Why you should consider boudoir photos. Or, how I learned to stop worrying and love my body

June 29 | Guest post by Ms. N
The sexy Ms. N rockin' the boudoir shoot, shared with her permission. Photo by Seattle Boudoir Photography
The sexy Ms. N rockin' the boudoir shoot, shared with her permission. Photo by Seattle Boudoir Photography

Let me preface this with two things…

  • First, I have never been the type to want to be immortalized in my unmentionables (i.e., I never thought I would want to get photographed in my undies before). It wasn't something that I had been dying to do all my life.
  • Second, I am a plus-size girl who is not altogether comfortable with her body and who consistently has some self-love issues.

That being said, let me tell you why you (yes, YOU) should consider boudoir photography…

This past Saturday I had a boudoir shoot with Seattle Boudoir Photography and it was honestly the most liberating experience of my life. I was nervous and apprehensive going into it.

I've never been completely comfortable with my body, and even less so now that I am in my 30s and have stretch marks and scars and even some lovely VEINS that mark who I am and where I've been throughout the past 32 years.

I kept having the thought in my head that these people who would see me half-naked would be completely grossed out and would be disappointed that they could not make me look decent in any photos.

Boy, was I wrong.

I got to spend 2 hours with amazing people who, very honestly and sincerely, thought that I looked beautiful, and did everything they could to make sure that I knew it. And not only KNEW it, but FELT it, too. Nobody ever once looked at me and said, "Oh, I sure wish you were thinner," or "Wow, those stretch marks really take away from this photo."

What I heard instead was, "Oh, you have killer boobs!" and "You look so hot in that pose, for real!" I could NOT believe my ears. And really, that was all it took for me to suddenly realize this:

I'm freakin' HOT!

It doesn't matter about size or scars or weight or anything. What matters is how you FEEL. And I have never been more amazed at how comfortable I could be with myself.

So. If you can swing it, you should totally consider boudoir photography because:

  1. You get to be comfortable in your own body, even if you were already.
  2. Lots of people complimenting you and telling you how hot you look!
  3. Did I mention the wonders it does for your self-esteem?
  4. It's an excuse to buy really cute lingerie.
  5. Again — what better way to encourage self-love?

Oh and if you're wondering, "But what will I actually DO with the boudoir photos?," Offbeat Home & Life has the answer to that.

plus size bridal lingerie

  1. i think pin up pics are soo fun, i took some for my then boyfriend and now fiancée, and the best part was when he was so thrilled that i though to give him some so personal and intiment at the same time, i agree get boudoir/pin up pics taken.

    2 agree
  2. You make some fantastic points here. Nevertheless, my problem with some boudoir photography is that half of it ends up looking like porn (which just isn't my thing) HOWEVER, the photo posted up here is probably the nicest and classiest boudoir shot I've ever seen!

    7 agree
    • If I'm not mistaken, this particular business specializes in old school pin-up style boudoir photos. But I can vouch for other similar businesses.

      1 agrees
    • With boudoir, as with wedding or other professional photography, it's really a matter of finding a photographer whose style fits your sensibility. I've seen a lot (to my mind) of "trashier" styled shoots but I've also seen a ton of gorgeous pin up, vintage 70s playboy-inspired, and light-infused, delicately-styled, respectful, boudoir. A lot of women never get more unclothed than a negligee or bikini-equivalent undergarments. It really just depends on you and your photographer.

      3 agree
    • If the only boudoir pictures you've seen look like porn then you haven't looked at any good photographers sites. The sexiest ones I've ever seen don't have show all that much skin it's more the idea of playfulness or of getting the viewer to think about what possibilityes and mysteries there are to be had with the model

      6 agree
  3. of all the strange things to make a girl tear up. i do believe ill give it a shot!

    11 agree
    • Oh, I got all wibbly over this post, too. Not about to pose for photos in my undergarments–I mean, not with strangers!–but I deeply appreciate how doing so in the right circumstances can be a massive confidence boost.

      0 agree
  4. Thank you for this. I got a lot of anti-boudoir flack on the indie wedding web when I mentioned I was looking for boudoir "outfits" that felt right to prepare for my shoot. And you know what? Eff that. It was one of the most incredible experiences in my entire life. It gave me confidence I never expected by allowing me really embrace my extra pounds and bone structure and big thighs because they were all respected and treated as beautiful by my photographer. I finally saw myself as beautiful for who I AM, and not who I wanted to be 10 pounds from now. In the course of my mental preparation, I looked through a lot of photos, and my favorite set were of a plus size woman who rocked it. She was genuinely the sexiest woman I found in ANY of the boudoir photos I saw, and it's because she OWNED herself and her body. Like you mentioned, I was able to take that and go into my shoot finally knowing that sexy is all about how you FEEL. And the photos I got back reflected that sexiness in a wonderfully shocking way.

    It was a really healing experience and I am a now huge advocate of boudoir photography for all women who have struggled with body image issues. It doesn't have to be associated with your wedding at all, and I don't think it's about your partner in the least. It really was, in its purest form, all about self-celebration and love.

    8 agree
    • By the way, if that is your photo, you do have truly awesome boobs.

      11 agree
    • I really want to thank you for sharing your story with us. It showed me a side of boudoir photography I'd never seen before, and I love me some new experiences!

      2 agree
  5. Really awesome post. I love that boudoir photography is a way for the not-stick-thin girls to be truly sexy and appreciated for being beautiful!

    1 agrees
  6. Thank you. :] As a plus sized girl I was envious of all the nice boudoir photosets online. Now I realize that I can do it too.

    4 agree
  7. what a great article! i've always wanted to do this… and with things going in the marriage direction these days, I really want to get these done for my boyfriend.

    Never 1005 comfy in my own skin and i'm just past 30 myself… i'm almost convinced now :)

    0 agree
  8. I loved this post. It reminds me a lot of nude modeling for artists, plus lingerie.

    0 agree
  9. As a plus sized girl and always wanting to do it… as I saw my mom's from when she was younger (granted of course she is a stick)… this just made my day! and it's beautiful too!! Thanks for being an inspiration and reminds everyone to accept yourself.

    0 agree
  10. This may be a strange question but what precisely is the point behind these photo shoots? I understand the benefits of positive body image but what do you do with the photos after they are taken?

    1 agrees
    • For many, it's a wedding, engagement, or just for the heck of it present for one's significant other, either to provide visual stimulation or just to say "lookit here! Lookit what you get! Meeee, unencumbered by doubt, body images issues, and, y'know, clothes! Just for you!" For others, it's just a gift of self-love and confidence to themselves.

      7 agree
  11. I'm always taking self-photos in the boudoir style for my boyfriend, and he just can't get enough of them. I would LOVE to be able to have at least one FANTASTIC shot of myself, and then have it so he can hang it in our bedroom, or at least have it for his own keeping. My problem is, I don't know where to get my shots printed!

    Taking these style of photos really does give you a boost of confidence. :)

    Oh, and to the author, even without the boudoir article, you had me at eloping and spending as little as possible. Love the whole idea!!

    1 agrees
  12. I would just like to add that pinup or "classy" boudoir photos are not necessarily inherently better than simpler or trashier ones.

    I love the pinup deal, but if the main point would be a present for my FH, his reaction to victory rolls would probably be "…"

    If I do them, they won't be outright porn but I don't see myself worrying about my pictures meant for my and my FH's eyes being "classy". They will end up looking however I want them to and think my FH would like them to look. Probably involving water and outdoor nudity. Or something.

    My point is, along with many things talked about on OBB, if it's something you want to do, go for it. Stop worrying about whether other people will think it's tacky or classy.

    That said, I love this post and the accompanying photo. It's great! Love the mirror thing, and of course the model.

    6 agree
  13. I second this post! Although I am not a plus size girl, I am not free from some body issues. I have posed for figure drawing in the past and had a boudoir shoot done, and both left me with a very positive self-image. It's one thing to have a stock image of yourself and your body's "problems" in your head, but it's quite another to see how you really look via photograph or drawing. It's a really enlightening and fun experience and I highly recommend it. Finding a photographer who fit my aesthetic took some shopping around, but I found a fantastic husband and wife team in Atlanta.

    0 agree
  14. I had a lot of the same issues as being plus size… especially when the rest of the girls there were defiantely not the same size as me. But I sucked it up and went for it. And I would do it again in a heart beat.

    0 agree
  15. I also recommend that if you aren't comfortable with a stranger taking these kinds of photos, you can always surprise your partner by transforming your bedroom for a night, putting on something sexy, and letting him/her play photographer! A few yards of fabric and some candles work wonders! And you can always borrow the camera if you don't have a great one!

    1 agrees
  16. I love this! We are doing a pin up photo shoot for my Hens next week and i can't wait!!!

    0 agree
  17. love it love it love it!! I have read a lot of indie blogs that show contempt for b-pics, and I am over girls at Project Wedding constantly posting their "lookat how skinny I am!" photos (when, um, aren't these photos supposed to be for your husband, anyway?), but I really want to do these for my future husband. He has several photos of me in short dresses from random events, and sometimes I really have a hard time seeing what he finds so attractive in my fat thighs, but only recently I have come to terms with the fact that regardless of the things I don't like about myself, he really loves the whole thing. In a way, I sort of see these photos as a celebration of what your partner loves about you.

    Thanks!

    1 agrees
  18. Thank you for this post! That sounds like an amazing experience! Now I'm wondering if I can find someone in the Milwaukee area that is as awesome with compliments & empowerment as your photographer was!

    0 agree
    • Stumbled on this a little late, but if you are up for a little drive from Milwaukee, peoplepaperprints in Appleton is amazing.

      0 agree
  19. I love this! Thank you for sharing! What a wonderful gift this will be…I'm excited for my own session!

    0 agree
  20. i am totally PRO boudoir photography, for all the reasons you say. what i've found baffling recently though, as i plan a wedding, is what it has to do with weddings! i mean, i guess it's a trend or something to do a boudoir shoot around your wedding? but i've always associated them more with married women, probably just because that was the context i'd heard about it in the past (like on roseanne!).

    i think boudoir photography makes more sense than engagement shoots. but i'm pro porn* too.

    *i actually think boudoir photos are porn, but i realize some people make a distinction. basically, if it's intended to tittilate sexually, it's porn in my book. and it's not a judgement call, that's just how it is.

    3 agree
  21. I really like this post and the photo of you is 100% awesome. Glad you had such a great experience and came away feeling so empowered! Wonderful stuff to read :)

    0 agree
  22. As an average-to-thin girl who still wants to be thinner (no eating disorders or anything) I still never have felt any disgust toward the more voluptuous ladies. My own mother is a very very big woman and I never think about this fact in any critical way, beyond the obvious health concerns. I myself am not a health nut, so i can't even preach that without feeling like a fraud.

    Aside from the short rambling session there, I had to mention something. A year or so ago, one of my girl friends asked who I thought were my prettiest friends (she considered me to be one of hers) and the first 3 girls who came to mind were all girls that the world would consider "plus-size"… they just all rock the confidence thing. it makes them so so hot. Size doesn't matter if you make it a point to love yourself and not hide that you do.

    8 agree
  23. As a photographer who has done a lot of boudoir shoots, I couldn't agree more. I learned the craft from a very classy woman and we never shot anything distasteful. We had clients from young single ladies who just wanted to do something nice for themselves to women whose loved ones were off fighting in Iraq to a couple in their late 50s who wanted some sexy photos for their anniversary. No matter how nervous people were before, we made sure they felt comfortable. Once we got going, everyone was having fun. I definitely learned that everyone is beautiful and we made sure that they knew it too and that they saw it in their images! Everyone we worked with felt more confident afterwards. It is great to see people really become comfortable with their own bodies.

    1 agrees
  24. Ms. N,
    I really can't thank you enough for this post. I didn't think seriously about bouidoir photography because of my size (though wished I could because it was such a cool idea). But after reading this, based almost entirely on our your story, I booked a shoot, which I did this past weekend. It was one of the best experiences of my life. I have never felt so sexy, so beautiful, and honestly never thought I could feel this good about myself. Before I went in worry about getting a good shot with all my rolls, but now, waiting for the pictures, I'm not even worried because I know my photographer got some truly fantastic photos. Thank you, thank you, thank you, because without you, I never would have done it, and I would never feel so confident and secure. This started as a gift for my fiance, but now is all about what the experience gave to ME, and only a little about what I'm giving to him.

    3 agree
  25. I just did this a few weeks ago and couldn't agree more! I would encourage anyone to do this, because you just feel amazing about yourself. Like many women, I have body issues. But the ladies I worked with made me feel like a beautiful sexy woman. They did some light air brushing to smooth things out, I received the final shots yesterday and I can NOT wait to give them to my FH the night before our wedding. Nothing trashy about them at all either! So I agree, if you can swing it, it would make a great wedding gift for the both of you :)

    0 agree
  26. One of my favorite bridal photos is a very old, black and white photo of a very beautiful woman wearing her veil….and only her veil. I just found it breathtaking, rather than looking "trashy" or anything like that, she looked like some ethereal being, stepping down from a cloud of light. The veil just lit her up and trailed behind her in pools of fabric.

    I want to do something like this, if I can find a photographer comfortable with nudity.

    1 agrees
  27. I recently asked my MOH (a hobby photographer) to snap a couple pics of me in my wedding lengerie (I'm ordering some fun surprises for my FH). She will have to do this the week of the wedding while FH is gone doing something else. I feel most comfortable having her do it and I know she'll do me justice. We are going to have to print them right away as well so very little photoshopping will be done. I'm excited to present him with just a couple of photos. FH isn't a super sexy romantic type but I honestly think this will surprise him greatly as I tend to be more submissive. I'm excited!!!

    0 agree
  28. I did something like this with my best friend taking the pictures. I still don't know what to do with them, but where I come down on it is every person deserves a picture of themselves looking dead sexy. nudity optional ;)

    0 agree
  29. Well of course! You DO look hot. :) So glad you were able to see that. Thank you for sharing!

    0 agree
  30. My question is where do I get sexy lingerie for plus sized me??? Help please!

    0 agree
      • I said hips and curves also but for some reason I guess it didn't post. My shoot is May 29th and I'm make it a mix up, some of the shots will be normal boudoir shoots, Some will be retro pin-up girl style and a some will be sexy comic book character like. I have bought a corset wonder woman outfit with spandex shorts and created a Harely Quinn outfit so mine will be a mix of things I know we both like and still manage to be geeky

        0 agree
  31. I love love love boudoir photography- I dabble in photography and have shot a variety of things including weddings and boudoir for friends of family/friends and it is a liberating experience for the model and the photographer! To celebrate the beauty of a woman in her most natural form is an amazing experience. That being said, I did not feel comfortable taking my clothes off for a stranger, not to mention the cost of a reputable, professional studio is on the higher side (between $500-$2,000 with ordered prints) so I set up my tripod and lighting rig while the husband was out of town this past weekend and shot myself using the timer and remote shutter. I loved the results! I've been discreetly editing them (they will be an anniversary gift which isn't for a few months) and am so happy I did them myself- I referenced Pinterest before shooting and did my own glamour style make up/hair. I reviewed periodically and found some poses worked really well for me and others were not so flattering, but ultimately I enjoyed learning more about myself privately while simultaneously creating something I know will blow my husband's socks off ;) Please Please ladies consider doing this!!

    0 agree
  32. Yeah… I REALLY want to do a boudoir shoot. My FH would love it, and frankly, I'd like to toss my inhibitions away for a while and be comfortable in my own skin. I love so many of the shots I see. I suppose being painfully thin with stretch marks and other body-image issues has always made me antsy about anyone seeing me like that… but I think it might help if I can let it go and feel like I can still be hot and sexy. ^_^

    0 agree
  33. Oh, I adored my boudoir photoshoot. It really felt liberating and took me out of years of selfhating and depression because I didn't like myself…
    Unfortunately, I did it when I was single and now my husband hates it :D Not that he hates me or my body, but the idea that the photographer was my male best friend (he is a professional photographer) who spent an afternoon looking at me naked. :D But I would advise a female photographer and even better – wedding boudoir.

    0 agree
  34. I just wanted to provide an alternate opinion. I had similar photos taken and while I'm thin I've suffered eating disorders a lot. Turns out my photographer wasn't very good and the results crushed me. I ripped them up and through them behind the bookcase. He had the nerve to show my parents. Please be careful choosing your vendor. I'm glad so many of you felt empowered.

    0 agree
  35. I recently had a boudoir shoot and i was blown away with how good i looked. I.had 2 free prints with my package but i couldn't choose just 2 so ended up buying 12. My fiance loved them and i look at them when Im not feeling great about my appearance. Id definitely recommend to anyone x x

    0 agree

Join the conversation

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

No-drama comment policy

Part of what makes the Offbeat Empire different is our commitment to civil, constructive commenting. Make sure you're familiar with our no-drama comment policy.

Biz owners & wedding bloggers

Please just use your real name in your comment, not your business name or blog title. Our comments are not the place to pimp your website. If you want to promote your stuff on Offbeat Bride, join us as an advertiser instead.