I have so many people ask me how I got into boudoir photography so I thought I would share my story here. This blog is a little more vulnerable for me, but I did commit to you that I would be keeping it real in here for ya, so that’s what I’m gonna do!
You are going to hear HOW I actually got into shooting boudoir… it’s a bit of a personal for me, and maybe a story that some of you have heard before, but let’s just dive in , shall we?
I was married, with 2 kids, and I had left my corporate banking job to stay home and take care of my kids. I was SUPER happy to do that because I really did not love my job. I was good at it and I liked most of the people that I worked with, but it was a long drive, and there were always “events” and “Launches” that we needed to attend and they were after working hours, so I felt that I had to attend, but it was taking more time away from my kids.
My husband at the time worked late hours as well, so I was leaving my kids with my mom or with daycare and that just was NOT sitting well with me at all.
When we decided that I was going to quit it was a great feeling, but I still wanted to contribute to the household income and bring in some money.
I also felt it was important for me to do something that I enjoyed, and on my own terms, and I was always working on some sort of art project or DIY and I loved it, so I tried a few things to make a go of a little side hustle, but it was hard when you don’t have support of your spouse, and when it was looked upon as “ a waste of time”.
Eventually, I started mixed media painting, which was something I took up in high school and thoroughly enjoyed, but I had forgotten about for a long time. I found it was good for my soul and painting again helped me through some tough times in my marriage.
I sold my art in local art shows and started selling fine art photographs alongside my paintings after I got a DSLR and starting playing around with it.
I learned that I really liked photography as well, and I was getting pretty good at it.
Fast forward a few years later, and I am going through a divorce (it was a long time coming and totally necessary for my sanity) but I am lost.
I don’t remember who I am, I now find myself without my kids for 50% of the time, and I have never been without them. It was a very hard time for me and the divorce was messy.
I knew I had to go back to work and assumed I would just go back to the bank, because what else would I do, right?
Then I saw an ad for a boudoir photoshoot… I believe it was on wag-jag or something… remember those? Do they still have those?
Anyway, I was intrigued. I had never heard of this kind of photography, and I thought this would be something that could help me feel like myself again, and remember that I was not just a single mom. When I called the photographer, she was great on the phone, and got me excited about the shoot.
Shoot day was fantastic, she had the session in her home, in a spare bedroom, and she made me feel comfortable, and confident and beautiful and I loved every minute of it. The photos were great, and I purchased a bunch more…. Even though I could NOT afford it then, but I put a value on those photos and that experience and I was willing to spend money on that.
When I showed some of my girlfriends the images, they immediately asked ME to take images like that of them.
Huh? Why? I have no idea how to shoot this… I shoot still life, and landscapes… not people. I gave them my photographer’s name and told them to call her… she was great, you will love her and the whole experience.
But one friend, in particular, kept insisting that I take these photos for her. I eventually agreed, because, honestly, she was beautiful and in great shape, so how could I mess it up, right?
(I now know that totally does NOT matter about your body shape or age when it comes to boudoir photography, it matters that you know your posing… but more on that later)
So I finally went to her house and took some photos of her. She looked really great when I got there and she nailed her makeup too. This was gonna be great!
We shot for almost 3 hours and tried lots of different poses and locations around her house.
I excitedly got home and waited for the images to upload…. When they started coming up, I was SO disappointed.
They were awful
I managed to make an absolutely stunning women, look WORSE than she did in real life!
How was that possible?
She asked and asked to see them, but I actually refused to show her. Even then, I knew the power of photos and if I showed her these ones, it would crush her.
Well, that’s it. Obviously I suck at taking pictures of people. Guess I will just stick with landscapes and still lifes.
So I did.
But it was still kinda nagging at me… I looked at my images, and they looked great- how could hers look so bad?
I pulled up her images again, several months later. I’m so glad I didn't delete them… I don't know why I didn't because I honestly had every intention of getting rid of them.
Thank you universe for NOT letting me delete them!
So this time when I pulled them up, I looked at them with a critical eye. WHY was it not flattering? What could I have done differently?
I looked at a few and realized that if I just stepped a bit to the right, it would have looked better. Or if she just bent her knee a bit more and pointed her toes it would look better.
And this one she needed to drop her shoulder a bit and tip her chin down…
Now that I could see how to improve, I asked her to do another shoot and she agreed.
This time, I slowed down. I paid attention to what I was seeing through my camera lens and took the time to coach her into the position that I thought would look good, and if it didn’t I tweaked it until it did.
This shoot I paid attention. This shoot I took my time. This shoot I directed.
And guess what? They still sucked! But honestly, they did not suck very much at all. They were SO much better, and when I showed them to her, she actually cried. She really had no idea how beautiful she was, and she told me that “She finally sees what her husband sees, and tells her all the time”
That was the EXACT moment that I knew THIS was the genre I wanted to shoot. THIS is what I wanted to do for every women.
To show her beauty.
To show her what others see, what the people who love her see.
I took me a long time and lots of working for free or for hardly any money to make a thriving business out of it, but hopefully you will be able to get tips and tricks from me and my stories to help you get to thriving faster than it took me!
So whether you are just starting out with boudoir or if you are a seasoned boudoir photographer… hell, even if you DONT shoot boudoir, but you shoot beauty or branding… even family photos- I hope you know the value of learning how to pose your clients so they look they're very best.
This is your responsibility as a women’s portrait photographer, to show women their best self…
The wrong pose can make a woman look WORSE than she actually does, and that can also change how she sees herself, but not in a good way and not in a way we want to be responsible for.
Know your angles, know your posing. Practice and learn until you get it right.
Then go out there and change lives.
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