Back in the summer, I went away for a couple of days with my mum and the boys, whilst Carly was with her dad. I told Ed a little white lie as to my reasons behind this trip, because unbeknownst to him, I was also shipping a friend, who happens to be a brilliantly talented photographer, over to the hotel we were staying at to shoot some boudoir photos of me in my bridal underwear as a surprise present for him on our wedding day. Emma is primarily a wedding photographer, but she also takes beautiful family shots, and is amazing at putting you at ease for a boudoir shoot too.
I am a huge fan of boudoir photography. I love how empowered the women look in the photos, how sexy and at ease with their bodies they are. That can’t be faked, and the only way to achieve these types of shots is to have a brilliant photographer who is able to put you completely at ease when you’re at your most vulnerable.
Although a lot of men offer this type of photography, I would always personally go for a female. Not only does it instantly make me feel more at ease, it’s also helpful as they will understand that you may not be as happy with certain areas of your body sans clothing, and they’ll be able to pose you in ways that will overcome this, something I’m not personally confident a male photographer would be able to do.
If you are thinking of booking a boudoir shoot, either as a wedding present for your husband to be, as a gift for that special someone on valentines or their birthday, or for yourself just because you deserve to celebrate your body, here are some of my top tips…
Research & Find a Photographer You Love
Just as you should shop around for a wedding photographer to find one whose work you love, it’s important to take care in finding the right photographer for your boudoir shoot.
As I’ve mentioned above, I generally would go for a female over a male for my own reasons, but this is very much personal preference, and maybe for you a male would be better.
Think about what would make you feel most comfortable, and always strike up a conversation beforehand, to make sure you feel prepared and at ease for the shoot. They may not be able to show images from these shoots on their websites, but they should be able to show you an example of their work in this area.
Be Clear What You Want
There are varying different levels of boudoir offered, from poses in a partner’s shirt, to tasteful nude, so make sure you are clear on what it is you want from the shoot and what you are comfortable wearing to avoid any confusion and embarrassment on the day.
If you have more than one outfit you would like to be photographed in, make sure you let your photographer know as this might not be possible, or might incur an extra charge. Ask as many questions you have beforehand as possible, as it isn’t always easy to on the day, especially if you are nervous
Check the Package
Always ask what is included in the price. If they are giving you the images, ensure they will be copyright free and you are able to print them yourself. If they are giving you prints, or an album, make sure you know exactly what it is you are going to receive, and when you will be likely to have them. There’s no point doing a shoot as a wedding gift, only to find out afterwards that images won’t be ready until a month after the wedding
Keep it a Secret
I know it’s hard not to tell your partner something when you’re used to them being the one you share everything with, but it’ll be worth it on the day if you manage to keep quiet.
I’m awful at keeping secrets, I get it from my mum, and I nearly always ruin the surprise by telling Ed beforehand what I have planned for him, but this time I didn’t and he was really blown away by it.
I would only ever suggest lying if it’s a white lie, or a concealed truth, in order to keep the surprise. Ed never guessed the reason behind our little spontaneous trip away and it meant I was able to keep it from him until our wedding day! Be careful how many people you tell as well, as they will need to make sure they keep it quiet too.
Have a Drink to Calm Your Nerves
I don’t suggest getting off your face beforehand as that’s not going to look brilliant in photos and could put you in danger, but I had a couple of glasses of wine before my shoot and felt much more relaxed and comfortable posing.
Avoid Cheap Deals
Boudoir shoots, as with most professional photography services, aren’t that cheap. It takes a lot of work for the photographer and it simply wouldn’t be worth their time if they didn’t charge the prices they do. Sometimes it’s tempting to go for the cheap deals offered on websites such as Groupon, but often these studios tack on huge costs for the images, meaning that the deal isn’t as good as it first looks. Plus, as a general rule of thumb with photography you get what you pay for. If somebody is offering something which sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Invest in a good, reliable photographer and the prints will be worth the cost.
Venue is Key
A lot of photographers will have a studio, either at their home, or rented, but this may not always be an option or may not provide the most comfortable of settings for your shoot. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box a little. I ended up working a trip around the shoot and had Emma come to the hotel room to take the photos. For this reason, my mum and I chose a more upmarket hotel, and upgraded to a room with a view, to ensure the best light and surroundings for the shots. I was really happy with how the images turned out and it meant I was able to completely relax before and after the shoot!
If you are going to be in a studio or venue of the photographers choosing that’s fine, but make sure you include questions about this when speaking with your photographer beforehand. For example, will it be cold? Will there be a place to change in private? Does the venue have parking on site? Preparation is key.
Makeup & Hair
Before my shoot I was intending to visit a beauty counter to take advantage of their free makeover service. I didn’t have the time in the end and instead used some new makeup to create a look I felt happy and sexy with. I curled my hair beforehand as well, as it always makes me feel more confident.
I fake tanned before leaving for the hotel and I had just had shellac done at the beauty salon as well, so I felt the sparkliest version of myself. If you can afford it, splash out and hire a hair and makeup artist for the shoot (some shoots offer this as part of the service).
Enjoy Yourself and Remember to Smile
On the day of the shoot I did feel nervous, but I tried to remember to enjoy myself and smile, as otherwise I tend to look really miserable in photos, which wouldn’t have been brilliant (although the moody look does add to some shots). The photos aren’t just for your other half, they are also for you to look back on and remember how hot you were, so make damn well sure you look like your having a good time. There’s something quite empowering about posing half naked in front of a camera!
Don’t Force Yourself
This kind of thing isn’t for everyone and if you can’t think of anything worse than stripping down and posing in front of a relative stranger, then don’t do it! Don’t feel peer pressured into doing it just because other people are. If you don’t think your partner would appreciate it, don’t do it for him (but do it for you if you want to!). The photos aren’t going to be good to look back on if you cringe every time you catch sight of them. Do what makes you happy!
The Perfect Gift
After I received the edited images back from Emma, I headed straight to Photobox and I ordered one of their photo books. I then wrapped this up and had it delivered to Ed on the afternoon of our wedding for him to open whilst him and his best man were getting ready. He absolutely loved it and we now have a lovely book to look back on in years to come.
Photo books are a nice, budget friendly alternative to a professional album, and I would definitely recommend ordering one if you get a range of images from your shoot. Alternatively, if you only got the one image, why not have this framed? Or if you really love it, why not have it blown up on a canvas to display in the bedroom?
I paid for my boudoir shoot myself but I wanted to share some of Emma’s images here because she’s a blooming awesome photographer! Do check out her website for more information on her services.