I have been wanting to do a Boudoir Blog for some time now, but I wasn’t sure how to go about it. Should I just showcase photos? From one session or from multiple sessions? Should I share some testimonials from boudoir clients of mine? Should I talk about what it’s like to do a boudoir session? Why do people want to do a boudoir session? I feel there is a lot of mystery and definitely a whole lot of nerves surrounding the topic, so I think I will touch on all of these!
This is a self-portrait I took more than three years ago. I had started taking photography courses at Sheridan College and one of our first assignments was a self-portrait. All my self=portraits were boudoir shots - it never even occurred to me to do anything else! I loved how free I felt - like there was nothing to hide. I began asking friends to model for me so that I could really experiment more with boudoir photography (there’s only so much you can do without looking through the lens).
I took this shot of my friend Sunny in my boyfriend’s mom’s basement. It was so simple! There were no elaborate outfits, props, or backdrops. Just a human being baring their soul. I loved that a single image could be so subtly provocative, that it could encapsulate a person’s sexuality, or confidence, or vulnerability, or the moment they let it all go. I fell in love with this style, but it got pushed to the back burner when I realized I would need new subjects to continue growing. When I started my photography business later that year, I never really imagined that boudoir would eventually become so popular with my clients.
In June of 2018, I had a few clients interested in boudoir sessions, but I didn’t know where in the world to shoot them! I knew a couple of boudoir photographers who used Studio Bon Soleil in Toronto, so I reached out and booked it! The photo above was my most-liked photo on Instagram at the time - taken during that first time at Studio Bon Soleil. I loved the space, my clients loved the space, and so I decided to make a habit of holding these “Boudoir Events” every month or two. That same June, I was hired to shoot a proposal, and Heather Hughes, the bride-to-be just happened to be a bridal hairstylist with a knack for make-up! We decided to team up for these events to offer hair and makeup in addition to the photoshoot.
Over the past three years, I have shot 35 boudoir sessions (so far!). Many have been in-studio, a few outdoors, and some in-home. I have done boudoir sessions with ladies ranging from 20-60! For our Christmas event, I had one client bring her mom in to do her own session!
Boudoir is not about ability, an age, a size, a colour, a shape, a gender, or anything else besides being entirely, uniquely, you.
It has been interesting to see the reasons my clients request these shoots. About 90% of my clients do boudoir photos as a gift to their fiancé on the morning of their wedding. About five per cent do it as a birthday or anniversary gift for their partner. The other five per cent do the boudoir session for themselves. A friend of mine was part of this five per cent and she summed it up perfectly in an Instagram post:
“Since moving to Toronto I vowed to do something outside my comfort zone, for me, once a month. Early this December I booked a boudoir shoot on a whim with my lovely and talented friend, Jen Boyce. I had just finished a tech week, tired and sore, stressed, stinky - feeling shy about my body, my beauty. Jen and her team made all my insecurities melt away. It was a type of self-care I had never experienced. If you’re feeling a little uncomfortable in your own skin, or want to take your sexuality back, or just want to learn how to shine again - I recommend booking Jenifer Boyce Photography. You’ll laugh, you’ll feel empowered, you’ll be what you need to be on your own terms - and I think THAT’S the beauty in it.”
While my lovely pal Crystal touched a bit on the “Boudoir Experience”, let me walk you through what it’s like at one of our Boudoir Events. Say our event starts at 12pm - and you’re our first client of the day! First you walk up the five grueling flights of stairs to the studio. Once you arrive, Heather starts on your hair and make-up while I serve you a glass of champagne (and definitely join in with one myself!). We’ve got our sick Boudoir Playlist blaring the Vengaboys or Britney Spears while we chat, getting to know you a bit. At 1pm, you are all dolled-up and ready for our shoot! Our second client takes your place in Heather’s chair to get her hair and make-up done while we shoot - don’t worry, there is a room-separator to keep our session private. From 1pm-2pm we go back and forth between the couch, chair, ladder, library, bed, piano, and swing getting a variety of shots, in as many outfits as you’d like! Some bring one outfit, some bring twenty. Some bring their fiancé’s guitar, favourite sports jersey, or dress shirt. Some bring lingerie, bathing suits, underwear, robes, baggy sweaters, knee-high socks, heels, boots, a veil, the list goes on! You can bring whatever you’d like, and there is no limit on outfit changes. You can leave the shots up to me, or bring your Pinterest board and I will be sure to get all of your dream shots!
As you can tell from the above photos, some clients prefer we only post photos that do not show their faces. Others ask that we post none of them at all and that’s ok! Our number one goal is to ensure you feel comfortable, and our number two goal is to make sure you have fun, and leave feeling confident and liberated. So far, every single client that I’ve worked with has been blown away by how they felt after the shoot, and after seeing their photos.
“There are no words to describe the level of talent that Jen has. I cannot stop looking at the pictures she took of my boudoir session, never have I loved myself more and and appreciated all that my body has to offer. She is literally a QUEEN behind the camera. I will certainly remain in touch with her for any of my future photography needs. THANK YOU JEN! <3 <3” - Danielle
“It was incredible working with you and I am so so so happy with the photos! Also, send my thanks along to Heather. The whole experience, from the champagne to the playlist was awesome! It was amazing getting to work with you guys and getting to know you a little as well! Thank you so much!” - Alison
“Thanks so much Jenifer for the photoshoot <3 It was amazing how comfortable you made me feel :) It was like chilling with one of my friends who I've known forever XOXO I love the photos, you, and the confidence you brought out of me <3 Thanks again Jen XOXO” - Melody
“I love my photos Jen took of me .I was so happy with them !!! Jen is great and made me feel beautiful! <3 5 stars” - Brittany
“WOW!! Jenifer is both an amazing photographer and human!! I did a shoot with her and she made me feel so comfortable and I had a blast. The pictures looked amazing, I was speechless when I saw them. I highly recommend her!!” - Sierra
”I did a boudoir photo shoot with Jenifer a few months ago as a gift to my husband on our wedding day. She was a dream to work with and made me feel so comfortable. Jenifer is so energetic and super sweet. She is also very responsive. The studio she chose was also stunning and just what I was looking for. She and Heather make a great team!! Thank you sooo much and looking forward to the next one ;-)” - Marie
“Jenifer is amazing in so many ways! She made me feel so sexy...even when there was a professional model getting her pictures done right before me, she made me feel like I was the prettiest she had seen that day! She is bubbly and happy and her attitude is contagious! I don't ever wear as much makeup as I was wearing for this photo-shoot but when I got the pictures back I felt like I was a real model! Jenifer's reveal and sneak peek of the photos (which came SUPER fast too) made me even more excited for them! Thank you Jenifer for making this a great experience!” - Stacy
Now take a seat, because I would like to finish off this boudoir blog with a whole lot of photos to inspire you into booking your own session! Every single one of these photos are of real clients - no professional models <3