Boudoir: Capturing passion and creating artistic images

By Taylor Dahlberg

Taylor Dahlberg/Collegian -  This model used her photography session as a saucy Valentine’s gift for her boyfriend.
Taylor Dahlberg/Collegian - This model used her photography session as a saucy Valentine’s gift for her boyfriend.

Boudoir photography — which basically means taking pictures of women in lingerie or as they are “suggestively covered” — has become more popular over the past couple years.

In Kansas, some photographers are catching on.

My passion with boudoir began a few months ago when I saw an ad from a woman who was looking for that kind of photography. She had trouble finding a photographer to provide that service.

I agreed to provide my services, but had to draw some lines first as to what each of us was comfortable with.

After this shoot, I realized that boudoir is not simply taking pictures of women in lingerie. It is helping women feel empowered about their bodies in a new and innovative way.

Recently, a friend and I team-shot a boudoir session for three women.

These women each had reservations about taking these shots because they are so private, but during and after the session, they were more comfortable.

For this article, I have given them new names, for privacy reasons.

Taylor Dahlberg/Collegian - Boudoir is derived from a French word meaning bed, or sitting private room. The photography can take  place in the subject’s bedroom, or in a hotel room.
Taylor Dahlberg/Collegian - Boudoir is derived from a French word meaning bed, or sitting private room. The photography can take place in the subject’s bedroom, or in a hotel room.

“It was intimidating at first,” Veronica said. “When I saw some of the pictures, it was super empowering.”

“Before the shoot I was really nervous and wanted to just cover my stomach,” Ashley said. “After, I realized there was nothing to be ashamed of with my body.”

This session presented challenges for my friend and I, since I had never worked in a studio with this kind of photography.

The setup was pretty simple. Two tables pulled together, with sleeping bags as padding under white sheets, was a simple way to portray a bed.

The most difficult part was positioning. Boudoir posing is different because the poses, such as back-arching, use muscles that you might not use often.

Many photographers have begun to take this art on as part of their business — while some specialize in only boudoir.

For example, there is a Kansas City photographer that does many photo-shoots for victims of cancer, to help them feel beautiful and whole again.

There are also photographers who concentrate on “cosplay,” which is a form of costuming that deals with comic book characters and mythical creatures.

Those are just two types of boudoir among the many different styles that are now out there.

There has been some negativity surrounding this style of photography. The debate centers on whether it is a form of soft-core pornography.

In the boudoir world, pornography is completely separate. Boudoir is not nude photography.

The style is made for women who want to feel beautiful. For those women, photography is a way to portray that beauty.

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