More and more brides are opting to extend their wedding photography package to include a boudoir shoot, which involves slipping into something a little more scandalous than your wedding dress and posing for intimate photos as a gift for your spouse. Lauren Louise, photographer and owner of Lauren Louise Photography, says that nearly 50 percent of her brides also schedule boudoir sessions with her—and she continues to see that percentage increase each year. "I think every woman deserves to look and feel beautiful in their own skin and I love when a client has the ability to see and feel that way about themselves through my work," she says. To make the most of your boudoir photo sesh, keep these definite dos and don'ts in mind.
Do: Choose a photographer you trust.
This is most likely the most intimate you've gotten with anyone aside from an ex-lover or your doctor. Even though most lingerie covers as much as a swimsuit, you may find yourself feeling less comfortable. "Once you find a photographer that creates images you love, meet with them to make sure you're entirely comfortable with them," says Caroline Talbot, photographer and owner of Caroline Talbot Photography. "You're going to want to have built a level of trust with your photographer before your session, so he or she can ease your nerves and feel great." In addition, make sure he or she has a legitimate business, is reputable, and creates a contract for your boudoir photos that is separate from the one you signed for your engagement or wedding photos.
Don't: Do anything that makes you uncomfortable.
Regardless of how much you love your photographer or his or her extensive and admirable background, you shouldn't be talked into doing anything you're not entirely comfortable with. "A professional photographer will respect your requests and go above and beyond to make sure you feel you are in a safe environment," says Stephanie Yonce, photographer and owner of SYP Boudoir. It might be worth having a conversation with your photographer prior to the shoot to go over anything you don't want to do.
Do: Be yourself.
These photos are meant to show off you—not a souped up, almost unrecognizable version of you. For this reason, it's so important to represent yourself naturally in your boudoir wedding photos. "It's even more important to feel confident in your posing, as any discomfort can sometimes come through in your images," says Katherine Henry, photographer and owner of Katherine Henry Boudoir. Your photographer will walk you through everything, step-by-step, and keep you at ease through the process, so there shouldn't be anything to worry about. "A great photographer will learn about you and hear what you want to express with your images."
Don't: Wear tight clothing to your shoot.
You might be feeling super sexy when arriving to your boudoir photo shoot—and you should!—but avoid dressing in restricting clothing when you'll be removing layers in a few hours. "It's important to arrive in loose clothing so you're not left with elastic (or other clothing) lines on your body when you go to put on your skimpier looks," Henry says. "These lines can stay for way longer than you'd imagine and can be hard to remove in post production—especially if they land under a layer of lace!"
Do: Pose with something from the wedding.
Whether it's your veil, shoes, or wedding-night lingerie, many brides bring something that's representative of the big day to the shoot. "I love working with veils because you can you wear it in photos or use it as added texture on a bed or chair when posing," says Henry. "Plus, the light looks so beautiful through a veil!" Considering you'll likely only wear your veil for a few hours on the big day, it's a great way to get more use out of it!
Don't: Put it off or wait until you "get into better shape."
This is the main reason women who are interested in a session end up putting it off, says Yonce. "I'm a very strong believer that the best value in these photos is seeing the beauty in yourself at any given moment," she adds. "Your body will always change—every single day and over the years—but finding the confidence to overcome any nagging self doubt is completely invaluable." Word to the wise: Book your session and own it.
Do: Have your hair and makeup professionally done.
You might love the way you do your hair and makeup, but a professional knows exactly how to highlight your best features and is also familiar with how certain colors and styles will appear on camera. But don't hesitate to give your makeup artist and hair stylist some direction. "It can be helpful to bring examples of looks you like as well," says Henry. "A great idea for hair is to start with a bridal updo and then take it down to have more of a bedhead-wavy look." The same goes for switching up your makeup. Maybe start with a relaxed light pink or nude in the beginning and vamp it up to a fiery red towards the end! Also, Henry adds to be sure to have a fresh mani and pedi before your shoot, even if it's just a clear coat.
Don't: Wait 'till the last minute.
"If your boudoir session is a gift for your soon-to-be groom, make sure to schedule your session with enough time for your photographer to edit the images and design and ship your album," says Louise. "You'll also want a chunk of time before your scheduled shoot." In other words, you'll want to prepare by taking good care of your body and skin, giving yourself enough time to search for the perfect lingerie, and selecting the right venue, such as an AirBnB or a hotel room.