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Stripping down to up self-confidence? Why I did a boudoir photo shoot

07 May 2016, 10:01 Marisa Crous

So, when you first hear the term “boudoir”, what comes to mind? Is it sex? Sheer lingerie? Or, perhaps, even amateur porn? I picture a smouldering Marilyn Monroe type lounging in her negligee, film noir style, cigarette smoke filling the room.

And that’s exactly what I went for (minus the smoking) when I was first asked to participate in a boudoir photo shoot by Simone Davis of Golden Fox Boudoir. I found it excruciatingly daunting. I had two main issues with the idea:

a)    I hate posing,
b)    Also, being naked or semi-naked in front of a camera, is not really what I would call my element

So I was apprehensive, until I decided, you know what: why the hell not?

First things first: finding inspiration

So, for me, the inspiration bit was easy. Simone asked me to share ideas with her on Pinterest. Kind of a look and feel of what I wanted the shoot to be. Being a big fan of the ‘50s and ‘60s, an era more defined by attitude than revealing lots of skin, I pinned loads of pictures of Marilyn Monroe’s infamous final shoot, shot by Douglas Kirkland. It is sultry, and sees her frolicking around in a white bed, playing around with a sheet, but it's not too naked.

What to wear?

I was asked to take 4 outfits along to the shoot. Not necessarily lingerie, Simone said. I’m sure you’ll all agree that we feel sexy in different things. It’s not necessarily lingerie. It can even be a tank top and a pair of grey sweatpants.

The only lingerie I own was given to me at my bachelorette party: a few black lacy bras, knickers and a sheer nighty or two (one in lumo pink!). But for a shoot like this, neutral colours are desired. They generally photograph better and are more classic.

I opted for a black lace bra and panties, a black sheer nighty and a white t-shirt paired with black undies. And my fourth outfit was…a white sheet. Just like Marilyn, you know.


How does one prepare for a boudoir shoot? Well, I shaved my legs.

The photographer instructed me to pamper my feet and hands the day before as this was important for the pictures.

I guess some up their gym attendance a few months before doing such a shoot. A few extra squat thrusts? And it’s probably not the best idea to gorge on Lamb Vindaloo the night before.

Before the shoot commenced, my makeup was done by Corle Barnard. Not being a big makeup person I must say I truly loved the result. Simone emphasised that, for a shoot like this, natural is always best. You should look like you, only elevated.

Then Corle gave my currently lacklustre tresses some soft curls I’d like to think resembled Marilyn’s signature laissez-faire, come-to-bed look.

The prep time also relaxed me before the shoot. I’ve you’re anything like me (very much a non-model), you’ll need a few minutes to get comfortable. The champagne also helped.

The shoot

The venue was a hotel room at the beautiful Thyme Spa and Guesthouse. Because my inspiration was Monroe’s sheet shoot, the big white bed in the centre of the stunning hotel room was ideal. Yet, many women opt to have their shoot done at home, as the familiar setting makes them more at ease.

At first I was a bit cold, stiff and nervous. However, Simone makes you feel very much at ease. A good mix of posing and spontaneous moments were snapped throughout the hour of shooting. A great balance as I am simply useless when it comes to positioning my body for a photo. Luckily, Simone knew how to highlight my best assets playing with light and shadows. 

We breezed through the first few outfits and ended up spending much more time using only the sheet. By this time I was really at ease with myself and with the photographer’s directions to show more bum or show more skin overall.

But during the shoot I realised it is much more about the attitude than the skin. Feeling comfortable in your skin is the main thing.

Why do this?

Upon deciding to do this shoot I was asked "why" from both men and women. Why do women do this in general and why do I want to do it? The photographer stressed that, yes, a lot of women do this for their partners as a gift. Yet, more and more women are now seeing this in line with pampering themselves with a shopping trip or luxe spa experience. Treating themselves to a boudoir shoot has become a self-gift of confidence.

They do this to feel better about their bodies – no matter their size or imperfections. To embrace their vulnerability in the sense that they are nude or clad in lingerie, but still feel powerful, feminine and strong at the same time.

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- Women24


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