Tips for a perfect Boudoir shoot
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Long gone are the days of glamour shot boudoir photography as we enter a new, sexier and sultrier boudoir world! What was once taboo is being celebrated by women all over the world as a way to showcase their natural beauty as a gift to their loves, or even themselves! Several years ago, being surrounded by an industry of male photographers, I wanted to try my hand at boudoir photography. Thinking I wouldn’t be able to connect to my clients in that way, since I wasn’t a man, I had fairly low expectations. So I met up with a friend of mine who did a lot of swimsuit and lingerie modeling and decided to give it a try. We literally shot on my dirty garage floor, and after reviewing the images – we both knew there was something special about it!
Being a woman photographer has had a ton of benefits to shooting boudoir. I can relate to a woman – both her joys and insecurities in her body – and capture a natural beauty that not many get to see. That’s what inspires me every day to shoot boudoir. Throwing away the taboo history and celebrating sexuality. For every woman it’s a different goal – but the outcome has always been raw and beautiful!
Every photographer works a little differently, so I’m going to give you my cliff-notes for having an amazing boudoir experience!
How to find your boudoir photographer
First, selecting a photographer for your session might be the most daunting thing you’ll do, but trusting in your photographer and what they can accomplish will be the most important aspect of loving your images. One of the best ways to do this is to ask friends for recommendations. You’d be surprised how many you’ll find that have done boudoir shoots! Many of my clients will eagerly show off their session to their friends – and this is where the bulk of my referrals come from. Once you have an idea of the top 2-3 photographers, take a few moments to browse their portfolios. Pay attention to the type of shoot you’d like, and make sure it’s something they offer! Natural light photographers will have bright and airy images, while studio photographers may have more sultry ones. Are you looking for something more PG or MA? Are you looking for something more fine art, with shadows and lines… or portrait style?
Pinterest can be an awesome place for inspiration, but be careful not to rely too heavily on it! A great photographer can review your Pinterest to get a feel for the type of images you’d like to create – but won’t replicate other’s works. When you micromanage the shoot – bringing a list of things to get done and in what order – you can cramp the photographer’s creative flow and it doesn’t allow them to do their best work. So be open to their ideas!
You’ll also want to talk to them specifically about how much (or how little) editing they will do in post-production. Some photographers will do beauty retouching – everything from smoothing wrinkles and eliminating shadows, to body sculpting and more. Other photographers go for a more raw or un-retouched look. This is really important – because if you’re originally attracted to a photographer’s work who doesn’t do much editing, you may not be able to request edits after the shoot.
What to wear
Wardrobe is always the hardest thing to plan! I always tell clients that it’s better to bring too much rather than too little. When my clients arrive to the studio, we look through their options so I can plan out the flow of the session, usually giving my opinions on what will shoot best. I always ask their comfort level – for instance what level of undress they’d like – and will show samples of some ideas so they can see what will or won’t be shown. We typically start with the most covered outfits and work our way to more implied or nude shots (if they request them).
We recommend steering clear of things that will create bulges – sometimes corsets and thigh-highs can be more complicated than we intend! And we love lacy numbers, like bralettes and anything with lots of straps! If I’m going to shoot something that covers a lot of skin, I try to balance it out with nudity. So stockings with nothing else on, or his dress shirt with just a cute pair of panties. And there’s a lot of work behind the scenes to make everything fit amazingly! We’ve perfected the rolled sleeve, cinched waist and best poses – so you can be sure that no matter what you wear, you’ll look stunningly sexy!
Not sure what to buy?
Hop on over to AdoreMe.com for some of the sexiest lingerie! And they post lots of great inspiration on their Instagram! Oh, and girls – you know how I’m a huge “plus size” advocate – well they have Plus Size lingerie options that are absolutely gorgeous! Meanwhile, I’m over here freaking out over all their gorgeous Plus sized swimwear… I need something new for my cruise this month! I’m thinking this one is my winner!
Solid colors will be your best friend – especially black! There’s something about black lingerie that is so gorgeous to photograph – and it looks good in color and black and white!
Try on your outfits at home and determine your “must haves” and what you feel most beautiful in. If you’re an accessory girl, then remember to pack different jewelry and shoes for each outfit. When I shoot, I typically keep things more simple and don’t do a lot of accessorizing – but your photographer can work with you on what you prefer! If you’re using your shoot as a wedding gift, bring wedding jewelry, shoes and even your veil! I love to start off the album with that look for my brides to celebrate their new marriage.
Personal style and grooming
Now I’m going to totally throw a wrench in your plans – don’t spray-tan! Yes, I’m absolutely serious. Applying self-tanner before photos removes the natural luminescence your skin gives off and almost gives it a matte finish in photos, rather than looking supple and glowy.
A few days prior to your session you’ll want to do any waxing and a mani/pedi. Start moisturizing your skin and cut out salt and alcohol from your diet (just for a couple days! You can do it!) to reduce bloat. Pin ideas for hair and makeup – do you want a natural bronzed bed-head look? Or something more glamorous with a smoky eye and waves? We highly recommend having your hair and makeup professionally done – not just for a flawless look, but also because you will feel pampered and relaxed for your session! Don’t forget lashes! If you’re new to the world of falsies, try asking for individual lashes for a more enhanced natural look.
Self love & celebration
Finally – love yourself. ADORE yourself.
The simplest thing to say, yet the hardest to accomplish. Remember, you are absolutely beautiful and whomever you’re gifting your session to absolutely loves every curve of your body! Confidence is the most beautiful asset we have, and an amazing boudoir session can capture that in a way that nothing else can!