Perhaps you’ve been toying with the idea of a boudoir shoot for quite some time. Or maybe you heard about a friend’s experience, and find yourself intrigued. Or, alternatively, maybe you’ve only recently heard about this type of shoot, and are simply trying to learn more. Whatever phase you’re in, you probably have a lot of questions. After all, if you do go through with the idea (which I fully encourage you to do!), you probably know that means stripping down to your skivvies in front of a near stranger. And while that may sound a tad nerve-wracking (or potentially terrifying, depending on your personality), a boudoir shoot can actually be a super exhilarating, confidence-boosting, and even downright fun experience. I should know — I’ve done one myself, and I’m eternally grateful that I did.

But before you let your nerves get the best of you, know that many of your ideas about what a boudoir shoot entails may be due to misconceptions around this kind of photography.

Myth #1: You must have an occasion.

It’s certainly true that many women opt to take the plunge and do a boudoir shoot specifically to celebrate a special occasion — such as an anniversary or a birthday (whether theirs or their significant other’s). Boudoir shoots are also becoming increasingly popular for brides who want to give their grooms some sexy photos when they finally tie the knot.

That said, you definitely do not need to have an occasion to do a boudoir photo shoot — I certainly didn’t! I simply felt like I was the most self-confident I’d ever been, and I wanted to document that with some photos that could serve as a reminder of this special time in my life. I felt proud of my body and I knew that the shoot could help me to see myself in a different light. So there’s no reason to wait until Valentine’s Day or your wedding day to book a shoot. Go ahead and book one just because you feel like it — that’s a good enough reason in itself! Trust me: you won’t regret it.

Myth #2: You can only wear lingerie.

This is one of the most persistent myths about boudoir photography. Indeed, it’s pretty common to wear bras, panties, teddies, bodysuits, babydolls, etc. during one of these shoots. After all, they’re all about showcasing the sultrier side of yourself, and lingerie is designed to accomplish just that. However, there are so many ways to interpret “sexy” that don’t necessarily include lingerie.

If you’re going for a more modest or demure look, you might consider loungewear. A cute silk PJ set with a cami and tap shorts or a satin robe can still look subtly seductive, especially at the right angle. You could even slip a strap or sleeve off your shoulder for a coy touch. Additionally, many women opt to bring articles of their partner’s clothing to add a more personal vibe to their shoots. For example, a men’s button-down shirt can look super sexy when it’s undone a bit at the top (or not buttoned at all!), whether it’s paired with a lacy Brazilian thong or a simple pair of boyshort panties. Or, if your SO has played a sport, you might bring along one of their jerseys to wear.

The bottom line is — don’t be afraid to think outside the box when it comes to your ensembles for the photo shoot. Even a sheer off-the-shoulder sweater, a slip, or a V-neck T-shirt can look alluring with the right pose.

Myth #3: You have to be in a relationship.

Sure, lots of women decide to do a photo shoot for their significant others. After all, it makes for quite an incredible gift. Not only do boudoir photos allow a partner to see you in a different light, but they also provide some pretty tantalizing visuals to look back on for years to come.

But let’s be clear: You definitely don’t have to be in a relationship to do a boudoir shoot. In fact, pursuing one of these shoots when you’re single is a stellar idea. This kind of photo shoot can give you a massive (potentially much-needed) self-esteem boost. And doing it just for you is a phenomenal act of self-love. It’s a way of thanking your body for everything it does for you — all while looking fabulous. And it’s also a great way to remind yourself that you don’t need someone else to make you feel like a goddess. When you look back on those photos weeks, months, or years from now, you’re bound to feel some pangs of pride, whether or not you have a significant other by your side.

Myth #4: You need to have a certain kind of body.

Without a doubt, this is the most unfortunate myth about boudoir photography. “I’ll just wait until I lose X number of pounds.” “My skin isn’t perfect enough to do that.” “I won’t look good on camera.” These are some of the insecure thoughts many women often have when considering a boudoir shoot. Some think they have to look a certain way to do a boudoir shoot when that couldn’t be farther from the truth. I’ve seen boudoir photographs of women in all shapes and sizes, and every single one was nothing short of stunning.

If you’re feeling some self-doubt or self-consciousness creeping in, that’s all the more reason to do a boudoir shoot. A professional photographer will be able to capture just how beautiful you really are — and you may surprise yourself. Sometimes, those perceived “flaws” are actually what makes a particular photograph stand out. And ultimately, looking at these photos may help you to embrace your unique figure and get over some of your hangups.

Feeling a little more informed? Now that you know some of the most common misconceptions about boudoir photography, you’re better prepared to plan the boudoir photo shoot of your dreams.