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Admit it: there's a wedding gift you know your fiancé would be more excited about than classic cufflinks. Professional boudoir photography has grown in popularity in recent years, especially among brides looking to surprise their future spouses with the sexy shots or just bask in the confidence-boosting glow of this special time in their lives. Jenny Taylor, of the Naperville-based studio Jenny Taylor Boudoir Photography, says brides make up about 50 percent of her clients.
"It is such a bucket list item," Taylor says. "When clients are ready to walk out our door they're like, 'Oh, I feel amazing. I could do anything.' "
Of course, the thought of stripping down for such intimate photos is pretty nerve-racking for most clients too. So what do you need to know before you un-veil yourself? Taylor sends new clients a 13-page packet of tips to prep for their appointment and shared a few pointers with us.
The idea of wearing lingerie in a photo shoot terrifies me. How do I find a studio that will make me feel comfortable?
Boudoir shoots are an incredibly personal experience, so Taylor urges brides to do their homework. Comb through any photographer's website to see where their studio is, making sure to check Google Maps to verify it's a building and neighborhood in which you would feel safe. If they operate out of their home, ask lots of questions. Are you comfortable shooting in their bedroom if that's where they shoot? If it's a basement studio, is it finished? The more you know, the better.
"I've heard stories of women going in and sheets are put on a cement floor," Taylor says.
Most legitimate photographers will also have positive online feedback, plenty of examples of their work on their site and a social media following. Do they ask permission before posting your images on their site? Ask. Many boudoir studios boast all-female staffs. If you're not comfortable with a man prepping your shoot or shooting the photographs, be sure to check. Communication beforehand with the photographer you'll be working with is always a good idea, Taylor says.
"It's a very personal experience, so instead of just clicking on a website like, 'Okay, I'm booking this date and then showing up somewhere,' make sure that person's at least available to text message you, email, some communication," she says.
I don't know how to look sexy on camera. What should I keep in mind for the shoot?
Nerves are the issue Taylor says she hears about from brides the most. Many professional studios, like Taylor's, see this daily and are trained in bringing out your inner sex kitten. But if for some reason the photographer you're working with isn't helping, Taylor suggests practicing in the mirror beforehand and most importantly trusting yourself.
"Go in with confidence. Be yourself," she says.
What should I wear?
If you've had a bachelorette party or personal shower, now would be a great time to bust out the silky slips and bra sets you received as gifts, or shop for something that makes you feel like a star.
"If you love the way it looks in the mirror, you'll love the way it looks in pictures," Taylor says.
Taylor's studio doesn't do nude photos, but some studios do, so be sure to ask about that if it's something you're interested in. One saucy accessory Taylor loves? Your wedding veil.
If I want to surprise my fiancé with the photos on our wedding day, how far ahead of time should I book my shoot?
It varies from photographer to photographer. Taylor says her studio needs at least two to three months to get everything turned around, though brides often book her services when they book their wedding photographer months ahead of time. And because many reputable photographers will only do one or two shoots a day, appointments can book up a few years in advance.