Looking for a special and personal gift to give to your partner? Boudoir photoshoots are a luxurious, classy, and intimate wedding gift that benefits both you and your spouse. San Luis Obispo photographer Kelli Avila Boudoir Photography knows how to find a balance of tasteful and unique with her designs and creative eye. I had the pleasure of interviewing her about the world of boudoir and asked her all of the important questions for brides wanting to experience it.
Keep scrolling to read about her work.
Tell us your story! How did you start out and what got you into photography?
"I started 7 years ago. A bride asked me if I would photograph her for her husband's wedding gift. It was something I had always wanted to explore and I'm so glad I said yes! In those early days, I had a newborn so he would be strapped to my body in a moby wrap as I shot in my own bedroom. I think clients loved it because it took the edge off their nerves and everyone loves babies! I didn't have a studio at first so I made my master bedroom into a home studio and from there it took off. No one else in the area was offering that service so I was the girl!"
What are key qualities that make a good boudoir photographer?
"I think being approachable and trustworthy is important. Boudoir is so very intimate, it requires a unique set of skills that can make a person feel safe and confident in minimal to no clothing. From inquiry to image delivery, I want my clients to feel empowered, beautiful and confident in my work."
How has your photography transformed since you first started?
"I think I've refined my style to be classy, soft and "bridal". I definitely still shoot the full spectrum of conservative to super sexy but no matter what, I always deliver images that are lovely and tasteful."
What should people look for when they're searching for a good boudoir photographer?
"I think your boudoir photographer should be established with reviews. You want to hear that people are having great and safe experiences. Yelp and Google reviews are helpful because if a boudoir photographer wasn't' trustworthy or high quality, most likely there will be negative feedback on those platforms. You want them to have a professional space, a portfolio full of work that meets your standards and style preference and really, someone you can spend 90 minutes with in your underwear!"
How do you decide where the photo session is located?
"I typically shoot in my studio, Downtown SLO. I also rent boutique hotels or amazing AirB&B's on occasion for special events. My studio is open Tuesday-Friday and some weekends so there's lots of availability."
What are your favorite parts of what you do?
"My absolute favorite part is at the end when we're done shooting and the client immediately raves about their experience. I love that they already feel beautiful and empowered and they haven't even seen the images! I definitely love to hear the feedback once they receive their gallery, as well. This job is pretty unique and incredible. It's my literal job to make women feel lovely and lovable, beautiful and seen, empowered and confident.... I get to do it through photographs that they can cherish forever. And, maybe most importantly, I get to encourage intimacy and vulnerability in marriage. I'm a huge fan of marriage and I want to see couples thrive. I think one of the ways to do that is through intimacy."
Is there any helpful advice you can give to women debating whether or not they should do a boudoir shoot?
"If the debate is about whether your body is ready, then schedule your session a few months in advance, set some healthy goals to get your body ready and then do the damn thing! If you're simply nervous because it's such an intimate experience, then meet with your photographer and get a feel of who they are and how their space feels. That can really calm your nerves. I've never met anyone, my client or otherwise, who regretted their boudoir session. And neither does their partner ;)"