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Why I shoot boudoir photos

I originally wrote this piece as my philosophy statement about two weeks after I wrapped my first boudoir sessions with real women (not models). As you’ll read, being a boudoir photographer means more to me than just making some beautiful and sexy photos for your partner to enjoy. It’s about helping you regain the power to bare your inherent beauty and sexuality without judging yourself for it. My friend Robin is drop-dead gorgeous, but she doesn’t know it. As I made her photograph in a lovely Denver hotel suite one weekend, I showed her a few shots along the way. ”Gosh!” she exclaimed.

Gosh is right. When I started processing the photos of the three women I worked with on that Saturday, I could see something in them–a spark, if you will, of acceptance of their inherent beauty. I’ve known each of them a long time. I turned to them as my first clients to feel safe. [If I screwed up, they would be kind.] I didn’t realize that they’d each give me the gifts of vulnerability and connection. They let me see beyond the veil we usually keep up except with our innermost circles. It felt like such a gift.

Every woman is beautiful, but so few of us feel beautiful.

Everywhere we turn, we’re faced with another reason why we’re inadequate—too fat, too skinny, too old, too wrinkled, too poor … not good enough ever. Industries are built on making us feel ugly, yet hopeful that the next product will be the elixir. And yet, only the experience of feeling beautiful, for an hour, or for a day, can unlock the power that gets squashed every day.

Many women get that experience of feeling beautiful on their wedding days. We have our makeup and hair done by a professional, play dress up, and feel like princesses. Boudoir photography is the same experience without the party. It’s a mix of dress up, acting, laughing, and feeling beautiful.

The Spark

I love making photos, capturing that spark inside of people with my camera. And I especially love revealing that spark in women. Sparks like this comment:

There was something really liberating about being photographed. Lynn, the photos are amazing…you are so talented but you also really have a gift for making a woman feel beautiful.

Her compliment feels wonderful, of course. She loves her photos, which makes me proud and excited, because this is also a stepping out for me, a leap off the edge. But I helped her have an experience that was liberating to her. In that hotel room, she was liberated from the stupid rules of who we are supposed to be and how we are supposed to behave.

She could be sexy. She could laugh. She could play! [Oh, we grownups are allowed to play but only in a serious way, right?] And she did!

It’s about celebrating your beauty and embracing your sensuality. It’s about pleasure.

Boudoir, depending on how you shoot it, could be considered salacious. That’s not my intention. I hope I never take a deliberate crotch shot in my life. I want to create photos of women that express who they are, and where they are. And that means sensual, sexual, gorgeous, feminine creatures of all shapes, sizes, and ages.

I want to make photos of women throughout the stages of their lives–when they’re getting married, when they’re having babies, when they want to feel sexy again, when they’ve reached a physical or life goal. And I want the experience of having their photos made to set them free from all the nastiness that has them trapped … if only for an hour or two … just for themselves.