Boudoir photography has become and more popular in recent years. It used to be mostly for taking photos for your significant other before the wedding as a gift.
Nowadays boudoir photography has become a way for a woman (or a man) to get photographs of themselves and embrace their body and sensuality. Check out these great boudoir photography ideas for inspiration!
Some images are cropped to conceal the identity of clients.
What Is Boudoir Photography?
Boudoir is a French term that means “dressing room”. It has coined the idea of women in their undergarments before getting dressed. It is now known as the type of portrait session that celebrates the body. Boudoir photography clients are primarily women, but it can also involve couples or men.
A boudoir photoshoot is a private and celebratory type of session. It includes sexy lingerie, tasteful angles, and lots of self-empowerment!
1. What to Ask Your Client Before the Boudoir Session
It’s not essential that you have a wardrobe for your clients for each session, as body types and styles can be different each time. But there are some things that are important to prep before the boudoir session begins.
Make sure to meet with your client to go over the distinct looks that they would like to have for their boudoir photos. It can be sultry, sexy, sensual, or just cozy, comfortable, and fun.
Ask them what type of looks they plan on bringing for the session. This will help tailor the lighting, setup, and the post-editing style.
Ask them if they plan on printing or creating an album of their photos. You can also offer or include a cute photo box for them to hold loose prints from the session for their viewing only.
This can give you more insight about what to shoot for and other general compositional tools. This way you can make sure you create a fantastic gallery of images for your client.
2. How to Set Up the Shooting Space for Boudoir Shoots
If you have a studio, you can tailor it to the look and feel of your session. Include a bed or somewhere that your client can use to lay on and pose during the session. A lounge or seating of some sort.
Your client might opt for a more studio look with solid or textured backgrounds. Make sure you have them ready to go before the session begins. Especially if they are fabric, as those tend to show wrinkles in photos much more.
While having a studio isn’t required, you can set up a boudoir session space in many different locations! A hotel room at a boutique hotel with lots of interesting or thematic decor can work perfectly. Many of them have a bed and lounge that you can use.
If you decide to use the client’s home, ask them for photos of the space that they wish to use. Many homes are beautifully decorated. But it can be a little distracting to have items that clutter backgrounds or spaces. Especially if they don’t have enough window light if you are photographing in natural light.
Once you get an idea of the space that you will use, ask your client to bring sheets of their desired look for the session. Having different sheets for the bed can add variety when your client uses certain looks or changes from one look to another.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if you’re in a studio or not. Each space should have a bed, lounge area, makeup station, and a private dressing room or bathroom.
Each boudoir session should also include making the space cozy and comfortable. You can use music, candles or incense. This can help calm nerves and create ambiance. It can also give your session the energy it needs to create amazing photography.
3. Keep Things Classy for a Timeless Look
Boudoir has had a surge in recent years because of its classy posing and flattering lighting while focusing on celebrating the body. Keep it classy with your angles and make sure to highlight your client in the best possible light.
Your clients look to you for posing help, and angles. They want beautiful photos for them that they can appreciate many years down the road.
Keeping it classy with your angles and posing can make the session feel more empowering and a true celebration of the body!
4. Add Hair and Makeup as Part of Your Boudoir Offer
Makeup and hair can give your client a nice pampering before the session. It might get them even more excited to get started!
You don’t have to hire a makeup artist for the session. But you can team up with a local makeup and hair person to help you during boudoir sessions.
You can include the fee in your pricing or as an add on depending or both and offer your client the choice. Having hair and makeup done can add to the look of the session.
It can create a total transformation of your client and make their photos really pop.
5. Photograph on a Bed for a Variety of Boudoir Poses
There are many different types of poses that you can use while using the bed for the boudoir session.
You can start with a comfortable seating position. Then you can direct your clients to lay down, turn on their stomach, etc.
6. Use Specific Poses to Add Depth to Your Images
All bodies are beautiful. But photography is two-dimensional and needs help creating depth and perception. Because of this, your client might need help in the posing department when it comes to getting photos of the behind.
If your client is laying down, have them angle their behind toward the camera and prop up using their hips.
This can help elevate the behind a little more. It can add more depth to what otherwise would look flat in a straight photo. Unfortunately, photography is pretty flat.
7. Use Lighting to Make Your Client Pop
Lighting can change our perception of things in photographs. Highlighting, or using more light to a certain area of the body can make it look wider, bigger, or more expansive.
While a darker shadow or darker lighting can hide, make things look smaller, and create more drama.
Use highlights high on the behind and create shadows down below to make the behind look larger. You can also use side lighting to create more drama across your client’s body.
Want something more etherial and get some glow? Use backlighting to create a flood of light. You’ll get that glow that makes your client stand out against the bright light.
Light can change the look and feel of the session. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different lighting techniques!
8. Start With Clothed Photos to Let Your Client Get Comfortable
Not all boudoir sessions are in lingerie, some can be in a dress, fully covered, or pajamas. Each client is different and has different levels of comfort.
The most common boudoir sessions are mostly lingerie and / or nude photographs. It can be really important, to begin with a few photos of your client fully covered before getting into the lingerie part. This way they get warmed up during the initial shots.
After that they’ll feel comfortable, have gotten their nerves out. Show them one or two photos that get them excited. After that, have them begin changing into the more uncovered outfits of their choice.
Follow their lead during the session. And you’ll have those empowering photos your client will love!
9. Give Them Something to Do With Their Hands
Hands can be particularly tricky to pose. During boudoir sessions, it’s really helpful to just keep the hands moving and busy.
Do this by instructing your client use her hands to fix her outfit, or hug herself. You can even get some behind the scenes photos of your client putting on her makeup. Keeping the hands busy keeps your client moving and changing up the poses.
Use her hands to prop her head, fix or play with her hair, or frame her face. Doing this can also help keep your client busy and less focused on herself but more on her movements.
10. Photograph Details to Add Variety to the Boudoir Shoot
Boudoir sessions are really great to photograph details of the parts that your client find to be their most attractive.
If you are photographing a bride-to-be, you can focus on her ring as she hugs her arms around her chest. Or you can photograph parts like the lace of the outfit, shoes, or even parts of the face like lips and eyes.
You can also photograph the outfits without being put on. The shows, bralettes, or makeup on the counter help tell the story of the entire session as well.
These details help to fill in the session with variety. They also work as nice transitions in an album or slideshow.
11. Photograph From Behind to Create Mystery
To create a little more mystery, photograph your client from behind where you can barely see their face. They can look over and down their shoulders to give a hint to their profile. Or they can look up, or just keep it hidden from the camera.
This gives you the opportunity to get different angles and give your client more variety.
12. Photograph From Above to Make Your Client Look Taller
Getting photographs of your client from above can seem tricky at first. If you’ve got access to a ladder or even just standing up on a chair can give you a better angle from above.
Photograph your client laying down or with a slightly elevated angle. This can make your client look long and taller or can help shape them adding sidelight to their photographs.
It can also give the illusion of mystery and as if they were just on their bed at home lounging comfortably.
13. Try an Outdoors Boudoir Photo Shoot
If your client is up for it, go outdoors for some shots. If you are in a space that has interesting architecture or elements that can add a little more drama or give a different look to the gallery of photos, photograph your client in that space!
Using natural light like the noon sun can give your photos more drama as well. Using areas with lots of light flooding in can also be helpful when creating a variety of images.
14. Use Mirrors to Create Drama and Interest
Using mirrors can give your photos an interesting effect. Especially when you’re trying to keep the photo a little mysterious and dramatic.
If you have access to mirrors either in the home, studio, or in the space you’re photographing in, try and create interesting reflections. Photograph your client in front and get details. Or shoot through the mirror instead of your client directly.
Play with different angles to get interesting effects.
15. Add Negative Space to Draw Atttention to Your Subject
Negative space can make a photo isolate it’s subject much more.
Let a little bit of empty space fill up the frame.
16. Use Props to Show Your Client’s Personality
You can add props like hats, glamour jewelry, different men’s shirts, and ties, and gloves. These create more interesting drama and effects when it comes to photographing boudoir sessions.
Have fun playing with different looks, themes, and sets during the session.
Boudoir photography isn’t as unknown as it was a few years ago and as of late has gained lots of momentum in photography. It’s about empowerment through appreciating the body and highlighting your client in the best possible way!
Have fun creating some great images for your clients and let them see how beautiful they are inside and out! Which of these boudoir photography ideas will you use at your next photo session?