Boudoir Photography the Experience
When I told my friends and clients that I was going to do a boudoir photography shoot, I was a bit surprised at how many said “Oh, I could never do that!”. When I asked “Why?” the answers varied: “Too nervous.”, “I’m not sexy enough.” to “I’m too old”. There is no such thing! Boudoir isn’t about being model perfect, it’s about show-casing your unique sensuality, at any age, size or season of your life. It’s a celebration, in picture form, of you!
This article is a candid reflection on the experience and empowerment of doing a boudoir photo shoot from the models point of view. I am not a photographer, nor promoting one. If you have never done one for any of the reasons above, I encourage you to keep an open mind, read the stories & well the pictures are beautiful.
What is Boudoir Photography?
Boudoir is simply defined as “a woman’s dressing room”. How that is interpreted is entirely up to you! It’s those quiet moments getting ready for the day, getting ready for a date, or undressing for the evening. It’s a woman’s private space both physically and mentally. Boudoir photography encompasses many different artistic approaches. It’s not just naked pictures, or even highly provocative ones. Boudoir is all about capturing whatever essence of yourself you wish to portray.
My Boudoir Story
My boudoir photo shoots were all an amazing experience! The best part for me was getting dressed up in my favorite clothes and lingerie! I’ve personally done 4 boudoir photo shoots. The first was at age 29 as a tribute to turning 30, the second was at 39 to celebrate my engagement, the third was at 49 as a reflection and celebration of turning 50. For the last photo shoot, I was invited by a friend who was nervous about doing her first boudoir session. She wanted me to be an extra set of eyes to help with hair and makeup touch up, and to be a moral support. A time slot opened up at this session and since I was already going thought “why not”!
The pictures for me are a memory of who I was at the time. Women evolve, we have so many different sides to our personality. Our sexuality deepens and becomes more sensual and intentional as we age. There is a deep sense of knowing who we are and our purpose.
I am a daughter, a sister, a wife, a mother, and a grandmother. I am an artist, a business owner, a homemaker, a caregiver, a partner, a lover and a friend. I am strong, opinionated, passionate, sarcastic, blunt, honest, optimistic, outgoing and relentless. I am quiet, reflective, suspicious, practical and real. I see the world through a slightly twisted and jaded set of eyes. Im emotional, sensitive, dramatic and fun. I have a hard side that struggles with depression, anxiety and mistrust, who doesn’t care what anyone thinks; and a soft side that loves with abandon, lives for the moment, and needs to be loved. These are just a few of my many sides. What is your list? How do you see yourself?
I asked a group of ladies if they would share their boudoir pictures in the hopes that it might inspire you to view yourself differently. I will include selections that do not show anything more than what you would see if they were wearing a bathing suit. I believe this assortment really highlights their unique personalities and their inner beauty.
All photos that are not from submitted entries are labled before each gallery as *OSC – Open Source Canva, with their number in the series. All photos in the Lingerie Category are from submitted photos. Bridal, Maternity & Vacation are OSC.
6 Unique Perspectives of the Experience
The following quotes and stories are from a few of the models in the pictures listed below.
Boudoir Experience #1
The very first time I ever thought of doing a boudoir shoot was when they first started to get “known”. In my head,only skinny women with “perfect” bodies were the ones able to do boudoir. I was so nervous and so scared when I showed up to see the photographer, makeup artist and the other ladies that were all leaving after their photos. Everyone of them was young, skinny, and beautiful. And here I was… 230 pounds, 36 year old mom and a wife… “I am wasting our money and everyone’s time” was the thought running through my head. The make up was done, the outfit was on and now it was my turn… let’s just get this over with… the photographer had me in positions I never thought I ever would be. I didn’t find it that bad as she made me feel beautiful, sexy and “hopefully” inspiring to others who felt the way I felt…
I received sneak peaks at the pictures and I almost cried. They were amazing and fabulous and this was the first time I ever felt “beautiful”.
Fast forward to 2019, I saw another photographer who was doing a “shower” boudoir… I was so intrigued but wondered if this was something I could do again… but since that first experience I had lost 80 pounds… let’s try this again … this time I know it will be different because I’m skinner… I still didn’t know if I could actually go through with it… I got there and boom it was another fantastic photo shoot with a great photographer with skill (and skinny and young)… I got the proofs back and was absolutely impressed and said “Hell yeah I can!” I finally started to be okay with being older, not having the “perfect” body, enjoying my new found passion… loving how I look and how I feel after doing boudoir sessions.
I have now done 5 different boudoir sessions, loving the next more and more. The feeling I get from knowing the photographer will know how to position me with the best intentions… I know that my body is a temple and I need to stop saying negative things about me. Everyone is beautiful and size does not determine beauty. Beauty comes in all shapes and sizes. Beauty comes in all ages and you never too old to do something that makes you feel great. Self care is so important and so rewarding for not only yourself, but for those around you. Walk with your head high, get those pictures and be proud of who you are…
Boudoir Experience #2
I did a boudoir session about a year ago and had about 10 different outfits. I felt like a million bucks that day. I would love to do in it again sometime 🥰🥰🥰
Boudoir Experience #3
Some of mine I did at the beginning of summer…First time ever….Was so nervous…Wasn’t going to do them until I got to my goal weight (I have lost over 50lbs so far) but friends said do them now. I’m so glad it did!
Boudoir Experience #4
Although my photo isn’t a typical boudoir photo, I was dressed up in a sexy outfit and just felt powerful and alive. I don’t always feel feminine but this photo made me feel like a woman who had no fear.
Boudoir Experience #5
I was really nervous because I don’t usually feel like a ”pretty girl”. I am plus size and frequently struggle with self confidence, especially since having my children. However, my husband thinks I’m beautiful and tells me often and I wanted to give him these photos as a gift of thanks for all the love he shows me. The photographer I worked with made me feel so comfortable and really played to my strengths and I do feel ”pretty” in these photos.
Boudoir Experience #6
My photo shoot was a wedding gift for my husband. I gave him these photos in a photo-book on the morning of our wedding and they are a reflection of the love I have for him. I will treasure them forever. The photographer was incredible, and not only made me feel beautiful but the pictures captured many aspects of my personality. I love them!
9 Examples of Boudoir Photography
NOTE: To view the pictures in larger format, click on the first one in each series and then you can scroll through by swiping in either direction.
Maternity boudoir photos are so incredibly special. It’s the celebration of growing a life inside you. There is no greater bond than between a mother and her baby. Having a special set of photos that celebrate this very short and precious time keeps the memory alive. There are so many changes that happen during this time that many times we forget the softening of our hearts and emergence of our maternal instinct.
Our wedding days are so busy and overwhelming, with many feelings and thoughts competing with each other. Those moments as we get ready to be a princess for a day are many times forgotten once the day progresses. Taking the time to pause and have your photos done, not only slows down the day, but they capture the joy, love and time that you ”feel” most beautiful. There is a glow of love and joy that radiates through. Celebrate it!
Show it all, show a little, or show nothing. Doing a nude set, shows you at your most vulnerable or most confident. Nudity is not always sexual, I know that is a concept that many do not understand, but nudity in and of itself is not sexual. (Anyone who has visited a nude beach can tell you that) Nudity becomes sensual or sexual when it is combined with attitude, a look, or implied with a pose or focal point.
Wearing His Clothes
nothing sexier than a woman wearing her mans dress shirt, or a tie. It’s the suggestion that intimacy has already occurred or that you are holding him close to you even when he is not there.
Nothing is as intimate as water on the skin, and there is just something so sexy about it! It’s personal, and beautiful.
Boudoir can easily be in any setting including outdoors. Pictures of you, one with nature, the sun on your skin, showcasing the joy of life and light, or your spiritual connection with mother nature. Some of my favorites are in the woods, with a favorite car, in the ocean, by the lake, on a boat, or in a forest, any outdoor setting that has meaning to you.
Some of the most beautiful pictures involve curtains, mirrors, water, oils, bed sheets and even clothing. Rope, ties, leather, lace, a cowboy hat, brushing your hair, applying makeup; the ideas are endless. Props also provide the opportunity for a unique focal point. Sometimes less is more.
Many resorts and tropical destinations offer photography sessions including boudoir. Whether this is a celebration of you, an engagement, honeymoon or anniversary, having a special photo shoot can be a great memento. Vacation time is usually when you are the most relaxed, rested and many times even the most intimate with your partner. It’s a time to reboot, recharge and reflect on what matters. Tanned skin, sunshine and water, what could be better?
This is what most commonly comes to mind when you think of boudoir. Lingerie shoots are intimate and sexy. The side nobody sees except your partner and you. They can be blatant and provocative or subtle and sensual. Beautiful sexy pictures can be a simple as capturing a soft sensual look, a pose, an intimate moment. A great photographer knows how to focus on what makes you uniquely beautiful.
Thank you to all the ladies who entrusted their photos to me for this post. It’s one thing to have a photo-shoot done its quite another to bravely allow them to be used on public media. My thanks and gratitude to you all, your pictures are beautiful and I am honored.
I hope you found these pictures and stories as inspiring and uplifting as I did!