How This Got Started
I was browsing photo galleries on the website of our business mentor, Cassandra Spiegelhoff, owner of C.mae Design in Burlington, Wisconsin, (Hey, Cassandra!), and I loved what I saw in her boudoir file. The next time that we met up, she convinced me that if I was interested in shooting this unique style, I would have to undergo the experience as the woman being photographed in order to understand how my clients would feel. Although I had not intended to be a model, she made a good point, and I knew that I would have to suck it up (literally) if I wanted any credibility as a boudoir photographer.
Leading up to the shoot, I experienced anxiety that my clients probably also feel on varying levels. I wanted to lose weight and get toned, but with a full-time job, graduate school, and a photography business, who had time for that? I was also anxious about my “outfits,”–if that’s the right word for the barely-there garb. I needed items that would look nice in photos, reflect my personality, and most importantly, make me feel great.
After that meeting with Cassandra, we did a practice shoot at home with Mark behind the camera and me trying to recreate poses that I saw in Cassandra’s gallery. I wore what I thought women would wear for a boudoir shoot—a black, lacy bra with matching underpants. These items did not reflect my personality, and unsurprisingly, the photos ended up looking awkward and unlike me.
For my boudoir shoot with Cassandra, I knew that a dark kind of sexy was not for me. Instead, I wore 3 outfits: a white, linen nightie with eyelets and an open back; a lace, ivory bra with a very vintage look; and a dusty rose-colored bralette. These, along with hair extensions and a stunning floral crown that my crafty sister-in-law made, got my bohemian look on point. Since I felt like myself and I knew I was looking good, my photos turned out amazingly.
Because of my modeling experience with Cassandra, I had major realizations about the boudoir art form, my body, and myself. Boudoir does not have to be dark or involve a bed; rather, it is about women celebrating their vitality. I also learned:
- You can be as naked or as covered as you want
- Any kind of body can look great in photos
- Similarly, you don’t need to lose weight—you are beautiful now
- Tons of photo tips and tricks to make you look your best
Fast forward to right now, and I’ve photographed three boudoir shoots and learned even more while I was behind the camera. Let me break it down.
Insights from a New Boudoir Photographer
1. Each woman approaches the session differently.
It’s so fascinating that I can ask two different women to get into a pose, and their photos will look completely different. It makes your photos a unique reflection of you.
2. It’s totally possible to avoid trouble areas.
Many people have parts of their bodies that they don’t feel comfortable showing in photos, especially semi-naked ones. I have a catalogue of poses to avoid legs, butts, guts, or whatever it is that you want to hide.
3. Sessions are a blast.
We’ll listen to music and sip some drinks to celebrate your beauty.
4. It’s empowering.
All of my clients admitted that initially, they felt nervous, but once the session was underway, they loosened up and felt beautiful and powerful, and even more so when they saw their photos. One client disclosed that she would see boudoir photos on Pinterest and envy the sexy women, but after her experience being photographed, she realized that she is “as hot as any of those bitches.”
Photographing semi-naked women may be my calling. There is something really special about giving women the opportunity to see their beauty on full display, especially those who are lacking confidence. I definitely belonged in this camp, and it was liberating to see myself looking “bomb,” as people say. This is not to say that boudoir is exclusively women who need to overcome their body issues; those who are fortunate to be aware of how smokin’ they are will also be amazed to see their bodies as art.
My girl Gloria Steinem said, “Each individual woman’s body demands to be accepted on its own terms.” In other words, boudoir is for everyone: the confident, the insecure, and all the ladies in between. Contact me to talk about your boudoir session, and let me know if you like red or white wine.