Not sure what to gift your sweetie on your wedding day? This photographer has a suggestion.

This story first appeared in the Spring/Summer 2020 issue of Columbus Weddings, published December 2019.

Boudoir photography has been regarded as scandalous, empowering, objectifying and subversive, depending on who you ask. But to some brides, it’s a perfect wedding-morning gift for her spouse-to-be.

Of course, even the boldest of brides might balk at the idea of stripping down to her skivvies in front of a photographer. And who can blame her? There’s a lot of vulnerability involved, both physically and emotionally. That’s why we turned to Kristin Gibson of 614 Boudoir, who laid bare the facts—and myths—about boudoir sessions.

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#1: There is no “typical” client.
“All my clients are very different; they range from ages like 24 to 54,” Gibson says. “They could be getting married; they could be post-baby and wanting to get their sexy back; they could be celebrating an anniversary or birthday.” The one thing they have in common? A desire to get in touch with their sensual side, and the willingness to do it in front of a camera.

#2: Your photographer won’t be a total stranger.
This isn’t a book-it-and-show-up kind of photo shoot. You should—and, with 614 Boudoir, absolutely will—have time to get to know your photographer.

“They come in [to the studio], they can get comfortable, have hair and makeup done,” Gibson says. Beauty services are included in the session, and she keeps a bottle of bubbly on hand to help with any jitters. “Usually, we’re having girl talk … getting to know each other. I think that’s really important foundationally, because I want them to feel comfortable with me.”

To that end, she makes herself available for conversation, even to clients who haven’t yet pulled the trigger on booking. “I also have a Facebook VIP group where people can join,” she says. “They don’t have to be on my schedule to join, and then they can ask questions [of other clients], share outfits and links and stuff like that.”

#3: You don’t have to buy expensive clothes.
If you have nice lingerie or a sexy bodysuit, that’s great, Gibson says. But if not, her studio wardrobe is stocked with sizes extra-small to 4XL in a range of styles, as well as a variety of high heels and jewelry pieces. Women who borrow pieces don them over their own nude or black thong, for sanitary reasons; clothes worn, as well as sheets used on the studio bed, are washed after each session in detergent with a Lysol additive.

And if va-va-voom sex appeal isn’t your style? Not a problem.

“Not everybody likes black lace. … It could be a cotton T-shirt with a cotton panty; it could be a tank top; it could be your guy’s shirt,” Gibson says. “It’s everyday, effortlessly sexy.”

#4: Leaked nudes needn’t be a concern.
Gibson has four privacy options for her clients. They range from allowing her to share images publicly as promotional material to only sharing “anonymous” images that don’t show a face or identifying tattoos. The most private option means no one else will ever see your images, aside from Gibson herself. She stores all photos on an external hard drive, so clients don’t have to fear a security breach in the cloud.

#5: Anyone can do it.
“A lot of women think, ‘Am I enough? Am I OK to do this? Am I allowed?’ I get emails, like, ‘I’m plus-size, is that OK?’” Gibson says. “I’m like, ‘Of course it’s OK!’ … I really don’t want someone to feel like they need to be a size smaller. It’s totally not my mission; my mission is, love yourself as you are.”