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…
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.
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 Artistry | Calligraphy: Corsivo Calligraphy | Venue: Salubria | Clothing: Free People | Clothing: Nordstrom | Film Processing: Richard Photo Lab