Boudoir imagery: one part scandal, one part empowerment

Photographer says growing business is about confidence, fun

Photo courtesy: Tanya Reynolds

With Valentine’s Day upon us, many women in Nova Scotia are choosing to capture their sexy sides with intimate photographs for their significant other.

Photographer Tanya Reynolds, a former student at the Nova Scotia Community College, says the popularity of boudoir photos has gone up significantly since she first started her business six years ago.

“When I first started, people didn’t even know what boudoir meant. They had no idea why people would want that or even what the purpose was… Now, I’m doing four to six a week.” says Reynolds.

Reynolds, who originally wanted to pursue nature photography, says she fell in love with the boudoir style after she learned what it does to help build women’s confidence.

“I realized that I loved giving women photos that they were able to look back on and feel confident about. That really is my niche.”

Photo courtesy: Tanya Reynolds

Although boudoir photography has been around for decades, it has only recently been incorporated into the mainstream. Along with becoming a popular Valentine’s Day gift, boudoir photo shoots have become a trend in the wedding industry.

“It’s just exploded. It’s a really popular gift for brides to give to their fiancés,” says Reynolds.

Reynolds says while some people may see boudoir photography as being scandalous, it is actually about being confident, feeling beautiful and having fun.

A “boudoir” is a woman’s private room, and is derived from the French verb “bouder” meaning “to be sulky.” Reynolds says she does the majority of the boudoir shoots at hotels in downtown Halifax as they offer a romantic and intimate setting.

“Everyone’s shoot is completely tailored to them. It could be in jeans and their favourite T-shirt. It doesn’t have to be scandalous lingerie. It’s really just about taking beautiful images of these women to have for themselves or their partner,” says Reynolds.

Reynolds says the majority of her clients have never modelled before.

“We get all ages, all body shapes and sizes. I really hate to hear people say ‘I’ll do it when I lose five pounds’. All women are beautiful and we really work to showcase that.”

Clients have the option of receiving the photos digitally, in a leather-bound book, or printed on a canvas for their sweethearts to admire.

“…That’s probably why our partners love them so much.”

Lauren Arbuckle says she was first introduced to boudoir photography through Pinterest, but never thought it was something she would do. However, after a bit of thought and encouragement, she decided to give it a try.

“I had never done any modelling before. I was so nervous because it was definitely stepping outside of my comfort zone. It’s not something I would normally do.”

Photo courtesy: Tanya Reynolds

Despite feeling uneasy when she first arrived at the studio, Arbuckle says that with the right direction and support from the photographer, she was able to quickly relax and enjoy the entire experience.

“It was so much fun. I couldn’t get over how great and confident I felt during the entire process.”

She says although the photos make a great Valentine’s Day gift, the real gift comes in the form of the confidence that is gained through doing this type of photo shoot.

“It’s just empowering to feel really good about yourself. I think that’s what shows through in the photos and that’s probably why our partners love them so much, too,” says Arbuckle.

To: Me, Love: Me

Tanya Walker says she decided to do a boudoir photo shoot as a gift to herself. After going through a bad breakup, she saw it as an opportunity to boost her confidence and to feel beautiful again.

Photo courtesy: Tanya Reynolds

“I wasn’t in the best spot, confidence-wise. These photos made me love myself all over again. It was just an all-around awesome experience,” says Walker.

Before the photo shoot, Walker says she was given suggestions on what color lingerie would look best, where to find the best deals, as well as some posing tips.

“I was told not to wear anything tight that might leave lines on my skin, to cut off all the tags on the lingerie. But outfit-wise, it was whatever I was comfortable with,” says Walker. She says that once she arrived, her hair and makeup was professionally done, and before she knew it, the camera started snapping.

“It was very comfortable,” says Walker.

She says while some people may view them as being risqué, she sees them as a way to showcase a woman’s natural beauty.

“They’re very classy. They’re very elegant. You’re in your bra and panties, it’s no different than a bikini.”




One thought on “Boudoir imagery: one part scandal, one part empowerment

  1. While classy photos abound on the website I note there are never examples of photos of woman with less than the societal ideal body or what I prefer to think of as “beautiful in their own way”.
    No skinny, short, BBW, etc.
    This harms the confidence of many women in society and entrenches false norms. That’s really sad!

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