Lingerie: Urban Outfitters // flower crown and vintage jacket: Cuffs Boutique in Sacramento // heels: Schutz
What do you think of when you hear the term “boudoir?” Perhaps some cartoonishly bawdy horns and a 1920s gal sauntering around in fishnet hosiery? Or maybe a little Dita Von Teese action? I tend to think of a certain aesthetic that leans toward a predictable or generic approach to sex appeal. Not that there’s anything wrong with that; I just don’t identify with that style. But when friend and photographer Caroline Winata of Milou and Olin Photography asked me if I wanted to model in one of her Boudoir shoots, I jumped at the chance because I love her taste and I knew she would focus on me feeling like “me” in the photos.
I brought in undergarments that felt sweet and cheeky (literally and figuratively!), and mixed in a little bit of edge with my favorite tasseled jacket and my boyfriend’s plaid button-up. Funny how it really does take a little bit of time to warm up to the camera, especially in a boudoir scenario. I really liked the first outfit (above), but I guess I still felt stiff because that’s how I looked in most of them! By the time I’d changed into the second look, I was a little more comfortable and let Caroline’s directions sink in a little more. For example, there were a lot of notes like, “arch your back,” “smush your boobs together” (not a direct quote, haha), “play with your hair.” I realized that although it didn’t feel natural to stick my booty out, it actually looked much more subtle in the picture and was important for creating curves.
Initially, I was a little apprehensive because, even though most people aren’t judgmental puritans and are generally pretty open-minded, there is still your career to consider, your clients, the freaking internet (!) etc. Haven’t beauty queens lost their crowns over scandalous photos? Okay, that’s totally a slippery slope line of thinking, but in this day and age, I think it’s understandable if that’s where your mind goes. Bottom line for me though was, it’s absolutely possible to take boudoir photos that aren’t exposing “too much” and, more importantly, it’s FUN. It’s not all that difficult to be tasteful and still make your boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife really happy. Or just make yourself happy. Remember the episode of SATC when Samantha just goes out and gets a nude photo taken just because she’s super hot and knows it? I mean, I’m not trying to hang mine by the door like she did and make the pizza delivery guy uncomfortable, but she had the right idea.
If you’re considering taking the plunge (-ing neckline), I would recommend finding a photographer whose aesthetic you admire, and obviously someone you feel comfortable with. I’d also communicate any concerns or limits you have before the shoot, just so you have the peace of mind that you’re working within your comfort zone. Peace of mind = better photos! It also helps a ton to have a makeup artist who has a knack for achieving a soft, pretty look. Olga Pirmatova did my makeup and she knew exactly how to achieve that natural, yet come-hither, look. I loved her emphasis on smooth, glowy skin!