When you hear the word boudoir, do you immediately hear the lyrics to the Moulin Rouge song, or am I just old? Boudoir is a French word meaning a woman’s private room. Boudoir photography refers to photography that focuses on intimate, romantic, and erotic images, intended for the private enjoyment of a loved one. In plain speak, it’s a photoshoot of your inner Beyoncé.
Boudoir photography is an ode to your hotness in a way that captures it for perpetuity. Bridal boudoir is the intimate photoshoot a bride does before her wedding for her beloved as a gift. It’s a sexy surprise for your spouse before the wedding to say, “This is all yours now—lucky you!” A lot of ladies love the idea of a boudoir session, especially before their wedding, but the thought of stripping down on camera is terrifying for pretty much everyone. As a longtime boudoir photographer, I'm here to assure you, after the initial anxiety, boudoir sessions are the most fun, and the most requested repeat sessions I do! Here are some tips and a big push from me to give it a shot before your big day.
Sexy Comes in All Shapes & Sizes
The minute most women think about doing a boudoir shoot they have a million complaints about their own body and decide they're way too imperfect for a shoot. They think their boobs are too small, their booty is too flat, their thighs are too big, their stomach is flabby, and so on. I wish those terrible inner voices could see what I see when I’m behind my camera. Sexy is not just one shape. Sexy comes in all sizes, and it's my job as the photographer to bring out every single good angle you’ve got going on. I see your amazing skin, your luscious hair, your amazing legs, and your stunning eyes. My job is to make your body shine, whatever that body looks like. As you're spiraling through all your faults, the camera is finding all those spots that your beloved adores. Boudoir is a peek through the glass, it's not a dressing room with fluorescent lights designed to make you cry in the mirror. I've seen a woman after her double-mastectomy turn up the heat before my camera, scars and all, and she killed it! Boudoir photography is about pulling your inner sex goddess out and celebrating all your greatest assets.
How to Prepare for the Shoot
So how do you pull off an amazing bridal boudoir shoot? The first step is to find a photographer with experience in boudoir and ask to see some full galleries of sample shoots so you see an entire session’s results. The next step is securing great hair and makeup artists. In my opinion, the hair and makeup make the shoot! When you feel good with your hair and makeup done, and your skin is glowing after some experienced stylists have made you full camera-ready, you bring that much more energy to the shoot. As for what to wear, the answer is anything! Some ladies love wearing just their veil, some ladies like a full garter-bustier-fishnet look, some ladies want to sport their love’s favorite jersey, and some ladies just want to roll around in some sheets, there are no wrong answers here. It’s all sexy!
What to Do with Your Photographs
Now that you’ve nailed your shoot, what do you do with the images once you get them back? My favorite boudoir gift is a little black book. Something small in size, so it can be tucked away, with your favorite images inside. Once your fiancé gets your images, I can guarantee they'll be blown away. I can't count the number of thank you emails and messages I've received from spouses after receiving their gifts. I've photographed brides who saved their first kiss for their wedding day (true story!) and handed their fiancé an album that popped his eyes out. I've photographed brides over 45 before their second wedding feeling too old for this, only to knock the socks off us all. One thing I know for sure, whatever you do with the images, your loved one is going to feel like the luckiest person in the world receiving them.
So, who should do a boudoir session before their wedding? Everyone! If you’re curvy, straight, tall, teeny, young, not quite so young, if you have long hair, if you have no hair, if you’re on your first marriage, if you’re on your fifth marriage, then you should do a bridal boudoir shoot! You'll never regret it and I’d bet money that once it’s done, you'll book another shoot for your first anniversary.
All photos courtesy of Plain Jane Photography