You might decide, first, if you want to portray yourself as a thirties, forties, or fifties era movie star, which is extremely popular, or do you prefer a modern look? Will you wear skin revealing panties and bra, garters and stockings, a corset or a bustier (more on these items later), or a nightgown which reveals a bit, but is more demure?
Whatever genre you choose, make it YOU. Become comfortable in your outfit before the shoot and make sure it fits properly. Visit a tailor, if necessary, to have your garments made to fit perfectly, as you will feel sexier and more beautiful if your clothing items do not have to be clipped and pinned for your shoot.
Those who like to shoot “authentic” period looks will need to shop around for the vintage undergarments, gowns, etc. of the times. Personally, I find the garments made and sold today to be far more appealing. The setting and lighting for your shoot can be made to resemble another period, though you choose modern lingerie. Again, it comes down to taste and what you feel like conveying in your photos.
A bit might be said for understanding lingerie terms. A quick pass through the “Victoria Secret” catalog or website, will show a range of bras and a few select bustiers and garter belts from which you have to choose. Most bras offered are of the padded variety, with varying degrees of push up and lift provided. If you are like me, a padded bra is not your bra of choice, unless your clothing dictates a perfectly smooth appearance. I wear an “unlined” bra for the same reason I prefer to wear natural fibers. I like to allow my skin to breathe. Padded bras can be a bit warm, especially in hot, humid weather or crowded, unventilated rooms.
While preparing a friend of mine for a shoot and pulling out many of my sexy bras including padded extreme lift and separation, unlined, demi cup lined and unlined, and shelf bras to name a few. “Oh, I would only wear a padded bra. I don’t want my nipples showing through”. Well, there you go. That’s a big reason to choose padded over unlined and certainly the shelf bra. The shelf bra, true to its name, merely provides a shelf for your breasts, while leaving them uncovered. Some evening dresses look best with the shelf bra as there is no worry of the bra getting confused with what it is holding up.
Most of you will be thinking of giving your man samples of your shoot and will want to wear what you think will please him. You might even shop together or send him pix from the dressing room from your cell phone. Trust me, that can be loads of fun. Better to let him help with the planning than to disappoint Mr. Right. Ask him what he wants. Of course, if you know his taste very well, already, you can plan it to be a surprise for an anniversary, birthday or holiday gift. Remember, Christmas is coming up, followed by Valentine’s Day.
If you choose to wear stockings in your photo, you might be aware of a little known fact which even lingerie sales people are unclear. Thigh highs are meant to be used without garters. The tops are far too thick for the garters to snap on to. Make sure you check out the tops of the stockings. You will have to get the old fashioned ones if you want to use garters, and what a fun choice they are. Lots can be done in the photo (playing with garters, etc) which can not be duplicated with self-sustaining thigh highs.
If you have decided to go the way of the gartered stocking look, there is more you should know. If you have a bit too much flab in the mid section, my advice is to choose a bustier which has built in garters. The corset which laces up the back and hooks in the front is a great look, but does not have garters attached and can really deemphasize the size of the girls. They were designed in centuries and decades past, to present a very tiny waist as the most important fashion element. Since it’s just us talking, the good thing about a corset is that the lacing can be loosed or tightened to fit you at various stages in your ongoing diet. Tra la la.
Now, about shoes. I keep a whole wardrobe of shoes in my studio because I just won’t allow anything but high heels or bare feet. A wedge heel sometimes can work. Your legs will be much more toned and attractive looking if you are wearing high heels. The higher, the better, suits me. Add an ankle strap, and you hit the sex appeal jackpot. Now, if you are talking about walking in them, that’s another story. Six inch heels are made primarily for stunt women. Witness Gwyneth Paltrow walking out of the room where she and Robert Downey Jr. have just had a conversation in the movie Iron Man 2. Hilarious!
The reintroduction of the “platform” has supposedly made it easier to balance the height of the heels with your athletic abilities to walk in them, but I found myself teetering forward about to fall. It was scary. I returned this same pair of shoes to the well known department store from which I purchased them and asked the salesman, “how many women return these six inch heels simply because they can not walk in them?” “Oh, a lot”, he assured me as I self consciously placed them on the counter asking for a refund. I am not advising you to do the same. It is only right that, like the queen of England, you do not conspire to cheat the store out of a rightfully earned profit on your perfect photo shoot.
Choice of color is a very important element. Usually red, black, white, and some blues and turquoises are a sure bet. Pink can look really lame and doesn’t have the pop that you might like in your photo.
One final word on boudoir photo poses. Practice in front of a mirror. Pull pages out of magazines and try to duplicate the pictures you favor. While Photoshop can work wonders, it is best to remember not to cause your legs and arms to bulge. Arch your back and pull up in front. If it hurts, it looks good! A pointed toe, rather than a flexed foot, always looks best.
Now, onto facial expressions which are a main focus. A wise man recently told me that if he was getting a picture from his wife or girlfriend, he would like her to look right into the camera and smile. Phony attempts at being sexy will only make you look foolish. Be yourself!! Notice the difference in the sexuality between Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell, in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. I knew Jane Russell, and I can tell you she never tried to look sexy. She just was!! You will notice in my photography portfolio the Marilyn look-alike shots I did of model Elise Myers. She does a perfect Marilyn. If you can do it, go for it!!
Now, you are well on your way to the perfect boudoir photo shoot. Choose your boudoir photographer carefully. Most legitimate photographers, not guys with cameras looking for girls, will have websites. Check their portfolio to see if their work suits you, and then try to arrange a meeting with him or her prior to the shoot. This will tell you if you are comfortable with the person, or if you need to keep shopping for someone else.
Best of luck to you. Remember, ask your photographer to let you see what you look like after a few shots. This way you can make adjustments to your pose, expressions and garments.
More advice regarding the boudoir photo shoot in my next blog post.