Confessions of a Boudoir Photographer: What Women Really Want

As Toronto’s #1 boudoir photographer, my studio is always packed and I am booked back to back weeks to months in advance. This means, I interact with a huge number of women every single day. From phone conversations to photographing them, there is so much insight I have gained in to the psychology of different women that I think now is the time to pen down some of them. One day, maybe, I will write a book about it, too! But until then, read on to see my take on what women really want.

(Disclaimer: Names/location/demographics may have been changed to protect the identity of individuals. Portfolio images in this article were all taken at Dream Boudoir Photography but do not necessarily represent the subject of the following stories and observations.)

 

 

APPRECIATION

A mom of four walked in to my studio and we were in the middle of her shoot when she stopped me to give me a big hug to tell me how appreciated she was feeling. In her 25 years of on-going loveless marriage, she was beginning to feel that nothing she did was enough. That she was expected to work, expected to raise kids, expected to be a good wife, daughter, mother — but she wasn’t told playing all these roles how monumental of a task she had undertaken and was fulfilling at least since she was a young 21 year old East Asian bride. She stopped dressing up and trying to look good because she felt no one noticed because she had “lost it.”

It was only after her kids were grown and she started taking out more time for herself and doing the things she loved that she felt that it wasn’t her but the situation and the people she was constantly surrounded by. She decided to leave her long-term job and started a new career where she instantly became successful because she was no longer in the company of people who had little to no passion outside of work. She convinced her husband to downsize and moved to a more hip and busy location so she could keep herself occupied. Although the marriage still stayed in place because she wasn’t looking for a new romantic adventure, when she received appreciation from her larger circle and from myself and my crew in the studio, she knew she was ready to accept the goodness and the greatness others were seeing in her and started to believe in the power of who she was as a direct result of being appreciated for being her best and doing her best.

 

ACCEPTANCE

Among reassuring women of all sizes — from smallest to fullest, there is so much more women feel they can’t share because they will be judged. Because of my line of work, I am often contracted by women in adult industry to photograph them for their online presence. My style of work is classy, sensual, and timelessly beautiful so this fits in perfectly with the kind of clientele they want to attract. My boudoir studios in Toronto and Vancouver are judgement-free zones so they always feel warm, welcome, and comfortable during their shoots.

There was also this time when this woman came to celebrate her new corporate job and being back to work after having her first baby at 36. She was very forthcoming telling me how she is in an open relationship in her marriage and has an adventurous sex life which keeps her fulfilled so she can devote her essence to her family and those who matter the most. We proceeded to take a collection of several different images that were catered to the taste of different partners in her life so she can share it with them. Needless to say, it was a great collection of images we created that day!

 

SECURITY

This one time I was speaking to a courageous woman on the phone about the reason she wanted to book a session with me — she broke down telling me how she was in love with a man overseas and when she visited him, she was subjected to serious sexual assault. At the time she was in shock and pain but upon her return to Canada, she started writing about her experience and uplifting other women.

We have seen all about the #MeToo movement where women are now feeling empowered enough to speak against the culture of violence we have been subjected to. Women want to feel free and secure from emotional, physical, sexual, and passive forms of violence. This need to feel secure and safe is one of the biggest reasons why I have a female-only staff because this encourages the women who come to me to feel empowered as opposed to keep anticipating the worst and constantly looking over our shoulders.

 

CHANGE

Doctors and nurses in scrubs, police officers and flight attendants i uniforms, mothers stuck in a rut, corporate leaders constantly in and out of high stake meetings with pristine appearances, women in their late 50s looking to do something more than RRSP management — you name it. I have seen it all. The one thing all of these women have in common is that they are looking for a change: The ones who get no time or reason to glam up want me to turn them from natural beauties to knockout bombshells. The ones who need to present themselves in high heels and tailored suits want to throw on a sexy-T and booty shorts and have me take beautiful photos of them being the causally slaying queens that they are. Moms who are consumed by the plethora of responsibilities just want to take a day out for themselves to recharge and remind themselves that they are more than just mothers. Police officers putting their lives on the line and dealing with tough nuts want to put on those high heels and show that they know more than one way to kill ;).

toronto boudoir vancouver photography angel wings beautiful victoria's secret pinup
A nice change is good and healthy. When they see their beautiful boudoir and portrait images in my Toronto studio or Vancouver location, they sometimes cannot believe that they’re looking at the same woman they stare at every morning.

 

FRIENDSHIP & ADVENTURE

When I first opened registration for Dream Boudoir’s glamour photoshoot and vacation trip to Santorini, Greece, the fact that half the slots were sold out within the first half hour confirmed for me how important it is to have female kinship and friendships. Some of these women are my past clients who trusted me with their vision and have become my good friends since! I can see similar patterns when someone posts about their life experiences in my VIP facebook group for women — these women come together to see how they resonate with each other and start up conversations, sometimes as intimate as sexual habits(!) as if they have known each other forever.
While I other can’t stand the hippie connotation of the word “tribe,” these women definitely are looking for one and have found something simple as the love for beautiful portraits bringing them together. Be it going to our glam trip to Santorini or commissioning a boudoir glam party with all their girlfriends — so many ways to feel the power of a feminine collective!

FREEDOM

Freedom to change our minds. Freedom to live our lives as we please. Freedom to wear what we want and be who we want to be. Freedom to think for ourselves. Freedom to live for ourselves. Freedom to explore our dreams. Freedom to catch a break.
Freedom to be true to ourselves.
This may sound cliché, but in my career, I have at least twice photographed women who were married off as child brides, at the age of 15 and 16, respectively. At 46, one of them had a 25 year old daughter. She never got the chance to explore who she was when she became a mother and had a tough life. Only now she is beginning to take life in her own hands and become the woman she always dreamed of being.

Toronto Boudoir Photography by Dream Boudoir Vancouver | Female Photographer Alishba | Mature, sexy, glamour, beautiful, elegant, Boudoir, escort, women,

This feeling of liberation is something women fiercely want in my personal experience and I know this is true for all women.

 

TRUST

I recently did a shoot where the entire theme was leather and latex wardrobe. No laces, no frills, no two-piece sets — strictly rocker chic session. I did another shoot where the theme was vintage retro pinup: Pin curls, coke bottles, polka dot dresses, the works. And then there are those who leave it all up to me to guide them through the motions and show them everything I can do and then they choose what calls out their name. This entire group wants their word and their wishes to be trusted. Not someone telling them what they should want but LISTEN to them and help bring THEIR vision to life.

Again, only recently we have started creating a culture in the world where a woman’s voice matters. But at my boudoir photography studio, this has always been the case and this is what I became convinced of as the right thing to do throughout the years.

Recent from the studio

All images are used with the permission of our beautiful clients. We are committed to protecting your privacy.

 

Tell me what's your Dream Photoshoot?

Toronto boudoir photographer photography alishba female fishnet pearls inspiration lingerie makeup glamour

17 Thoughts All Women Have When Going Lingerie Shopping

1. “Time to Pull Off an Adriana Lima! Wait. Where Do I Begin?”

You walk into the store and your sprits are high in excitement for your boudoir shoot. And no idea where to begin? No worries! Our helpful Lingerie Guide, which comes complimentary with all bookings along with 2 other e-books, will be your best friend, helping you find the best look!

2. “Can I Rock This Without the Wings?”

You can. But you don’t have to!

I took this image on the right during an outdoor boudoir session and have had so many women since request these wings! I actually went ahead to to special order these and I now have real Ostrich feather, Victoria’s Secret runway angel wings available for special Toronto boudoir sessions in the studio! Interested? Drop me a line and I can fill you up with the details!

 

3. “Do Women Really Wear This Kinda Stuff?” 

In the privacy of an all-female professional boudoir photography studio, which makes you feel like home, you’ll end up surprising yourself for what you can dare to wear 😉

The idea is to keep it classy and beautiful at all time. That’s my job. Your job is to bring that one piece you so badly want but feel almost embarrassed to even show it to anyone, let alone be photographed in it. Challenge yourself. Or you will regret not at least trying it out!

 

4. “Sold a Kidney to Get This Set, I Better Look Like a Supermodel!”

You WILL look like a supermodelThat’s my job 😉

Also, you don’t have to sell a kidney. I have special coupon codes and recommendations for you to get beautiful custom lingerie that’s locally produced and designed. Let’s talk and I will help ya out!

 

5. “Is This Supposed to be This Uncomfortable?”

A little bit of pain, and you get lots of sexy in gain! But it doesn’t always need to be this bad. Check out these ideas for a kick-ass beautiful boudoir session. During your Production Design Meeting, we will have lots of time to think outside the box 😉 Hit me up?

6. “Who Am I Kidding? Let’s Just Stick to the Period Panties”

Maybe it’s time for a change. Maybe you are long overdue to treat yourself and get out of those cotton staples.

And, girl, we have seen it all at the studio. And our all-female environment is stocked with supplies too!

7. “Babydolls? Garter? Sexy Satin? I NEED to Have ALL of This!”

There is NO wardrobe change limit to your session. NONE!

So go ahead and bring that suitcase and the garment bag and everything else and we will help you carry it all into the studio!

 

8. Quadruple Boob Syndrome

Oh, I know this one too well! Pushup doing weird things that puppies keep overspilling!

During your boudoir session, we will do a proper lingerie consult and along with my years of experience in beauty posing and retouching, we will make sure you look absolutely as perfect as you truly are!

9: “I Figured Out Where All the Straps Go!”

Rest assured, you will also look as sassy as you see yourself in the fitting room mirror!

 

10. Is There a Tutorial I Can Find for This?

Pffft.

We’re experts at dressing you up (and down!) for the perfect boudoir look you can ever have! Just order that fishnet one piece you’ve been eyeing online and we will help you get in it! AND kill it!

11. “Hold On. How Do I Get Out Of This Now?”

Get that corset, girl! And we will help you lace it up for the shoot and loosen it up after, too!

12. “Ohhhhh no! Please Don’t Tear! I Will Give Up Coffee for a Whole Week! PleaseeeeDon’tTear!”

Toronto boudoir photographer photography alishba female fishnet pearls inspiration lingerie makeup glamour

We know all the tricks in the bag and will help you save the best of it all for a that romantic dinner date 😉

13. “SALE TIME! There goes my rent money…”

Grab your girlfriend and go to splurgetown with lingerie shopping! Better yet, bring her in, too, and make your boudoir session a double session!

Ever heard of a better Girls’ Day Out idea?!

14. “Um… What Exactly is This Supposed to ‘Cover?'”

For your boudoir session, go a little risqué. A little out of your comfort zone. And we’ll transform your beautiful form into a complete work of art!

15. “Street-corner Fishnet? Or High-End Stockings?

Why not both? A little experimentation hurt no one 😉

 

16. Oooh, Yeah! That’s the One!

Your dream lingerie can be anything! From that vintage beauty your grandma gave your mom or that gorgeous new Fenty line.

 

17. “Watch Out, Miranda Kerr!”

LET’S SHOOT, GIRLFRIEND!

 

Now It’s Time to (privately) Photograph That Look!

That lingerie splurge gave you super powers. And I’m now here to capture that essential beauty that you are!

Let’s get down to Booking Your Session so you have something to look back to and celebrate anytime you ever doubt yourself!

 

SOME OF MY RECENT WORK

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Finest Handmade Lingerie in Toronto

Off the rack doesn’t work for your rack?

THEN IT’S TIME TO SPLURGE ON FINE LINGERIE MADE IN TORONTO!

Recently I’ve become a collector of fine lingerie. The reason? After having the baby, there were not only physical changes in my body but also personality changes. For example, I’d rather dish out a few extra bucks to get a comfortable and a PERFECT FIT set of undergarments than the same amount of money on 5 cheaper off-the-rack versions that never feel worth the spent. Honestly, Victoria’s Secret, LaSenza, La Vie en Rose etc have become a huge hit or miss for me.

So I went on a hunt in the city and I’m happy to report that I found not one but a few FABULOUS women who have specialized stores and studios in Toronto to create lingerie that looks and fits the absolute best I have ever seen.

I’m listing these amazing custom lingerie found and produced in Toronto for your ease <3

 

Women pour their hearts out to me when they call me to talk about why they want to do this shoot. Let me share some of those stories with you.

*With Love Lingerie*

Handmade toronto lingerie carrie with love dream boudoir toronto photography

Carrie, the owner and designer of With Love Lingerie is one of the sweetest people you’ll ever meet. Her collections reminds me of the grandeur of a Gatsby party. What’s more? For a limited time, all Dream Boudoir Toronto ladies will get a 50% off coupon with booking for anything purchased off her website. THAT’S RIGHT, GIRL! Half-off your entire order of this custom-made lingerie brand straight out of Hamilton!

HOW COOL IS THAT!

 

*Bettie Fatal*

This brand of Toronto’s finest handmade custom lingerie is romantic and deadly in nature. I LOVE how the owner and designer of Bettie Fatal, the lovely Avery Barsony, quotes the words of McQueen, “I want people to be afraid of the women I dress.” A girl after my own heart. Love her collections. Check out her Instagram by the same name for her always limited-edition new designs.

 

*Ohhh Lulu*

In the world of custom lingerie experts in Toronto/GTA, Sarah Norwood is a very well-known name. She also sells sewing patterns if you’re a DIY kinda girl and she also takes custom orders for fine lingerie in Toronto and beyond. Check it out and let me know what you love from her line for your next shoot!

 

*Gigi’s House of Frills*

gigi's house of frills vintage lingerie toronto

Julia, who also goes by Gigi, is the sweetest vintage doll herself and the owner of this cute store right off Ossington station. If you are looking for beautiful vintage lingerie in Toronto or vintage-inspired, this store the place to go. She also stocks some beautiful ready-to-wear items from some of the local designers I have already talked about above. If you go to my instagram (@TorontoBoudoirPhotography) you will be able to see a tour of her store I have put up on my IGTV.

Beyond Lingerie: Custom Corsets

corset toronto lingerie starkers custom fine mississauga GTA

In addition to your “standard” lingerie sets, corsets are a BRILLIANT idea for a beautiful and elaborate boudoir photography theme. I recently did a shoot with Dianna and will be posting the pictures soon. Her corsets scream luxury and ornate art and are meant to last a very long time. Take a look at this style of custom made fine lingerie in Toronto and set up and appointment with her for a fitting of your dream corset. Then come to me and we will photograph the best boudoir photography session in Toronto anyone would’ve ever seen!

 

Beyond Toronto: Montréal

Ellesmere Lingerie has my heart! Although they are not based in Toronto, Montréal is not at all that far. You can order online and bring these beauties over for your very own, fully customized boudoir photoshoot experience. Yes, you can have it all!

 

AND GUESS WHAT?

Shopping at With Love Lingerie, Bettie Fatal, or Gigi’s House of Frills makes you eligible for a store credit at my studio for your prints! Curious how that works? Let’s talk and I will explain 🙂

SOME OF MY RECENT WORK

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