Should you do a boudoir session?

This is the question that burdens a lot of brides. I get it all the time… I could NEVER do that, but I know my fiancè would LOVE it. Let me put your mind at ease and give you a few pieces of information you may not have thought of as you try to make the right decision for you about having a boudoir session!

  1. It’s not so awkward. The very first thing that I hear when I bring up a boudoir session is omg isn’t it AWKWARD!?!?! Here’s the thing. I’ve been doing this for a LONG time you guys. I hit a decade in 2020. I know how to make you feel comfortable and confident. Most females walk into a boudoir session thinking it’s something awesome they are doing for their husband, but when they leave, they realize that it was also for them. You will leave feeling gorgeous and loving your body as much as your hubby does. There is nothing awkward about it. We spend the first few minutes looking at all of your outfits, catching up on all your wedding planning festivities, and picking out your music of choice. And when we get started, I don’t just throw you in the deep end. We’ll start with the easy stuff first and work into the more advanced and when you leave, you will feel like queen of the world.
  2. Location. Okay… this is the second most asked question: But where in the world will we do them? For the most part, brides that hire me for boudoir are either shooting in my studio or we rent a studio space. There are a few exceptions where we have shot outside in a random field back in the country, but 9/10 will be in my white studio with minimalist decor and beautiful lighting.
  3. Sharing. You will notice that there will not be a single boudoir photo in this blog. In fact, the only boudoir photos that you will ever see of mine are in the bridal guide that I send to couples who hire me as their wedding photographer. And those photos were carefully chosen and pre-approved before I even thought about using them. Your photos are for you and your husband. If you choose to show them to others, that is your choice and I would never ever ever dream of making that decision for you! I do not post boudoir on any social media platform, I do not have it in a gallery on my website… it’s really a wonder that I am hired to shoot them because girls who book me have literally never seen any of my boudoir work. I don’t even give the digital files with boudoir sessions because I’m too afraid that a client would forget and try to print one somewhere and then it would be my name attached to a leaked photo from an unprofessional printer. Don’t worry, I do provide a printed 5×5 book with your session that I use a professional printer for to guarantee confidentiality!
  4. Mood. When you choose to do a boudoir session, if you are human, you are probably going to get nervous. Literally every single bride I’ve ever shot shows up nervous. It’s normal. And that’s okay. You should definitely not be an expert at this. ha! So to help ease your nerves, I like to make some normal small talk in the beginning, ask some questions, pick out some music to play in the background, and pop a bottle of your favorite red or white. I do occasionally have clients that don’t drink, and that is perfectly fine… we will spend a little extra time in the chit chat department to help chill you out. Then when we start rolling, you’ll feel your nerves dissipate as you realize that it really isn’t as bad as you were building it up to be in your head. You will begin to feel more and more confident and comfortable and actually have some fun!
  5. Expectations & Body Image. Pinterest is great for a lot of things. I get birthday party ideas on there for the kids’ birthdays. I get who knows how many recipes. I get home decor ideas when I just can’t think. And dare I even bring up the wedding ideas?! But for boudoir… I say steer clear. Pinterest does not set up realistic expectations for boudoir sessions. Most of the pictures I see on there are of models who can contort their bodies in freaky ways and are basically being paid by victoria secret. Listen. Boudoir sessions are not just for the supermodel bodies. We all know what society has taught women about bodies that are not a size 0 with no flab… and we, meaning America, are making a turn in the right direction to fix that false truth, but I want you to know that you are beautiful. Flab or no flab… stretchmarks… size 20 or size 2… pale or tan… you are beautiful and there is a spouse that thinks you are KILLER and you are doing this for you and for him, no one else. Don’t you dare pass this up just because you have some rolls. I’m here to tell you, we all got rolls.
  6. Timing. We will want to do these at least 2 months before the wedding. I want to make sure that I have enough time to edit the images, design your book, and print your book before the wedding day!
  7. Outfits. I always tell girls to bring at least one matching bra & panty set, one favorite lingerie piece, an oversized shirt of your hubby’s, your veil, and some heels. We start with the most conservative piece and work our way back to the least conservative as your nerves wear off. You can add in extra things like a cute set of matching PJ’s, a robe, a hat, some cowgirl boots, a white T, etc… Once you arrive, we will go through all of your outfits and decide what are the MUST HAVES and what are the ones that we will get to if we have time. Also, you can be as modest as you want. You can literally wear anything, and if you never show more than what your modest bikini shows, that is fine. And on the other end of the spectrum, if you want to do some more frisky ones, you are also welcome to do that. It’s entirely up to you and what you’re feeling in the moment and there is absolutely no wrong way to do these!
  8. Book Design. I include a small black linen 5×5 lay-flat book in the boudoir session price. After I have all of your images edited, I share them with you in a secret, password protected online gallery. That same day, I start designing your book. I’ll send the first draft of the design to you and you will have the opportunity to edit it to make sure all of your favorite images made it in there. Once we get it perfect, which may take a couple rounds of editing, then I order it. It is delivered to your door and then the online gallery is deleted. This is because I know there are weird people out there that can hack anything and I just don’t ever want those photos to be in jeopardy because a hacking system could figure out the perfect login and password combination.
  9. Best Gift EVUH. If there’s one thing for certain, your fiancè is going to love this gift. Most of my brides say that they are so conservative and there is no WAY that he would see this coming. That is kind of what inspires them to do it in the first place. Then they give the little black book to him as his wedding present and see his reaction and they know that all the nerves, all the out-of-comfort-zone feelings, all the sneaking trying to do it without him finding out, and the painful secret-keeping after it’s all said and done… every bit of it is worth it. This is always a good gift for your man, but it’s especially good if he travels a lot for work or is in the military… any relationship that has to endure long-distance for any amount of time, this is a must.
  10. Giving. Speaking of when to give it to him… this is another question I get all the time. There are three options. 1) You can give it the night before after the rehearsal dinner right before you part ways, 2) Have your MOH deliver it to him on the day of the wedding after they pull him away from all his groomsmen in a nice quiet room, or 3) the night of your wedding after you’ve left the reception and are finally alone. When I say there is no wrong way to do these, I mean there is NO wrong way to do these. If you really want to see his reaction, do 1 or 3. If you really him to have something to open on the day of the wedding, do 2. What is right for you will be different than what is right for someone else, so just do whatever you are more drawn to!

So, there’s that. A boudoir 101 post to help you make the best decision for you. You can always add these on if you already have a package with me that doesn’t include a boudoir session. Or if you are already married and wish you’d done one, it’s not too late. Valentine’s Day is right around the corner!

I’m a Knoxville Wedding Photographer that loves to travel…I shoot anywhere! Click here to contact me with any questions you have about pricing or booking! If you liked what you saw above, go ahead and follow me on Facebook or Instagram to see my daily updates of the latest sessions!

See more from Amanda May Photos:

Unity Ceremonies

Bridal Sessions

Engagement Sessions


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Knoxville, TN wedding photographer

I'm Amanda May and I'm pretty stoked that you're here. I'm a three on the enneagram, a smiler when things get awkward, and I would love for you to get to know me more over on my about page.


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