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How to Feel Beautiful + Confident For Your Boudoir Shoot

I love boudoir shoots. But I’ll be honest; I can’t help but wonder how these portrait subjects look so lovely, so calm and relaxed, in such a vulnerable state. So today we have Michael and Carina here to let us in on the stylish and oh so important secrets to a beautiful – and confident – boudoir session so those fears can be a thing of the past and your results can be filled with the prettiness you set out to capture.

From Michael and Carina Photography… Boudoir, at its best, is as emotional as it is sensual. These photos are an elegant and empowering way to celebrate form, sensuality and intimacy, but there is a lot more to it. Thoughtfulness, intrigue, selectivity, and affection all play a role in creating a powerful, intimate portrait, as well as communication between the subject and the photographer. If you have been curious about what boudoir photography is and if it’s for you, this article is a must! – read on…

Accepting Ourselves

Boudoir teaches us that it is okay to be vulnerable. In fact, taking the step to be photographed in an intimate setting, though empowering, first requires the confidence to be vulnerable and to be vulnerable confidently. Sensuality is as much a part of the human experience as human partnership, marriage, and birth, and boudoir embraces that.

We feel that natural light perfectly compliments this atmosphere of quiet intimacy; window light especially provides a natural lighting source that can be both soft or moody, as most boudoir sessions are indoors.

Most boudoir sessions begin as gifts for other people, and they do make marvelous gifts for partners. Ultimately though, boudoir is for yourself! It celebrates your personality, your beauty and can be an all-around empowering experience. Feeling sexy is great, but feeling confident is even better.

Sharing elegant boudoir images with your partner, who admires and loves you for who you are, will make your partner fall in love with you all over again! Like with any professional photograph, these images were not created just to be shared in an online, password-protected gallery. Consider a boudoir album or a box of prints as a pre-wedding or anniversary gift your lover won’t forget.

Creating a Timeless Look

The art of boudoir is creating an image that is sensual, but timeless and thoughtful. First, create a mood board of textures, images, colors, fabrics, and outfit choices that encapsulate your vision for your session. Then, research your photographer and stylist thoroughly. Communicating with your photographer is crucial in capturing the vision of your boudoir session, from discussing your choice in outfits to the choice of a location.

When choosing a location, consider both light and comfort. Talk to your photographer about the benefits of using a local studio, but also consider using your home or a place that has personal meaning. Ideally the setting is clean and offers natural lighting opportunities. Equally important to the light of the space is that the subject feels safe in that space. Michael and I work always work together in photographing boudoir. I’m always glad to have him with me as his calm and quiet personality usually helps create that safe space for our clients. Having been together for 13 years and having worked together for five, we usually create our best work as a team. We usually have a small meeting with our client before hand to discuss some ideas for the session, and while we always follow our client’s lead and comfort level, we sometimes ask to step in and make adjustments in the placement of hands or to demonstrate ourselves.

Boudoir is meant to capture you honestly. Neutral tones with one or two bold accents in makeup or wardrobe helps to accentuate that. Send your photographer your mood board, or communicate with them in developing it. Finally, let your photographer know what you love most about your body and what you might be more self-conscious with. Communication is everything in ensuring the success of your shoot.

Artistry Within Boudoir

Boudoir can be an experience where you learn more about yourself. It can be a bonding experience, undertaken with a partner for an intimate couple’s session. What definitively sets boudoir apart is vision – shared with your photographer and stylist. Our goal is to communicate with you and to create an environment where you feel safe within your vulnerability, and walk away feeling empowered and confident as a result. We approach each shoot as a new experience as each client is unique; we approach each boudoir session as an opportunity to create art that sensually connects but that is never remotely close to being offensive to our client’s, or our, sensibilities.

Rather than thinking of your session as a “shot list”, we like to think of it as we would approach a wedding – a series of thoughtful compositions that tell a story. For example, a sensual, relaxed portrait in a comfortable bed is great, but there is also beauty in movement, especially framed in an empty space. Florals can exalt your session with symbolism: roses and tulips denote love, freesia denotes innocence, and so on. They can foreshadow or recall your wedding with hints of color. Adding florals to boudoir does not necessarily mean adding a bouquet but perhaps allowing a florist to accent a corner, wall or mantlepiece with details that compliment intimate space.

Finally, you should feel sexy. You should find a photographer that is comfortable in capturing that – boring and boudoir don’t go together. But we feel that the session should gradually build to that point – the initial photos capture moments of vulnerability, softness, intimacy, and as you build confidence, finally sensuality. We usually build to this point with two-to-three looks – one casual, comfortable bedroom look, one more sensual or elegant wardrobe, and for some clients, nude or suggested nude. Communicate with your photographer what you love most about your body, or what your partner finds most attractive about you. And even then – there is just as often as much, if not more, sensuality in what you don’t see and in what is suggested. A hand’s touch can be sensual, the outline of your body where light falls upon it can be sensual.

Intimate Story-Telling

Overall, what we love about most about boudoir is what we love about weddings: the opportunity to create and execute a vision that tells a story – a story that is wholly unique to you.

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Photography: Michael and Carina Photography | Floral Design: Isha Foss Events | Shoes: Bella Belle | Hair + Makeup: Emily Hair & Makeup Artistry | Calligraphy: Corsivo Calligraphy | Venue: Salubria | Clothing: Free People | Clothing: Nordstrom | Film Processing: Richard Photo Lab

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Spring Floral Wedding Inspiration

Sure we may be in the sweltering heat of summer, but that doesn’t mean spring is far from our minds. Because if this lovely inspo from Elizabeth Fogarty and Claire Duran is any indication, said blooming season is all we’ll be thinking about for the rest of the day. Graced with Plume Calligraphy and beautifully fragrant bouquets, we’ve got it all waiting in The Vault!

From Claire DuranThe inspiration for this shoot was the floral beauty that comes with the Spring and Summer. We wanted to convey a soft and elegant wedding inspiration in which neutral tones and floral texture would prevail. Part of our objective was to use the casual beauty of Seven Spring to show non-rustic decor style in such space. We loved being able to link such different sets of architectural and structural elements of the modern barn with a styling pattern that could be attractive as well to the sophisticated bride. Our favorite piece was the Alexandra Grecco gown. It has amazing texture and movement, bringing together all the elements of this editorial.

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Photography: Elizabeth Fogarty | Event Planning + Design: Claire Duran Weddings And Events | Floral Design: Porter & Ives | Wedding Dress: Alexandra Grecco | Cake: Maliha Creations | Bride's Shoes: Bella Belle | Ring: Susie Saltzman | Makeup: Makeup By Kevan | Hair: Elle Style Studio | Calligraphy: Plume Calligraphy | Groom's Attire: Tuxedo by Sarno | Venue: Seven Springs | Models: The Artist Agency | Robe: BHLDN | Veil: Tessa Kim

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Traditional Beauty Meets Modern Sleek Style… And We Can’t Get Enough

Virginia continues to amaze and impress me when it comes to wedding inspiration and this shoot by Elisa Bricker is perfect proof. Mallory Joyce took the traditional beauty of this historic manor and infused it with modern and minimalist detailing creating a scene I’d be quite happy to live in. Plume Calligraphy set the stage and all that followed can be found in our Vault aka where I’ll be all day long. Join me there!

From Elisa Bricker… This shoot features floral and concept design and styling by Mallory Joyce, who blended this modern couple’s aesthetic with the bride’s historic family home. She chose linens, florals, and calligraphy to nod to the more traditional home, and more modern pieces in the silverware, and glassware on the tables.

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Photography: Elisa Bricker | Event Design: Mallory Joyce | Floral Design: Mallory Joyce | Wedding Dress: Lora Kelley | Cake: Maliha Creations | Bride's Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Hair + Makeup: Anna Breeding | Invitations + Calligraphy: Plume Calligraphy | Groom's Attire: J.Crew | Venue: Rust Manor | Cheese Board + Pitcher: Farmhouse Pottery

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