PHOTO SHOOT PREPARATION
Congratulations! You're halfway to your Portrait Couture photoshoot. Your date is reserved and your champagne is on ice, but there are few essentials we still need to discuss in more detail - for instance, fabulous dresses (hello darling!).
I know that wardrobe selection can be overwhelming, so I've created guides to help as you prepare. Below are links to two custom PDFs. First, my Couture Prep guide will give you tips on everything from skincare to selecting undergarments. Then my Style Guide will help as you plan wardrobe by breaking down what you should plan to bring in terms of silhouettes, necklines, textures, materials and colors.
I want this to be fun for you! How often do you get to dress up for a dream photoshoot? ENJOY THIS TIME!
Seriously, feel like a princess. Spin around a few dressing rooms. Find outfits that make you feel beautiful and relish that giddy, wonderful feeling. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact me. I'm here to help you create legacy portraits, and they should be everything you want them to be! Invest in this step, I promise you it will make a difference. Happy Shopping!
1. COUTURE PREP
At your portrait session I want you to look and feel stunningly beautiful! Here I've laid out a few things to consider as you prepare for your close-up.
Click Here - COUTURE PREP GUIDE
WHERE TO SHOP - As I state in the Style Guide, I highly recommend shopping fashion houses such as Rent the Runway, Nordstroms, and eDressIt. Quality does matter! If you're looking for slightly younger or less expensive styles I suggest Lulu's, Tobi, Free People, and Asos. For curvier options, consider Rent the Runway for up to size 22 gowns and chic pieces and Gwynnie Bee for every day, ready-to-wear lines up to size 32. Whether you purchase in store or online be sure the fit is correct! Sometimes ordering two sizes (esp if they have a free return shipping policy, thank you Nordstroms!) is helpful if you're not sure which fit will flatter you the most. If you're not sure you're going to want to keep the garment, leave the tags on and we can make decisions during the shoot. Options are a good thing and anything with tags left on can be returned afterwards.
UNDERTHINGS - As you check your wardrobe essentials, make sure your bras and underwear are nude colored (the closer to your skin color, the better!). And remember to bring a robe! During hair and makeup you will want to be comfortable (all the better to relax and enjoy that champagne), and a robe will ensure that your beautiful outfits don't get smudged with product during the application process. Now let's talk Spanx. Regardless of size, I highly recommend bringing a pair with you! They help to smooth bulges that can occur as you sit, bend, move, etc and will help you to feel more confident and stunning in each of your outfits.
And if you are considering an implied nude shoot, check out this little beauty! I promise you, when you are in the middle of working your hands and legs and rocking that gaze, you will want everything that could be taken care of...taken care of.
POSING - Keep in mind as you shop for dresses that you want them to flatter your body, but you also need to be able to move freely in them (bend, stretch, roll your shoulders forward, rock that hip!), so as you're trying things on, just be sure you can sit and move through a few basic poses.
If the idea of finding and coordinating 5 amazing (and flattering) outfits makes you want to reconsider the whole shoot, LET ME HELP YOU! I work with an amazing team of wardrobe stylists and they would love to make this a fun and stress free experience for you. Annie Heyward is one of my go-to stylists for these types of shoots. Her rate is $125/hour and to prepare for this kind of shoot, she estimates a $300 investment (that will be billed between her and yourself). For that she will go through your wardrobe with you, pull pieces & coordinate pieces that will work and help you shop for the additional pieces you'll need. You couldn't be in kinder, more fun, more talented hands and you and your outfits will look STUNNING! You can contact Annie here.
FLOWY SKIRTS - I have a mild love affair with flowy dresses. They add drama and movement to pictures and can range from light and princess-y to dark and dramatic. Even if you're not a girly girl, consider bringing one with you. You may be surprise how much you love the result! (Do notice that the flowy skirt is balanced by a form fitting bodice. Don't go so flowy that I can't see your beautiful shape!)
FORM FITTING - So how should your clothes fit? Of course the size should be right, but let's also talk about silhouettes. Loose (or boxy) garments can be lovely in person, but they will not translate well on camera. Oversized clothing will hide beautiful curves and obscure the shapes we'll create with posing. I will shape your body beautifully with posing, but if the clothes look shapeless (no frumpy outfits here!) you will photograph larger than you are.
It's very important I be able to see your form so that I can position you in flattering and natural ways!
The Boudoir Experience
This post must be prefaced by saying: I LOVE GOOD LINGERIE. I have a special all-black-everything place in my heart for a fine piece of "underthings". Yet, my favorite boudoir images of my clients are rarely the fruit of any sort of preparation at all. Not to mention there's a whole group of woman out there who can't even wrap their heads around the idea of themselves in a full garter set and heels...it just isn't them. Add to that the number of women who end up snagging a last-minute time slot that I announce due to a reschedule.....and they.have.zero.time.to.prepare.
After enough emails and comments about not knowing where to begin with boudoir wardrobe, I decided to take on the challenge of coming up with 10 boudoir looks out of my closet....not counting my lingerie drawers, without buying anything new. Let's work with what you've got!
1. The black blazer.
Like just about everything else on this list, a black blazer is something that most women already have in their closet. I prefer more of a relaxed fit for boudoir photos...but can work with really any fit with proper clipping/pinning. You can put your blazer on over a bra + panty set, a pair of cute bottoms, or nothing at all.
2. The White tank top
More inappropriately called a "beater" (UGHHH a cringe-worthy name. So let's just call it a white tank top.), wearing one of these with nothing under it, paired with a pair of white underwear is a completely classic, completely cheap look for some really steamy boudoir photos.
3. The oversized sweater.
Everyone has an open front sweater, yes? Grab it. Preferably in a neutral color. We can pair it with a cami like I did here, a bra + panty, or nothing at all.
4. The t-shirt
If you own nothing else on this list, #1- I don't believe you, but... #2- I KNOW you've got yourself a tshirt. It can be oversized, baby-sized, crop, off-shoulder...you name it, we can rock it.
5. Nothing at all.
I've successfully captured some of my favorite boudoir images of all time using literally no wardrobe. Whether it's artistic nudes, implied nudes, or fine art...you don't need any more than your birthday suit for this one.
6. The sheets
Again with the "no wardrobe necessary", nothing says classic boudoir like a simple "in the sheets" session.
7. The bodysuit.
There are few things I love more than a bodysuit. They are available everywhere (and all over the internet), they can be found relatively inexpensive, they are sexy, and they look amazing on all body types! I encourage my clients to bring one bodysuit to their session and I'm so glad when they listen!
8. The swimsuit.
Everyone's got a swimsuit...and I'm willing to bet everyone has a solid colored swim suit. You can use just the bottoms of a bikini, just a bikini top paired with underwear, or if you're a one-piece queen like me, rock your one piece as a bodysuit. A one piece black thong swimsuit paired with a loose cozy sweater draped off the shoulder is the perfect look for a cozy Sunday morning boudoir set.
9. The robe.
There's been times when clients have forgotten their wardrobe (photo shoot day nerves! ha!), and I've just had them start off in a robe because they were too nervous to go straight for nude.
10. The jacket
Wearing a coat or jacket of some sort is a popular option for boudoir....leather jackets and faux fur coats in particular!
And there you have it, ladies... proof that you don't need a shopping trip for a boudoir experience with me. Stress less about what you'll wear and enjoy the experience knowing that I'm pro at working with what you've got! Bottom line, whatever "kind of woman" you are, my goal is to make sure THAT woman shines through, not who you think you should be for these photos.
Lingerie Shopping - Things to Consider:
Fitting - The very first thing that you should do is have a professional bra fitting. There is nothing worse than unnecessary pinching, unflattering overhang, or a band riding up causing the girls to get low. Nine times out of ten this is caused by simply wearing the incorrect size. The last thing we want to do is get this common error caught on camera. So set yourself up for success from the get go by getting measured.
Find Your Style - This step is so, so important. What is YOUR style? Exploring this question is key to finding out what makes you feel the most comfortable, aka your sexy-self. If you are not comfortable in an unlined lace demi you certainly do not want to try and strike a pose in front of the camera wearing one. Do you love lace? Push Ups? More or less coverage? Thongs vs bikini’s? Trying on different styles AND silhouettes will give you time to take yourself in and see your body dressed in something besides your normal everyday bra and panty.
Chances are you don’t wear bodysuits or a teddy very often. Being able to take the time to dress your body and see what works/doesn’t work will give you all the more confidence in front of the camera. If you’re anything like most women, you will be shocked at how sexy you feel in styles that you would have never considered before. This is where the fun starts happening- you start seeing yourself in a different light- which is the point of all of this, right? to reveal the inner you…
Your Theme - Now that we know what brings out your inner sexy self we can discuss your theme. Theme is, but not limited to the following questions; Are these pictures for you or someone special? Is their a special occasion involved? Are you looking to capture Sweet and girly? Classic? Vampy? Pin up? Conversely, if you tend to be more conservative in your everyday but there is a fierce and fiery seductress aching to come out, now would be the perfect time to play with embodying this role. Maybe you are looking to capture a few different sides of yourself. Something sweet, something sexy. Having a theme will help mainstream the process, give you some direction and a little peace of mind. There are so many ‘looks’ in boudoir photography and it’s easy to get caught up in wanting a little bit of everything, but that would make for a chaotic day. Once you know what your end goal is you can relax into the experience a little bit more.
Playing Dress Up - We’ve made it to the fun part! After we’ve pulled lingerie based on your size, style and theme you get to start trying it on and bringing your look to life. Seeing yourself in the full ensemble is oh-so-important, ladies. This is where you stand on your toes (or we bring you some heels) and you start turning, twisting and looking. Whenever I watch this, I can’t help but notice how empowered a woman becomes. The layers start coming off and you start to take in your body, femininity, self and ADMIRE it. There is no question at this point who the boudoir session is for- it’s for you… (let the special someone think it’s for them, but we know girl. all yours.)
Accessorize - What’s a garter belt without thigh-highs? Or a bare shoulder without a silk robe draping off? Though accessories are not imperative, you will want to take an inventory of your lingerie looks and decide if you’d like any extras; masks, jewelry, shoes, furs, etc. Maybe you have a sentimental piece from your someone special. You want to think this last step through even as small as it seems. I’m telling you, you will be mid pose and think, ‘noooo, I forgot my louboutin pumps! They would have matched back to this black lace bra and red lip like an olive in my martini!’ Let’s not have a shoulda-coulda-woulda.