Many brides use boudoir photos as wedding gift for their groomsWritten by Sarah Ottney | Managing Editor | firstname.lastname@example.org
Many brides book boudoir photography sessions as a sexy wedding surprise for their soon-to-be husbands — but often end up loving the photos themselves, said two
“The joy I get is when they come back to me and pick up their photos saying, ‘It started out as a gift for my man, but it ended up being a gift for me, helping me feel more confident and secure and loving my body and myself as I should.’ I love that!” said Julie Paszczykowski, owner of Holland-based JP Photography.Paszczykowski calls her boudoir sessions Sassy Secrets.
“The sassy is the fun part; the secret is what you don’t want anyone but your man to see,” Paszczykowski said. “I do whatever the client is comfortable with. I want it to be unique to each person. A girl can be sexy in a T-shirt and boy shorts. A girl can be sexy in a dress. It’s not about taking off your clothes in front of the camera. It’s about having fun and being you.”
Mary Wyar of Mary Wyar Photography said clients usually feel awkward at first, but quickly — often after a glass of wine — start relaxing and having fun.
“Most women haven’t been photographed in their underwear before, but probably five minutes in and she’s totally forgotten,” said Wyar, who said about a third of her brides book a boudoir session. “We have a lot of fun doing it and usually by the end, they are not in a rush to put a robe on. They are totally comfortable. They always say, ‘That was a lot of fun. I don’t know why I was nervous about it.’”
Wyar started doing boudoir sessions two years ago at the request of a bride who wanted to do a session as a gift for her husband’s birthday, which was the day after their wedding. The photos are also popular for Valentine’s Day, anniversary or holiday gifts and for military spouses serving overseas.
“The style is totally different from the way I photograph weddings,” Wyar said. “With weddings, I focus more on the interactions whereas with boudoir it’s really just about creating sexy portraits that not only will the guy like, but when the client goes back and looks in 15 or 20 years, she can appreciate how she looked in her 20s or 30s. The style is a little different, just a little slower-paced.”
Paszczykowski said she started shooting boudoir sessions seven years ago, but bookings have picked up in the past two years.
“I didn’t go out looking for it; I had people asking me for it and I’m always up for trying new things,” Paszczykowski said. “For me, it was more about doing it as a service for women. I think women really need someone sensitive to their needs and I can relate to how they feel.”
Wyar said she usually photographs her subjects at their home.
“That gives it a totally personal feel and they are also more comfortable and at ease in their own environment,” Wyar said. “Plus when he looks at it and knows the shot happened at home without him knowing, it’s sexy and I think it has more sentimental value. Usually when I get to the house, we’ll kind of walk around, talk about what rooms they were thinking of. We move furniture around and just have fun with it.”
Sessions can also be done at hotels, bed and breakfasts or even outside, Paszczykowski said.
Clients bring their own outfits.
“I suggest bringing everything that they feel good in, including shoes, jewelry, lingerie, a favorite T-shirt, lacy see-through tops, etc., and we choose together,” Pasz-czykowski said.
Wyar encourages clients to bring a friend along, so they have a familiar face.
“It takes some of the edge off so it’s not just me and her,” Wyar said.Both Paszczykowski and Wyar also include a makeover with the sessions.
“It totally boosts their confidence,” Paszczykowski said. “I want them to feel as special as they can. When we’re pampered we feel better about ourselves and I want that to show in photographs. It does come across.”
Christol Smith of Bowling Green booked a boudoir session with JP Photography shortly after the birth of her daughter as a gift for her husband’s birthday.
“I was nervous, but Julie makes you feel so comfortable and so pretty and as soon as she started shooting it was fine,” Smith said.
Smith, who owns Bliss Studio Salon in Bowling Green, knew Paszczykowski because they are both wedding vendors and occasionally work together.
“A bunch of my clients have gone to Julie and do it for their husbands to give to them the night before their wedding,” Smith said. “I also have a client who doesn’t even have a boyfriend or husband and just did it for herself, to remember what she looked like.”
Paszczykowski said some of her most satisfying sessions are with women who choose not to have sex until they are married.
“The girls who are virgins until their wedding night, who choose to save themselves for their wedding, I do a lot of that,” Paszczykowski said. “They give it to their husbands after the wedding. It’s really his first peek into her intimately and then he has that for the wedding night. It’s really, really sweet.”
The resulting albums usually get a good reception, Wyar said.
“All my packages include a little book of photos and I usually put a photo on the cover where it’s not super obvious it’s them,” Wyar said. “One of the girls took a picture of her husband when he was opening it and he didn’t even realize what it was until looking inside. The picture she sent me was priceless. Another girl used it as an anniversary present and I guess it was a hit because they are pregnant.”
Wyar charges $500 for boudoir sessions or $400 if she’s also shooting their wedding. Sessions at JP Photography start at $350.
Smith said her best advice is to go in without expectations.
“Just enjoy the process because it always ends up great,” Smith said. “And not to worry because the photographer will make you look your best.”