When I began photography, I was interested in portraits and landscapes. The portraits were either of high school seniors, or more dramatic images of my friends and athletes. For the most part, I was shooting the same types: portraits, landscapes, sports, and also events. Then I shot something I never planned on shooting, boudoir.
In October of 2015, a good friend, Violet, contacted me out of the blue for a boudoir shoot, which I have never done before. During college she was discovering more of herself and becoming more comfortable in her own body. So doing the one thing she was not fully comfortable with, was exploring her sensual side with boudoir images for herself. And she had an excuse to buy more lingerie. With that in mind, we began weeks of planning to plan the shoot to give her the best images.
Since this was my very first time doing boudoir photography, I had to research up and learn about it. For those who don’t know, boudoir is french for a private area a woman had to herself. It is now a photographic style that is supposed to be intimate, romantic, and sometimes (not during my session) erotic in a smaller and private environment. The end audience is usually much smaller, being usually only the client and maybe their significant other and sharing is controlled by the client.
The main result of boudoir is to help the client see their sensual and intimate side by focusing on the mood, environment, clothing, and landscape of their body. But boudoir photography doesn’t only apply to females, but males too.
Jen Rozenbaum is a successful boudoir photographer and as her website says, she believes “…All women can celebrate their unique femininity, shamelessly…The true power of a woman can never be taken away by sweatpants”, and my favorite line, “…you are perfect right now, just the way you are”. Lastly she quotes Laurel Thatcher Ulrich with “Well behaved women seldom make history”. That really rang true with Violet since she was going past her comfort zone and wanted to push her life to the next level.
After the principle of boudoir in mind, I was now focused to study some of the images on pinterest, 500px, and other sites for artistic and flattering boudoir images. Violet and I had lots of discussions on images we like and disliked, and the reasons behind it. We also discussed wardrobe, since she just purchased new lingerie for the shoot. With some inspo images picked out, I threw the inspo images and pics of her clothes onto a mood board while we worked on the hardest part of the shoot planning, location.
With almost no budget, and being in college town, her room was not going to work being a shared room. Airbnbs and hotels were still too expensive. No friends knew of a place. In the end, I looked to the one place I never looked at, my room. At least in my house, I had the biggest room with a nice corner filled with a bed and beautiful window light. From my room to a beautiful, simple environment, I removed things from my wall, and threw my plain sheets on the bed. Location is done, what was left was the shoot.
December of 2015, we shot. Being both of our first boudoir shoot, we made the best of it and the images turned out beautiful. I then sent her the basic images for her to choose before editing. And the second best thing, besides boosting Violet’s confidence sky fold, was getting paid for it. After the images were edited, Violet was super happy at the images.
My final thoughts for the whole shoot. It was a great experience to use my craft to help change my friend for the better. To this day, I have only done 4 boudoir shoots, two with other friends, and one repeat with Violet.
To those women who have never got boudoir photos to celebrate their femininity shamelessly, do it. Find a photographer you are comfortable with and create those images. In the end, you should have control of those images, whether you decide to share or not, those images are your keepsakes.