You Don’t Really Want Those Boudoir Photos

The process is *kind of* a big deal.

The process is *kind of* a big deal.

It’s a trend in the photography business, along with bestie shoots and cake smash pics: boudoir photos. Boudoir generally refers to a woman’s private bedroom, and it comes from French, meaning “sulking place,” or a place for a woman to go to be by herself. Boudoir photography, basically, is when a photographer takes pics of you in lingerie (usually high heels and a corset) for you to give to your husband or keep for yourself or put on Facebook. 

Before we go any further, the acceptability of boudoir photography has nothing to do with the size and shape of your body. You’re stunning. You’re gorgeous. You could walk the runway if the runway realized every body is beautiful. So don’t think I’m shaming you for your mummy tummy or your stretch marks or whatever miniscule flaws you perceive on your glorious body, which deserves some love. 

But this is not a reason to get boudoir photography. In fact, there is no good reason to get boudoir photography. 

This is not because the semi-naked body is somehow dirty — it’s not. This is not because sex is somehow dirty — it’s not. It’s because of the process. Let me break it down for you. 

First, you have to find a photog. That means embarrassingly (or not) asking your mortified (or not) friends if they know who takes boudoir pics in town. Then you have to look them up on Facebook or the web or whatever. Then —​ and this is the killer —​ you have to look through strangers’ boudoir photos to find some that you like. And some of the photogs will be someone’s sister, who bought a digital SLR and thought she’d make some cash, and is horrible. Not sort of horrible, but selective-coloring (purple and gold!), baseball-bat-incorporating horrible. There will be a pic with a stiletto heel hooked through a thong strap. You don’t want that pic. No one wants that pic. 

Somehow, you will find a photographer you feel you can entrust not to ridiculously photoshop your naked body (because this is apparently a problem in boudoir photography: over-editing). But once you’ve found that special someone, you need a vision. That’s right, the photog is going to listen to you and then say, “And what’s your vision for the shoot?” And you’ll stand there gaping like an idiot, because who has a vision for this sort of thing? “Um, I want it to be sexy. In a corset and heels” is not nearly specific enough.

You don’t want someone directing you how to look sexy. Because one, it’s sort of completely awkward, and two, what if they get it wrong, and you’re not sexy, you just look stupid? The line between a stupid lip pout and a sexy lip pout is razor-thin...

A good photog will guide you as to location, which should not be anywhere in your house, or outdoors, or in a sports arena. She may even have some places and props she likes to use. If so, you probably saw them already in her portfolio. That means other ladies have rubbed their naked lady-asses against that sheepskin. And you can’t really launder sheepskin. Buyer beware. 

Next, you have to buy the corset and lingerie and shoes and whatever the hell else you need. Whips, chains, Catholic school uniforms —​ hey, we’re not here to judge. But you have to actually buy them, try them on, decide if they fit, and send them back and/or keep them. These are some hefty decisions. Do you go with the plain corset or the corset and stockings? And then you have to select which corset and stockings, and which shoes to match with them, and you’re out several hundred dollars before you even get the requisite pre-shot makeover.

Then comes the shoot. It’s a lot of “stand here … now pout” and “twist so I can see your bum - good - now kick your foot up like a showgirl.” There’d be some “roll on that sheepskin” and “take off your shirt so I see your breasts but now cover them in the sheepskin so I can take salacious breast pictures.” You don’t want someone directing you how to look sexy. Because one, it’s sort of completely awkward, and two, what if they get it wrong, and you’re not sexy, you just look stupid? The line between a stupid lip pout and a sexy lip pout is razor-thin. You don’t want to plop yourself on the wrong end. 

Finally, you’ve got your pics in hand. You have to select the ones you like, of course, which means either selecting the ones you think make you look sexiest, or selecting the ones you think your husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend will think make make you look sexiest, which are not necessarily the same thing. You have to keep the photos —​ Why? Or give them away... But: How? Do you put them in a box with a ribbon? Do you keep the giftee informed through the whole process? These things are so complicated.

Then of course, they’re in a drawer and your mom finds them. There are awkward questions. 

You don’t want those boudoir pictures. Between finding a non-sucky photog, looking through someone else’s sexytime pics, buying your sexygear, putting your ass on the communal sexytime sheepskin, and then explaining the whole thing to your mom, there are a million better ways to spend your money, like street clothes or dogs or Legos. I mean it: you really, really don’t want those boudoir pictures.

And if he argues that he’s deploying and he needs them, tell him to use his right hand and his imagination, like so many war heroes before him.   

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