What comes to mind when you think of Paris? The Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, baguettes, and croissants? While all of these things are quintessentially Parisian, there’s another aspect of the city that is just as special: its boudoir photography. Boudoir photography is all about capturing the essence of femininity and sensuality, and what could be more romantic than doing a session honoring the City of Love? In this blog post, we’ll give you some tips on how to style your backdrop for a Paris boudoir photoshoot, as well as advice on what to wear. So, grab your beret and get ready to channel your inner chic French girl!
What Does “Boudoir” Mean?
As you may have guessed, “boudoir” happens to be a French word! Meaning “private room,” in reference to a woman’s chamber, boudoir photography has deep roots in Paris that arc back in time almost as long as the invention of the camera itself. In fact, nude photographs began to gain popularity in the late 1840s and by the 1920s, France was known for producing nude “French Postcards.” To acknowledge the history of boudoir itself means looking to Paris around the turn of the 20th century!
Why You Should Do a Paris-Themed Boudoir Photoshoot
However, you don’t have to be a history buff to want to capture the spirit of Paris in your boudoir. If you’ve ever been to Paris or you’ve always wanted to go, if you speak French, or if you love French culture, you are a prime candidate for a Paris-themed boudoir photoshoot.
Another good reason for doing a Paris-themed boudoir photoshoot is if you are a fan of boudoir or pinup. Boudoir may have begun in Paris in the late 1800s, but it eventually evolved into American pinup, which became especially popular in the 1940s and ‘50s. If retro or European glamour appeals to you, you will love exploring your inner Parisian in your next boudoir session. With the right styling for your shoot, you will feel that Parisian elegance and you’ll have him saying “oui!”
How to Set the Scene for Paris Boudoir Photography
In order to be discernably Parisian in feel, there are several key elements that you may wish to include for your Paris-inspired backdrop or props. Here are some of the top elements to think about when planning your Paris boudoir photography session:
- French food. We all love a buttery, flaky croissant or an airy baguette, but don’t sleep on the adorable, sweet, bite-sized macarons if you’re looking to channel your inner flirt. French food is renowned across the world and is considered the foundation for many forms of culinary education, and Paris is often looked to as the global epicenter for artistic, culinary, and romantic endeavors. If you love food or your sweetheart loves food, celebrate this by playing with your favorites in front of a camera. (Chocolate fondue…we’re looking at you!)
- French wine. Uncork your inner bubbly personality with a flute of champagne at your session. (Remember, using the appropriate glasses for wine, champagne, port, and cognac helps to drive home the Parisian theme!) If you don’t drink alcohol but love all things France, consider setting the scene a different way—try sipping from a demitasse with a traditional French breakfast in front of you in bed.
- French atmosphere. Paris is known for its iconic apartments complete with large windows and petite balconies. If you can, capture this setting with natural lighting for full effect.
What to Wear for Paris Boudoir Photography
As important as props and ambiance are for setting the tone for your Parisian boudoir photoshoot, your choice of outfit will really solidify the theme. Fortunately for the lingerie and clothing enthusiast, France has a long history of setting trends in the fashion industry and is often considered the watermark for leading styles. Here are some of the top outfits to wear for your Paris-inspired boudoir:
- France-inspired clothing. Of course, you can wear a beret if you really want to emphasize the French theme, but a white shirt with horizontal stripes (a Breton striped shirt) can immediately draw up images of France and is often associated with the timeless, classic look associated with icons like Brigitte Bardot. Especially paired with red lipstick, this look will make for photos that add a distinguished element to your boudoir portfolio.
- French maid ensemble. With a nod back to Victorian times when French maids were considered advisors to their mistresses on clothing, hairstyles, makeup, etc, the French maid costume has relatively recently become eroticized in the public eye. Opting for the classic French maid ensemble can also be a way to explore another persona or aspect of yourself, captured for your continued pleasure on camera.
- French lingerie. With scores of lingerie brands on the market today that have been touched by French stylistic influence, it is easy to find a gorgeous set for your next boudoir shoot—as if you needed an excuse to buy more lingerie! With iconic brands to choose from like Fleur du Mal, Agent Provocateur, Chantal Thomass, and more, you will have an opportunity to cherish your sexy self (and your hot lingerie!) in a Paris-themed boudoir shoot.
Black Lace Boudoir: Professional Boudoir Photography
If you’re looking for a boudoir shoot that says “timeless,” you might be interested in looking at boudoir’s French roots! Whether you’ve spent a significant amount of time in Paris or are simply a fan of all things chic, there are plenty of reasons to dive into a Paris-themed shoot at your next boudoir session. Boudoir itself exists today because of Parisian influence on nude photography, which blossomed into American pinup and touched American culture in an untold myriad of ways. We celebrate that today and every day we get to come play in the boudoir studio!