I am a Christian, completely devoted to my Savior, Jesus, and I am also a beauty and boudoir photographer. Every once in a while I’m asked about how I can be both. As the boudoir photography industry becomes more popular, a lot of Christians are asking, “Should a Christian woman do a boudoir shoot?” I wanted to share with you some of my thoughts on this.
What is a boudoir shoot?
Boudoir is pronounced Bu-dwah or Bu-dwar. It is technically defined as, “a woman’s bedroom or private room for dressing or resting.” So in the photography world, that involves a portrait shoot that a woman does privately for her man, usually in lingerie. Oftentimes, the motivation for a shoot is to create a gift for your husband, however, you’ll find that a portrait shoot with Photography by Rayleigh is a very pampering experience. It creates a space for you to feel feminine, lovely, and even sexy. Women spend far too much time comparing themselves to other women they see in magazines or on TV. Often feeling “blah” about themselves. Especially tired mommies who feel more like a mom than a woman, most times. Do you relate to any of this?
Men are visual.
God created men to be highly visual. They can’t help it, it’s the way they were built. They are bombarded with images of sexy woman all the time and no matter how much they try to look away and avoid lusting after the women in those images, it’s inevitable that some of those images are going to get in, and stay there, and even pop up from time to time. How great would it be if his memory was chalked full of lovely images of his wife and the majority of the images popping up in his mind were images he could cherish and feel good about?
A full marriage.
When your man chose you to be his wife, he, hopefully, chose you based on your Christ-like qualities like patience, kindness, humility, faithfulness, honor, trust, truth, and hope. Those are the basis of the truest love, as we see in 1 Corinthians 13. As a bonus, God wants us to also enjoy our spouse’s body and to enjoy physical intimacy. 1 Corinthians 7:3 In a healthy, Christian marriage, a woman should feel sexy, desired, and appreciated for all aspects of herself, including her body. Even with it’s imperfections. When a woman doesn’t feel good about the way she looks, she doesn’t bring to the marriage that needed energy that can really help fuel physical intimacy. A glamourous photoshoot can give a woman that much needed confidence. It’s really amazing what a little sexy confidence can do for a marriage.
Should a Christian woman do a boudoir shoot?
As you can tell by now, I’m a fan of boudoir shoots. Many of my Christian friends have enjoyed giving sexy photos to their husbands. However, it’s also true that I do have a small number of Christian friends who believe that wearing lingerie in front of someone who isn’t your husband, including a photographer is something to avoid. I love and respect those people and their thoughts on this. So I think this is just something for each woman to pray about and see what God is telling them about how to answer this question.
Maybe a beauty shoot is more up your ally. If you don’t feel comfortable wearing lingerie for photos, I 100% get that. You absolutely don’t have to wear lingerie in your portraits to feel feminine and lovely. A beautiful dress can be just as empowering, while being modest. I invite you to check out my beauty gallery to see more photos like this. In fact, I’m falling more in love with beauty shoots and have recently expanded my focus to include all kinds of beauty sessions instead of focusing solely on boudoir photography in my business.
The who, what, and when of it all.
Boudoir or beauty photos are an amazing gift to give to a Groom on the wedding night. Valentine’s Day, birthdays, and wedding anniversaries are other occasions when glamorous portraits would be a very special gift.
There are a lot of amazing photographers to choose from for your shoot and you should find the one that is the best fit for you. As a Christian, I encourage you to hire a female photographer if you are wanting sexy portraits.
My boudoir style is very conservative, as far as this genre of photography goes, so if you are more on the shy side or you just want to keep things tame, I’m the photographer for you! My boudoir images are sensual but beautiful and tasteful and not over-the-top sexual.
Will my photos end up on your website?
Although, I used to share boudoir photos on my website, with permission from my clients who felt comfortable with that, I’ve recently felt more inclined to keep my client’s more intimate photos private. So now, when talking about boudoir photos, I try to share photos that have a sexiness to them but are still modest. Like what you see in this post. I have a private link to more photos, for those who are interested in doing a boudoir shoot. Of course, I only share photos with permission from my clients who feel comfortable with it.
So, should a Christian woman do a boudoir shoot? Please pray about this and determine what kind of shoot might be right for you. Whether you feel that a boudoir shoot would enrich your marriage or if a beauty shoot is what would give you the confidence boost you need, I’m here to help. If you’d like to learn more about what a shoot experience is like and what to expect in my studio, please check out my video about that.
If you are ready to schedule your beauty or boudoir shoot, or if you have any questions, please contact me! I’d love to talk about it more with you.
I am also a women’s photographer and a Christian. While I refuse to post any sexualized images or images of women in their undies I do believe all women should have a boudoir session at every stage of life. I can’t wait for my next!
Hey Kayln! Oh, I wish you could make a trip to Oregon to do a shoot with me! 🙂 Tammy with True Blue Intimates is in Los Alamitos, CA. I don’t know if she’s a Christian, but she’s a fantastic photographer. She had a hand in training me in boudoir photography.
Hi I find this topic interesting. I’m a married Christian woman. I’d like to get some opinions on whether the husband should be present when taking these photos? in the same room, or wait outside in the waiting area of the studio. If a woman should go take these photos alone without telling her husband and then show him later as a surprise? and is it better to find female photographers for this. Thanks!
Hi Sarah! I find that having the husband in the room during the shoot can be distracting. It can also make the woman feel more self conscious because she’s looking for approval from him. So I recommend against having the husband in the room during the actual shoot. Having the photo shoot be a total surprise and surprising the husband with the finished photos as a gift is really fun! I also like when the husband can come along to the ordering session and help choose his favorite photos, since a lot of time the man has different favorites than the woman has. So you can go either way!
Personally, I do think it’s better for a Christian woman to choose a female photographer, as her husband might feel really uncomfortable having his wife be photographed in lingerie (or less) by a man. Especially since boudoir photography is so sensual in nature. There are a lot of male boudoir photographers who are absolutely fantastic at what they do. They are very professional during their shoots and many women feel comfortable hiring them. So I don’t mean to insult any of them, by any means. I just feel that a female photographer is the appropriate choice for a Christian woman. That’s my take on it, anyway!
An innlleigett answer – no BS – which makes a pleasant change
I am getting married soon and wanted to do this for my future husband. I was talking with my mom about it and she feels conflicted with this idea because it might tempt your husband to look at porn. I can see where she is coming from but I also can disagree because it’s his wife he is looking at not another woman. Thoughts?
I agree with you, Ashley. I think the temptation to look at porn is already there in full force. But if you have a healthy sex life in your marriage and your husband sees you as a sexy woman, he will have those needs met and won’t feel as much “need” to look at other women. I’m not a physiologist or anything. LOL! But those are my thoughts.
As a Christian, do you think it’s appropriate to give the photos the morning of the wedding? Or wait until the ceremony is finished? I want to give them before, but is that inappropriate, seeing as the ceremony makes the marriage “official” (despite the legal marriage documents.)
That’s a very good question, Sarah. I think that’s really a matter of what feels appropriate to the bride. I don’t think there is one perfect answer because it’s kind of like splitting hairs in the moral department. Personally, I wouldn’t say it’s wrong to give the album to him the morning of the wedding. However, when I got married, I did choose to give my boudoir photos to my husband the evening of our wedding. Partly just so I could “make sure” I was on the safe side, but mostly I wanted to give the album to him later because I didn’t want the album getting in to the wrong hands in the men’s dressing room or getting lost. I also like the idea that my husband never saw me “undressed” until after we were married. It just feels pure. It was also nice to look through the album privately, together. It was a special moment that we could share together.
Do you think a man would enjoy a second or third boudire book as much as the first?
Absolutely! Every man is different, of course. But as long as the outfits and poses are different, I would bet that most men would take as many gorgeous and sexy images of their wife as they can get. But you know what? After your first shoot you’ll find that the experience was secretly a gift for you, as well, and many of my clients love coming back for multiple shoots because of the way the shoot makes them feel. If you ever need a boost of confidence or a little pick me up, a boudoir shoot can really do wonders.
It’s sad that some people cannot see beyond the “it’s porn” aspect of boudoir. “Photographic Therapy” by Rolando Gomez is interesting reading. It talks about the reasons, and sometimes the need, a woman has to be photographed in such a manner for he own reasons.
The Christian people I run into that seem to have an issue boudoir tend to be the ones that were raised with the old “fire and brimstone” church style. That’s how church was when I was growing up. Instead of “live life and honor the gift we’ve been given”, preachers said “better do it this way or else”. Fear was the way.
I’ve been a photographer all of my life and have also drawn. I tend to shoot anything but people, except when asked to do so. I’ve been fortunate to be in a couple of relationships with women who are also involved in art. Those two women were Christians, but see the artistic side and beauty of it. It’s like how Europeans are surrounded with nudity in art with statues, etc; but here in America, that type of thing is frowned upon and TV filmed in Europe needs to omit that same art.
I’ve shot nudes twice and boudior a few times upon request over the years. Trust, confidentiality, and communicating before the shoot is essential to learn the woman’s ideas, expectations, and limits.
Thank yo so much for posting about this. I am a strong Christian and also a pastors wife and have wanted to do this for my husband (and maybe even for myself) for a while now…but have been too “chicken” and have felt guilty that it’s “wrong”. I wish you lived in Texas because I would book you in a heartbeat. After reading your post I am ready to book my boudoir session. Any advice for this newbie?!!? What to wear? What to expect? Thank you so much for what you’re doing!!
Hi Rhonda! I wish I could do your shoot for you! It’s hard to know what to expect since every photographer is different. I recommend thinking about if there are any aspects of your body you are uncomfortable with and dressing to take the focus away from those areas, which moves the focus the areas you do love. For example if you aren’t a fan of your tummy (like a lot of women), don’t wear a bra and panty set but instead wear a corset that sucks the tummy in. If you are uncomfortable with your arms, then find a beautiful robe that you can wear. I hope that helps!
Such a great article! As a Christian boudoir photographer myself living in the Texas Bible Belt, I constantly get judged. Nearly everyone thinks I shoot porn though my work is very tasteful. It’s really sad!
This was so encouraging to read! Thank you. I am a photographer and a christian and I’ve been wanting to do Boudoir since I started my photography business. It just feels hard to get your name out there like “hey, i’d shoot you in your lingerie if you ever want to” also I live in Switzerland and people are kind of “prude” when it comes to this topic. I’d need to find a model who let’s me publish pictures for my portfolio as well. So all this things kept me from really doing it. But I think if people knew my heart and vision behind it (which is to speak worth, value and beauty in womens life) they’d feel differently about it. Anyways, thank you for posting this. I always feel encouraged if I see christian woman do these shoots!
Thank you, Vanessa! Yes, as a Christian it’s tricky to advertise for boudoir portraits because I’m understanding that it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, especially since not everyone understands the point of it and how empowering it can be for women. I try to be cautious to not offend people when I’m talking to them about what I do. I sort of feel them out and try to figure out how much detail I can go in to from, “I shoot glamourous womens portraits with hair and makeup and an incredibly fun, pampering experience,” to telling them more about how most of my clients wear lingerie in their photo shoot. I also often mention that my portraits make a great gift for a wife to give to her husband for their wedding or anniversary. A lot of my clients do the shoot just for themselves to feel more confident and beautiful. But if I think someone might not understand why someone would want to do a shoot, I mention the part about it being a gift for a spouse. I wish you well in your photography business!
Just shared with my boudoir group of ladies on fb. As a christian boudoir photographer, I’m waiting for the day someone asks me how I can be both. Loved your article and all of the points you bring. Thank you!
Hey Amanda! Thanks for sharing my blog with your readers! I’m glad you found it encouraging and helpful.
As a Christian photographer who is just now turning my business toward glamour and boudoir photography, I am already catching a lot of flack from family and friends about my choice. My brother is a prominent pastor in the area and he is infuriated. Thank you for stating your beliefs and sharing it with others who may be getting the same questions. It can be very difficult to explain why and how, as a christian, I can feel comfortable taking pictures that are considered “porn” and “lude” and “sinful” in nature to people who have been raised in the Bible Belt of the South. Your words give me hope and courage that I too, can face the giants (and my fears of judgement and rejection) and share my passion for empowering women and possibly even saving marriages with my lens and my love for God’s creation of beauty in each and every person I meet.
Hi Jennifer! I’m glad you found my blog encouraging. Best wishes for your business!
I was able to relate to your passion and even cried as I read it. I’m a photographer just getting started in boudoir and have been too afraid to face the giants. Personally, I believe my marriage was saved because of my own boudoir shoot. I found myself not feeling modest in the bedroom and embracing my true self without fear of rejection. My husband loves my new found fire and passion. He’s more attentive and loving toward me every day. As an artist I love the beauty that God has created both in landscape photography and in boudoir photography.
I love hearing how your boudoir session enriched your marriage! I pray for a continued closeness between the two of you.
It seems to me that boudoir session photos would encourage masturbation, which is evil and sinful. It would also encourage lust, which is still a sin even when married.
I appreciate your point of view. I believe a man’s desire for his wife is part of the beautiful plan for marriage. I don’t think of that as the same thing as lust. I agree with you about masturbation being a sin. If a man chooses that path, there is no shortage of material for him to use if he is looking for encouragement. I don’t think that images of his wife are an encouragement toward that choice any more than walking through a department store is encouragement toward stealing. Just my thoughts, though. I appreciate the discussion.
Hi Raleigh. I absolutely love this article . I just started offering boudoir photography (literally yesterday lol) . I’ve created a private page specifically for my clients & already have up to 75 members . My husband and I have talked A LOT when it comes to this. I also received a phone call from my mother – who is very heavily “involved” with my life / photography & doesn’t believe it to be a good idea.
My main question to you is : do you only offer Boudoir Sessions to married women/ engaged? Or all genres? My husband and I believe that the marriage bed is undefiled – so there’s no problem with a woman wanting to feel sexy & empowered to have a healthy sexual marriage. But on the other hand . We feel that it can be a form of fortification if the individual is not married & presenting it to their SO. Thoughts on this ?? I would truly appreciate your input
Hi Lindsay! I’m sorry for the delay in my reply. I’m just now seeing your comment. I agree with you in that my personal opinion is that boudoir photos are a great gift to give to a husband. I primarily focus my intentions on boudoir photos being a great gift for the woman to do for herself in order to boost confidence and express her femininity. It’s not up to me to police what she does with her photos or who she gives them to. It is a valid concern, though, that an unmarried woman would share the photos with a significant other and something worth praying about for your business. It’s because of these gray areas that I’ve recently shifted the focus of my business more toward beauty photography, although I still love shooting boudoir photos, especially if the woman is married.
Hi there, just looking into this as a Christian young woman 🙂 I have been married for 2 years and 5 months ago we had our first baby.
my body is not the same as it used to be, I lost my baby weight quite quickly, but my hips are wider, tummy is stretched ect.
My thoughts are… If one has a photoshoot of themselves done when they look their best, (in that case for me, is before baby came) then as your body changes and ages, ones husband may have a standard and a certain body image that they want and expect from you, or just like more…?
Wouldn’t that make it harder for a Christian man to love and learn to grow with his wife??
Please let me know what you think 🙂
I’ve been battling this in my mind for quite some time!
Hey there, Kassidy! That’s a great question and it’s a concern that one of my friend’s had recently. Even if you are just taking a picture of your face, you’ll find after several years, that your face doesn’t look like it used to. You might even think it looks less beautiful. But I don’t think that’s a reason to avoid being in photographs. At any age! You can look back on photos of your “younger beauty” and remember “the good old days.” And you can also enjoy photos of your older self, appreciating a body that has been through life. Birthing babies and whatever else comes your way. If you have a good husband, he won’t look at photos of a younger you and long for those days. He’ll remember them and also appreciate the strong woman he has now.
You might be surprised to hear that most of my boudoir clients are around age 40-60. When women are young, they are often full of insecurities. As women age, they find that the “flaws” they once hated don’t mean much, at all. They learn to feel confident in who they are and celebrate being a woman, wrinkles and stretch marks included!
Yesterday on my day off I did a boudoir photo shoot of myself. I am married and I am a photographer. I wanted to shows moms that it’s okay to do sexy photos. My husband was “mah” about it. So , I did the session and I posted it on fb. I had many good responses from the photos I posted.
Last night I received a phone call from one of my church friends who’s also a photographer and also does boudoir photos. She stated she loved them but mostly discouraged me as to why they were wrong on social media.
I felt broken. I built up the confidence to do it for myself and I posted it to Facebook in hopes that other moms would find confidence in themselves and maybe be interested in those kinds of photos. My friend state; “Your body is a temple” “What if husband’s see them?” “I agree with your husband”
In reply to her comments, I stated they’re for other woman to feel beautiful about themselves as I did for mine. Also stated, if husband’s were going to look, they’ll look regardless if there’s clothes or not.”
Honestly that conversation with my friend hurt more then it did with my husband. We’ve been friends for years and she’s not a confidence would when it comes to her body, but I am. In all, I just wanted people to see that moms can be beautiful too. It’s no different then a swimsuit.
After a long talk with my husband, he expressed on how he feels and I understand. When I told him about it he was caught off guard. He then stated, he’s supportive of my business and that he enjoyed my photos. He didn’t mind them on social media because nipples weren’t showing.
I’m bring this here because…I read your info and I saw you had good advice for the others… what is the best advice to give my friend when I have a heart to heart with her?
Hey “Jane”! Thanks so much for your comment. It’s an interesting discussion topic, for sure. I’ll tell you my story and maybe it will give you something to think about. As a boudoir photographer, I used to happily share photos of my clients online, with their permission, of course. Then one day about 2 years ago, a couple of the leaders in my church asked me to come in for a chat. They shared their concerns regarding my business. One of their concerns was regarding women having boudoir photos taken and being undressed in front of anyone other than their husbands, even if it’s just me as the photographer. So having the photos online was an even greater concern for them. Admittedly, I felt a bit defensive at first, and even hurt. But I appreciated that they expressed their concerns out of care for me and about doing what’s right in the sight of the Lord.
After a lot of prayer and consideration, I didn’t feel led to stop photographing boudoir sessions. Having women mostly undressed in front of me, as the photographer, didn’t feel like a problem. Women undress in front of each other all the time (locker rooms, etc.) and I don’t see an issue with that. I still see the boudoir experience as being enriching to a woman and her marriage. However, I did feel lead to be more cautious about posting boudoir photos online.
Of course, it’s tricky to advertise that you photograph boudoir sessions without sharing boudoir photos online. That has certainly been a challenge. I now post clothed beauty photos that are sexy. I won’t lie. My business took a hit after I took the boudoir photos off my website. I still get some requests for boudoir photography and I love the sessions that I do. But my online branding is now more focused on beauty photography. I pretty much had to start over with my online presence and branding. I’ve been growing the beauty side of my business and it’s been fulfilling, as well. Although I still love boudoir photography, I’m finding that women can still feel sexy, gorgeous, and confident in clothing and they don’t have to be in underwear to have the experience I want to provide for my clients.
All that to say, I don’t really have any advice about what to say to your friend. And I certainly don’t have all the answers about how to manage all these things as a woman or as a photographer. I can just share my experience and what I personally felt lead to do with my own business. I can also suggest that you do your best to not feel too defensive and to recognize that your friend cares about you. I also encourage you to pray about God’s will for your business and then do whatever you feel lead to do. I hope that helps!