct angles and poses, right to your fingertips.
I even have names for certain poses: when your eyebrows shoot up and you get those forehead wrinkles, I call that the “boudoir nemesis” (it sneaks up on everyone). To counteract, tilt up your chin and focus on lifting your eyelashes instead of the brows.
“The Turtle” is where you roll both shoulders forward into a concave position, hug yourself and rest your chin on your shoulder. This is great for those elegant bare-back shots.
Whenever you touch the furniture or your body, raise your wrist slightly, keeping the fingers straight, I call it “the pet”. It gives your hands and arms a dainty and feminine shape.
Always keep your neck long and relaxed, and arch your back.
Arching your back is like shoulder-checking, if you feel like you are doing it too much, you’re probably not doing it enough!
Finally, the secret to the sexy face is actually quite simple. Relax your entire face into your street-walking no-expression. Then, tilt your head slightly to one side and let your lips part. Try it a few times in the mirror, and, as Tyra says, don’t forget to “smize”!
Can you say Staggette?
This makes a great staggette activity! Some photographers will offer a boudoir stagette package including a hotel room or studio rental, plus professional hair and makeup. The bride usually gets her shoot free if a certain amount of bridesmaids sign up.
After the shoot, you and all your best gals are ready to hit the town with your new makeovers and an amazing experience.
Ideas on how to give this gift to the lucky recipient:
Prints (in random places around the house, medicine cabinet, under pillow or in suitcase etc.)
Canvas Print (some moody abstract photo from your session is the perfect accent to your own boudoir)
If your man travels a lot, email him one during each trip
Can a male do a boudoir shoot?
Each photographer has their own policies on whether or not they do “Dudeoirs” as I like to call them.
I always keep it tasteful and PG. I once did a sexy shoot with a firefighter (sometimes I wonder how I get paid for this…)
For more information and photo examples, check out my boudoir site: http://kgoodphoto.com/#/boudoir/