I love shooting boudoir. I love that it can be such a tool for helping women feel amazing, boost self confidence, celebrate them, push them past their comfort zone, and most of all, make them feel just plain sexy! But I was thinking that, in order to really understand how to put my clients at ease, to really let them know how it will go, I needed to experience it for myself.
I wanted the challenge of doing my own photographs. I figured I could learn a lot about angles, framing etc. by being both the subject and photographer. Let me tell you, it was NOT easy. I definitely worked up a sweat running back and forth. I can reassure you, that though this was an excellent experiment and eye opener, this did not produce the quality results I would normally have were I to simply be the photographer.
I am a mom of two, and I have definite insecurities when it comes to my body. Since having kids, I have tried to regain my former...form. But as you know, it is easier said than done. There are things that just will not be the same after growing a human being (human beings actually, though thankfully one at a time!) inside of you. So, yes, I have stretch marks and a flabby tummy I can't seem to tighten up despite great regular core workouts at TDM Santa Rosa. I'm very self conscious about it. I'd also love to lose a few pounds and me boobs (argh!) are just not the same after nursing two. But here we go, this is real and I want everyone seeing this to know that boudoir is in the realm of possibility for every woman of any size, shape or age.
So, on a day I finally had the house to myself, I decided to do it. I gave my head a refresher shave (always makes me feel powerful), did my own make-up (I figured, I'm an artist, it's just like painting- right?!?), dug my one lonely (and only) lingerie set out from the back of my drawer and I was ready.
I got a kick out of setting up my equipment in my skivvies.
Then I got to work. Let me tell you, I learned a lot from this exercise:
#1 It can feel awkward at first. I needed feedback visually, right away (for obvious reasons of course, to see if I was in the frame! But also so I could know if I was on point), to see if the poses were flattering. Armed with that knowledge, I know now that I need to let my client see how she's doing as we go along. It builds confidence and helps give a reference point in regards to whether or not your poses/positions look good.
#2 There is a flattering pose for everyone. I really got to experiment and see what worked. I realized that I DO NOT like shots of my back. The proportions and the shape of my body from this angle are not great. But with a few tweaks, I found angles that were REALLY flattering and emphasized what I wanted to emphasize while de-emphasizing the stuff I didn't want to see as much of.
#3 Posing is a work-out. Granted I had a bit more of a work-out than is typical simply because I was running back and forth between camera and posing (I only had the timer on my camera, not a remote shutter release!). But that aside, simply positioning my body in interesting, shapely ways required effort. In boudoir, arching the back, sticking out the bootie, elongating the neck and straitening the spine are all things that make a pose pop...but it can be tiring. I would definitely consider doing a little warm up stretch or dance party before beginning (and it would be a fun way to break the ice!)
#4 I can take much better pictures when I am just the photographer. Doing self portraits required I use a tripod, and that greatly limited my angles. When I shoot a client, I can get down, up, sideways, whatever, easily as required (not to mention, in focus too!) Your photos will be SO MUCH BETTER than the ones I took of myself.
#5 Getting hair and make-up, choosing your favorite outfit, being a model for a day, is self-care. Had I actually gotten a professional make-up artist over (that would have required planning ahead, and I did this rather impulsively) and specifically shopped for a new set of lingerie and had a photographer (other than me) posing me, shooting and wowing, I would have felt like a million bucks. As it was, as I got into it, I felt really good. I was pumped by the end and couldn't wait to look at all of the images together. I was doing something for me, taking the time to focus on me and capture this aspect of myself that was really sexy and fun.
speaking of fun...
#6 It is SO FUN! Have I said "fun" enough yet?!? The more I did it, the more I got into it. I wanted to do more and more. I even started to relax and feel really sexy. I think some of the best shots came at the end. And I think that would apply to clients as well, as we start to get into the session, you will relax and it will be visible in the photos.
#7 It is a confidence booster. Like I said, I have a lot of body insecurities despite my best efforts to "not care" as well as take care of myself. At first, I'll admit, it was hard to look at my own photos (extra tough because I critique my own photography rather harshly). But as I sat with them, walked away and then came back a few times, I started to really love them. This is me and I look pretty great. Yes, there are always things I can nitpick about my own appearance...but if this were a stranger, a friend, I would look at these images and say WOW you look amazing! If you can step back from the harsh self-judgement for a moment, you can clearly see how gorgeous you are- and boudoir has that glam/sexy shock factor that can push you out of your own self-judgement (if that makes any sense?) because it is so out of the realm of the usual.
I'm so excited about this that I am just rarin' to go with more of these sessions! I want more women to experience this. A part of me really wishes I had done this sooner. Like, pre-baby sooner, to go along with the post-baby now. It celebrates the changes I've gone through. Really, if not now, when? If you are a gal pre-baby, do it now! If you are a momma post-baby, do it now! If you think you're too old - you're not! I want to have images of my beautiful self at all stages in life. I'm going to look back at these and be so happy I took them.
So, without further ado, a few of the best shots from my Self Portrait Boudoir Session.