With Valentine's day right around the corner and Boudoir Photography being the hot new trend, would you ever consider taking professional boudoir photo's for your significant other?
The idea is as daunting for some as it is titillating for others…but no matter how you feel about it, it all boils down to one thing: Getting semi-naked in front of a stranger.
Being a little shy about taking my clothes off, I would never have thought of giving this kind of gift to my husband. However, at my first job, I met a woman who did.
I had a boss I looked up to and admired immensely and I will never forget the day she had a professional nude photo shoot done, framing the best prints as a 40th Birthday gift for her husband.
It was so tastefully done, black and white of course, and the image of my super successful, motherly, power-dressing lawyer boss stretched out on a rock in Bakoven was seared into my esteem forever.
I decided she was the most AMAZING woman I knew.
1. Gifting a private peep show
I am sure she wasn't the first, and most certainly won’t be the last person to give their partner a gilded portrait of their natural selves – but these days with all the nudie-leaks and dick-pics flying around the internet, has some of the lustful allure lost its taste? Has the lovers’ secret art form been tainted?
When I heard about the growing popularity of boudoir film and photos for regular people, the writer in me was intrigued. What is it that would make these normal, every day women want to take their clothes off in front of a camera?
I poured over countless testimonials, and was struck to find that what was meant as a treat for their significant others, became a treat for them. They felt empowered and liberated.
Many said that they had an absolute ball, and one in particular concluded that ‘Every woman should do this once in her lifetime’. Reading all these personal accounts made it clear to me that our world, and our perception, is changing.
2. “But I’m no model…”
The most common thought that seemed to plague those who were gearing up to strip down was that they wouldn't look good. But then, as soon as they were done and saw the images, they expressed delighted surprise, saying that they almost didn't believe it was them in the sizzling pictures.
They had to admit that they were ravishing, re-kindling their self-confidence.
Besides all our own insecurities, these photographers know what they are doing – and a little lighting goes a long way.
3. Taking Sexy Back
Those who had been married for over 20 years said that they just didn't see themselves that way anymore, or had simply forgotten certain aspects of their youth and sensuality.
Doing the shoot gave them a different view of themselves, showing a new side or capturing something that may have been evaded over the years – then reflected back to them in film.
One woman said she realized that 'you don’t loose it, you let it go'. So at the age of 50 she “took her sexy back!” burlesque style.
4. Blind insecurity
A New York based photographer writes eloquently on her website: "Insecurity is a blindfold that doesn't allow you to see your own beauty and can keep you from enjoying your life. In the years that I've spent photographing women, I have yet to find at least one who feels totally happy with herself."
If we are all used to being un-happy with ourselves, what is it about getting near-naked that has been helping woman become more confident and ready to reclaim what once was lost?
5. Own the tease; No sleaze
I think the biggest difference is it’s all in her own hands, as she exerts control. Some choose themed scenes and outfits while others go for sensual subtlety.
Some want romantic, others racy and some want just a tiny bit of tease. Some women are very secure in baring their deepest fantasies – but again, the choice is entirely hers. She is the customer and the designer. She is the one in charge of her own image.
6. The Naked Truth of How to do it
It seems that a great boudoir gift isn't just about semi-naked pictures – it should tell a story.
Personal items, besides your favourite lingerie, will aid in building the picture you want. A significant song could set the mood, maybe the one you had your first kiss with your partner to; The gorgeous heels you bought for your first date; Your bridal veil could make an extraordinary prop, draping yourself in the memory of your wedding day.
You can bring special moments into the video, like letters written and saved, gifts or jewelry (wear JUST the pearls?) or his sms’s with heart emoticons. You could even bring one of your man’s shirts to wear.
With film, the boudoir story evolves even more, and you can do anything you want with it, acting out scenes or building orgasmic tension.
7. Local is Ooh La La
I spoke to a Cape Town boudoir videographer, Jean du Toit to find out more about the South African scene and how boudoir photography is evolving. Juan explained that having to take off ‘most’ of your clothes can be scary because you feel vulnerable, but the preconceived notion is often very different to the actual experience.
8. Tips and cautions
- These shoots are done from your own home, at a cozy bed and breakfast or from a luxury hotel, depending on your budget and where you feel most comfortable.
- Bringing a sister or friend along for moral support if you feel nervous or shy at all is very helpful, as people usually loosen up and have fun. After all, wouldn’t you rather be focusing on a friend prompting you to smile, than at the camera lens super-zoomed in on your lacy bits?
- A personal consult before hand is advised, so that the photographer can get a sense of what you want. Is it a gift? What is that relationship all about?
- Make sure your photographer is a professional. Do a little research, check out their website and ask for a signed contract up front regarding the privacy of the photo’s.
9. Good Clean Fun
Once you have decided you are in good hands, the possibilities are endless. Buzzfeed did a great body-positive article on poses, giving real women tips to embrace their sexuality on film, and the Huffington post gave us a brief history of this particular genre of photography (in case you still thought you were the only one ever to consider it).
It seems to me that a boudoir shoot is about capturing an exclusive aspect of yourself - where nothing is more beautiful than you – as a gift for yourself or someone you love. It’s a confidence booster and a patron of romance.
Ultimately, it’s about not taking yourself too seriously, and having a bit of fun.
Would you ever take the plunge? Valentine’s day is just around the corner - #justsaying