Photo + Video

For His Eyes Only

Are you ready to strike a pose?

Cuff links are lovely. A leather desk set is very nice. An engraved watch surely will be appreciated. When it comes to knocking your new husband’s proverbial socks off, however, none of these traditional groom’s gifts approach the “wow” factor of boudoir photography.

Many women have added a pre-wedding boudoir photo shoot to their bridal checklists. You, however, might be a bit skeptical: Posing in my underwear? In front of a stranger? Are you kidding??

We get it. But before you diss the entire idea, take note of these three popular local photographers and their growing boudoir phenomenon. Trust us—your groom will thank you.

Find the Right Photographer

It’s essential to select your boudoir photographer with as much care and discernment as your wedding photographer, our experts say. “The best boudoir photography is classy and suggestive—not tacky and blatant,” says Jennifer Wheeler, photographer and owner of Serendipity Photography.

Asking your wedding photographer for a just-you session prior to your nuptials might make sense–but only if she has a portfolio of boudoir images you admire. “Just because you’re a wedding photographer doesn’t mean you can pose boudoir,” cautions photographer Kelly Brown. “Chemistry is key,” says photographer Amber Procaccini. “Loving a photographer’s style is important, but you also have to really like the person doing the shooting and know that you’ll feel comfortable during your session.”

Wheeler schedules pre-session consultations with her brides by request. “We go over ideas and get acquainted,” she says.

Timing Is Everything

Schedule your session at least four months before your wedding day if you’d like to treat your groom to an album of sexy photos on the wedding night. Popular boudoir photographers book out several months in advance—and you’ll need at least a month after the session to order and receive prints and custom albums.

Already too close to the wedding to pull off a boudoir session as a groom’s gift? No problem: These photographs also makes a memorable first anniversary or birthday present.

What to Wear?

Most people associate boudoir photography with thigh-high stockings and push-up bras, and rightly so–any groom would be thrilled with photographs of his lovely bride in lacy lingerie.

But sometimes the sexiest boudoir photographs are anything but what you’d see in the pages of a Victoria’s Secret catalog. “I love capturing a woman’s individual sexiness,” Procaccini says. “Women can look phenomenally sexy in a white cotton tank top paired with lacy panties, or in an old off-the-shoulder sweater and boy shorts.”

Kelly Brown is a “huge fan of black, because it’s timeless and it photographs well. But it’s not really as much about the outfit as it is about the person and her expression. If you’re comfortable in what you’re wearing and the environment, the images are going to show that confidence.”

But I’m Not A Size 6!

Our photographers are quick to emphasize that boudoir sessions are for all body types. “You don’t need to be a supermodel or even close,” Brown says. “Regardless of body style, getting gorgeous images is about posing well—gently sticking out a hip, lowering your shoulders, arching your back a bit more. . . . An experienced photographer can guide women into poses that play up their assets.”

Don’t assume that your entire body must star in the photographs. Wheeler, for instance, “might just show a hip or a neck and shoulder. My style is a little bit more fine art–oriented.”

Location, Location, Location

Some boudoir photographers have studios that boast natural light and beautiful beds (“remarkably soft, forgiving surfaces,” Procaccini says, laughing), chaise lounges, sheepskin rugs, and ornate mirrors. Another option is a photo shoot at a local hotel. Seeking a clean, modern look? Consider the Graves 601 Hotel Wyndham Grand. Favor a classic aesthetic? Book a room at The Saint Paul Hotel. Is posh your thing? W Minneapolis—The Foshay might be perfect. Just remember that the cost of a hotel room reservation will be tacked on your session fee.

What to Expect

Upbeat music. An optional glass of wine. Professionally applied makeup and hair styling (for an additional fee). Guidance and encouragement from your photographer. Expect all of this and more at your boudoir session. “Most clients tell me after the shoot that they never expected to have that much fun,” Procaccini says. “After 15 or 20 minutes of shooting, they warm up, and then we just have a ball.” Adds Brown: “It’s an upscale, classy, cool experience.”

Indeed, a cool experience that yields a hotter-than-hot gift for your groom.

Check out our Weddings Resources for photographers.