Trigger Warning: Discussions of trauma and sexual assault
Lots of photographers see the prices that boudoir photographers charge and think it's an easy way to make cash. As I've grown as a Delaware boudoir photographer, one thing has become clear to me: boudoir is the single easiest session to screw up.
And when you mess up boudoir, you can do nearly irrevocable damage to your clients.
Boudoir photography requires a mutual trust, respect, and compassion between photographer and client. As boudoir photographers, we hold our client's self-esteem in our hands.
That is not a responsibility I, or any other photographer, should take lightly.
Exploring Boudoir Photography After Trauma
I grew up in a Christian community. Sex was to be saved for marriage, and therefore, there was no need to discuss it.
So when my high school boyfriend started assaulting me, I didn't have the language to describe the emotional and physical abuse.
After we broke up, I started a very long healing process and had to decide for myself how I wanted to view sex, sexuality, and sensuality. My now husband helped me through this time in my life when I was terrified of anything sexual. We worked together to develop the language, both spoken and unspoken, of consent. He could tell when my body froze up and I didn't have the words to express my feelings.
After we got married, I discovered I was bisexual. I realized that I would love him no matter what body he was born with, and that I loved his soul beyond an expression of gender or assigned sex at birth.
While taking self-portraits to practice and promote my boudoir photography, I felt uncomfortable seeing myself in that light. I felt confused and unsure. I knew I would have to reckon with these thoughts and feelings if I were to coach my clients through that process themselves.
Boudoir Can Be a Chance to Heal
When we experience trauma, regardless of its nature, it can impact the way we view ourselves. That can especially manifest in the way we see our bodies. Especially if we experience sexual trauma, we can become disconnected from our bodies as a way of self-preservation. It can almost feel unsafe to see ourselves as beautiful.
When done right and in a safe environment with a photographer you trust, boudoir can be an experience that can further your healing. Seeing yourself as a work of art can shift your self-perception, and if you're having a bout of body dysmorphia, looking back on those photos can rekindle that spark of self-love.
Of course, photographers are not therapists. Boudoir should not be your first line of defense when it comes to healing, as even the most compassionate environment could be triggering. Make sure you're in an emotional place that's stable enough to do something that could feel triggering. Stripping down to lingerie in front of a stranger is a little nerve-wracking regardless of your history!
But if you feel like you're ready to put yourself out there and work with a professional, this could be a life-changing experience.
Working With Me as Your Delaware Boudoir Photographer
My personal experiences have shaped the way I conduct my boudoir sessions. I'm not just shouting out how sexy and hot you are (but when you're ready, I will tell you that!) and guiding you through pose after pose just to get the shot.
I work with you from the moment we have our first inquiry call to talk about your boundaries and expectations. What are you nervous about? Which parts of your bodies do you love and want accentuated during our session? Do you have any insecurities you want me to be mindful of during our session?
When we get on set, I'm matching your energy. I notice when you hesitate. I'm checking in on how you're feeling. I'm talking to you through the whole process about your day, your feelings, your passions, what makes you unique. I make the environment feel safe, like two friends just hanging out. It just so happens that the one friend is a professional with a very fancy camera.
I'm not directing every person into the same sexy poses. I direct my session flow around whatever energy makes you feel sexy: joy, enthusiasm, freedom. Not every boudoir session is dripping with raw sexual energy. If that's how you feel most sensual, then that's awesome! But if you feel like you are the sexiest when you're mid-laugh, then we'll capture that happiness.
Boudoir is not one-size-fits-all, because my clients come in all shapes and sizes, emotional backgrounds, cultural histories, and sexual/gender identities. If you're ready to work with me to craft a session that is 100% you, let's talk.
Send me a message or schedule a call so we can talk more about what will make you feel absolutely gorgeous. Not ready yet? Join our community so you can get to know me better. Trans & cis women and non-binary people only!
I can't wait to meet you.