Why I'm a Christian Boudoir Photographer
by Nashville Boudoir Photographer Caley Newberry
I hope everyone I interact with knows that I'm a Christian. And because I try to be open about my faith and do spend a lot of time with people that share that faith, I can get some weird looks when people find out I'm a boudoir photographer.
They're not always on-purpose weird looks, but don't think I don't notice that odd side eye or neck squish when that sentence leaves my mouth. And that's OK! It sounds weird, the whole photographing mostly-naked women thing. But I do want to take a bit and explain my why — why I spend my days photographing women taking their clothes off, retouching rear ends and the occasional nip slip, and studying poses that flatter the female figure in ways we didn't know were possible.
When I decided these were sessions I wanted to offer, I did a lot of brainstorming on what it would look like to be a boudoir photographer — and try to succeed at it — without ever posting photos online. I established a successful wedding business by letting people see what I was capable of, largely through social media, and that established confidence in hiring me. I believe in the purpose of these sessions (more on that in a bit), but I also felt a strong conviction that these images are only for the woman being photographed and her partner. With that, I realized I could never share the images that I take with the world. Guys, that's hard for a photographer who is not only an over sharer, but especially as someone who is dedicating a significant part of her career to proving to women that they are beautiful and sexual.
I found a tiny little community of other women who share my passion and conviction, and in speaking with one of them on the phone one day, I'll never forget the advice she gave me.
"I strongly encourage you to go through the Scriptures and find the purpose and permission in what you're doing."
This was someone who does this for a living. She believes in it and had done her own processing through the Scriptures, but she encouraged me to do it for myself, to listen to how God spoke to me through His word, not just what He said to her. (Her mantra had been Titus 2:3-5, which is also totally applicable.)
I knew she was right, so I got to work.
But it didn't take long for me to not only say that I honestly, truly, wholeheartedly believe that this is a good thing, but I also believe that boudoir photography can be a totally holy thing within a marriage.
I read through many chapters and verses on love and marriage, but it was a couple of verses in Proverbs 5 that really made me stop and smile.
"May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth. A loving doe, a graceful deer — may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be intoxicated with her love."
That was, exactly, the gift that I wanted to give to couples, young and old, new and established. I wanted to provide a way to encourage them and empower them to rejoice in their marriage, to be intoxicated with their love for each other. And even when that love may feel bland, to be able to throw in some spices and add some incredible flavor to a recipe you thought you knew too well.
It took me a long time to shed my 22 years of modesty when I got married. There was a guilt-filled contrition that I felt for a while over something that should have been a joy. And then I felt guilty for feeling guilty. Clearly, I have guilt issues. I'm working on that.
To me, a boudoir session allowed me to let down the curtain, so to speak, and be comfortable with who I am, the fun of my sexuality, and to celebrate it in our marriage. I wanted to give Jonathan a gift, but it turned out to be one of the best things I could have done for myself, too.
Having said all of that, boudoir images are a perfect gift for a new husband and wife heading towards a honeymoon (you'll learn lots of awesome poses to work with when you step out in that fancy lingerie 😉), but it's also so incredible for a couple who has been married a while. I adore getting the texts and emails and Facebook messages from women who let me know that they felt confident enough to prance by their husbands with no clothes on because of a newfound level of sexuality and joy they've discovered in both themselves and their marriage. I'm personally saving up for a refreshed session myself (don't tell Jonathan). I know he'll love it all over again, and I know it'll help me embrace a 32-year-old body with a few more curves and wrinkles and sun spots and dimples with more grace than I do right now.
I'm always looking to gain more wisdom. Think I have something here wrong? I'd honestly love to hear about it! Curious about a session for yourself? I'd love to talk with you about that too.