When I created a studio in my home to shoot boudoir, I was SO EXCITED. I wanted to book all the sessions right away! But one thing I have learned in the past six years as a full time photographer is this: slow down, take your time, and do your research. I have been shooting boudoir for my entire photography career, but one thing I hadn't done in years was get my own photos taken.
I wanted to be on the other side of the lens. Why? Not just for pretty photos and a gift for my husband (although those were bonuses!) But to feel what my clients feel, and see the experience through their eyes. So I went for it. ....and here is what I learned:
1. Beauty: Get Pro Makeup, (...and do your nails + wash your feet)
Guys I cannot stress this enough: Getting a professional to do your makeup can make or break your experience. First of all it sets a relaxing tone for the session, giving you time to breathe and calm your nerves (and have a few sips of champagne haha) Second, for me it gave me a huge confidence boost right off the bat going into the session feeling super glam! And lastly because you will have a flawless finish and love the way you look in the photos! The good news is that pro makeup (from some of my favorite makeup artists) comes with EVERY boudoir session with me!
Now, about those feet and hands. I learned these lessons the hard way so I am warning you up front: first of all, you are going to be surprised how often your hands are in these photos, so get your nails done (don't be like me and scramble to find a 60 second dry polish 5 mins before). As for feet, this sounds gross but just wash the bottom of your feet. Again, it is super surprising how often this part of you will show, and you don't want to have stains on your heels from rocking 3 year old dirty flip flops before your session (like me lol).
2. Comfort zone: Get out of It (...but then get back in again)
What this means: During your session, you should be a little bold and take a risk on an edgier look. But on the flip side, you also need to feel comfortable and be yourself. My suggestion on how to do allll of those things at once: careful outfit planning. Start wearing the outfit you feel most confident in. Once your start to relax, change into something out of your comfort zone. For my session, I ended up in fishnets and a velvet shirt at the end and those are seriously some of my favorite photos because it felt very "me". So I definitely think you should save the most comfortable and "you" outfit for last!
3. Wardrobe Choices: Flattering > Trendy (...and quality over quantity)
I enjoy fashion and staying current with styles that are trending. But for my boudoir session, I made the mistake of ordering a few trendy outfits for myself that just were not flattering to my body type. I wore one of them anyway because I loved the outfit, even though it did nothing for my curves... and unfortunately, those were not my favorite photos of the session. Lesson learned: stick to lingerie and outfits that flatter *your* unique body shape. Also: think quality over quantity. It takes time to pose thoughtfully and it takes time to change outfits. Would you rather have some amazing poses in the best outift(s) or would you rather have rushed photos in lots of outfits? Skip extra lingerie you chose “just because”, and focus on wearing only your favorite pieces.
4. Personality: BE YOU.
This may seem like a no brainer, but guys: show your personality. I see so many sexy ladies that do the most amazing serious, pensive facial expressions and I really wanted to emulate that during my own session. But guess what? Boudoir, just like any other photography, isn't a one size fits all. Do I like those images of me trying to do a serious pose? Hell yes. However, the ones I also love are ones where I am laughing, smiling and smirking, wearing casual cutoffs and holding a bottle of fireball hahaha. Why? Because that is my personality and it feels good to also have photos accurately represent *me*. So, the bottom line is: be yourself, don't be what you think you should be just because you are shooting boudoir.
5. Posing: Listen to the pro (...and practice in the mirror)
"Listen to the pro" sounds obvious, but it doesn't feel obvious when you are in front of the camera. That's because with boudoir, you're going to be asked to move in ways you never do in real life, and you are going to wonder if it looks as ridiculous as it feels. Spoiler alert: it looks amazing! Boudoir posing is probably going to be one of the weirdest experiences of your life, but that doesn't mean it can't look hot AF, be super fun and feel comfortable.
As for the part about practicing, don't worry, I am not expecting you to pose yourself or even practice posing yourself. But what I do think you should take a peek at in the mirror is your facial expressions! Remember above how I said I really felt weird trying to do that pensive serious look? Well, I should have practiced it to see if I even liked that expression. I think it is worth looking at your expressions and taking note of the ones that make you feel the most badass. For me it happens to be a big grin. I can help you with facial expressions as well, but doing a little practice run on your own can't hurt!
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