I have been a boudoir photographer for nearly five years now, have had several boudoir shoots of my own, in addition to all the self-portraits I’ve taken, so I know a thing or two about how you can make the most out of your own boudoir shoot. You may be thinking, “but Stephanie, can’t I just show up and have you tell me what to do?” Of course - and you can trust that you will be in the best of hands, with all the details being worked out for you. BUT with a little bit of preparation on your end, your shoot can be even more personalized which to me, equals a better experience, better photographs and more fun all around. Once you book your boudoir session I will send you a very comprehensive prep guide with tons of details about wardrobe, self-care, and inspiration. But for those of you who aren’t clients yet, here are a few tips on how you can best prepare for your shoot.
I tend to over communicate with my clients because the last thing I want is for them to walk into our shoot feeling unsure about anything. Yes, I will be coaching you the entire time, but to help get to know you and your style better before the shoot I give you a homework assignment so you don’t feel like you are “winging it” on the day. (Didn’t think you’d still have homework as an adult, did you?) ;) One thing that I find particularly helpful is to create an inspiration board with images you love. Pinterest works great for something like this (and you can make a private board so no one needs to see it but you). This helps you hone in on your style visually, even if you don’t have the words to describe what you like verbally. Keep in mind that as you’re creating Pinterest boards, you aren’t trying to completely re-create a specific shot that you see. The point isn’t to bring in an image for us to replicate but instead to help you narrow your focus into a distinct vibes as the inspiration for your own shoot and styling. Here are a few of the images that I grabbed off Pinterest as inspiration for future shoots.
One of the best ways to ensure a great shoot is to consider variety when planning your boudoir looks. Three matching bra & panty sets will not produce as dynamic a set of images as three totally different wardrobe ideas. There are lots of choices for wardrobe, and you can feel free to think outside the box. Maybe you’ll want to shoot in a cozy cardigan, then a bodysuit, then just the sheets. Or maybe your three looks would be a bra and panty set, a garter set and a badass blazer. Jeans, a bathing suit, a leather jacket, even a gown can look amazing. We can talk through the options together in your pre-shoot consultations. The point is, you can feel free to step a little outside your comfort zone, try something new and capture yourself in different looks & moods.
Trust your photographer
It is my passion to make women look amazing and beyond that, FEEL amazing. And it’s my superpower to make women feel comfortable, open and confident in their own skin. So ladies, TRUST ME. I’ve got you and your best interests at heart. And remember — it’s not YOUR job to know what to do, it’s mine. Once you arrive at your shoot, you’ll be pampered in the hair and makeup chair. This is your chance to RELAX and let go. Let go of those in insecurities, let go your negative thoughts, let go of control. I know that for a lot of my clients, this step can be very difficult – because, let’s face it, most of us have a little insecurity about one thing or another. But as soon as you let yourself think about those insecurities during your shoot, you give them power over you. Take back that power and tell yourself to let them go! You’ll have plenty of images to choose from, and I promise that you will love most of them. If there are one or two shots that you don’t love, that’s ok and no one ever has to see them ever again! So during the shoot, allow yourself the freedom to let go and embrace the entire experience. I promise it will be worth it.
Get an album.
I can’t emphasize this enough. You might think that you only want digitals but believe me, those digital images will go to waste. They will sit on your computer and barely get looked at. It’s a totally different story seeing your images in print - so much more powerful and ever lasting. These photos are ART. YOU are art. 20 years from now you will want to look back and remember that day you kicked your insecurities to the curb and felt like your best self. Many women purchase their album as wedding or anniversary gifts (which their partners of course LOVE). But more than just a gift for him, your album is a keepsake for YOU. So feel proud, display those photos, hang them on the wall, and look at your album often. Trust me, you’ll be happy that you did.
Enjoy the experience.
Sure, it can be nerve wracking, but I assure you the anticipation of your shoot will be more stressful than the reality of it. So try to relax and enjoy the experience! Channel that nervous energy into excitement, and do your best to soak in the whole experience. Listen to the music playing, look around at the studio’s environment, have a glass of champagne, chat with the HMU artist, and enjoy getting pampered! Let yourself have fun and you will see, the most difficult part of the entire experience is making the first phone call.
Carry that confidence.
Every so often pull out that album and remember how much fun it was to get glammed-up, feel pampered, and rock your photo shoot. At this very moment while I’m writing this blog post, I am in my PJs… my toddler is alternately sitting on my lap and playing with her toys on the floor at my feet, and I am 8+ months pregnant with baby #2. I’m definitely not feeling my most glamorous right now. BUT, I have one of my old boudoir albums sitting on the table next to my computer and I just glanced through it again. And it feels great. I remember not being sure of myself that day — I was just a few months post-partum, not sleeping through the night and not feeling like i was looking my best. But the photos tell a different story. Which just goes to show that we are always our own worst critics and that sometimes you need to see yourself through someone else’s eyes to believe that. You ARE beautiful. You ARE strong. You ARE a boss, and wife and mom and all the things that make you YOU. It’s not just about putting on false eyelashes and lingerie. It’s more than some sexy poses and pretty photos. What I walked away with, and what I want all of my clients to walk away with is a sense of satisfaction, pride and confidence in myself.
So, my lovelies, as leave your boudoir shoot, I hope that you leave behind your insecurities and feelings of not being ‘enough.’ I hope that you walk away and take with you a renewed sense of confidence in knowing you are beautiful, you are gorgeous, you are enough. You are uniquely YOU, so carry that with you in your everyday life.