On a particularly frigid Friday morning in Boston, I awoke to a startling realization: Today was the day I would finally slip on some lacy underthings and harness my inner model for my long-awaited boudoir shoot. If you read my previous post about pre-shoot planning, you know there were a lot of considerations leading up to this day, from carefully selecting outfits to honing in on my aesthetic. While I felt immensely prepared, that didn’t change the fact that I was about to embark on a somewhat nerve-wracking experience for the first time.
If you’re considering doing a boudoir shoot, you may be eager to know what goes on behind the scenes before taking the plunge yourself. I know I certainly was! That’s why I’ve recounted my experience — to give you an idea of what to expect when it comes time to don your unmentionables and strike a pose.
Time for beautifying
Disclaimer: I’m really, really finicky when it comes to my hair. So while it’s definitely advisable to get your tresses professionally styled for a boudoir shoot, I opted to do it myself. That meant a blowdry the night before the shoot, and then curling it into loose curls with a 1.25-inch iron. Some volumizing mousse at the roots and a layer or three of hairspray, and I was good to go.
When it came to makeup, though, I knew I had to defer to an expert — particularly as Annika, the photographer at Ma Cherie Studios, warned me that about 30 percent of makeup is lost with the camera. That meant I’d need more makeup than usual to make my features pop. I booked an appointment at Sephora’s beauty studio and brought in some Pinterest images of the look I was going for — a smoldering taupe smokey eye with dramatic lashes, subtle glow, and soft pink lip. I made sure to tell the makeup artist that this was for a photoshoot so that she was specifically choosing colors and formulas that would translate well on camera.
Setting the mood
When I arrived at the studio, Annika offered me a glass of bubbly, and I lay my lingerie options out on the bed. Together, we chose the three ensembles we thought showed variety in terms of color, fit and features. While I changed behind the curtain in her studio, she turned up the volume on a stellar playlist (so key for establishing the vibe) and tweaked the lighting in the room to get it just right. After a few test shots, we were rolling.
Ready, set, go!
Annika let me keep the robe on for the first set of images, which definitely helped me to ease into feeling comfortable in my skivvies. To my relief, she directed my poses in great detail — from how to tilt my chin and where to place my hands to the angle of my torso. As she snapped away, she suggested small adjustments — such as to look directly at the camera, to pop one knee inward, or to arch my back more. Before I knew it, she instructed me to drop the robe in a pool on the floor. And there I was: in a cassis colored contour bra and panty set, patent 4.5” heels, and remarkably, totally at ease.
We made two additional outfit changes and moved around the room to get a vast range of poses, and angles. At one point I was lying on my side on a fur-covered bench near the windowsill in a lace teddy, at another, I was stretched out on the bed in a half back-bend, and finally, I was standing up facing a white exposed brick wall with Annika shooting me from behind. Some of the poses definitely required a little more strength and flexibility than others — leading me to vocalize my newfound respect for models, and Annika cautioned that I may even be a bit sore tomorrow. Before each outfit change, she made sure to show me a shot or two to confirm that I was happy, and each time I was amazed at how stunning the images looked before any retouching.
When I think back on the experience, there’s one moment that stands out in my mind. I was lying on the bed on my back, and Annika was shooting from my feet when she paused and said, “Your legs are amazing.” Every woman has that one primary physical insecurity, and mine is definitely my legs, so this came as a shock. When I told her this, she laughed. “Why? Look at them!” she said, showing me a shot she had just taken. And as I looked, I suddenly saw them in a different light.
I guess, ultimately, that’s what a boudoir shoot is all about. It’s not just an opportunity to pick out some lingerie and get dolled up for a day — it’s a chance to quiet all the self-doubts and body hang-ups, take a step back and finally appreciate yourself for the goddess you are. So, what are you waiting for?