There are many ways to honor and celebrate yourself, and one of the best ways to do so is to immortalize it through photos.
To make it more special and a little different, you can skip the usual photoshoot themes and do a boudoir shoot. From getting married, giving birth, to coming out from a breakup or celebrating just about any milestone, you can literally think of any reason to gift yourself a boudoir shoot—just like Coleen Garcia’s grandma Syra Garcia, who made headlines for her glamorous 70th birthday photoshoot.
If you're a little iffy about this kind of shoot, you need to remember that boudoir photography is intimate photography, and it is not always about nudity or racy poses. Arlene and Madoka of The Boudoir Dolls told PhilSTAR L!fe that boudoir photography is more about empowering women.
“What they only see [is] ‘yung façade lang of the photos na it’s a sexy shoot, but it’s more than that,” Madoka said.
Arlene seconded this, stressing that the misconception came because, in the early days, men were mostly the ones who were taking sexy photos.
“When we came in, we [tried] to redefine what boudoir really is. Number one by us being an all-women group taking sexy photos. [Kasi] parang ang hirap maging sexy sa harap ng guy na photographer. So we tried to change that approach of boudoir," she said. "It’s not just women want[ing] to be sexy, but it’s actually a way of being empowered by being sexy."
Unlike before when brides-to-be were mostly the ones who availed of boudoir shoots, the photographers said that their clients now come from diverse backgrounds.
“Sobrang magkakaiba. Meron kaming mga unexpected clients na working professionals. Doctors, teachers, lawyers,” Hershey of Beauty and Boudoir Portraits said.
“Lolas, birthday celebrants, self-love journey and healing. [May] sine-celebrate ‘yung uniqueness ng beauty nila, mas gusto nilang ma-build ‘yung self-confidence nila, and personality,” Kit Francia of Hello Darling shared.
What to prepare
Every studio offers packages—from service shoot only to all-in, including glam team and the venue itself. Nonetheless, Kit said that the client must prepare a set of wardrobes that best complement their body type.
Gerlin of Beauty and Boudoir Portraits also said that a client must prepare themselves physically, mentally, and emotionally. “Siyempre we don’t want to push them na 'Do this.' Bawal mapilitan,” she said. “And ‘yung intention nila is aligned sa vision din namin.”
Arlene emphasized the need for clients to be mentally prepared for the shoot.
“Common mistake [is] coming into the shoot na you’re doing it for someone else, not for yourself. Nakikita kasi sa shoot ‘yun e, nakakaapekto siya sa overall result,” she said.
“Misconception din na they have to be sexy to be shot. Kasi kami, kung ano ka man ngayon—your weight, your color, your size—we want to shoot you as you are. You don’t have to wait for the 'perfect time,'” she added. It's more [about] being comfortable in your skin and celebrating who you are.”
On the technical side, you may book your own glam team and/or accommodation for the shooting venue, but it can also be your own bedroom.
When it comes to the themes, they said that it’s a collaborative effort between the client and the photographers because they don't want the shoot to seem forced.
“For example, we want to do a lingerie, super sexy to a woman na sporty pala. We want to incorporate their personalities and their hobbies para when they see their shots, alam nila na ‘Ay, ako ‘to,’ hindi siya pilit. So ‘yung theme namin is more natural and who they really are,” she added.
Boudoir shoots usually range from P10,000 to P40,000, depending on the package you choose.
Every shoot is your safe space
Since boudoir photography is intimate photography, it is understandable for clients to feel awkwardness or jitters prior to the shoot. But the photographers assure you of the comfort and assurance you need during the session.
"Usually how it happens is they start out shy pero once the shoot ends, sobrang comfortable na sila sa ‘min," Arlene said.
"Siguro it’s the process and the affirmations that we give. Totoo naman ‘yung binibigay naming encouragements, like [when] we see a certain angle na maganda sa client, we show it to them. So magkaka-confidence sila to be more daring in their poses,” she added.
Kit seconded this, making sure that their clients feel cozy as soon as they enter the studio. “Pagpasok nila, gusto kasi namin clean lang, mag mukhang cozy ‘yung studio, ‘yun naman ‘yung nafi-feel nila, may empowering playlist [din] kami sa background,” she told L!fe.
Photographers of Beauty and Boudoir Portraits, meanwhile, stressed the importance of getting to know the client from the start.
“Nile-level [lang namin] ‘yung energy sa client,” they said. “Start pa lang ng inquiry, we get to know them, hindi diretso agad na this is our package, etc. We ask them their reason, get to know stage talaga,” Gerlin said.
Why should you try a boudoir shoot?
If you’re still not so sure about getting one, these photographers assure you that it’s a moment worth a lifetime.
“Ang sinasabi ko palagi sa kanila, ‘yung boudoir for everyone siya, ang common na iniisip kasi nila is boudoir, for sexy lang na tao. Gusto ko kasi na meron din silang ilu-look back. Kailangan kasi inclusive, i-celebrate mo rin yung uniqueness mo as an individual, hindi siya limited sa certain body types,” Kit said.
“It’s the empowerment, kasi nakaka-boost talaga siya ng confidence mo and aura. It doesn’t stop in the shoot,” Arlene said. “It’s really a classy way to remember moments in your life, and seasons in your life.”
For her part, Madoka stressed: “I always say don’t do it for others, you do it for yourself. You do it because you want to feel beautiful again and [be] comfortable in your skin.”
Photographers of Beauty and Boudoir Portraits also noted that boudoir is also a form of self-love.
“As individuals, we want to celebrate milestones and certain seasons in our lives, and gusto nating i-capture ‘yun and i-document. Kasi at the end of the day, that’s gonna be [what] you’re left with—photos. We want to make you feel beautiful. It's a nice form of self-love,” Hershey said.
Gerlin added: “There will always be [your] best season, like you’re thriving, you’re the most beautiful, you’re the most successful, so it’s important. If not now, when else? Bukod sa looking back and commemorating that specific moment, it’s also a break, kasi the world is so busy right now. It's also a form of me-time.”