Time to Get Ready for Your Shoot!
Hello, Beautiful! I am SO excited to be photographing you! I tend to over-communicate with my clients so they know exactly how to prepare and exactly what to expect throughout the whole process... so this is a lengthy page. Don’t have time to read the whole thing? No worries — scroll to the bottom for your homework assignment and a quick summary of the most important tips!
Exactly what kind of images are you hoping to walk away from your session with? Do you find yourself drawn to anonymous images that show off the body? Portraits? Editorial? It can be very difficult to articulate your own style, so instead, the first thing I’d like you to do is to create a "secret" Pinterest board for your boudoir session. We'll first both have to be following each other, so go ahead and "follow" me HERE, and I'll follow you back. Then, you'll have to "invite" me to your board so I can see it (@BrooklynBoudoir or Search Brooklyn Boudoir under People). Once that's done, I want you to create a Pinterest Board labeled "(YOUR NAME) Boudoir." It's very important that you include your first & last name, so I know who is who. Then, without overthinking it, I want you to pin anything that speaks to you and your style. I have lots of boards on my page for you to reference, you can venture out into Pinterest to find inspiration or pin images directly from my website!
Try to turn off your fear and over-thinking at this point. Don't think things like, "OHH that's so beautiful but I would NEVER be able to pull that off" or "I WISH I could look like that!" That's not the point of this exercise. After pinning 25 or so images, I will very easily be able to get a visual of your style and the type of boudoir you are interested in. Do you like sweet, bright and bubbly images or are you more dark, moody and seductive? Do you like shots that capture the entire body, or more abstract close ups and teaser shots? We'll find out together! The purpose of this is NOT to find photos to replicate. This is for finding inspiration and for me to understand the kind of images you really like so I can deliver a set of photos that are your style, so long as it matches up with what I have to offer.
You’ll also find a Hair and Makeup board on my pinterest page — go ahead and pin a couple of the looks that speak to you so I have a sense of the level of glam you are looking for. We of course will also discuss this with the hair and makeup artist on the day of your shoot.
If you are not a Pinterest user, you can also send me some photos via email.
Next, we'll want to determine where your shoot will be held. Many of my clients prefer to have their sessions in their own homes, where they feel most comfortable and have access to all of their clothes and shoes. I am happy to come to you! Otherwise, I will rent a studio or hotel room that vibes with your style.
Coming in from out of town? Let me know and I'll send you our Guide to NYC so you can make the most out of your visit.
Many women feel stressed about what to wear to their photoshoot. But HONESTLY (and I'm not exaggerating here), wardrobe is really not that important for the way that I shoot. My boudoir style is more effortless, "I'm-not-trying-too-hard-chic," and we go for the "I woke up like this" look as often as possible. So please, don't stress out over wardrobe. Don't feel the need to run out and buy all new things. I can do a completely versatile and awesome shoot with a single scarf, or the sheets, or a cardigan. Truly. Don't stress about it.
Here are some wardrobe tips to calm your nerves and help you decide what to bring:
*THE NUMBER ONE BOUDOIR WARDROBE RULE IS: Don't overthink it! We will make you look fabulous no matter what you choose to wear!! I can literally do an entire session with nothing but the sheets!
*Here are some ideas for stress-free wardrobe that you already have in your closet.
* Do NOT bring outfits that you don't love! If you don't like the outfit, you won't like photos of you in the outfit. Leave it at home!
*Lingerie is NOT a must! Don't be afraid to get creative! A garter belt and thigh high fishnets can look great with a cropped sweater or graphic tee. A gorgeous bra can be paired with a long flowing skirt, or with jeans! Your favorite tank top can be paired with no pants! Do not feel obligated to run out and by a whole slew of new things for this shoot unless you want to pamper yourself a little extra. ;) The point is, don't freak out too much over acquiring new wardrobe.
*If opting for lingerie, I recommend going to a local lingerie boudoir to have yourself properly fitted. Maison Close is an amazing lingerie shop in Soho that offers all Brooklyn Boudoir clients 30% off their purchase, and will help find the right lingerie for you. Sugar Cookies in Chelsea is another great option for personalized help. OR if you're interested in online ordering, True & Co has a really amazingly helpful website and quiz that will help you determine what styles and sizes work best for you.
*Structured pieces and solids look great on camera. So do items with texture, and those that fit snugly, without pinching your skin.
*If wearing thigh-highs, buy them 1-2 sizes TOO BIG according to the chart on the back! Buying them in a size that supposedly "fits" according to the package size chart will likely result in the stockings giving a bit of thigh muffin top. We can get them to stay up for each pose, or you can wear a garter belt to keep them from slipping.
*Have several outfits and accessories picked out and we can go through them together before you shoot to determine what will photograph best. We will typically have time for 3 different outfits in a one & a half hour session -- 1 for every 30 minutes. If you're nervous, feel free to bring one "beauty" outfit to start with. This can be a low cut sparkly dress, or a curve hugging bodysuit with a flowy skirt. We’ll shoot the more covered up looks first so you can get comfortable in front of the camera before you start losing articles of clothing!
*Try to incorporate a variety of pieces into your wardrobe selections. Having 5 different bra & panty sets won't allow for a whole lot of variety in your photos. Rather, have something formal, something casual, something super textured and fun, something black and sleek... you get the idea. You can add on additional 30 minute sets for extra outfits if the schedule allows! Just ask for details.
*Most colors photograph well EXCEPT fluorescent colors and sometimes orange & turquoise. If you like red, look for a deeper red - something not too bright. Black is always classic and looks good on everyone.
*Make sure your wardrobe selections aren't wrinkled, and please cut all the tags off your sheer lingerie!
*Only bring items that are clean. A tired bra, shirt or undies will still look tired in your photos.
*No costumes or military apparel, please. They tend to be more "themey" and are not the style or photography I specialize in.
*Consider ARTISTIC NUDES for a super easy, low maintenance and FREE wardrobe option!
FLATTERING ALL FIGURES WITH WARDROBE
All women are beautiful -- I truly believe this!! Curves, no curves, all shapes, all sizes, all are beautiful. I often get questions from clients saying, "I'm curvy - so what should I wear?" or "I have no butt!" Here are a few tips based on the most common "issues" I hear from women and how to enhance your features with wardrobe.
*Curvy Bodies - Corsets work wonders at creating a beautiful hourglass shape. A good corset should give your body a hug without cutting off circulation or pushing your skin elsewhere. Also, BODYSUITS! They look amazing on everyone and you can find them everywhere: H&M, Charlotte Russe, Journalle... high end or not they always look great! If you are worried about showing too much skin, consider shapewear: body skimming slips give a romantic, vintage feel, high-waisted bottoms are super on trend right now and can be worn with a bra for a modern look. A plain white tank with lacy undies or a beautiful robe over a bra & panty set are two other great choices. The key is that items should be snug but not too tight. Avoid loose-fitting clothing which mask curves.
*Flat Butts - Opt for panties that are ruffled on the backside, which add a lot of fun dimension. Also "hipster" type bottoms, when adjusted properly, will enhance the natural curve of your cheeks. Thongs always make a butt look fuller than full-coverage briefs. Play around in the mirror with different styles to see what you like the best. And don't worry - I'm a PRO at creating curves in posing where there aren't any otherwise! I can get a killer booty shot with any level of curve (or lack thereof). See above photo for proof - this client claimed to have a flat butt :)
*Shorter Legs - High heels with a THIN heel rather than a chunky one! Avoid shoes with ankle straps or a square toe. Nude shoes naturally elongate the legs. high cut and high waisted briefs also draw the eye up.
*Thin/no curves - Again, a corset to create shape! We will create a lot of curve with strategic lighting and posing too. Also, BODYSUITS! I love them for all figures! Check out Morgan Lane for some sweet styles. I also love patterned tights if you love your legs.
*Small Chest - HEYYY GIRLLL! Fellow flat chested chick here! (I even blogged about it!) If your small chest bothers you, opt for push up bras, chicken cutlets and lingerie with structure. Just make sure your bra tops fit properly WITH any inserts you have in mind. Or, you can embrace them with tiny, lacy bras that only those less-endowed can rock. Find more suggestions in this blog post.
*Large Breasts - A properly fitted bra is a must! Structure & support are key. An underwire + push up is a great idea for those who have had a child or two (If you aren't sure what I'm talking about, I'm sure you haven't had children yet) ;) Etched makes great bras for larger busts.
*Expectant Mothers - a long gown, a lacy robe that reveals the tummy, a simple tank top with briefs are all good options. So is a transitional bra & panty set, and the now-classic "Demi Moore" nude! I'll often bring some long, sheer fabric we can play with on maternity shoots as well.
3 Lingerie Stores I LOVE:
Sugar Cookies: 122 W 20th St. Lots of beautiful styles at a variety of price points, and the sweetest, most helpful salespeople who will also fit you for a bra!
Maison Close: 32 Grand St. More racy styles from France. 30% off your purchase by mentioning Brooklyn Boudoir.
Burgundy Fox: Online resource that now offers Boudoir boxes — 3 looks custom packed for you based on a style profile. Inclusive of all sizes. Use code: brooklyboudoir for 15% off your first purchase.
Check out my Pinterest Page for more wardrobe suggestions.
WHAT TO AVOID
*Tiny, busy patters as well as neon colors are often harsh on camera and a bit unflattering so try to avoid them.
*Avoid anything too loose in the lingerie department. If you are gong with a big sweater with nothing underneath, then yes, it should be baggy. But a flowing nightie will usually be pinned back by me to show off your curves anyhow! For this reason I usually recommend avoiding babydoll lingerie.
CULTIVATING SEX APPEAL
I'll coach you every step of the way, and remind you of all of these items once we are on set, but here are a few tips you can keep in mind when it comes to looking & feeling good in front of the camera. These are good tips for daily life as well!
*Trust the Power of Attraction! Women have been the muses of artists & have been considered beautiful by men and women alike for ages... and certainly before the invention of Photoshop! Stretch Marks, Cellulite, or Size Sexy Curves do not change that. Trust that your viewer appreciates it all. Sensuality is in a woman's attitude -- any boldness, playfulness and enjoyment of your body will read beautifully on camera and will feel great personally. I'll be your cheerleader if you need the extra boost!
*Focus on Feeling. When a woman feels sexy, she looks sexy. On set I will encourage you to focus on feeling good. How you move, dress, undress, touch your body, even how you breathe should be guided by what feels good to you. I encourage you to create a playlist or bring along some of your favorite songs to help you relax and enjoy.
*Flirt! Think of the camera as someone you desire. Be playful, and allow a bit of shyness to come through from time to time. Smile with your eyes (or "SMIZE" in the words of Tyra Banks). Besides looking sexy, flirting is fun!
*Be Confident. This one may be easier said than done, but confidence is one of the most important steps in creating allure. Confidence is the sexiest thing a woman can wear -- you can pull off just about anything if you do it with self-assurance. If your condense is faltering, fake it! Remember to stay focused on your positive attributes. I do not allow any negative self-talk on set.
*Have fun! Very few of us are lingerie models or movie stars that spend their lives at the gym -- and who cares?? We ALL deserve to be celebrated. So for a few hours, let yourself go and embrace your beautiful, brave, and badass self. You will shine regardless of your body type or if you have a zit that day. You will be radiant because you will be YOU. ;)
OVERALL DOS & DON'T
*Get your beauty sleep! Seriously! Photoshop can't fix tired.
*Brush your lips - sounds weird, I know! Dry lips are very hard to fix in post processing. In the days leading up to your photoshoot, use your toothbrush while brushing your teeth to also make a few passes over your lips. This will help shed dead skin and make your lips smoother. After that apply a moisturizing lip balm and repeat, repeat, repeat.
*Make it an opportunity to pamper yourself! A few days before your shoot get a manicure and pedicure. This will give you a finished, polished look. No polish is ok too, but chipped polish will be distracting and can be difficult to fix after the fact.
*Drink lots of water leading up to your shoot to make your skin extra glow-y.
*Lather on the lotion! Supple is key for beautiful skin. Be sure to moisturize twice a day for the week leading up to your shoot. On the day of your shoot, use a non-bronzer illumining lotion. I LOVE Pacifica's coconut crushed pearl lotion but it's discontinued and difficult to find. Olay Quench with Shimmer is a good alternative, and so is Pretty Peaushun Skin Tight Body Lotion in "Plain." If you're having a hard time finding an illuminating lotion without color, you can absolutely go with an oil based lotion like Argon Oil Moisturizer or Coconut Oil Moisturizer. Don't use tined lotions or anything with color.
*Have extra wardrobe options! Have at least 3-4 different outfits pulled, a couple of pairs of shoes, and accessories handy. We won't use it all, but it's best to have options as some things will photograph better than others. Revisit the wardrobe section above for more tips.
*Be ready early. Nothing puts a damper on a fun and relaxing photo shoot like feeling rushed or late! You should plan for traffic and arrive about 5 minutes before your scheduled start time.
*Make a playlist! Music will really help you get into the super model zone!! Try to select music that matches the concept of your shoot. We have a bluetooth speaker to treat your tunes if you bring them! We also have a pretty kickass boudoir playlist that tends to jive well with most people.
*Wear a lightweight, soft clothing to your shoot (even go commando if you can!) This will allow any marks from tight bras or undies to even out so they don't show up in your images.
*Remove any visible tags from your lingerie. It is best not to worry about hiding them or needing to edit them out.
*Be sure to eat the morning of your shoot - you’ll want to be focused on the shoot, not on feeling hungry, and contrary to popular belief, you won't look any bigger in your photos with a small meal in your stomach. It will go a long way in keeping your energy up! Protein especially is key.
*Have a mani-pedi a day or two before the shoot and be sure the color works with the look you are going for. Sheer nudes always look classic, as is red. White polish and dark shades also photograph well and draw attention to your hands. No time or mani/pedi not your thing? Not a problem - the most important thing is that your nails are clean and groomed, and that any polish you are wearing is not chipped. I can’t retouch chipped nail polish in a believable way.
*Trust me. I won't make you do anything that you are uncomfortable with and I will never make you look bad. I am a pro. I've been doing this for a long time and I know how to make a woman look good with killer poses, strategic lighting and appropriate camera angles. I've worked with every body type and typical insecurity. I've done shoots with women on their period. Whatever your worry, try not to stress -- I've got you covered.
*No spray tans before your shoot please! I know you think that you look better with a tan, but I assure you, even if you don't see the streaks and unevenness with your naked eye, the camera will pick them up. You will photograph a lot more tan that you think you look, and a spray tan will photograph orange. Trust me on this!! On that same note, no tinted lotions or bronzers on your body!
*Go ahead and have a wax or grooming for your brows, upper lip, and bikini area if you so choose, BUT don’t go for a wax or attack yourself with your tweezers the day before your shoot! Plan this three days to a week in advance of your session to give any angry red bumps a chance to subside.
*No alcohol the night before! If you're nervous, try a bubble bath and a yoga class. Hangovers aren't sexy.
*On that same note, no red wine before your shoot, even as an effort to calm your nerves! It will stain your lips and teeth. A little bit of bubbly to soothe anxiety is understandable (and fun) but know that I set a firm 2 drink limit for my clients the day of their shoot. Champagne and white wine are good options because they won't stain your mouth. You're welcome to bring a bottle with you to your shoot. I’ll have non-alcoholic refreshments for you.
*Don't get a new haircut/color immediately before your shoot. Even "just" a trim can sometimes go awry, so be sure to schedule your hair appointments at least 2 weeks before.
*NO NEGATIVE SELF-TALK ALLOWED!! Once we start shooting, I don't want to hear about how you hate your hips -- I want to hear about how you LOVE your legs. A great attitude goes a long way in having a fabulous and upbeat experience. HOWEVER, if you really feel the need to discuss the thing that bothers you the most about your body, just let me know by saying, "I love my ___ but my biggest insecurity is my ___." I will be extra careful to play down your "flaws"... but I will ALSO make it my challenge to take the best damn image featuring your ____ so you have a newfound appreciation for it ;)
WHAT TO EXPECT
A couple of days before your shoot, you can expect to get an email confirmation from me confirming your start time, your hair/makeup preferences, end time, and location... and you can let me know if you have any last minute questions!
On the day of your shoot, your makeup will either be done by you before hand, or by my glam squad (as decided in our pre-shoot consultations). Please arrive with your face clean and moisturized and your hair dry & clean (Second day hair is ok too). Make sure you wear loose-fitting clothing on the morning of your shoot! While you're getting done up, I will take a peek at your wardrobe selections and start putting together looks so we can hit the ground running when you're done in makeup! Once you're done with makeup, you can get into your first look and throw a robe over it.
Once the shoot begins, you can expect me to give you gentle direction. I will not expect you to super model pose throughout your shoot. I will show you what to do and will encourage improvising whenever you feel comfortable. I will also get into the poses first so all you have to do is copy me! I will say and do things to elicit laughter whenever possible too... so be prepared (or don't, actually. It's better that way) ;)
The poses generally aren't very comfortable and your shoot will give you more of a workout (and appreciation for models) that you anticipate. But I assure you, I know what I'm doing. Get a good stretch in the morning of your session dn the evening after your session. A couple of ibuprofen might need to happen for those lower back aches, but it will all be worth it!
Your shoot time will FLY by. That's a good thing! That means it wasn't awkward or boring, just the right amount of fun! We will sit down with our calendars after the shoot to schedule your reveal, which typically occurs 2-3 weeks later. This is when you see all of your images and decide which ones you’d like to keep. Any additional products ordered during your photo viewing are entitled to 10% off, so you should come prepared to place your order. The most popular add-ons are album upgrades, 11x14 matted prints, 20x30 metal wall art and a USB drive of ALL of your edited photos.
Within a few days of your shoot, I will email you a teaser image with a referral voucher that you can pass on to your friends. Anyone who books before your reveal with earn them a discount off their shoot and earn YOU a discount off any additional products you offer. WIN-WIN!
SO….what are you worried about?
It happens all the time…a client’s photo shoot is a few days away and she begins to panic. I get a terrified e-mail in the middle of the night begging for me to talk them off the ledge. They want to cancel, they just haven’t had the time to prepare, you name the excuse, I’ve heard it. So let me be proactive here and tackle the most common trepidations I hear, so that maybe you won’t be hyperventilating in the middle of the night on the day before your session.
*STRESS ACNE. Yeah, it happens. Pimples suck. If you think for one second that every woman you see pictured on my website was magically pimple-free on the day of their session, you’re taking crazy pills. We retouch blemishes and bruises with ease on every photo you see. No problem. No stress. Let that pimple try it’s hardest to ruin your day, but your photos will not be a permanent reminder of it. I once had a client who was in a motorcycle accident a week before her shoot — one side of her body was completely bruised and scabbed over. She’s on my instagram and website, and you would never know.
*All that said, I will not OVER-Photoshop you. I will clean up your skin to make you look like you’re having the best skin day ever, but I will not erase all of your smile lines or make you look like plastic. If you have any concerns about retouching, let’s discuss them prior to your shoot.
*BODY ISSUES. I long for the time that women are comfortable in their skin at all stages, for the time that women embrace their wobbly bits and beautiful side creases. That said, I know women well enough to be realistic and understand that many women struggle with self love, and no matter how much I tell them they are beautiful, they wish they would have lost just a few more pounds before their session. For those women, I can assure you, it’s not my first rodeo. The majority of the women that come in to see me are working on loving themselves, but struggle. They don’t approve of the size of their thighs, their belly pooch, their dimples. I take women’s feelings very seriously and never want to make anyone uncomfortable. While this is a body positive studio, I will also light and pose you in the most flattering possible way while I shoot you from the best possible angles.
I’ve photographed all kinds of women, all of whom are extraordinary in their own way. I’ve learned all the tricks to ensure that I am featuring the attributes that women most love about themselves, while paying special care to downplay areas of concern. While I’m going to make it my very best effort to change your mind on what you consider to be your “flaws”, I don’t expect every woman to be ready for that yet.
*POSE ANXIETY. This one’s easy. You don’t have to know how to pose…not even a little bit. I will walk you through every step of the way. I will get into the poses myself and have you mirror me. If we didn’t get it right on the first try, I’ll gently redirect you. It’s not YOUR job to take amazing photos, it’s mine.
*SURGERY SCARS AND STRETCH MARKS. My personal believe is that scars tell a story. Sometimes clients wish they didn’t have to be permanently reminded of that story, and other times, clients embrace their scars and say they’re a part of them. For this reason, I will never edit out a scar or stretch mark unless a client specifically requests it. If you do request that retouching, I will happily do so at no additional charge. This is a VERY personal topic and it’s not my decision to make. I welcome scars and stretch marks, but I also support a woman’s decision to conceal them if they would like!
*BEING THE ONE CLIENT THAT I AM UNABLE TO GET A GOOD PICTURE OF. If you’re thinking that all of the women featured on the pages of my website and social media are models, you’re sorely mistaken. I have NEVER had a client who didn’t love their photos. You don’t have to love EVERY SINGLE ONE of them, but you will love most of them. And you will be shocked that you could love photos of yourself this much. I WILL rock out your photo session and I WILL get a whole bunch of killer images of you. I always do. But if you come into the shoot with an open mind and with trust in me, we’ll get EXTRA. And extra is always good.
*Any questions?? PLEASE don't hesitate to ask! I'm here to help!
Make a private Pinterest Board with boudoir images that inspire you and invite me to it @BrooklynBoudoir
Don’t stress your wardrobe! The most important thing is that you LOVE what you bring and that you bring a variety of options. Be sure to pack a nude strapless bra and nude thong if you have them.
A few important beauty tips leading up to your shoot: Don’t spray tan! Trust me on this! Drink lots of water, get lots of rest the night before, stretch the morning of (your shoot will feel a bit like a workout!), use a non-tinted lotion or moisturizer all over, exfoliate your lips with a washcloth or dry toothbrush, wear loose fitting clothes to the shoot to avoid red marks on the skin, try not to drink the night before, and the day of keep alcohol to 2 drinks max. Also be sure to eat something the morning of your shoot!
Trust me! You will have a great time and we will capture some beautiful images of you!
Fill out the homework assignment below!
I bet you didn't think you'd have to do homework, did you? First, I want you to head over to Pintrest and create a secret board called "(YOUR NAME) Boudoir." Follow me (@BrooklynBoudoir) I'll follow you back, and then invite me to join your board (@BrooklynBoudoir or search Brooklyn Boudoir under People). I want you to spend some time pinning boudoir images that speak to you. See my tip on this above in the "Planning" suggestions. Don't put too much thought into your pins, I just want to get a general idea of your boudoir style. If you don't have a Pintrest account and don't feel like creating one, then just email me a sampling of about 10-20 different boudoir images you've found online that you like.
Next, please include a photo of yourself in which you LOVE the way your hair & makeup look on your pintrest board, or email it to me, and tell me why you love it so much.
Finally, complete this form, and be sure to sign up for my monthly Insider’s newsletter — nearly every month I offer a little something special to my subscribers and past clients, from discounts on products, VIP shoot days, or specials are various NYC shops. Find it on the sidebar of my blog page here.
Any questions, feel free to reach out! I'm looking forward to working with you!