Bridal boudoir has become very popular in the last 10 years, and there are a lot of misconceptions about what it is and who it is for. Allow me to dispel the myths!
What Is Bridal Boudoir?
A boudoir session is an intimate portrait session that focuses on your beauty and curves, and it is one of the most empowering experiences a woman can have. It can be sexy, glamorous, romantic, stylish, or even risqué, depending on what style of photographer you choose.
It is a luxurious experience that can change your life. When you see yourself looking every bit as stunning as the women in a Victoria’s Secret catalog, it changes something in you. You’ll stop nitpicking every perceived flaw and start loving yourself—as you should! As women, we are bombarded every day with Photoshopped ads of young women with unattainable (and most certainly cosmetically altered) physiques, and we have no choice but to compare ourselves to that. Couple that with the fact that modern camera phones are horrible lenses for portraits and selfies. They distort our features in unflattering ways, so it’s no wonder that so many women don’t think they’re beautiful.
A boudoir session is the chance to get dolled up with hair and makeup, wear pretty lingerie and clothes, have a supermodel experience, and get amazing images that you can be proud of. These are pictures you will cherish for the rest of your life! Then, on days when you aren’t feeling that great about yourself (because we all have those days), you can open your album and remember what a hottie you are! And as you age, as you grow and change in marvelous ways, it’s amazing to have a memento of this season in your life that you can look back on.
Who Should Schedule a Boudoir Session?
While any stage in your life is worth celebrating, one of the best times to do a boudoir session is when you’re a bride! This is the season of life to spoil yourself a little, to be enveloped by love, hope, and joy. And it’s not just a gift for you. Your fiancé will love nothing more than a hand-stitched album full of beautiful photos of you. It beats cufflinks, trust us. Many brides will even put gift certificates for their boudoir session on their bridal registry wish list so that their loved ones can gift them the experience. Hey, they’re already giving you lingerie at your bridal shower—why not use it?
But you don’t even have to be a bride to do a boudoir session. Any shape, any size, any color, any age—boudoir is for every woman. I have clients that are grandmothers! You do not have to be a 22-year-old size 2 with the perfect complexion to be worthy of being photographed. You are worthy now. You just need a stellar photographer, a little bit of courage, maybe a shot of tequila, and the right mindset.
What Do I Wear?
One of the things that holds women back from doing a boudoir session is the fear of wearing lingerie. I get it—most of us don’t even own actual lingerie (unless our five-pack of Fruit of the Loom undies counts). But you can wear anything to your boudoir session, including lingerie, bodysuits, a bra and panties, even your favorite jeans, your man’s button-up shirt, a cozy sweater, a swimsuit, shapewear, or nothing at all! It’s less about the clothes and more about the intention. A good boudoir photographer can do a lot with just a white sheet. Some luxury studios even provide lingerie and robes. But be sure to choose a photographer that will send you a guide that covers everything from what to buy, where to shop, how to groom, and what to avoid because there are a lot of things you need to know!
The most important thing you need to know is that having your hair and makeup done by a professional is an absolute must for a boudoir session because the bright studio lighting can wash you out. If hair and makeup isn’t included in your session, another option is to use your wedding hair and makeup trial run for your boudoir session. Just remember that you’ll need your hair down so you can run your fingers through it, so skip the updo. Your makeup needs to be a tad bit heavier than you normally would wear for an event, too. Most experienced photographers include a hair and makeup artist in their session fees since they want someone who they know and trust.
When Should I Book a Session?
Not sure when you should book a session? Just don’t make the mistake that so many brides make and wait until one to two months before your wedding to try and schedule a boudoir shoot. Good boudoir photographers book out months in advance, and albums take weeks or even months to print and ship. A good target time to schedule your shoot is about two to four months before your wedding or just after your bridal shower, when you may be gifted lingerie.
A boudoir session can also be that little extra push you need if you have a fitness goal in mind for your wedding. I wish that all women would be able to accept themselves the way that they are, but I do understand that many want to get into their ideal shape before their wedding and honeymoon. Having a boudoir session on the books is a great motivator to do just that. That said, you do not need to hit the gym to do a boudoir shoot. I can do more with lighting, posing, and angles than most people can do with six months at the gym. There are so many posing tricks that can accentuate your curves in ways you’ve never imagined.
How Do I Find the Right Photographer for Me?
Right about now, you might be thinking, “This sounds fun, but I would be so nervous!” Most women feel that way at the start of their session, so be sure to choose a photographer that you feel comfortable with. Some brides only want to work with another woman, while some women would feel more comfortable posing with a guy behind the camera. Either way, bring a supportive friend if you’re still stressing, and let her cheer you on!
Just like with your wedding photos, it’s important to choose an experienced boudoir photographer. We can’t stress this enough! Posing, lighting, and directing women in lingerie is an art form, and in order to have an amazing experience and gorgeous images, you need a true professional that offers a luxury service. Few people realize that a simple twist of your hips can give you an hourglass shape, whereas leaning in one direction can make your arms and stomach look bigger than they truly are. You also need a professional photographer that offers retouching. Even if you don’t want them to alter your appearance or contour your body, you still want them to remove things like bruises, bumps, pimples, razor burn, fine lines, stray hairs, and scratches on your skin. These things can distract from your beautiful features. I recommend asking to see several full galleries of their clients so that you know what you’re getting ahead of time. Be sure you like their overall style and attention to detail because it will matter a lot when it’s your turn!
In the world of boudoir photography, you most certainly will get what you pay for. While costs do vary greatly with skill level, an average boudoir session costs around $3000 to $4000 for a session, hair and makeup, and an album. But you can’t put a price tag on your self-confidence!