Boudoir photo shoots always fascinated me because I have always been intrigued by the sexy empowerment of pin-up glamour. But I thought these shoots were just for the rich and famous. I never considered that I would actually book one of these for myself. One day, while I was looking through wedding inspo on Pinterest, I came across this new pre-wedding trend - boudoir shoots were booming in popularity and accessible for the everyday gal gearing up for her big day.
So I reconsidered...and I’m SO glad that I did. It was seriously life-changing, and I’m not exaggerating when I say it was probably my favorite part of the wedding countdown process.
Once I decided to go for it, I started googling different photography studios in New York City. I came across French Kiss Boudoir Photography in Tribeca, led by Irina Mednik. I reached out to Irina, and she could not have been more sweet and helpful. She immediately made me feel comfortable and answered the 5 million questions that I had before green lighting the process. I knew I made the right decision. I immediately felt empowered...before even stepping foot into the studio.
It was new, daring, uncomfortable, and risqué. It was exactly what I needed.
Of course, boudoir photo shoots aren’t for everyone, but I want to provide some insight into why I recommend them for every bride. Boudoir photo shoots usually take place over an hour or two (depending on the package you choose), and they typically involve a few different “looks” or outfits of your choosing. You feel like a model for the day, dressing up in your favorite lingerie, silk robe, cami, high heels, wedding veil, and/or nothing at all - and you can add accessories, jewelry, and props to really make it your own. The photos are tasteful and elegant, and if you choose to bare all, the nudity is never explicit (if you go to the right photographer). Irina also provided a hair and makeup artist at her studio the morning of the shoot, but it was just me and Irina present during the actual shoot (so you don’t feel like you’re on display with a ton of people watching). You end up leaving with an album of your favorite shots, provided by the photographer, which can make a great gift for your husband-to-be before or after your wedding day. But the best thing you take away is a greater sense of confidence - no matter what shape or size you are at the time. If you’re intrigued, check out my Q&A with Irina below about how to prepare for and what to expect on shoot day.
Why I believe boudoir shoots are amazing:
1. Prepping for a photo shoot keeps you on track with your fitness and nutrition goals.
I was on a healthy eating and fitness regimen leading up to my wedding day, so knowing that I had this photo shoot a month before my wedding also motivated me to stay on track. Since you’re already aiming to be in the best shape of your life for your wedding day, why not book a photo shoot to capture that moment? There’s absolutely nothing wrong with being proud of your hard work.
2. A pre-wedding photo shoot prepares you to be comfortable with your wedding photos.
Nothing prepares you more for the millions of photos you’ll have snapped at your wedding of you with your husband-to-be, family, and friends like a boudoir photo shoot. I left Irina’s studio feeling like I could conquer the world. If you’re able to confidently pose in what many would consider your most vulnerable state, odds are you’ll be okay in a white gown holding a bouquet of flowers ;-).
3. You end up with a great gift to give your partner - not just a sexy album, but a sexy, confident you.
An experience like this can help you exude more confidence than you ever imagined, and nothing is more sexy than that. (Tip: Since my photo album wasn’t going to be complete until after my wedding, I printed a card with a teaser photo and personalized note for my fiancé, which a trusted friend gave to him the morning of the wedding).
4. They increase your confidence in everyday life.
You’ll feel so much more confident once you become comfortable with the uncomfortable. I never thought in a million years I would book a shoot like this. Even after I booked it, I was nervous, but Irina made me feel comfortable and powerful, and I left feeling amazing. Not only that, but I smile every time I think back to the experience because I actually did it.
Q&A with Irina Mednik:
Melanie: Why do you think boudoir shoots are important for a bride-to-be?
Irina: I think a boudoir shoot is important for women at different times of their lives for different reasons, but for a bride-to-be the timing is wonderful for a few reasons. You're probably in the best shape of your life and immortalizing that may be important to you. You're about to marry a man who loves you more than life itself (or so I hope) and you'll need a really special gift to give him on your wedding day and what tops you? It can spice up your honeymoon and relationship in general. Also, a boudoir shoot helps to boost your confidence in the best ways and that might make you feel more comfortable in your own skin and in front of the camera the day of your wedding.
Melanie: What is the number one piece of advice you have for brides before they enter into your studio on shoot day?
Irina: I ask that they do not look for pictures to be replicated, because this ends up being a comparison project and that is an awful thing to do to yourself/your confidence. I customize my lighting, poses and angles from which I shoot for every client to flatter their body so they're getting the best version of themselves in the final product and not a replica of what someone else did. There are so many versions of beauty so why try to make your shoot a cookie cutter experience? This is not what it's about.
Melanie: How do you coach a bride-to-be who may get extremely nervous and timid during the shoot? How do you talk her through it?
Irina: A majority of my clients meet with me prior to their shoot at their consultation session as well as their FaceTime chat prior to the shoot when we go over the outfits they'll be bringing so by the time they come in for the shoot we're not complete strangers. Of course, many still come with a bag of nerves being that most have never done a shoot of any kind before, let alone a boudoir shoot, so I probably won't start with nudes with a very nervous client. I would look for something more covered up and work our way down from there. If I sense that a client needs a little boost of confidence I show her a shot off the back of my camera and that almost always does the trick. It almost feels like, "Ok, I trust you know what you're doing. I'll go ahead and enjoy myself now." My style of posing is also very tasteful and it really feels like just girls playing dress up and having fun, but with a lot of arching and holding poses. And I keep it light and fun when I feel someone is really nervous; laughter is wonderful.
Melanie: Do you have any de-stress techniques or advice for brides-to-be that they can carry with them into their wedding day?
Irina: Yes! Two things actually. 1. This is something I did the day of my wedding. As I was about to walk down the aisle, while all my bridesmaids were being let in one-by-one I stood there, remembering everyone telling me how the day goes by so quickly and is a blur the next day and I wanted to remember as much as I could so bad. Especially this moment of me walking to my almost-husband. I walked slow and told myself "take it in". I took a deep breath looked at the sky, I felt the sun on my arms, I looked at the guests and my ceremony area and of course, my husband. It was so special and that is the moment I remember most vividly, because I made a conscious decision to take it in. So take it in. Things you look forward to, plan and are excited about usually go by so fast. There will be moments during your shoot and/or wedding where you can take a second to look around and be present and aware. Think about how wonderful it is that you're experiencing what you are and in the future you can access that feeling again when you think back to that moment. 2. Every bride wants her wedding day to be perfect. All the details you've been stressing over are coming together and you are worried something will go wrong and this is the most important and possibly most expensive day of your life so the pressure is on. But, I believe, at the end of the day it's the story of your day that makes it special and memorable and you've done all you could up to the big day so if something doesn't go according to plan it's just going to make the story of your wedding day that much richer. Take a vow to yourself the day before that nothing will stand in the way of your happiness. Not the weather, not missing details, not certain guests. This day is about your love first and everything else is secondary.
Final take away: My boudoir shoot with Irina was such a positive journey for me, that I have already decided that my boudoir photo experience won’t end with my pre-wedding shoot! I’m excited about the idea of booking more photo shoots with her in the future.
Brides-to-be...interested in a boudoir shoot for yourself? Check out Instagram and Facebook in a few days for a very exciting discount giveaway that incorporates wellness coaching and a boudoir shoot for one lucky bride-to-be!
“There's nothing average about the average woman!” -Irina Mednik