Think of women posing for photographs in lacey lingerie, and the mind usually wanders toward voluptuous models in the pages of Playboy or Penthouse. But two Westport women have pooled their photographic and artistic talents to create a business documenting the essence and beauty of everyday women in sensual, glamorous poses.

There is nothing raunchy or bawdy about the artistic shots taken by Morgaine Pauker and Suzanne Sheridan for their recently launched Girls Night Out Photography and its "Boudoir Photo Parties." Groups of women gather in Sheridan's Carriage House studio on North Avenue. Each woman has a private photo session with either Pauker or Sheridan, who alternate sessions, while the rest of the group continues its party in a separate room. Some groups bring food and champagne. Women can be photographed in color or black and white or both, and can order individual photos or books of photos.

Their idea was inspired by The Boudoir Divas, four women from San Diego whose goal is "to celebrate each woman individually, capturing her in a new light that can re-ignite confidence and the way she sees herself," according to their website.

The Divas "hope to make a positive effect on the way society views beauty and bring it back from its current state of distortion to celebrate all shapes and sizes."

Pauker and Sheridan share that philosophy. The goal is to let women know how beautiful they are, they said.

"This is not just for young women. It's for women of all ages who want to feel beautiful," said Pauker, of Westport, an award-winning photographer, artist and owner of Morgaine Photography.

Mindy Kannon, a friend of Sheridan's, said there is a lot of "virtual plastic surgery" going on in the pages of fashion and beauty magazines, which distorts images of beauty. Real women are beautiful, regardless of their age or weight or shape, said the women of Girls Night Out, who already have conducted several of these special parties and photo sessions.

"This is something I really believe in, empowerment of women," said Sheridan, who became friends with Pauker after the two met about 10 years ago through the Fairfield County Photographers Collective. They realized they shared other mutual interests including spirituality, healing and personal growth, which has become an asset in their photography business.

Pauker and Sheridan said the Girls Night Out Boudoir Photo Party is intended to provide a fun evening with friends with beautiful photographs as a bonus.

They call it "a new way of pampering yourself while hanging out with friends," but they have noticed something they hadn't anticipated: Some women are moved by the experience. They see some women come out of their shell. It's as if, for some women, the act of baring their undergarments is like baring their soul.

"One woman was brought to tears. She said, `I've had a major breakthrough.' It brought up for some of them (past issues). It's really a spiritual experience," Pauker said.

Sheridan said those women who don't have a good body image are able to see their true beauty captured in the Girls Night Out photos. Some woman are quite comfortable with the concept from the beginning and have no trouble posing, while others can be intimidated and inhibited, but Pauker and Sheridan create a comfortable setting.

"To me, boudoir photography is all about trust. It has to be done by the right people. It must be done with the proper respect," said Sheridan, who is a professional photographer.

Other factors contribute to creating a beautiful image, she said, including great hairstyling, makeup application, lighting, the comfortable setting and proper attitude.

"If you're not photographed well, nobody is photogenic," Sheridan said.

Participants can request a hair stylist and make-up artist for their session.

Pauker said it is up to the women to bring whatever they wish to wear for their photo session, although she said "flowy things work really well."

Is Westport ready for this?

Pauker and Sheridan think so.

"We know Westport is ready. We already have nibbles," Pauker said.

The Boudoir Divas, Pauker and Sheridan's inspiration, have attracted as many as 1,600 women to some of their workshops and seminars around the world, which indicates an interest in boudoir photography, they said.

To view Pauker and Sheridan's portfolios, get information about Girls Night Out parties or schedule a photo session party, visit the website at or call (203) 222-1441.