Doing a boudoir shoot is a great opportunity for women to display their confidence while exploring their sensuality in an intimate setting with a photographer. But for some, the thought of stripping down to your lingerie and posing for strangers in front of a camera can feel overwhelming and outright nerve racking. This makes it difficult to move past the fear of feeling vulnerable and recognise the truly empowering impact a boudoir shoot delivers. We’ve decided to ask different women who once reached out to The Photo Studio, to ask for their reasons for doing a boudoir shoot, how it made them feel and their advice to you.
By Kamilla Bakiyeva
Celebrating and Loving Yourself
A boudoir shoot can be the first step on the journey of self-love. We come from different backgrounds, carrying various stories on our shoulders and often focusing too much on giving love to others that we become dependant on them for our own happiness. In this constant chaos, we become oblivious to our own self-worth and sometimes all you need is to take a step back and give yourself some self-care and reassurance.
Darian Lenton is a manager at a solar energy company and is extremely passionate about environmental change and a healthy planet. Growing up in foster care and moving from home to home allowed her to not be afraid of being in new places and trying new things. Although, booking a photo shoot was still something that made her nervous, with a breakup becoming the final push.
“I recently had gone through a huge breakup, which was extremely difficult for me to handle, particularly because of my childhood experiences and the constant fear of abandonment. Him leaving me affected me more than it probably should’ve and that’s how I knew it was time for me to do something for myself. I knew I had to do some self-care and learn how to love myself again and prove that I don’t need to rely on somebody for my own happiness. I wanted to celebrate myself in my most raw and natural state while embracing my vulnerability and femininity.”
The key to feeling comfortable in a boudoir shoot, is not focusing too much on the outcome but rather on the adrenaline rush and excitement that you feel while exposing yourself to the camera.
“I came with the mindset that no matter what, it would be a powerful experience and I would love the final result and this confidence really shone through my photos. Positive self-talk is also so important, even if you don’t necessarily believe it. Your brain can be a funny thing and turn nervousness into confidence purely through self-talking. Remember, the camera is there to capture and celebrate you, not judge or define who you are. Shower yourself with love and imagine that ever flash of the camera is someone blowing a kiss.”
When trying to focus on self-love and self-care during your boudoir shoot, it’s important not to let your mind wander somewhere else. It’s so easy to start thinking of irrelevant things that you forget to simply enjoy yourself.
Darian suggests that putting all of your trust to the professional team would really help with letting yourself go: “I knew I was working with professionals that probably have seen a lot more than just little me in my lingerie, so I decided to just focus on myself and let them worry about everything else. The photographer guided me through different poses and props, while being very professional and patient. It’s such an amazing experience, the more you open yourself up, the better you’ll feel. This photo shoot is about YOU, pick out your sexiest lingerie that makes you feel confident and go to town! I personally decided to go for black piece as a statement of strength with unbuttoned shirt as a symbol of exposing my vulnerability.”
Part of the process of self-love is also finding who you are and loving the person you discover. Rebecca, a single mum of two children decided to start focusing on her happiness by first leaving a nine year relationship.
“I was unhappy. I tried to stay for the sake of my children but I just couldn’t do it any longer. I slowly felt myself fading away and losing who I was. After a few months of being single I started to try and find myself again. The real me. The happy me. But in the back of my mind I just felt like I wasn’t good enough, while constantly doubting myself as a mother, a sister, a daughter, a friend. I was trying to keep everybody happy except me.”
It all changed, when one morning Rebecca was drinking her coffee and decided she’d had enough and it was time for her to do something for herself: a professional boudoir shoot.
“I needed to feel beautiful again and love myself first. How could I ever expect anybody to appreciate me if I can’t appreciate myself? Doing a boudoir shoot not only made me realise that I’m much more than just a 32 year old single mother but that I am my own kind of beautiful and I don’t need anyone to justify it for me.”
Learn to Appreciate and Believe in Yourself
In this day and age, many women feel pressured to look and act a certain way, to tick a box they were placed in and try to fit the image that has been created for us. It’s difficult to stop picking on our ‘flaws’ and simply appreciate our bodies for what they are.
Gabriella, a Zambian native emphasises the struggles women face and how hard it is to break out of this cycle and enjoy yourself:
“Being a woman is honestly so damn hard. There’s so much we’re exposed to and so much information we’re fed that it’s not easy to just feel good about yourself. I’ve criticised almost every part of my body down to my pinky toe. I’ve seen people look at me in peculiar ways that gave me a sense that they either didn’t like me or judged me. I’ve heard and seen just about enough crap that made me think that some of those things were true and that I would never be able to go beyond whatever box I had been placed in.”
It took some time for Gabrielle to decide she was her worst enemy and judge when it came down to how she felt about herself and it was time to make a change.
“I was going through so much stress and that entirely changed how I felt about myself. I had stress from work, stress from being in and out of hospital, financial stress, emotional stress, any stress, you name it, I was going through it. It’s funny when it rains, it storms and by the end of the storm, I was beat down. It made me realise that no one would ever start appreciating me until I started appreciating myself. ”
After booking a boudoir shoot, Gabriella was nervous but on the day she let herself go and loved the whole experience.
“I had no expectations how the pictures would turn out. I was on such a high from the photo shoot itself, with the team was telling me I looked beautiful, I didn’t care once about my rolls or wrinkles or my chipped nails. I wanted to feel confident without having an expectation attached to this word, so I just chose to feel however I wanted to feel and do whatever I wanted to do. So, I danced to Rihanna and kept smiling at the camera, without a single care in the world.”
It can seem difficult and daunting to fight and reach the point of pure happiness and confidence but Gabriella strongly advises to be kind to yourself and remember your worth.
“There is only one of you on this earth and you are the only one capable of doing the job of being you. Remind yourself that you’re unique in your own way, you know what you can bring to the table and the only validation you need is from yourself. I’ve let people’s assumptions and opinions get to me for too long, and this photo shoot helped me to block all the noise and chaos in my head. I realise that the journey of appreciating yourself is difficult and long but at the end it’s all worth it. Seeing yourself in the mirror and finally smiling at your reflection is worth it.”
With the process of self-appreciation comes the idea of believing in yourself which according to Amanda, can also be gained from a boudoir shoot.
After being a long time Instagram follower of The Photo Studio, Amanda decided to finally book a boudoir shoot with us and see the firsthand experience for herself.
“In the past, I’ve been battling multiple severe mental illnesses from self-harm and eating disorders to suicide attempts and body dysmorphia. At one point, I decided that I’m going to appreciate my body and do a boudoir photo shoot. It was time for me to start believing in myself and you’ll be amazed by the power you will have once you do.”
Accepting Who You Are
The process of transferring your insecurities and forming them into acceptance is by far the most challenging part of self-love. Boudoir shoots may not only show you the “flaws” in a new positive light but also accentuate your existing qualities. We’re all guilty of often being too harsh on ourselves and there’s no shame in being reminded of our self-worth and individuality.
Raquel first began her journey of self-acceptance a few years ago. Struggling with low self-esteem and ongoing chronic health conditions, she decided to take a plunge and book a boudoir shoot for herself.
“I really love the energy and the expression behind boudoir images. I wanted to start feeling sexy in my own skin. Self-acceptance is a process and it’s natural for us all to have the negative thoughts that have been fed to us through media and society. Doing a boudoir shoot for me, became much more than just being sexy, it can really allow you to see another side of yourself that you may have not even known was there.”
Narelle was also stuck in the cycle of feeling insecure after going through a divorce. She first started out with smaller changes such as wearing clothes that made her feel beautiful, going to the gym and making new friends. Soon after, she discovered us and decided that a boudoir shoot was a cherry on the top of her new confidence.
“I bought a sexy vintage nightie at an op-shop years ago and I never felt good enough for it until this moment. Pushing myself to do this shoot was a first step to realising that it’s not up to other people to define your body, it’s up to you and you alone. It was so refreshing and empowering to come to this, especially after seeing the final photos with my body exposed and looking so beautiful.”
Step Out of Your Comfort Zone and Push Yourself Further
Photo shoots in general can feel intimidating to some, whereas others see it as a chance to let yourself go in front of the camera and have some fun. A boudoir shoot can seem out of reach for many and therefore becomes a perfect opportunity to challenge yourself and step out of your comfort zone.
Karolina, having done professional shoots before, wanted to push herself further and do something completely different:
“I really wanted to push my limits and see how far I can go and thought what’s a better way than booking myself a boudoir shoot? I can feel empowered but also challenged at the same time. I wanted to see myself in my most vulnerable state while also doing something I’ve never done before. At first, I was super nervous to take my robe off in front of other people, but after some time I just forgot about the camera and started enjoying myself. It’s important to remind yourself once in awhile to live in the moment and stop worrying about how you look. Deciding to do a boudoir shoot and stepping out of my comfort zone really helped me to achieve that.”
Find Your Sexuality
The intimate and sensual nature of boudoir shoots is a great opportunity for women to find and reconnect with their sexuality, while rediscovering their femininity.
Sabrina had been battling with depression and body image issues for years, until a traumatic experience pushed her to do something radical and different: a boudoir shoot.
“I had been contemplating a photo shoot for years but never had the guts for it. I was recovering from multiple sexual assaults and found that although clinical support had helped me a lot, I needed to do something for myself. The experience of exposing myself made me confront every single one of my fears all at once, while also helping me to reconnect with the sexy side of me that was unjustly taken away. The final photos made me tear up a little bit. I finally looked how I wanted to look and felt like I had found myself again with the images constantly reminding me of my self-worth.”
Spice Up Your Modelling Portfolio
Lastly, although a boudoir shoot is a powerful personal experience, it’s also a great way to diversify and mix up a modelling portfolio.
Sharni and Zoe, both being interested in pursuing a modelling career, wanted their portfolios to include a variety of shoots and themes.
Sharni, being a 23 year old mum, first approached The Photo Studio to bring her vision of becoming a model to life.
“I’ve been modelling and doing photo shoots on and off since I was fifteen. I’m from a small town in Queensland and there’s not many opportunities, so I can only model when I travel. During the shoot, we first started out with a bit of denim on denim but the more comfortable I got, the more it turned into a boudoir shoot. I wanted agencies to be able to see a different side of me while still remaining classy and professional.”
Zoe also reached out to us, after an agency advised her to expand her modelling portfolio.
“Doing a boudoir shoot is something I’ve never considered before, but when I saw the option I was really intrigued. During the shoot, I felt a tad awkward but the team were amazing at making me feel comfortable. I wanted my photos to look natural and elegant, while also being sexy and classy.”
At the end, we asked Sharni and Zoe to give some self-love tips for women who are wanting to do a boudoir shoot and this is what they had to say:
“Be unapologetically you. There’s nothing more beautiful than being confident in your own body. Always smile and take care of yourself!” – says Sharni.
“I know it sounds cliche and easier said than done, but be yourself and just do it. Regardless of your shape and size, you are beautiful whether you’re doing a boudoir shoot to keep for yourself or show to other people, it’ll make you feel incredible. I don’t think I have ever felt so comfortable in my own skin before!” – says Zoe.
These women decided to do a boudoir shoot for various reasons, but it does not become any less of an empowering experience. We hope these women not only gave you a boost of confidence, but also became that final push that you may have needed to book a photo shoot with us. Whatever story you are carrying behind you, perhaps a boudoir shoot can be the final touch you need to see yourself for who you truly are; beautiful, confident and worth it.