For many people, the thought of having their photo taken causes serious anxiety – and rightfully so. We’ve all thought at one point or another that we aren’t pretty enough or skinny enough or tall enough. For years, I felt like my body didn’t belong in front of a camera lens – until I was introduced to the world of boudoir photography.
I thought that boudoir photo shoots were typically for cis, straight women to give to their boyfriends, but the number of people getting these photos taken is on the rise – especially among women in the body-positivity movement.
A boudoir photo shoot can be empowering. It’s a chance to do something that makes us feel gorgeous in the skin we’re in. I recently had a boudoir-style shoot with photographer Caroline Brassard and was able to step outside my comfort zone and find a unique way to express myself.
“Participating in a boudoir photo shoot can be a very vulnerable, intimate thing,” says Dolly Monroe, who owns Dolly Shots Photography. She adds it’s important the photographer makes the model feel they’re very best. “Seeing images of yourself looking confident and sexy can really change how you feel about your body and how you choose to present yourself in your daily life,” Monroe adds.
For many folks, letting their guard down and being captured at that moment can be an act of body liberation.
N. Maxwell Lander takes a different approach. Having shot erotic images since the age of 19, Lander explains, “There’s an idea that it’s all satin sheets and lingerie, which makes only a small group of people feel good in their bodies.”
He says he always discusses what “sexy” and “empowerment” mean to his clients and tries to engage with that. But Lander points out that his photography had an effect on his own body image. As a person who identifies as transgender, Lander was often left feeling bad about himself after taking racy photographs of folks who didn’t look like him. As a result, he’s made it a priority to invite trans and non-binary folks into his studio.
Boudoir photography can also be a form of storytelling. The photographs can capture an individual at a specific place in time and celebrate how far they’ve come and where they’re going.
Samantha Kidd of Crave Boudoir starting shooting boudoir four years ago and considers her studio a “body positive zone.” She has had clients share their stories with her and watched them blossom through their three-hour sessions.
“A boudoir shoot can help people with body image issues; however, it’s not a quick fix,” Kidd says, adding that loving yourself takes hard work and commitment, but showing up for a photo shoot takes self-love a step further.
My boudoir photo shoot and the resulting photos are ones I’ll cherish forever. They remind me of a time when I was just beginning to feel confident enough to let my guard down, laugh and allow someone to take a photo of me in the buff.
The photos remind me that I don’t have to strive to live up to the wild beauty standards that society has set. It lets me admire my stretch marks, cellulite, lumps and bumps in all their glory.
These photo shoots can range in price from $300 to $500 depending on the studio, hair and makeup styling and editing of images, but the experience can make a perfect gift for someone who’s on their own journey of self-discovery and body positivity. We all need to appreciate ourselves, and these images can be a lifelong celebration of feeling beautiful and sexy in our body.