Another fact: I'm no stranger to baring skin in the name of body love.
From being pressed between a wall and a male model while topless for Abercrombie, to stripping for 100 women in Expose, to being fully nude in a window posing for Substantia Jones in NYC... I've done some really kick ass nude-y photo shoots, y'all.
But even after all that, boudoir photography has always been a titch scary to me (which always means, of course that I absolutely must do it. ) and I was never totally sure why. It could have been because of the overt sexiness required, or maybe it's the fact that it isn't often a fat acceptance practice and almost every article is about how to look "better" (read: skinnier) in the photos. But none of that matters much anymore... I've tried it! And I'm glad I did.
Not only was it a personal victory, but quite frankly a ferocious act in the name of body love. Obvious truth: the world needs more sexy and unapologetic fat girl photos and I VOLUNTEER AS TRIBUTE!
Because of my hesitancy (and success!) with all this, I want to share with you what I've learned, not only from previous nekkid shoots, but from this one as well. Taking this type of photo can be tricky for those who feel insecure with their bodies or sexuality, but I want to walk you through some real talk so this can be a victorious option for you too.
Now, I'm not going to give you tips on how to look "sexiest" or poses that make you look thinner. If you really want those, the internet has them aplenty. Instead, I want to give you the 8 things I learned along the way... and hopefully they make taking revealing (and therefore vulnerable) photos a super duper fucking amazing experience! Because GODDAMN IT, you're sexy and you deserve to feel it.
1.) Choose a safe location that speaks to you. Your bedroom. A hotel room. The back room of a Mexican restaurant.... Yes, these photos we're totally taken in the back room of a Mexican restaurant. I shit you not.
I put out a request to my friends for location suggestions and a pal internet yelled SIR VEZAS and I laughed. But I did some research and found out that their "Low Rider Room" was rentable and full of sparkly gold booths and painted car hoods. I was SOLD.
So be creative! Choose a place that feels safe (obviously my safe may be different than another persons) whether it be remote, private, somewhat public (we had a cloth curtain for a door)... you choose. Some of the sexiest boudoir photos I've ever seen were taken in a backyard pool. Some models in white t-shirts, and some in lingerie and heels. Yes, heels in a pool. FUCK, IT WAS HOT. That's all I have to say about that.
2.) Have your hair and makeup done professionally. I highly recommend this! Whether it's a professional in a salon, someone who does it from home, or a friend that's awesome with an eye shadow palate... have THEM do it. While I am absolutely capable of contouring and applying lashes, it feels like such a luxurious experience to have someone else doing the application. Almost like the ultimate form of photo self-care. Trust me on this one.
3.) Wear whatever you feel comfortable in. If you're wanting to try something new (maybe this is the perfect opportunity to wear that fetish outfit you've been dreaming about) go for it! If you find yourself worrying about what to wear, I'd recommend whatever feels comfortable and sexy to you, even if it's not "traditional boudoir lingerie." I really wanted to rock a casual tank top that showed a little bit of nipple and then a more feminine look with lace and ribbons. Both of these I've worn to bed in real life, and eradicating the nervousness of trying to figure out how to work with my clothing while shooting was wonderful. You do YOU, whatever that means
4.) Choose a photographer you trust. This can be a little tricky, because you also want someone who has skills so that the quality of the photography isn't a distraction. Look locally for someone that you know, friends recommend, or you like their work. If you've never met them and you'd like to make sure you can jive with them on this sort of shoot, ask if you can meet them beforehand. It never hurts to ask, and perhaps they'll be game! Connection with a photographer MATTERS.
I'd only met Rosie from No Regrets Photography in passing, but she's worked with every model I know in Tucson and beyond. She's not a straight sized lady either, and this along with the fact that she's famous for alternative photography helped me feel comfortable. I'm thrilled I chose her for these images; they're as fierce as I hoped.
5.) Be prepared that it might be a little hard. I was NOT expecting it to be difficult. I'm no stranger to compromising shoots, and I figured- I'm not even going to be nude, and there's going to lingerie... How hard can it be? The answer? Kinda hard.
I was having a rough day before hand which couldn't have helped, but during the shoot I found myself worried about the poses. More specifically, I was worried about my stomach. I wanted to minimize it (silly me) but I also wanted to push my boundaries and do poses that were outside my comfort zone... which meant tummy. What I ended up doing was stopping and saying "Ohmygod I'm having such a hard time with my stomach. Lemme breathe for a sec." That was all I needed. I sucked it up (not in) and shot the rest of the poses with confidence... real and perceived.
6.) HAVE FUN! Have so much fun. This is about you, and celebrating you. Call all the shots, be the boss and celebrate! (Also, I'm gonna let you in on a little secret: at almost all of the nude shoots I've done, wine has been available. Don't get schwasty, but a glass certainly doesn't hurt.)
7.) Look for yourself in the photos. This is perhaps the most important part. We do this terrible thing, where we look in the mirror or at pictures and we expect to see a thin model. THIS WILL NEVER HAPPEN UNLESS YOU ARE A THIN MODEL. So stop that shit. The second you start looking for you is the second you will start to appreciate what you are. Stop looking for flaws. Stop looking for differences. There is not one definition of beauty. You are absolutely perfect just as you are. Try to find that.
8.) Show the images to someone else. (BONUS TIP! This is too critical to not share.) We sometimes have the urge to hide hard things from others. We only put our "best" pictures on FB and un-tag any image a friend adds that we hate. I'm going to ask you to do the opposite of that.
When you get your images back, sit with them (hopefully you'll love them!) and then show them to someone. Whether it be your lover, partner, a friend, your social media network... just show them.
I had a terrifying experience with the last Expose shoot, where in a moment of encouragement for others to do the same, I stripped down to nothing and struck a powerful pose. After I saw the image... well, I lost it. I hated it more than I've ever hated an image of myself before. It felt masculine and my short hair only seemed to exacerbate this. I saw the "flaws." I saw that belly.
I sat on the image for weeks, loathing my body until I just couldn't take it anymore. I had to know if it was as awful as my critical mind said it was. So with tears in my eyes, I sat down with my boyfriend and showed it to him. Guess what he saw? A goddamn sexy woman he was in that he was love with.
We certainly don't need to define our worth by what others think of us, but we also don't need to pretend that support cant be helpful. Our perception of ourselves is often skewed because of our lifetime of shame, and sometimes an outside perspective can be wonderful.
So share them! When I got my proofs from this shoot, I was at a karaoke bar in NYC and showed them to everyone. Friends and strangers alike. I then shared them on Facebook and no one was blinded, traumatized or offended. In fact, the pictures blew a few minds and probably caused a few boners.
Try it. I guarantee you won't die if you do.
I LOVED these photos; belly, thighs and all. (Note: I asked to not be Photoshopped, and though I see a teeny bit of softening on the skin, the shapes, rolls, and dimples are all there, thank god!) When I look at these images, I see a confident chick that gives so many less fucks than she ever has before. I see internal power. Sexiness. Happiness. All the good things.
Now, it's okay if you don't love yours when you first see them. It's okay if you cry a little bit; this is a really brave thing to do. If you happen to love them, I'M SO HAPPY FOR YOU. You totally deserve some self-worship and "Jesus GOD, I'm hot!" thoughts. For those who have trouble with the end result, hopefully the shock of seeing your scantily clad selves will wear off and you'll slowly start to love what you see.
My motto: Does it scare you? Then do it!
And share on my Facebook page so I can see it, duh.
Have you taken boudoir photos? Any tips? Leave 'em below so we all can benefit!