One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned about dating is just how vital self-confidence is. Before you can even begin to search for someone to love, you need to love yourself. Think about it … when you look back at the Sex and the City girls, who had the most fun? Samantha. Because she was the one most confident and happy in her own skin. I remember watching the episode where she poses for a naked photo shoot, and hoping that I felt that way about my body in my forties.
The thing about being a woman in 2015 is that it can be tough sometimes to appreciate your curves. Particularly if you’re a single woman. But as any man worth his salt will tell you, curves are beautiful. Those of us who possess them just need to be reminded of it, every now and again.
And what better way of embracing your curves, than with a boudoir photo shoot? I headed to Farnham, for an appointment with photographer Ginny Marsh, to try out her boudoir photo session first hand. A trained fashion photographer, and seasoned wedding professional, Ginny has been running boudoir shoots at Hotel de Vie in Farnham for over two years. The pictureque hotel has themed rooms – everything from a Parisian Suite, to it’s very own red room – the Scarlet Room.
Ahead of the shoot Ginny is really helpful. She asks me to compile a Pinterest board, inspired by her various boards. Ginny has various boards on her own Pinterest, with samples for hair, make-up, outfits and poses. Rather than be a chore, it was really fun looking through the pictures, and working out what I’d like the pictures of me to look like.
Ginny also sent through a pre-shoot check list. It included really helpful stuff like not wearing socks or hairbands around your wrist before the shoot (so you don’t have marks), some reminders – such as when to wash your hair, and a whole list of things not to worry about. Contact ahead of the shoot was great, and Ginny had already put me to ease before I’d even met her.
The first part of the three hour experience is hair and make-up. Catherine Edwards, the make-up artist, was great. She chatted easily to me as she curled my hair, applied fake eyelashes and did my make-up. I have to admit, when I first looked in the mirror, my eye make-up looked far more OTT than normal, but she reassured me that it was all for the camera.
An hour and a half later and I was ready to head upstairs to the hotel rooms. Ginny runs shoots during the day, when the B&B is unoccupied, so we had our pick of the beautiful rooms. I’ve never had too much in the way of lingerie, however this wasn’t an issue. Ginny had turned up with two suitcases full of corsets, stockings, shawls, throws, earrings, fans and necklaces. We ran through costume options, and I chose three. A body suit, a corset and one of my own. Ginny had checked which parts of my body I like least, and suggested suitable outfits. She then suggested complimentary jewellery.
Ginny does several styles of shoot – from fifties pin-up, to more chaste wedding shots. Having established which looks, and positions I liked, Ginny made a plan for the afternoon. She decided on three bedrooms, and planned around 10 poses for the 90 minute shoot. We started shooting on the bed, and I quickly realised why Ginny achieves such beautiful pictures. She genuinely cares. Every shot is crafted. Rather than take one snap, Ginny works with you to make it as good as possible. She gets you to make tiny adjustments – from relaxing your forehead, to tipping your knees half an inch. Everything is done in a friendly, but knowledgeable way.
When I first signed up for the shoot, I couldn’t help but be reminded of a photo shoot I had in my twenties. The only ever time I’ve done anything resembling a boudoir shoot was one of those ‘modelling’ afternoons they sold in the early naughties. At the end of a fully clothed shoot, I was coaxed onto a white fluffy rug that looked like a bath mat, and told to cup my boobs with my hands in the fluorescent light! The photos looked awful – awkward, photo-shopped and nothing like me. Ginny’s shoot was completely different. It was fun. Really fun! Yes, I was in lingerie in a hotel room in the middle of winter, but Ginny made it feel normal and fun, and empowering. And I loved every minute!
The great thing about Ginny is that she clearly enjoys what she’s doing. Alongside established positions, which she knows work, she also tried fun different stuff. Including this cool cinemagraph (which reminds me of a Hogwarts moving painting!)
People have boudoir shoots for different reasons. Ginny often puts books of photos together for brides to be, as presents for their future husbands. And the photos work well as a Valentine’s gift for a significant other. But the photos also work well as a gift to yourself. A confidence-building experience, which results in a heap of photos you’ll be able to treasure for life. Even if you’re the only one who ever sees them.
As a real girl, with real lumps and bumps, who watched in awe all those years ago as Samantha embraced her body in Sex and the City, I can’t recommend the experience more. We only get one life, and we all need to fill it with as many experiences as we can. Feeling sexy, and feminine, and the centre of attention for an afternoon is one of those experiences every woman needs, at least every now and again. And for me, the Boudoir Shoot was a great way to achieve that.
Boudoir and beauty packages start at £225 for the makeover, shoot and one high resolution digital image. Packages vary according to whether you want digital images, prints or books made up. Ginny retouches the photos, so don’t worry about blemishes … but be assured the photos will still look like you!
Find out more details about Ginny here.
Miss Twenty-Nine xxx