While it is customary for newly-engaged couples to book wedding and engagement photography sessions, a whole new world of possibilities hangs over the bride-to-be with the rising trend of the "boudoir" photo shoot.
What exactly is boudoir? The word has come to mean bedroom in modern language, but more specifically, it symbolizes a private safe place for a woman to engage in an activity of her choice. In terms of photography, a boudoir shoot is a sexy session for the bride to pose alone in lingerie--before tying the knot.
Boudoir photographers are very discreet and will NEVER show any of your photos to anyone without your permission. They will offer you a contract stating such. Boudoir is usually done in a woman's own home bedroom or for more elaborate shoots stylish hotel rooms. Some photographers even have boudoir studios set up to look like bedrooms, but I feel that it is best to capture someone in an environment that really represents who they are and what they love. Why has boudoir become associated with wedding photographers? Lately many women have expressed an interest in giving their intended a gift for their wedding day, but really it's for any woman at any time.
But brides face tough questions in deciding whether or not to book a boudoir session: Should I let it all hang out? Will he still love me tomorrow?
I'm here to say yes and yes! Yes for many reasons, some of which a young woman may understand now and some which she will not understand until she hits 50 and her tightly toned triceps just flutter in the breeze. And not everyone is Madonna, so don't even go there.
All young women are beautiful. This is not a cliché, this is nature or God's plan or whatever you want to call it, but it's as true as all babies are beautiful. My best friend is really beautiful, we're talking Angelina Jolie beautiful and there's about a handful of pictures of her in existence. We spoke of it recently and she insisted that no one ever took her photo and I was dumbfounded because everyone TRIED to take her photo and she would put her hand up to block them. I reminded her of this and she looked sad and said, "Oh yeah, why did I do that?"
What is it about youth that makes us insecure during our most powerful phase? There was a time when women had to wear garter belts and stockings to work. Having to wear and choosing to wear are two entirely different things. And not all boudoir is about emulating a Victoria's Secret catalogue. It can be raw and natural and real. Girlie or butch.
Women think that boudoir is about getting undressed when in reality it's about getting dressed. You're getting ready to show your best self. You may start with a long hot bath. Next comes hair and makeup. Next comes the "lingerie" which is just a fancy word for bra and panties. And what I tell women is to pick something really comfy to put on next like sweats. You don't want to feel like you are peeling out of your clothes after a long hard day at the office. Instead when you come to your shoot, you slip off your sweats to reveal the true beauty concealed inside.
A client who I'll call "Jane" was very interested in doing a boudoir shoot but was afraid of her husband's reaction--or lack thereof. She thought that he didn't want to see her in a sexual way--not that he didn't think she was sexy--she just thought that he may be indifferent or negative. She was a natural model having been photographed many times in her life. She didn't want to bring her husband to the edit session, which is fine. Instead, she didn't show him anything until she had her final print. Let me tell you, her reaction was a complete turn-around. She said that her husband looked at her in a way that she felt he never had before. She believed it opened up a new dimension in their relationship, not really based on sex, but he saw her as more confident in her own skin and that surprised and delighted him.
Women often say they'll need a few drinks to pose. Maybe, maybe not. I wouldn't want someone to strike a pose that was totally out of character for her, based on one drink too many. A good photographer will guide your poses and help you find your best self. Relaxation will flow organically.
Are you a natural or are you a primper? Be yourself! The same should ring true for your wedding day. I've seen brides without a stitch of makeup and others who are completely airbrushed. It has to be right for you. All the wedding blogs have "inspiration" boards--and what is inspiration? According to my dictionary, it's the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something.
And isn't that why we fall in love--to feel something--to be inspired by our partner?
Feministas stand proud and reveal your beauty. Boudoir is not about nudity. Boudoir is about art. Take a stroll through any museum and see the many women captured for eternity by the greatest artists of all time. Find an artist that can capture you!
Click through the slideshow below to see examples of boudoir photography. All photos courtesy Mia Elle Studios.