As we get older we care less about what others think and embrace a more positive attitude to ourselves, our body, our needs, dreams and desires. In short we get a bit more selfish. Apparently between the ages of 34 and 44 we have the lowest body confidence but after the age of 55, we have the highest body confidence! And I can totally relate, I think we learn to accept what we cannot change and relax into who we are. Not just body confidence but overall confidence in ourselves increases especially once we have navigated the hormone fluctuations of menopause. When I was 48 I had my first boudoir photoshoot with Alexandra at For Your Eyes Only - FYEO is a boudoir photography studio near Marlow and I have recently had my second boudoir photoshoot at 55, And I loved them both! But I felt even more confident for this recent shoot. I was there to help Alexandra celebrate her 20th anniversary as a successful and well-respected boudoir photographer, we took some absolutely stunning and yes very hot and sexy photos and did a short video about my experience. And I am sharing on my blog how I got on, what was involved, how I felt about it and to encourage other women in their 50s to step out of their comfort zone, embrace body confidence, and get an over 50 boudoir photoshoot! For YOU but also for your partner, your husband .... or anyone else special in your life!
My birthday is actually in December so don't be fooled by the 55 balloons but as I was celebrating my 55th year they seemed like a fun prop for my shoot!
FYEO Boudoir Photography Studio near Marlow
Alexandra's FYEO photo studio is based in an old chapel in the village of Lane End on the outskirts of Marlow in Buckinghamshire. It is a beautiful area to visit whether you are local or further afield. Book an overnight stay and make it a really special occasion - self-care, self-love and something for you! It is easy to access by car or by train, the closest station is High Wycombe, about 10-15 minutes away by taxi, the trains from Marylebone take about 25 minutes. Her studio is subtly lit with the most body flattering lighting, it is welcoming, discrete and comfortable and Alexandra makes you feel relaxed from the moment you arrive. She is also great fun to spend a day with! She came out to the car to greet me, helped me carry my bags in and showed me where to put my things. There is parking right outside and it is not obvious you are heading inside for a boudoir photoshoot!
Alexandra at FYEO organised the balloons, and we chose props like the red feather boa and the vintage telephone from her studio collection, I took the gorgeous lingerie and amazing heels!
What to bring to a boudoir photoshoot
I really did overthink this! I was so obsessed with the details but in fact, as my friend said, who is looking at the details when you look so good naked!? And everyone can look good naked, everyone can feel confident in their body with the support of Alexandra's professional and sensational camera skills.
Your favourite lingerie, that set you feel amazing in, it doesn't have to be the best or the most expensive, just a set you love.
Then if you want to ... add in some sexy and gorgeous lingerie, I treated myself to the most exquisite set from Honey Birdette. Having decided on a red theme with Alexandra I then went completely off-piste with the Christine Unicorn bra and thong which has stunning intricate embroidery and the prettiest details like crystals, soft lace and lilac mesh - I felt a million dollars in it. It is true that investing in good lingerie enhances your shape and flatters your curves. I also took a black bodysuit from Boux Avenue, one I intend to wear under a blazer and a full on naughty red lace bustier with a halterneck, matching thong and stockings. I also got a red thong with a big red bow from Agent Provocateur. And not forgetting my red bikini, my new one this year is from NAIA Beach.
A white shirt ... preferably a man's white oversized shirt! I was worried mine would be too big but Alexandra showed me how she uses all the props, the shirt wasn't used in the traditional way, it was draped and rolled and tied and left off my shoulders. I love my white shirt shots!
Heels ... no you don't need to be able to walk in them! But some stilettos with fabulous detail look stunning, I chose the Charmed Silver Glitter Stiletto by Carvela at Kurt Geiger. I was lusting after some Christian Louboutin or Jimmy Choo's (like the Bing 100 in red) but my budget wasn't up for it so that is my goal for my 60th birthday photoshoot! Yes there will be another one!
Jewellery ... I kept it simple and wore my usual rings and bracelets but no necklace. For my last boudoir photoshoot with Alexandra I took a long string of pearls.
Textured clothing ... I took my leather biker jacket, but silk, chiffon, denim are all good fabrics that can be played with! Don't forget if your photoshoot is for your partner then maybe something of his ... football shirt, favourite shirt and tie, there are lots of ideas on the FYEO Instagram page (@fyeoportraits).
Fun props ... bring your own or use the dressing up box at the studio. We added the vintage red telephone, a red feather boa, some velvet fabric, handcuffs and some long red gloves but how about some bondage items, a silk scarf, veils, masks, a fan, wings? I also took my men's summer trilby!
Body confidence in your 50s
Remember body confidence is not just the reserve of someone who is 25 and a size 8! You can lack confidence in your appearance whether you are petite or plus-sized. Whether you have a flat tummy and abs or a midlife muffin top. Scars, cellulite and other perceived imperfections are beautiful, they make us who we are, they tell our story and represent our individuality. I always remember the quote - confidence is the sexiest thing a woman can wear - and it is absolutely right!
FYEO photography studio is for everyone ... whether you are looking for a bridal boudoir shoot, if you are petite or plus-size and every size in between, confident or need a confidence boost, 20+, 40+ or 50+ with no upper limit! Alexandra also offers trans boudoir photoshoots and you can go as a couple too!
I love to people watch by the pool on holiday. And what I notice is that the curvier, older mediterranean women really do rock their bikinis. They have not spent weeks worrying about being 'bikini ready' or 'beach ready' they have just stepped out in their bikini to enjoy the sun, the sea, their family, their friends, and relax with a glass of wine and embrace life. And another thing I notice is that we stress for weeks before our holiday, worrying what we will look like when we take our clothes off, but no one cares! They are not looking at you they are worrying what they look like, not what you look like.
Occasionally I think should I retire my bikinis and swap to a one-piece? Is that more sophisticated and age appropriate!? Hell no. I love to have my tummy out, I love to feel the sun on my entire body, I love getting a tanned torso (real or fake) and I love that it is easy to go to the toilet! The bikini will stay.
Well that is easy for her to say I hear you comment ... she's only a size 10 and looks younger than 55! Body confidence isn't about that though, I have seriously lacked confidence for so long. Even before I had my two beautiful babies I worried everyone was looking at my tummy and it protruded too much, my legs are short, my boobs are small ... etc etc. But as I have got older, I have learnt to love me. I love that the cushioning on my tummy protected my babies, I love that my small boobs mean they have remained pert and don't look any different at 55 to when I was 25 (and I breastfed). I love that my legs look great with a tan and that I can dress to suit my shape. But more than anything I love that I am confident enough now to say it doesn't matter. How things have changed, I certainly feel and look better in my 50s that I did it my 30s!
So now my mantra is be the best you can be, I love to exercise and eat well and I am quite happy to have a body treatment here and there. I will make the most of what I have, I want to stay strong and fit and still be lifting weights in my 80s (and having boudoir photoshoots too, next one is planned for my 60th birthday). A fake tan, a manicure, a pedicure, waxing, clothes that suit us, are all self-care, add in confidence, and we will feel fabulous!
What happens at a boudoir photoshoot?
Consultation and chatting over what you want to achieve - I arrived and unpacked, Alexandra and I chatted about the items I had bought with me and we shared a few ideas for the sort of photos I wanted. We added in some props to complement my lingerie and build on the red theme. I hung everything up and laid the props out on the table. I wasn't at all nervous - just excited to see how my photos would turn out!
Makeup - Alexandra then did my makeup (this is an add-on item when you book a photoshoot at FYEO but I recommend adding it on), I loved my makeup, Alexandra is an absolute boss at the smokey eye and I could never have looked so good without her help!
Choosing outfits - the first pose is all about relaxing you so you Alexandra doesn't expect you to get naked immediately. And if you don't want to get naked at all then you don't have to but believe me, you will relax and being shy just doesn't even enter into it!
Body sculpting poses - Alexandra directs you every step of the way, she explains just how to lay, sit, stand and uses a very precise step by step method to tell you to move your shoulder or leg or arm to complement and flatter your body shape. The studio is dimly lit with flattering lighting and you do not feel exposed at any time.
Getting naked - Remember Alexandra is behind the camera, she is focusing on the right props, the right lighting and the right poses so she is not looking at you and judging you in any way. I found the whole experience to be liberating, empowering, fun and incredibly freeing! Not one to strip off and strut around gym changing rooms or go for naked showers I thought I might feel awkward but it didn't even enter my mind. It will only ever be just you and Alexandra in the studio and the whole experience feels very relaxed.
I also found that each pose and each photo set up was very quick, Alexandra is very experienced and she knows what looks good, so you are not left laying there in your birthday suit while Alexandra thinks about it all! She really is amazing at her job, she makes you feel so at ease with yourself and reassures you that you look amazing.
Hair and wind tunnel - arrive with your hair washed, fresh and naturally styled, Alexandra uses a wind tunnel to gently blow your hair and this adds drama, dimension and a natural feel to each photo.
And that is it, relax and enjoy. I ended up with lots of outfit changes and with hindsight I probably took too much with me but I wanted to have choices! Lingerie, shoes and props were littered all over the place. In all honesty my favourite shots are where I'm naked, but they are not suitable for my blog! As confident as I am, I still want some privacy!
Loss of confidence in the menopause
I get lots of messages and talk to lots of friends who say their self-confidence and self-esteem has taken a nosedive during perimenopause and menopause. Anxiety and brain fog for example can really have an impact on our quality of life and how we feel about ourselves. We are also dealing with physical changes like weight gain, aches and pains, joint problems, maybe bladder issues. Then there is the disappearing libido and exhaustion due to sleep issues, night sweats and hot flushes. Plus the daily challenges of work, looking after our families, maybe supporting elderly parents can mean that life becomes too much and we lose who we are, we stop taking care of ourselves and end up prioritising everyone else.
I make no secret of the fact that HRT changed my life. I am a massive advocate for replacing our lost. hormones. I have read and researched so much and regularly listen to expert podcasts discussing the benefits of HRT. I know how much it has benefitted me because back in January/February my dose went wrong, my hormone levels plummeted and I felt absolutely rubbish. It took me a while to work out why, but swapping from Oestrogel to Sandrena (due to the HRT supply problems) was not a good idea. Sandrena didn't work for me. After 3 months of feeling dreadful, the anxiety was overwhelming and my confidence was rock bottom, I got back onto Oestrogel. It took awhile to feel better but once I did it just reaffirmed my decision that I need my hormones!
I am now back to exercising, back to eating a healthier diet, drinking less wine, I am less exhausted and I am happy again. I can cope with life's challenges. And my confidence is back.
Going for my boudoir photoshoot with Alexandra at FYEO couldn't have been better timed. I wasn't at my slimmest or fittest but that didn't matter. I looked good and I felt good. Doing the photoshoot was a huge boost for my confidence and self-esteem.
After your photoshoot at FYEO
Alexandra will download your photos to a safe and secure platform, send you your own private login and password and you can choose your favourites at your leisure. Have fun choosing with your partner or make it all a surprise - his own private viewing!
Why not get your favourite one framed? I have a selection of six of my favourite shots (form my previous shoot) framed in a collage which I have in my dressing room, they remind me every day to have confidence and that I am amazing.
Obviously my photoshoot is public knowledge and I have been brave and shared some of my photos here on my blog and checkout my video on Instagram - but what a lovely secret to share with your partner, a frisson of excitement that only the two of you know about. How jealous would his friends be if they knew?! I'm not sharing all my photos though - the rest are just for me and him.
The Black & White photos are among my favourites, these boudoir poses look amazing styled with a white shirt, thank you so much Alexandra!
I hope I have inspired you to book your own boudoir photoshoot, it really is the best confidence boost, the most amazing fun and you will look and feel sexy, beautiful and a million dollars I promise. Now the question is can I wait until I am 60 for my next shoot ... I keep seeing more amazing poses on the FYEO instagram that I love!
FYEO's most popular package is the Digital Boudoir Gift Package at £595, this includes 10 high resolution digital images, your own private studio space, and full direction from your female photographer. Plus if you mention Fifty & Fab when booking, Alexandra will include 2 additional images - so 12 photos for the price of 10! Book with a £200 deposit. If you'd like more details or to chat to Alexandra, she can be contacted by email email@example.com or on 07826 151410. Book a 15 minute call to learn more!
Disclaimer: this photoshoot was a personal arrangement with Alexandra at For Your Eyes Only as part of her 20th Anniversary celebrations.
Welcome to Fifty & Fab, a lifestyle blog to inspire you. I am a blogger with a passion for writing about health, menopause, fitness, beauty and style with a focus on the over 50's.
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Hi, I’m Michelle and my blog Fifty & Fab is all about my journey into and through my 50s. I started this blog in 2016 with the purpose of helping other women at this stage of life. I’m delighted that my blog has grown to over 13k visitors per month. Visit my Work with Me page and request my Media Kit for details of product reviews, blogging services and social media content creation.
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