Boudoir Photography's Dirty Little Secret Is
Out — And It's Not So Dirty After All
Sexy, sultry, sophisticated — and totally scary. Boudoir photography
has a rap for being a bit taboo, but that’s really not the case. It’s
one of those things everyone secretly wants to do, but few of us
actually have the guts to book a session. It’s time to put that
stereotype to bed, because a boudoir photography session makes the
perfect gift for your fiancé — and yourself.
The delightful Hilda Burke of Angel Eyes Photography
offered a photo session in the name of educating people on what boudoir
photography is really like. As an intrepid reporter, I dared to bare it
all in order to give you the inside scoop on what it’s like to be in
front of the camera — sans pants.
I never really thought
of myself as one to take my clothes off and have photos
when I decided to schedule an appointment and write this article, I had
mixed feelings. I was excited because I had seen photos of friends and
pictures in magazines that looked great. I was nervous because this was
way out of my comfort zone, and I do not look like the women in the
photos I’ve seen.
My guess is that everyone preparing for a
boudoir session has these same feelings. I can honestly say all of my
anxiety was completely unnecessary. I would highly recommend that every
woman get these photos taken.
As I scheduled my appointment, I
needed to decide what to bring. Another common misconception is that
you must wear incredibly sexy, Fifty Shades-worthy lingerie. If that’s
what you like, more power to you. But if the thought of a leather thong
terrifies you, that’s okay, too.
“Don’t bring anything you
wouldn’t normally wear,” Burke said. “If you’re a bra and panties
woman, don’t run out and buy corsets and complicated garters. If that’s
not your thing, you will feel and look uncomfortable.”
suggested bringing a couple different options, including things like a
veil, your partner’s favorite dress shirt or tie. Also bring your
absolute favorite lingerie set — you know, the one that makes you feel
like Beyoncé. Some boy shorts and a favorite sports jersey or band
T-shirt is always a big hit. Don’t forget to round up a couple pairs of
Some boudoir photography studios have in-house hair and makeup artists,
like Jenny Taylor Boudoir Photography
If so, just show up clean-faced, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. Taylor
and her team of stylists recommend asking the studio if their hair and
makeup team is certified in the state of Illinois. Be sure to also ask
what kind of makeup they use. You don’t want to be breaking out during
If your chosen studio does not have an in-house
team, ask for recommendations for local hair and makeup artists, or
visit your own stylists before your session. Getting your glam on will
definitely make you feel like a million bucks when the shutter starts
I walked into the studio at Angel Eyes
in jeans, a T-shirt, and a leather jacket. I’d
done my hair
and makeup the way I like it, and I’d packed a whole bag full of
lingerie. Burke greeted me with a glass of champagne, which helped calm
my nerves right away. She even said, “It can be kind of awkward taking
these photos, so I want to do whatever I can to make you comfortable.”
be honest — I was scared. How could I not be? But photographers like
Taylor and Burke know people are not exactly comfortable half naked in
front of someone they just met.
Burke said her goal is to
reassure clients that she “will make them look their best through
flattering poses and lighting techniques.” She also shows them previews
on her camera. “It’s a huge confidence booster when they see how
gorgeous they look.”
Burke spent time showing me some ideas she
had and really trying to get to know me so she could make a
personalized plan to my comfort level. I immediately felt better about
“The first fifteen minutes are the hardest,” Burke
explained. “After that, I promise I will have you giggling from my bad
jokes, and you’ll feel happy, confident, and sexy. You’ll leave
wondering why you waited so long to book a session.”
I put on my first outfit choice, I walked in the studio and felt
embarrassed and awkward. Burke made me feel better by pointing out the
good things about my body.
This is probably the best advice I
can give you — you must pick a photographer you feel comfortable with.
This person will see you at a point when you probably feel pretty darn
vulnerable. Choose someone who doesn’t make you feel intimidated or
like you’re not good enough.
If you’re feeling unsure about
having your photos taken, it could be a good idea to meet with your
photographer before booking the session. Bring a list of questions to
ask your photographer. Taylor recommends asking, “Where will the shoot
take place?” and “Can I choose to keep my gallery private from websites
and Facebook?” You want to know you’re going to be working in a
comfortable setting with someone who understands you, so you are free
to have fun and be sexy.
Burke reminded me that almost everyone
feels stiff at the beginning. She also explained that when you are
nervous, the camera can tell. She turned her camera around to give me a
preview after the first couple shots. She was totally right. I needed
She was great at giving me inspiration and showing
me poses to hide the areas I wasn't comfortable showing. One thing I
really recognized was how great it was to have a professional there to
guide me through the experience.
Once the camera really
started flashing, I started to relax a little bit. Burke encouraged me
to think about other things. She gave such great direction and showed
me awesome ideas, complete with wardrobe choices. And thank goodness,
because I definitely brought too many outfits. I had all this
complicated lingerie, but some of my favorite photos feature an
oversized tank top, or my jeans, leather jacket, and nothing else.
Sometimes less isn’t more!
I learned that you don’t have to be
super into lingerie to enjoy this or have beautiful pictures taken. You
don’t have to feel like a sexy person or be “into this sort of thing”
to enjoy this art form. You don't even have to have a fiancé that’s
into it — do this for yourself!
Burke told me a lot of people
feel sexy photos are a young, thin woman’s game, but that’s not even a
little bit true. “It’s for every age, shape, and size,” said Burke.
“After a session, most women’s confidence level is at an all-time high.”
also advised not to wait until you lose that last ten pounds or get rid
of your upper arm “bye-bye” fat. Boudoir photography is less about
taking steamy pictures for someone else and more about recognizing how
sexy you are when you’re confident about your body and having fun.
agrees, “We are artists helping you achieve a keepsake item so that 30
years from now, you can look back and remember how hot you were and be
proud of the experience you had.”
Let’s also shut down the idea
that to model in boudoir photography, you must show a lot of skin. “You
show as much as you want or as little as you want,” she explained. “I
work within the client’s comfort level.”
I wish I would have
done a little more research to really find out what I think is sexy or
what poses I really like, but thank goodness she was on top of it. She
made an experience that had terrified me become an experience that made
me more confident in my body, mind, and soul. It truly made me feel
incredible about myself, and I have some gorgeous photos to always
remind me that I can feel – and be – sexy.