Boudoir photos -- where the subject of the photos, usually women, wear sexy attire or nothing at all -- have been popular for years. But now men are posing for the sexy pix, too. The intimate photos are a treat for both brides and grooms.
The word boudoir, with French origins, means a personal dressing room.
"The idea is that it's a glimpse into the private," says Will Haynes of Will Haynes Photo. "This often means not necessarily looking into the camera or smiling, although there's room for that.
"We also shoot boudoir to tell a story, create a sense of allure and to show off beauty. More importantly, it creates a feeling of beauty for the model."
He says boudoir is becoming more popular for both women and men: "We affectionately call these 'dude-oir' sessions."
Many individuals and couples say they like the photos as gifts for Valentine's Day, anniversaries, birthdays and other special occasions. Many wedding photographers offer boudoir sessions as add-ons to wedding and engagement packages.
Photographer Mike Allebach says couples boudoir is "bringing couples closer together." In the past year, he's photographed 100 couples in sexy bedroom photo sessions. "The feedback we received is this is life-changing."
*What to Expect
Like other photography shoots and packages, boudoir photos can vary in price and scope. Many are shot at a photographer's studio with backdrops such as a bedroom or shower, whereas others are mobile and can be at the location of the couple's choosing.
Prices typically are several hundred dollars or more. Couples are advised to prepare in advance for their boudoir photo session. Many photographers offer hair and makeup for an additional fee, and the resulting look is more polished. Plus, it can help couples feel sexy and looking their best.
It's not necessary to wear lingerie or other sexy clothing.
Jenny Taylor, owner of Jenny Taylor Boudoir Photography, says that many of her clients skip lingerie and instead opt for playful looks, such as wearing robes or strategically placed bedsheets or their partner's sports jersey.
Have a few different clothing and accessory options, including such accessories as jewelry and shoes. Some photography studios have clothing and props to use during the shoot. Ask ahead of time to see what is or isn't available.
Taylor suggests paying close attention to grooming well before the shoot. She says that if you want to get waxed, it's best to do it about five days to a week before your shoot to minimize the appearance of bumps or redness.
Don't invite other people to your shoot, because they could be distractions. It's best for individuals to do their shoots solo or for couples to share the moment together.
The photographer will shoot for a set amount of time -- e.g., two hours -- not including time for hair and makeup.
A few days or weeks after the photo shoot, the photographer will send you a link to an online gallery. Typically, you can purchase prints and get digital downloads. Retouching on blemishes is often available.
The boudoir photographer helps couples pose. Haynes says poses might include arching your back, lifting your legs, twisting your torso, being on your back or lying on your stomach.
"Great photographers are not only good at getting the shot but are excellent at making the model feel comfortable while capturing his/her most flattering poses," he says.
Don't mistake boudoir for glamour pix or pornography. It's important to work with a professional photographer to ensure the images are tasteful and on point.
Be honest with the photographer about what you're self-conscious about and what you want to shoot. Haynes says that though professional photographers might make suggestions about what to show or how to pose, they won't pressure clients into revealing more than they are comfortable with showing.
Kristen Castillo is a three-time Emmy Award-winning journalist. An editor and writer for wedding magazines, she's written hundreds of wedding articles, as well as an e-book, "Weddings on a Dime."