Boudoir Photography As A Pregnant Woman
Everyone has something to say about pregnancy. “Don’t eat this”, “Don’t lift heavy things”, “Are you excited?” are just some of the phrases that have been flying around once I broke the news to folks that I was prego.
But amidst all the noise and prep required to welcome a new life, as a 4-months-old pregnant lady, I wanted to do something for myself. In particular, to commemorate my journey. After all, it wasn’t every day that my body was accommodating a whole new life.
My temple was miraculously transforming day by day, from having my largest ever boobs to a gradually increasing baby bump, and my friends suggested the idea of a maternity shoot to mark this milestone. I was intrigued by the idea but the idea of chilling out in a lallang-strewn field smiling at my belly channeling Beyonce’s Earth Goddess was totally not my style, so I shelved the idea of a photoshoot.
Until, I was presented with the idea of boudoir photography.
Finding out what was boudoir photography
Boudoir photography, quite simply put, is a photoshoot with the subject in intimate wear such as lingerie or other sensual outfits.
My initial notion of it was racy, and to be completely honest, a little bit shady – wasn’t it full of dodgy photographers who just wanted to shoot ladies in a state of undress?
But when I came across Drewperspectives, I was so taken with the tastefully shadowed photos (and the amazing underwater ones), that the thought floated across my mind: what if I did this shoot while I was pregnant?
With some Instagram stalking, I noticed the women featured on the IG feed also had some mums among them, with some looking to be in their third trimester. Upon further enquiry, Drew said the latest was even in their 8th month of pregnancy!
Another thing that appealed to me was the clever use of light and shadow, which didn’t put the parts of my body I was conscious about in harsh, stark lighting. That, coupled with positive reviews from previous clients, gave me the courage to go forward and believe I was in professional hands.
Allaying my nerves
Let me confess: I was hella nervous about the shoot. Who wouldn’t be – stripping down to probably your undies in front of a total stranger?
Thankfully, my fears were put to ease quickly. Drew told me a series of steps he had put in place to ensure his clients – especially female ones – would feel comfortable with him as a male photographer: namely, an NDA to protect privacy and photo leakages, a no-contact policy, an option to delete photos one is uncomfortable with and the choice to have a friend or colleague in the room.
“Some even bring their husbands and boyfriends along, and it’s quite awkward when my female client wants to push the boundaries more, while her partner is reluctant, so I just stay out of it and wait till they sort it among themselves,” he laughs.
Feeling comfortable during the shoot
During the actual shoot, I was initially shy and awkward but the ice was rapidly broken by casual chit-chat with Drew, and his reassurance that I needn’t do anything I was uncomfortable with.
We started off by showing the outfits I had brought to the shoot, and sharing with him the vision I had, as well as my boundaries. He also shared that some clients shared moodboards of the poses they wanted to try, but as I was pretty go-with-the-flow. After all, I didn’t want to overmanage the artistic process and end up with shots that didn’t look good.
So, I eased into some simple poses by the sofa, with a men’s white shirt (my husband’s) as a nifty – yet hot – cover up.
While I was comfortable with tight-fitting clothes due to pole dancing as a hobby, that was usually in the company of other women. But, even though he was technically a male stranger, Drew never made me feel at any point uncomfortable, professionally looking away when I adjusted my attire. The presence of other females on set also helped me feel at ease.
As for poses, Drew also gave me tips on how to angle my face to capture the best lighting. Even for the more sensual poses, he would demonstrate how to do them (to hilarious effect) and took care to make sure I was never physically exhausted as a pregnant lady.
Through this process, my inner provocateur was unleashed and soon I was werking my messy hair, arched back and come-hither looks as best I could. As we got on, I felt less vulnerable and actually more powerful and confident in my body.
During the shoot, I also had chances to QC the photos to make sure there weren’t any I was uncomfortable with, and glad to say, the shots were all classily done and used shadows to highlight my body in a flattering manner.
As for my stretch marks and bits of cellulite? While I’m usually uncomfortable about them, the photos revealed another side of me that was just plain hot, and I dare say it was the sexiest I had ever felt in the course of my often frumpy-feeling pregnancy.
Redefining motherhood and “sexiness”
Let’s face it, motherhood doesn’t exactly have a glamorous or “sexy” rep. Throughout the course of my pregnancy, I’ve heard from fellow mums-to-be how they were drained from morning sickness, headaches, swollen feet and a whole host of other afflictions. Plus, constant worries about putting on weight and never getting back their figure after giving birth.
As for me, I didn’t feel 100% myself or anywhere near dressed up or “sexy” during the tiring first trimester, and it took a while for me to get used to the steadily growing bump. In fact, I didn’t want to look at the mirror at times because I thought I gained weight at certain angles.
The shoot, however, injected a newfound confidence in my transforming body. I realised that the bump curves could actually be beautiful and flattering, and it was lovely to note that I would now have a souvenir of my youth and body at this moment in time – no matter how my lifestyle as a new mum would change in future.
In fact, when I asked Drew on the reasons that other pregnant ladies opted for a boudoir shoot, he mentioned that many saw it as a perfect “milestone gift” to themselves. To my surprise, he was actually initially reluctant to start boudoir photography and risk his previous reputation as a lifestyle photographer, till one existing underwater shoot client of his asked for a boudoir shoot to “capture her body in her youth and feel powerful”.
Other pregnant ladies have also given feedback that they felt empowered after the shoot, with initial critical thoughts on ‘flaws’ such as stretch marks being seen in a different light after viewing them through an artistic camera lens.
As for me, I was wowed by the photos when I received them. They were classily done, yet did not make me look like an overly photoshopped cookie-cutter model. It was recognisably me, with my body portrayed in a most flattering way. Even my stretch marks or veins – a natural result of pregnancy – were not wholly removed, and the beauty portrayed chased away any last vestige of fear about my body morphing into something ugly during pregnancy.
Conversely, I finally embraced the fact that my body was beautiful – both inside and out. And even in the days after, as my belly bump grew bigger, I realised I was less self-conscious about hiding it in flowy, loose dresses and letting it show loud and proud to the world.
Another bonus: it was also fun to see my husband getting a thrill out of the photos and going googly-eyed totally unprompted.
Views towards boudoir photography
While I myself was now a fan of boudoir photography and would recommend it to anyone who wanted to commemorate a milestone uniquely, or just do something bold for themselves, not everyone shares the same lack of prejudice.
According to Drew, the attitude in Singapore towards such shoots veers towards the conservative, even though other countries like the USA and even Taiwan, are far more open to it. Not to mention, it’s highly important to get a photographer you trust, especially in such an intimate setting, as some perverted photogs out there give the industry a bad reputation.
In spite of this though, I still believe that boudoir is especially powerful as a tool for pregnant women – usually seen as “guai” (wholesome), self-sacrificing, sexless creatures – to reclaim their sexuality and womanhood.
And no matter if such shoots are up your alley, hopefully more women can start falling back in love with their bodies, pregnant or otherwise. After all, “sexiness” is often a state of mind, and any type of body in any state should not be confined to the narrow box of media-approved “sexiness”.
As for me, I’ll look at my steaming hot photos gleefully, knowing that not only have they brought the “sexy back” in my upcoming motherhood journey, but also that I have something to stand by when I tell my grandkids in the future, “Last time your grandma quite hot one hor.”
If you wish to try Drewperspectives out for yourself, they now have 20% off for ZULA readers.
This article was written by an anonymous contributor.
All photos are courtesy of Drewsperspectives.