Valerie Sarron was a writer and editor with a passion for photography when she learned of a growing trend: boudoir photoshoots. “I realized it was kind of becoming ‘a thing,’ and I wanted to do it,” she recalls. Sarron organized her first shoot as part of a close friend’s bachelorette party and knew right away she’d found her calling. “It just made [my friend] so happy, confident, and excited,” she says. “We went out later and everyone was looking at the photos and I just realized that it was something that could spark a lot of joy and it felt very meaningful.” Today Sarron owns VS Photography, a wedding and lifestyle photography studio in Southie, where she offers boudoir sessions for brides and bridal parties. Read on to learn why the shutterbug says all brides should consider a stripped-down shoot.
So what exactly is boudoir photography?
I like to describe it as an intimate form of portraiture. It’s really more than just a photoshoot with lingerie. I think of it as [a chance] to embrace your beauty and the stage of life you’re in, and celebrate yourself with a photoshoot that’s all about you.
What makes this appealing to a bride-to-be?
I think a lot of brides find it to be a really fun experience and a celebratory one. It’s great for the bride because it’s a full day of pampering and focusing on just her. It starts with self-care ahead of the photoshoot, and then, when you come into the studio for the day, you’ll have hair and makeup. Then it’s just you and me during the photoshoot, and we can incorporate bridal details such as wedding shoes or a veil. At the end, my brides usually choose from a few print products to gift to their significant other on the big day. I’ve had a lot of brides send me videos or photos of their grooms opening up the book [of images] on the wedding day and seeing something that they never expected. It’s super unique and intimate, and a fun gift for yourself as the bride and for your significant other.
Can brides bring friends along?
I came up with the idea to have little ‘boudoir parties,’ and they’re great for bridal showers, bachelorette parties, or just a girls’ night out. You can book with your friends and we sort of do a mini version of what I normally offer. I stagger people out and take individual portraits, then I’ll take some together of everyone, so you’ll have that as a memento. It’s super fun and people really like to cheer each other on. It’s this really nice bonding moment, and the host or the bride usually gets a special little print product to remember the day.
What if you’re camera-shy?
I think everyone is nervous when they come in for various reasons. Some people feel like, “Oh no, I’m not in perfect shape,” even though they totally are. Some people have just never been in front of a camera before, and some people are just nervous about the whole experience in general. The atmosphere I’ve tried to create in the studio is very fun, and I think people already feel a little bit better once they come in. Then, once the photoshoot gets going, I love seeing people ease into it and open up. I think one of the most rewarding parts is seeing someone who’s sort of timid, not only about the experience but about owning the skin that they’re in, kind of have a turnaround moment where you actually see confidence coming over them. By the end of it they’re very open, and they’re like, ‘Can I do one more look?’ or ‘Can I redo this pose?’ and we’ll take a few more photos. That’s one of the most gratifying things about the job—not exactly empowering women to feel sexy, confident, and comfortable in their skin, because that power is already there, but [providing] a nice exercise in which they can embrace that power in the moment.
Any favorite spots for shopping for a photoshoot-ready outfit?
I love Forty Winks, which is a local brick and mortar. Online, I love Asos. I used to not send people to Victoria’s Secret but they have some great stuff lately, so I recommend it just because there’s so much variety and it’s affordable. I really feel like anyone can wear anything and look amazing. It’s just important that it fits you correctly and that you feel comfortable in it. As long as you feel comfortable that will show in the photos…and then you’ll have some nice lingerie to keep afterwards, too!
516 E 2nd St., Boston, 609-610-1686, vsphotograph.com.
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