Have you ever thought about booking a boudoir shoot but felt a little overwhelmed? Or not known where to start?
We're delighted to introduce you to the wonderful Tigz Rice. We first connected with Tigz almost a year ago because we were so drawn to her empowering signature style which brings elements of vintage glamour and theatrical grandeur to the world of boudoir photography. Her images are equal parts gorgeous and empowering and we love everything about them!
Tigz has written an amazing guest blog for us today in which she answers all of your questions about what to expect when you book your boudoir shoot.
Without further ado, we'll let Tigz introduce herself!
"Hello, gorgeous! I'm Tigz Rice: Hertfordshire based boudoir photographer, lingerie addict and one of the biggest girl geeks you’ll ever meet. My career started in 2009 in the dazzling, extraordinary world of burlesque. A community where all bodies are celebrated for their strength and beauty, regardless of gender, shape, size and ethnicity. Becoming a member of the burlesque community showed me more than ever that beauty thrives in confidence, and since then I've been using my skills as a kick-ass photographer to help fearless women, femmes and non-binary badasses feel empowered, confident and unapologetically present in both their personal and professional adventures.
I'm so excited to be guest blogging on the Valiant Lingerie blog today, answering all of your burning boudoir questions and hopefully breaking down any barriers that are currently preventing you from booking your own shoot...
“I’ve never heard of boudoir photography! What is it?”
Boudoir photography is the art of celebrating your incredible body, creating sophisticated, timeless and beautiful images that honour your lived experience, preserving those memories for years to come. Everyone has a different reason for wanting to be photographed; whether you want to mark a life milestone, document a journey, reward a personal achievement or simply celebrate your fabulous self in all your glory, the goal is to make you feel empowered, confident, strong and sexy as hell.
“How can I find a photographer I feel comfortable with?”
The absolute best thing I can recommend here is to do a little online research...
- Do you see your body represented in their portfolio?
- Do you connect with their shooting style?
- How do you feel about their editing - do you love a highly airbrushed finish, or do you prefer the more natural look?
- Would you feel comfortable (emotionally) recreating the poses you see in their images?
- Do you resonate with their content and captions?
- How do they interact with comments left on their images?
- What are their clients saying about their boudoir experience?
If you respond positively to each of these points, reach out and connect with this photographer - you could always ask for a 1-2-1 call if you're still not 100% sure.
“Can I arrange to have a boudoir shoot at home or does it have to be in a studio?”
A boudoir shoot can take place in a location of your choosing - just check whether your boudoir photographer of choice offers a location service. Some clients opt to shoot in their home, others choose a fancy hotel and plan a full night out on the town afterwards with their hair and make up done looking super fancy. The choice is completely up to you!
“I normally feel really awkward in front of the camera.” / “I’m camera shy!” / “I’d be really nervous!! Is that normal?!”
That's COMPLETELY normal - and that's what I'm here for! You know that feeling you get when you’re all dressed up and polished to perfection for a night out? Well, add in an hour of me telling you how amazing and fabulous you are, and your self-confidence will skyrocket. Here's a little quote from Mona, who came to one of my shoot days in Gothenburg...
'I got very self conscious at first, being in front of [other] ladies in my underwear, but Tigz has wizard skills in making you relax and feel good about yourself. We did all kinds of [poses], in both lingerie and the dress and shot for about and hour. It was SO MUCH FUN!'
“What should I wear for a boudoir shoot?” / “How many lingerie sets should I bring?”
This is one of the most common questions I get asked – which isn’t too surprising as for many of us a boudoir shoot goes beyond the realms of our day to day wardrobe. The honest answer is you can dare to bare as much or as little as you feel comfortable with. Whether you’re rocking a floor-length vintage ballgown, your birthday suit, your favourite Valiant Lingerie set or anything in-between, you're going to look fabulous! I recommend bring two or three options with you on the day, just in case you're not feeling one of the looks in the moment.
“What else should I bring to my shoot?”
On top of the looks mentioned above, make sure to bring a pair of killer heels (or two), a comfy robe and some dazzling costume jewellery - which are all regular staples on a boudoir shoot - plus any sentimental props you might want to hold or place around you on the day. You can also find an entire packing checklist in my free Prepare for Your Boudoir Shoot PDF guide that you can find on the home page of my website.
“Should I get my hair and make-up done?”
There's nothing better than a full pamper session in my opinion, which is why all of my boudoir shoots (except the virtual ones) include professional hair and make up as standard. My resident stylists all have cruelty free (vegan where possible) styling kits and can work to your skin's individual care needs, as well as discussing any allergies you may have. That said, some clients prefer to visit their own tried and trusted stylists beforehand, or you might feel confident doing your own. Whichever option is right for you, make sure you give yourself a good pamper session before your moment in the spotlight. You deserve to feel amazing.
“I don’t think I’d know how to pose… should I practice before the shoot?”
A little body awareness does help, but is 100% non-essential for you to spend time perfecting your poses before a shoot. We’ll use a selection of my favourite boudoir poses as inspiration, though I’m always secretly working with your natural body movements and nuances in between poses to make the shoot unique to you. There’s something so powerful in body language that when you do something naturally that looks incredible, I’ll say ‘don't move!’ and we’ll shoot it! It will be the most fun mannequin challenge ever!
“I feel really self conscious about my scars”
I always like to think of scars as our body stories - they document our journey and how we ended up in this moment. Scars are perfect imperfections that make us unique individuals. If you need a little help connecting with your beautiful new reflection, I'm here to help guide that journey. Whether that involves proudly displaying your scars, or gently acknowledging their presence, we can work up to your comfort levels, wherever they may be.
“Could I bring someone for emotional support?”
Of course, you are very welcome to bring a personal cheerleader with you. For shoots with me, personal cheerleaders must be over 18 and we request that they are not someone you are romantically involved with to keep the energy in the room 100% focused on you. The only time we cannot accommodate chaperones is on makeover days, because there would be too many humans in the room!
“I’m worried I should lose weight before the shoot”
You absolutely do not need to lose/gain weight, tone up or drop a clothes size to take part in a boudoir shoot. You aren’t defined by any number; be that on the scales, in the labels of your clothes or how many years you’ve been in the world. You are perfect, right now, in this very moment. Life is too short to wait for perfection. You deserve good things right now.
“I don’t have a ‘model’ figure / I'm a curvy girl - is a boudoir shoot for me?”
Hell yes! Peachy butts, killer thighs, ample cleavage, soft tummies... I'm here for it all. I’ve photographed clients of all shapes and sizes and they all have felt fearless and incredibly beautiful, both in front of the camera as well as in their images after.
“I’ve just turned 60… am I too old for a boudoir shoot?”
You are NEVER too old for a boudoir shoot. I regularly photograph clients who are rocking their 50s and 60s - like Pupin De Vert, who said...
'It was an amazing experience which has allowed me to feel more and more comfortable in front of a camera. Seeing my 56 year old self portrayed like this reminds me that it’s important to see images of older women. Ageing is a privilege which not everyone gets to experience, but it can be a challenge…the ‘women police’ are out in force and like to tell you what is and isn’t ‘appropriate’, and you can feel disempowered, de-sexualised, invisible or judged – Burlesque, modelling and proudly wearing my grey hair have all help me to feel that there is no ‘right’ way to get older. I have learnt that for me, that this means you never stop learning, experiencing and pushing yourself to do new things.'
Currently, my oldest client (who has volunteered their age to me) is 67 and she was absolutely fabulous. Want to help me beat that?!
“Should I get a spray tan? It makes me feel more confident!”
Some photographers will allow spray tans, but I personally have a strict 'no spray tan' policy on all of my shoots because of the risk of staining soft furnishings. Even if you're the best exfoliator in the world and seek out the most experienced beautician, there's no guarantee you won't have streaks, creases, patches, darker areas of dry skin and/or orange/green (yes, green) tanning pigments picked up by the camera. Instead, I'd suggest treating yourself some shimmer body lotion to give your skin that dewy, sun-kissed glow and offer a touch of contouring.
“I suffer from fatigue so I’m worried about how long a session might take”
It is my mission to make boudoir shoots as inclusive and accessible an experience as possible. The shoot itself can be quite a physical process – pin up poses require some core strength – but I always aim to shoot within your comfort and energy levels and can offer suggestions for poses that require less spoons. Hair and make up is 90 minutes, followed by a 60-90 minute shoot depending on the session booked - which includes downtime to stretch or take a moment to yourself. Alternatively, if you know you want to recreate a specific set of poses, we can aim for those first and utilise any additional time after as your energy levels allow. If you have any condition/s that you think may impact your shoot experience, please mention at time of booking so I can do everything in my power to make your shoot a positive experience.
“Will the photos be edited? I’m very conscious of some stretch-marks" / “Will you edit out my scars?”
I want you to look like the very best version of you, so I aim to get as much right as possible in camera through epic lighting and then edit out temporary spots and blemishes, as well as any skin indentations from clothing. I will only retouch out scars and stretch marks if you specifically ask me to - and if you do want a little more retouching, my industry accreditations make me your go to woman for high end, realistic retouching. Just tell me your editing requirements before your shoot and we can work towards those.
“Who will see the photos? Will they be on social media?”
You can dare to bare as much or as little as you like in the knowledge that you are in complete control of your images. I always ask for written permission from you before any photos are published, however if you’d prefer to keep them for your eyes only, they can be our little secret!"
Thank you so much, Tigz, for answering all our questions.
Tigz is also offering Valiant Lingerie readers exclusive access to three Virtual Boudoir Shoot Days, where you can book a Virtual Boudoir Shoot with Tigz for £145 (usually £195). The dates are April 15 2021, May 13th 2021 and June 10th 2021, simply email Tigz and quote VALIANTLINGERIE to book.
We have another fabulous guest blogger for you today.
Sarah was 31, with a six-week old daughter, when she was diagnosed with malignant melanoma. Over the last four years she has had countless scans, multiple surgeries, radiotherapy and immunotherapy... Oh and a divorce. Sarah says that it was when things felt darkest, just prior to being confirmed stage 4, that she realised she needed help. She explains that, with the help of coaching, she had a fundamental shift in her perspective which allowed her to feel better than ever before.
Sarah says that she began to understand that she wasn't defined by her situation: "I finally felt positive and connected to my body and able to love life again; a gift I now work to share with others. Not to help physically but to have a less stress experience of cancer. I am also working to change the way we talk about cancer moving away from language that infers personal responsibility; its not a fight to be won or lost. It's a shitty process, that more often than not feels like a roller coaster with no end in sight."
Sarah has written a wonderful blog for us today on the subject of body image and trust. Take it away, Sarah!
"What do we think of our bodies and does it even matter?
Once upon a time and not that long ago I had a real rant about the toxic positivity messages around body image. I felt like the rhetoric was to force positivity onto how we feel about ourselves regardless of what we think.
Now I am going to be very honest. I have never struggled with my weight; neither have I ever cared particularly who sees my body. I was blessed to feel powerful with my pregnancy thighs rather than ashamed. In some ways I feel I am not qualified to write about this; being a ‘skinny bitch’, but then maybe I am…
From gawky teenager into adult hood, I have mostly ignored my body. Occasionally, or rather frequently if I am honest, used it to gain attention or approval, especially from older men. Using it to get things done. Please people.
However, my whole life I have struggled with my skin, and this is before it tried to kill me!
I have the sort of skin that is so white that I sometimes look blue, but not that smooth alabaster type of white skin, oh no, I have freckles moles and scars (even before cancer) and dark hairs that are still visible after shaving. It’s also so sensitive that certain cosmetics give me rashes and spots. My mum even had to bin any soaps I was given as a kid.
Then it tried to kill me. A rogue mole grew and itched, I had it cut out, but it snuck into my bloodstream and made multiple homes around my body. At first these were cut out and then I undertook a systemic drug treatment to help my body fight the cancer. Immunotherapy is amazing, it doesn’t kill the cancer cells for you like chemo or radio, it confuses your body into attacking them itself. I found this fascinating. I, by which I mean my immune system, had always had the power to destroy the tumours and heal, it just needed that kick in the butt.
Beforehand I felt indifferent and a little critical of my body, then in the space of two years, I had my first child and three surgeries, one in particular leaving a very ugly scar down my arm. As a result, you’d think my opinion of my body would be lower, but no, I am able to revel in my body in a way I had never before felt possible, I could not care less what my skin looks or feels like, because it’s mine. And I want to tell the story of how this happened.
I had just been discharged from hospital having been given a walloping dose of steroids for side effects. I was covered from head to toe in a rash that was itching like dozens of mosquito bites, it started out red then developed deeper purple patches below the redness.
Standing in the shower staring down and my thighs and feet I gave way to the fear that had been slowly building in me; that my skin might not heal, and I’d always be blotchy.
As I looked down, I wanted nothing more than to see the skin I had always loathed. In that moment in the absence of it, I got to see the truth about my skin. That it was beautiful in its own right. I saw all the joy and closeness to my mum I had felt as a child from our shared skin type. I saw all times it had healed and repaired itself. I felt every hateful thought I had ever had about my skin well in my eyes. And as I cried, I saw how beautiful it still was, all red and sore but whole. Whole and healing.
I saw that my body is mine. It’s filled with my memories, my joys and pains, my desires and criticisms. But it is mine. And it’s the only one I have. Or am every going to have. So I loved it. Tumours and all.
But rest reassured I am never going to ever tell anyone else to love their body, because I know how that sounds.
What I want you to know is that love is a thing that comes in spite of judgment, or with it or because of it. Love is just there underneath whatever you think about yourself, its resounding and quiet, completely invisible but you may catch a glimpse.
So, this is my advice; trust that. Trust the love that rattles around inside your body no matter how it feels. Trust that the love you see pouring out of others, pours out of you too. And think a little less about everything else."
Today's guest blogger is wonderful Norrell who is a 34 year-old professional musical theatre actress currently living in Chicago, Illinois in the United States with her fiancé Joe and their cat, Chairman Meow. [Is this not the best cat name ever?!]
Norrell says that her biggest passions are singing, meditation, dancing, and snacking on hearts of palm.
Norrell was diagnosed with Stage 1 invasive ductal carcinoma in 2016 at the age of 30 and she is now a passionate advocate for early detection -as she says, #dontwaitinvestigate.
You can find Norrell on Instagram @norelimoo.
Here's Norrell's story:
"Whoa. It's four years this November since my diagnosis... isn't it funny how much we hang on to numbers? These milestone markers. A pause and a breath in remembrance. I was 30 when I learned I had invasive ductal carcinoma. Breast cancer. Stage 1. For me, this was both frightening and yet, powerful news. Let me explain.
I have a cousin who had Stage 3 breast cancer and she was diagnosed at the young age of 28. It scared the SHIT out of me, honestly; me being 23 years old at the time. She came out on the other side! I admired her power and motivated spirit to fight what too many women must fight in this world. My main take away? CHECK. YOUR. SELF. Fast-forward seven years later to 2016 and something just... isn't right. There's no pain, but there's definitely a lump. Hmmmmmm.
I am a fairly optimistic and balanced person, or at least I like to believe I am; to constantly keep going with whatever the flow may throw. I am a Pisces, after all. I didn't want to make a big deal out of this if there wasn't any need, so I just “kept an eye on it” for two months before I even mentioned it to my fiancé, Joe.
Sooo this lump, huh? Still here? Cool cool cool. Mind you, I was an uninsured actor/musical theatre performer (like so many in my field) and had many gigs that year. I was also working two restaurant jobs, performing in a musical, and singing in a couple of bands. I've always had the tendency to run myself until empty. I also had my very first car accident that year... something was UP and I could FEEL it.
That August, we lost our dear neighbor to gallbladder cancer. 42 years old . He left behind his two little girls and loving wife. It made me ponder my own situation. I had no healthcare and the costs were already starting to pile up in my head if, in fact, the unknown was to be confirmed. The not knowing was eating me alive. “Knowledge is POWER”, I thought. With more knowledge, I get to keep the control and do what is absolutely necessary for me to stay alive.
Little by little I went through the routine tests (breast exam, mammogram, and biopsy) to learn of my diagnosis in November of 2016. *Deep inhale, deep exhale.* What a year! But, let me tell you about my ride-or-die partner, Joe. He made phone calls for four days to get me insured by January 2017. He set appointment dates for me when I just didn't have the energy to makes those calls myself. He took point. Something he has always done, but this level of love was something I never could dream I would find in a partner. He's a spectacular human and loves me to no end. Talk about lucky.
I was overwhelmed by the amount of support, both emotional and monetary, that poured out from family and friends in my home state of Pennsylvania as well as my theatre fam in Denver, CO. A GoFundMe was started by my now sister-in-law and The Denver Actors Fund had raised over $4,000 to help with medical bills. Having so many people in my corner made my fight less scary.
Once 2017 hit, it was ON and I was in attack mode. The ninth of January, I went in for my first ever MRI. When the test results came back they had determined that another lump had been growing. I now have two tumors growing inside of me. I was shocked, but not shaken. We still had work to do and I had a laser focus on the situation.
Genetic testing followed and we learned even more... my cancer was not hereditary. A “gene of insignificant variance” my doctors called it. The doctors recommended a good-old-fashioned lumpectomy: remove the tumors, salvage the nipple, deal with a deformed “breasticle”. I was not convinced... I needed to do more research and I needed to talk to more women.
That was the key. I talked to mothers, daughters, friends, breast cancer survivors and I asked “What would you do in my position? What do you wish you had done differently?”.
I remember speaking with an Aunt about my grandmother's breast cancer journey. She got her diagnosis towards the end of her life and opted for the lumpectomy, but the cancer returned. I didn't want to hear the word cancer again. I wanted to be FINISHED with this life-altering event. I started to pivot my decision towards a bilateral mastectomy. My man put it very simply. “Your breasts are trying to kill you.” He was absolutely right.
We continued our discussions with my doctors and one month later from the date of my MRI, I went in for my surgery to remove everything; nipple and all with reconstruction surgery on the horizon. Pathology reports came back and we learned that a THIRD mass was beginning to grow. Boy, did I feel good about my decision to cut it all out. Something we were not ready to hear from my oncologist was radiation and chemotherapy. I was pissed.
I didn't understand how I could only be Stage 1, had the mastectomy, and still have to go through nearly 14 rounds of chemo treatment. After more tests were completed on my tumors and finding the most amazing oncology team at Rocky Mountain Cancer Center, we were told I would only have to do 4 rounds of chemo and no radiation. What a relief!
My body handled chemotherapy well with little side effects. Queasy at times, hot flashes, and the loss of my upper singing register for a spell. I had been previously cast in another musical and went into rehearsal three weeks after my initial surgery. I needed theatre to get me through this real-life drama I was living and I was so grateful for that opportunity.
And of course, the hair loss. Honestly, I felt like a badass for the majority of the time. I learned how to wrap luxurious headscarves around my perfectly round dome or just rock the bald. There were stares and it got me down at times, but I kept smiling and shining my light! Once chemo was complete, I got a new pair of boobs! Chemotherapy had been the only thing on my brain that I had almost forgotten about my implant surgery. I had been at this for 6 months and I was exhausted by July. That recovery was definitely the hardest thing of all. Life after cancer now consists of a ten-year regimen of Tamoxifen, routine check-ups, and checking for lumps STILL.
I did something just for me a couple years post-op, too, that is my most spiritual life event to date. Back when I decided to remove my nipple the thought of a tattoo came to mind. I didn't want a nipple tattoo, though. I wanted something fun; just plain badass. Scars are beautiful and I was ok with mine... I just needed a different way to honor what I had gone through. I searched the web for mastectomy tattoos. I wanted to do something either simple and elegant or humorous. The idea I was able to brew up with my close friend and tattoo artist, George Munoz, was both.
The idea that made me smile and laugh the most was when I recalled the first Austin Powers movie. I always enjoyed the scene where the fembots came out to the tune of “These Boots Are Made For Walkin'”.. all blonde. All in silver lame. No one could resist their charm! And then all of sudden, a gun barrel shoots out from the bra and starts firing at their target. BAD. ASS. My tat is a combo of the gun barrels (smoke still rising from one), peonies, and a mandala formed by intricate dot work.
The reason this day was so spectacular is that I was able to get this 11 hour tattoo in front of thousands at a tattoo convention. Not only was it special for me, but it was also the very first mastectomy tattoo that my good friend, George, was creating. Both of our significant others were there to support and witness. It was magical. I was able to talk with complete strangers and a lot of women about my journey. In turn, they were sharing their story with me. Tattoos mean so much to individuals because more times than not, there's a meaningful story behind it. By sharing my experience in public, I was able to give other breast cancer survivors the confidence and nudge to get their own “badge of honor”.
It's amazing what news like cancer can do to really shift your perspective. Our time on this Earth is never promised. This quite daunting news was in reality a life course in how important slowing down and taking pause to listen to your body can be. It made me reevaluate the ways in which I show up for others, and more importantly, myself, every day. It really was an experience of reacting and turning inward like never before.
I had some rad chemo conversations with myself! I found clarity in my meditation practice. I danced by myself A LOT like I did when I was a kid; making up dances in the dining room. Cancer cracked me open in ways that I can't explain. To anyone who may take a similar journey, my hope for you is that you take this shitty news and turn it into the biggest torch; the brightest light that has always lied within you."
Thank you so much for sharing with us today, Norrell. We feel so honoured to share your story.