What Is Doing A Boudoir Shoot Actually Like?

When most of us think "boudoir," we likely envision piles of silk and lace, bombshell-like '50s pinups, or classy nudes given to significant others on anniversaries or weddings. But boudoir photo shoots can be a whole lot more than that. IMO, there's a reason pinup styles have made something of a comeback in the last few years. Somewhere along the way, pinup and boudoir imagery became a source of empowerment — sartorial, stylistic, or photographic choices in tune with concepts of body positivity and self love.

There's a lot of power in stripping down. Not just in the sense of spending time with and growing to know (and maybe even love) your naked body, but also in its ability to relate to and inspire others. Others who may not often get to see bodies like theirs represented in the media or the glossy pages of their magazines. So with the goal of trying something new and maybe learning a little something along the way, Bustle's own Kelsea Stahler, Anna Parsons, and I visited Shutter Bug Boudoir with photographer Michelle Wild for an afternoon of doing just that: stripping down.

Looking back on the shoot, Stahler tells me:

"I always thought, like, I can't be sexy, I'm not like 'a sexy girl.' I'm a cute girl or a funny girl, as if one personality trait automatically ruled out the other. But when I did this, I eventually — after like a million photos — found my way to my kind of sexy, which is more va-va-voom than I think I ever would have realized, but in a way that plays with the cute and the funny parts of who I am. I took away that my body is a lot sexier than I give her credit for."

And I guess that's what it's really all about. Boudoir provides this rare opportunity to change your perspective — to see yourself from angles you never tend to play with, in lighting that doesn't distort or alter anything in your reflection, and usually with photographers whose work is rooted in the understanding that all bodies are beautiful bodies. And, really, that all bodies are sexy bodies.

Images: Bustle/YouTube

Makeup & Hair: Joy Fennell; T. Cooper