This has been a crazy summer… I went through a traumatic break-up, got rid of some toxic people in my life, and turned 35. Over the last couple of years I’ve realized that when you look good, you feel good and vice versa. I really took control of my health and fitness – stepping it up with boot camp and spinning, and eating healthy portions of good food (so I can make room for additional cocktails and bottles of wine). Due to these physical and emotional changes in my life, I’ve never looked or physically felt better naked. My boobs might be a little lower than they used to be and I might have a wrinkle or two, but I’ve never felt sexier in my own skin than I do right now.
So, after the crazy break-up, losing 10lbs, and being on the verge of turning 35, I decided that this year I was going to do one thing that was out of my comfort zone every month. I started in August to kick the year off right and decided that since I was skinny (and probably wouldn’t stay this way for long!) I wanted to take pictures that I could look back on when I was in my 70s and say “damn girl”!
Kelly Ripa was also an influence… every time a new celebrity has a naked picture leaked she says “I wish I took naked pictures of myself when I was in my 20s before kids! I would’ve leaked them to the media myself!” So, I took her cue and thought a boudoir shoot might be fun.
I looked EVERYWHERE for a good boudoir photographer in Los Angeles. You’d think this would be easy, but it was really hard. I started by asking friends, wedding planners, etc. and no one had any personal experience with one. Then I took to Google and all that came up were a bunch of pin-up boudoir studios which was not the look I was going for. I wanted clean and classy – think a modern hotel with a white bed and hardwood floors.
(Pin-up Boudoir. Still really pretty, but not my jam.)
So, I went to yelp and clicked through almost 20 websites before I found 3 photographers that looked promising. I really wanted someone who had a studio (so I didn’t have to pay for a hotel or do it in my home), someone who included hair and makeup, and someone who would give me a disk of all of the images after the shoot (so hard to find these days!). From there, I spoke with each individual photographer, looked at their pintrest boards, wheeled and dealed to stay within budget, and ended up choosing a newer photographer on the boudoir scene. I explained to her that I was doing this shoot solely for myself. She was thrilled to work with someone who wasn’t doing a shoot as a wedding or anniversary gift and sent me a ton of ideas for clothing and looks. After our first few email exchanges I knew I had made the right choice.
(Images I sent to my photographer. I recreated all of these!
The white shirt and cream lace undies photos were my favorites.)
The week of the shoot:
I kept telling myself to not eat after 4pm, have no dessert, and work out everyday that week… well, that obviously didn’t happen. I had ice cream and a glass of wine the night before. Oh well!
Some tips that are lifesavers.
* Get your hair colored/cut a week or two before. Don’t make any drastic changes to your hair. You want to look like you!
* Get your nails done the day before.
* Get a tan! Tan fat is better than white fat! But, make sure to not have any tan lines. They are a pain to photoshop and don’t look good in pics.
* Don’t pick at your face. A zit is really easy to cover up with makeup. A scab is not!
* Get your ideas together. Send your photographer images that you like. While I loved the looks my photographer had done with other women in the past, there were a few I found online that I loved and she ended up really liking too!
* Get your “looks” together. This includes hair and makeup. Come with lots of options. In some pictures my hair was up and some it was down. I brought a ton of outfit options and went with a couple that I thought would only be backups. Mix it up and go outside your comfort zone, but I still recommend steering towards classic colors and pieces. You can never go wrong. I ended up going with a black lace bra and undies combo, a cream lace bra and undies duo (ended up being one of my favorite looks), a black off the shoulder tee and black and white undies, and a men’s white dress shirt (that I got from Forever 21 for $15!) and black undies. (Yup, undies! Sorry, I despise the word panties!)
* Lastly, make/bring your own playlist. My photographer said she had a great one, but in reality it was really much more for brides than me.
I’m not going to lie. I was pretty nervous. I did my shoot on a Friday and took the whole day off of work to dedicate to myself. This was a day where I was going to get my “sexy back.” This shoot was for me and I wanted to enjoy myself!
When I arrived at the shoot the photographer and I chatted for a few minutes and she showed me her studio and attached bathroom where I would set up shop. I laid out all of my clothing options and then got ready for hair and makeup. The makeup girl worked with the photographer often and had been given the looks I was interested in. I had sent a few hair pictures that I had found online and then a couple of pictures of me with the hope of looking like a “sexier, but still classic, me.” She hit the nail on the head. She bumped up all of my positive features, threw a pair of lashes on me, gave my bob a little volume and told me to have fun.
Ok… now was the time to strip down! I’m not a modest person at all and changed in front of the girls showing them two black bra and undies options. We made a decision and next thing I know, I was in the middle of a huge white bed with my head hanging over the end and my legs posed to perfection. After each series of shots, the photographer showed me a few images to see if I liked what she was doing and if there was anything I wanted to change.
Once I got comfortable and changed a few times, I figured out which poses made me look skinny and busty at the same time and which positions made me look like a whale. I told her if I got 5 great pictures out of this I would be satisfied. Three hours later, I was heading home confident and reeling over what I had just done.
A week later she sent me the proofs. Like I had seen from her camera during the shoot, there were some amazing shots and there were some that I didn’t love. I chose my favorites and got some feedback from some girlfriends (who were all jealous!) and within a week had a book to review. While there were some things I would have loved for her to photoshop out, I told her to only fix my tan line. I really wanted to remember exactly what I looked like, not what I would look like photoshopped.
I just got the book and the CD. What am I going to do with it and these pictures? NO clue. Some images I can crop and I’ll have gorgeous headshots I can use on some online dating sites. Maybe someday I’ll show the racier ones to a new boyfriend. But, I know when I’m feeling down I can look at these pictures and think, “Damn girl, you look good.” Knowing I did this for me and not someone else really is the best part. Definitely feeling confident and sexy as I start this new year of life only looking ahead at what’s to come. Xoxo.