Updated: Mar 1
It all started when Moira Rose from the TV Series Schitt's Creek said 'Take a thousand naked pictures of yourself now. You may currently think, "Oh, I'm too spooky.", or, "Nobody wants to see these tiny boobies." But believe me, one day you will look at those photos, with much kinder eyes and say, "Dear God, I was a beautiful thing!'
Moira Rose was radiating some big vanillacooldance energy and from that moment on I decided I wanted to have some nudes of my own.
And because I know so many of you are interested in doing the same, I'm going to take you on my photoshoot planning journey filled with the whole scoop and some spicy tips.
First thing's first, I found a photographer.
To me, the most important thing was finding a photographer whose work I admired and whose aesthetic fit my vision. Luckily, I already had one in mind: Julien Sunye (who I, in true vanillacooldance fashion, had gone out on a date with a few years prior ;) ).
What drew me to his work was the connection he creates between his subjects and the environment they are in. Also his use of light and the feminine essence he captures. AND as it turned out, Julien was available for the shoot and now living in Paris. So I thought, what the hell and decided to make a solo weekend trip out of it.
Tips to find a photographer:
Decide on what aesthetic you are looking for. Is it more boudoir? Is it flash photography or natural lighting? Do you want it to be more abstract and artistic? And then look for a photographer that fits that vision.
On the flip side, you can also get inspired by photographers first with a quick hashtag search on IG, a pinterest dive, checking out online portfolios, and asking for recommendations from friends who may have done one in the past. P.S. If you are worried about costs, sometimes photographers are still building out their portfolio and looking for models.
Next up... lock a location.
I wanted the location to feel totally me and radiating with #VCDEnergy. So when a friend showed me the below carpet from Hotel Amour in Paris, 'say no more' was my immediate response. It was slightly kitch with a funky hint of overt sexuality and it was EXACTLY what I was looking for.
Tips for finding a location
Ask your photographer if they have ideas. They may also have a studio they normally shoot in. Decide if you want an inside or outside photoshoot. Each one will have a different feel. Given we were shooting in winter, I opted for inside, but a photoshoot in the dunes, forest or even a more industrial exterior would be really beautiful (and free!) .
Score some lingerie you feel confident in! But also...it's not needed.
Little did I know at the time, but the photoshoot actually ended up starting in the buff to avoid any clothing marks. And 99.9% of my photos were without lingerie, but hey, going into it I was happy to have a nice new set of lingerie to give me a confidence boost. I brought a few different pieces and a black lace robe with me to play around with but it is completely up to you what you want to bring on the shoot. And definitely ask your photographer because they may have suggestions as well.
Consider hiring a makeup artist
I wasn't sure if I was going to, but I'm so glad I did. First of all Victor worked his magic and I felt like a fucking Queen. But also, since I was alone in Paris for the weekend it really helped to have someone to talk to, laugh and hype me up before going into it. So if you are on a budget, you can definitely do your own makeup and honestly, depending on the aesthetic a natural look could be perfect.
Now that everything is ready to go... PANIC!
Even for someone like me, who is quite sexually and body positive, the thought of getting in front of a camera full frontal can bring about some insecurities. Safe to say I was nervous. Was it going to be awkward? What if the pictures turn out horrible? How is my motor accident scar going to look?
But these are feelings that are worth sitting with and working through. Our bodies are incredible at every stage of life, and if we learned to appreciate them more we would be so much happier. Being nervous is ok and to be expected, especially when it’s your first time trying something new. So I practiced positive self-talk and luckily had the best hype squad a girl could ask for,
On a more practical level, I also made sure to hydrate and get good sleep in the days leading up to the photoshoot, so that I would feel fresh and ready on the day of!
Light's, camera, ACTION
The day of the shoot arrived! After a night of albeit, not great sleep, I woke up full of positive adrenaline and excitement. I arrived at the hotel and the most brilliant thing happened. When I went to check in, my room wasn't ready, so while we were waiting they put me up in a suite instead! And this is when my overthinking brain turned into my opportunistic brain. Because instead of having a photoshoot in one gorgeous room....how about in TWO.
I immediately called the photographer, Julien, and asked if he could come early to take advantage of the new room, and because I knew we had limited time, there was no time to waste. The moment he walked in, I stripped down and only thought about getting as much out of this experience as possible.
And it was amazing!
From the moment the first photo was taken, I knew that this was going to be an unforgettable experience.
I'm a Creative, so I am often working together with a photographer or director behind the camera. Whenever I'm in front of a camera I'm normally quite self conscious, but my fears were quickly put to rest as Julien helped me feel comfortable and confident. The focus was solely on capturing beautiful images, and I was given clear direction on how to pose and move. Which meant I didn’t have to worry about how I looked or whether I was doing the right thing. I only had to listen to “"Tilt your head slightly more to the left," "arch your back," Move your foot behind the chair." helping me turn my brain off, let go and embrace the experience.
The whole photoshoot was incredibly thrilling, liberating, and FUN! Even if I never saw the photographs in my life, the experience alone would have been worth it.
But of course I'm also in love with the final result :)
During the shoot, we played around with different parts of my personality from playful and cheeky to also discovering a more sensual side of myself. And since you Cool Dancers often get to see my cheeky side already, here's a peek at some of my favorites, which are in the latter category.
Totally vulnerable and a powerful version of myself that fully embraces my feminine strength. I love the compositions and how the photos capture my body. Not hiding the things I'm insecure about like scars or imperfections, but embracing them!
So go forth and take a thousand naked pictures of yourself.
I would recommend this experience to everyone! It’s the ultimate act of self-love, an opportunity to celebrate your unique beauty, have a lot of fun and to do something special for yourself. For me, it was a weekend of pure energising empowerment and I only left asking myself ‘when can I do this again!?’
And for those of you curious about the thinking that went into creating this post, check out the video below x