Happy Valentine’s… To Me

What’s the DL on being a sassy but naturally sensual model for pinup / boudoir photography? The key is confidence, and we have a few clues on how to be THAT girl. Set the mood with wine, cheese, chocolate, classic Hollywood music and soft lighting, to start. But sometimes even with the greatest photographer and a few of your closest girlfriends for support, the make-up, the hair products, jewelry and lingerie in the changing room just laugh at you. There’s no getting around it honestly, because the first time you do a boudoir shoot, you’re a nervous wreck. Every imperfection of your body is amplified a thousand times in your mind as you think of belly rolls, dimpled thighs, stretch marks, too small / large breasts… and oh… that boy in 3rd grade who made fun of your nose. Most importantly, the photographer better be a wizard at Photoshop.

Finally, after a glass of wine and nervous fittings, you get called to pose. The photographer has an easy smile and instead of barking commands at you, she and her assistant guide you in every way, help you to look graceful and feel empowered! Your friends hang out behind the photographer, and they watch as you pose – gushing – as the nervousness fades.

You each take turns posing in different outfits, varying from costumes to utter acts of defiance. By your last round in-front of the camera, you try to pose certain ways you’ve always wanted your body seen, and more importantly, how you want to be able to remember yourself down the road.

Some pin-up inspiration by Gil Elvgren

You leave the shoot as giggling school girls. The next day, you and your girlfriends chat incessantly about the experience. You lose confidence for a minute, wondering if your belly rolls will show, but you snap up and smile regardless.

The email comes. You’re directed to a secure link that contains solely your photos. You go through them and, sure, there’s a few you cringe at because they’re not *perfect* – but damn. You didn’t know. You didn’t know what the right photographer, the wine, the music, the friends and perfect lingerie could really do for you.  You feel on fire,  like you want to do this again every five years for the rest of your life.  You braved it, you have a record of your beauty, you have an amazing memory with friends, and you feel empowered, later to find out, there was little or no photo tweaking required. The photographer is just that good, and you know what? So are you!

The reasons women do boudoir photography vary… perhaps you want to look beautiful after having a baby, or you want to give a sexy one-of-a-kind wedding present to your fiancé. Me? I did it for me. I went through a divorce and wanted to feel my own strength again. Shallow you may say, until you do it yourself. I did it, because I love me. Not my beauty, but my strength. Happy Valentine’s Day to me!

Photos courtesy of Octavia Hunter

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