I was messing around on Pinterest yesterday, as you do, and started thinking about an upcoming boudoir session I've planned for two good friends. The amount of planning and prep boudoir requires can be daunting. Boudoir photography is expensive for good reason. Hair, makeup, wardrobe, location, waxing! I've shot bridal boudoir and even had a photographer friend shoot me but I started wondering about whether you could DIY your own boudoir session and save yourself some time and money. 

Around 11am, I made my bed, removed any extraneous objects from the area I'd be working in and opened the shades to get as much indirect light as possible. Then I set up my camera and flash on a tripod. I hopped in the shower, got out and moisturized myself half to death. Blew out my hair and curled it, then brushed it out to make it soft. Full face of makeup followed with generous concealer application. I picked out two sets of cute bras and panties, a few different pairs of shoes and threw on the first option. 

At 2pm, I stopped shooting. I was frustrated and sweaty but somewhat hopeful. Check out my keepers and then I'll explain my frustration and why I think DIY Boudoir is possible but should probably be avoided.


Ok, now that that horrific incident of terror is over! (Posting pictures of myself makes my palms sweaty.) Let's talk about pros and cons of DIY Boudoir photography.

PRO: You're the only one who has to see how awkward and naked you are. That's it. That's the only "pro" I have. 

I'm a professional photographer. I have all the necessary equipment. Experience. I'm pretty good at makeup and hair. I spent a full two hours shooting and ended up with this handful - which, TBH, I'm very happy with. However - poses are hard to vary when you're working with a tripod. Without a monitor attached to the camera, there is no way to see whether a pose even works, so I did a lot of posing, hopping back up, checking camera, checking focus, reposing. And nailing focus is also difficult. I used something to mark the spot to focus on but that had wildly varying results. By the end of those two hours, I hadn't even tried on my second outfit and didn't have time to bother with detail shots. I was hot, frustrated and my hair was getting flat. 

Verdict! If you know what you're doing and have a tripod, it's fun to mess around with your own boudoir photos. But you shouldn't bother with it just to save money. Book a session with me - I'll do all the work. You pose and look pretty and drink champagne. 

In the interest of full disclosure, I'm going to post a retouched and unretouched photo. This is probably the scariest thing I've ever done on the internet. Tally ho! 

There you have it. The second photo has been adjusted for white balance and exposure and that's it. Enjoy my uneven skin tone and stretch marks!

My point in posting these two photos side by side is not to rail against Photoshop or unrealistic beauty standards - I want to illustrate the power of good portrait photography.

When I think about my own face and body, I have a tendency to focus on all the little things about myself that I don't like. The dark circles under my eyes, my inability to tan, the loose skin on my tummy. I realized recently that when I think about my friends, all of whom I find beautiful, I *never* obsess over their flaws. I see the totality of who they are - face, body, brain. Those little human blemishes disappear entirely when we consider someone we love. We need to extend to ourselves the same compassionate, loving, gestalt view that we use when we think about our friends and lovers. I think boudoir photography can help with that.

Yes, I will pose you to highlight your best features. Yes, I will edit your skin and hair. Yes, I will crop and color adjust. I might even liquify a smidge.

We'll do all these things to your photos so that you can see *yourself* the way the people you love see you. As the stunning, sexy creature you are. 


5.Amanda E(non-registered)
You're insane, you look beautiful. I'm doing a session for my friend with a smart phone. I've been doing photography this way for fun for a long time and I have to say I'm pretty happy with my results.
I know this is old but thank you - its just what I needed after a very rough week. You're beautiful and an excellent photographer.
3.Beth Yee(non-registered)
So stunning, Kate! Do you also lend out your boobs for those of us that could use some help?
2.Kate Cho Photography
Thank you so much, Karey!
Kate, You are beautiful and I give you a lot of credit for stepping out of your comfort zone!! You do exquisite photography and the ones of yourself are amazing!! You have so much more confidence in yourself and photography skills then I ever had and it shows in your work!! Keep doing what your doing, because you are a true inspiration!! Hugs!!
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