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by Michelle Drewek
PHOTOGRAPHY The Paper Elephant
Are you looking for a knockout gift for your fiancé, but just don’t know what to get him? Are you stressed out from planning and looking for a moment of respite? Are you feeling less than fabulous right before the day in which you are supposed to be feeling your absolute best? If these ring all too true, then boudoir may be the answer you never thought you were looking for! Before you crawl into a hole and cover yourself with the blanket sitting next to you, hear us out. Boudoir doesn’t have to be scary or intimidating, in fact it is quite the opposite! It is an opportunity to let an artisan take what comes naturally to you and highlight it in a sensational way. Best of all, it gives your husband-to-be a keepsake he will never want to take his eyes off of.
Boudoir photography is more than just scantily clad pictures; it is an experience. From the staging and lighting to the outfits and atmosphere, every session is uniquely tailored to the desires, comfort level and persona of the bride. Tegan Jae, owner of The Paper Elephant, believes in the boudoir experience so much that she includes it in her wedding photography packages. “I love that boudoir photography combines fashion and editorial with empowerment and dressing up. It allows me to play around with fun lighting techniques and poses for all different body types, and to connect with my clients on a deeper level. They leave a session looking and feeling amazing, radiating confidence that many didn’t even know they had in them before we started. I have grooms pull me aside on the wedding day and thank me not only for the gorgeous gift I helped create, but for the confidence boost it gave their bride. That, to me, is priceless!”
The photo shoot itself isn’t limited in scope. It can take place at the photographer’s studio, in the client’s home, or somewhere completely unexpected. “I have had brides book a night at a hotel before the wedding to surprise their fiancé,” Tegan details. “The bride and I arrive early, take the photos, and then she surprises him later on with the photos we took before he arrived. Wedding planning can be stressful and time consuming, so this gives them a chance to spend more quality time together.”
If doing boudoir is already well outside of your comfort zone, doing the session in the comfort of your home may be a more ideal setting. In your home, you have the benefit of having certain places that you can turn from ordinary to extraordinary for your man — his favorite chair, your bathtub and, of course, the bedroom! And of course, the photographer’s studio is ready to accommodate you and your vision: soft, romantic and playful or sexy, daring and dramatic.
One of the benefits of doing a boudoir photo shoot is the shameless excuse to go shopping. It’s the perfect reason to treat yourself — and your man — to some eye-catching new wardrobe items. Before you go shopping she can help provide recommendations of what works best for body types and comfort levels, all with your needs in mind. You can also incorporate items like his favorite dress shirt or part of his work uniform to really catch him by surprise. Whatever ensembles you decide on, Tegan’s number one tip is high heels. “Even if your feet aren’t showing in a standing photo, high heels will give you better posture.” While it helps to have your own options along for your shoot, like a good friend Tegan always has extra outfits and shoes in her studio for a bride in need.
In order to help you look and feel your best, there are several accommodations Tegan says are available to her clients. First and foremost, she strongly suggests using the hair and makeup team she has on set. It is an extra fee, but so worth it! “Trust me, your eyes will sparkle. I work with an amazingly talented team that will make you look and feel amazing.” Additionally, Tegan includes retouching on all ordered images. Skin requests, scuffs on the bottoms of heels, and distracting labels are all within her editing powers. She does not reshape the body in any way during the editing process and for good reason. “I use nothing but the best in terms of flattering lighting and posing that will highlight your best features and diminish your insecurities.”
Boudoir doesn’t automatically mean nude or almost nude. You can do something more playful in a tank top and pajama shorts if that is where you feel most at ease. Tegan encourages you to try to break out of that comfort zone to see just how amazing you can look and feel in your own skin but will never discourage a bride from how she feels sexiest. “I will work with all comfort levels to help you feel amazing and create imagery that we are both proud of.” And, if it helps, Tegan says to bring along a great friend to keep the mood light and bring an added level of familiarity.
The biggest concern most brides have when planning for a boudoir session is the concept of privacy. Will anyone see my images? Tegan said this is always a question and she is completely adamant about not breaking that trust with her clients. “Nothing is shared online or in print without written consent, and always after any gifts are delivered. If my brides want the images kept private, then the only person who will see them is me during the editing process. And I NEVER post any nudity anywhere online. I believe those should be strictly private … always.”
As can be seen, there truly is no one way to embrace the boudoir experience. Let your imagination run wild, and leave the rest to your photography artisan to help your vision take life. And, be prepared to pick your fiancé’s jaw off the floor when he sees your sexy, fabulous, fearless self encapsulated in a gift just for him. Be empowered … be daring … be you!