The first time I did a photo shoot, aside from the cheesy ones my mom made me do as a kid, was earlier this year. It wasn’t something that I spent a long time preparing for. In fact, it was planned pretty out of the blue. It was a chance to do something that I’d wanted to do at some point in time, but didn’t expect to get to do for free. And I especially didn’t expect it to happen when I wasn’t even about to get married. What I’m talking about is a boudoir photo shoot.
I’m not the type of person who I think friends and family would expect to get nearly naked and photographed. However, I always wondered what it would be like to really look sexy. To look confident. To pose in a way that would make even me look at myself and think, that’s beautiful. I’m beautiful. I believe that this thought isn’t uncommon at all. And I also believe that every person who wonders the same should give themselves the chance to do it.
I was nervous. I’d only known my photographer through the senior photos he did for my friends on Facebook, and in Instagram account. With his permission, the photographer was Lauren Werkheiser, a self taught photographer who does weddings, senior photos, boudoir, you name it. He’s at least tried it all, but found his niche with people and their special events. I asked him not even a month ago what he liked best about doing photography. His answer was the people. The friends he’s made through capturing those special events, those intimate, tender, joyful moments that really make it easy to form the bonds of friendship. I don’t know every photographer’s personal philosophy about why they do what they do, but I would hope that they at least come close to being as appreciative and kind as Lauren is to his clients.
That said, I definitely didn’t know what I was getting myself into the first time. Like I said, I was nervous. I tried not to overthink the process of getting ready, but I may have eaten more vegetables than usual in the couple weeks leading up to it. I also made sure, before agreeing with Lauren that I wanted to do a photo shoot, that my partner was okay with it. I know it seems restrictive. You might be one to think, Well it’s my body and I can do what I want with it no matter what. But boudoir is intimate, even if it isn’t sexually intimate. It requires a degree of trust between you and someone who could virtually be a stranger. So if you think it isn’t important to let your partner know beforehand, you should probably think again. It’s one of the rules that Lauren goes by, too. If you’re doing such a photo shoot, it’s really important that your partner knows about it. It isn’t just about your body your way, but about safety for your photographer and trust between your photographer, you, and your partner.
I’d say that’s the most technical side of my experience. The actual participation is just really based on what you’re in the mood for! And no matter what your idea is, if you have a great photographer, they’re really going to try to get your vision in a photograph. I ended up not only having a much more relaxed time than I expected, but getting pictures that I felt like I had earned. It can take some work to get that pose that you dreamed about. The one that caught your eye on Pinterest. You know what I’m talking about. *wink wink*
I think that what scared me the most wasn’t the process of having pictures done. That part was relatively fast-paced, chatty, and after initial nerves died down, easy to enjoy. But you don’t really get to look at the pictures as soon as you’re done with the session. Instead, you have to wait. Depending on how busy your photographer is, it could take upwards of two weeks. Maybe even more for other places, but Lauren says two weeks. And during that time, no matter how long it takes, there’s going to be questions you ask yourself. If you’re like me, there will be self doubt. Questions include the following: Will they turn out alright? Did I watch my weight enough the week beforehand? Was my hair alright? Did my makeup look good? What if I look bad in all of them? So on and so forth.
Okay, here is where I tell you the best part of boudoir. You do not need to question yourself. Not even a little bit. You will look through hundreds of pictures before making a selection that is only a tiny part of the total amount taken. And the pictures that you choose will amaze you. They might even make you think, Is that really me? And the wonderful thing is that the answer will be yes! It is you! You might hate hundreds of the photos you go through, or feel like some angles aren’t quite your best. But you know what? You will absolutely find pictures that will take your breath away. There is beauty in the human body, for every human body. The boudoir form is, ultimately, inspiring. If you’re a bit of a self-doubter like me, it can be extremely comforting. Boudoir says, Look, not every angle or every pose that we tried worked, but look at how gorgeous you are in this one!
Boudoir isn’t just about the person you plan on giving pictures to. You don’t even have to have someone in mind to do it for. Do it for yourself, to boost your self confidence or just to try something new. It is certainly worth doing for anybody who is willing, and daring enough to try. All it takes, aside from a price, is a deep breath and finding trust within yourself, for yourself.