What is Boudoir Photography? And How to Get Started

Boudoir photography is a style of portraiture that focuses on intimate, romantic, and sometimes erotic images of the subject. It can be a fantastic way to capture the subject's beauty and sensuality tastefully and artistically. The art of boudoir photography straddles the fine line between fashion portraits and glamour shots. 

woman poses on the bed in two-piece lingerie

You're probably wondering what boudoir photography is and what to know before your boudoir photoshoot. Here's one for those who still get flushed when they hear the word "boudoir photography! 

Where Did Boudoir Came From?

Boudoir comes from French origins that refers to a room for sulking in or withdrawing. It also refers to a woman's private room or bedroom. That's why boudoir photography session is usually taken in a private setting, such as a bedroom or a hotel room.

woman in  yellow lingerie wearing a robe sits on the arm chair holding her hair
woman sitting and looking at the side

The focus is on the subject's sensuality and often includes lingerie or intimate apparel. This type of photography can be erotic or simply romantic it's up to the subject and photographer to decide.

Don't confuse boudoir with glamour photography, though they both focus on the subject's beauty; the boudoir is usually more intimate and sensual.

Who is Boudoir Photography for?

Boudoir Photography is for anyone and everyone! 

Whether you're looking to capture a beautiful and intimate portrait, celebrate your body, or create a unique and memorable gift, Boudoir photography is the perfect option. Having the courage to own your sensuality is extraordinarily empowering. That's why boudoir photos make awesome gifts for birthdays, anniversaries or any special occasions. 

woman stands and poses near the window in her black lace lingerie
woman stands and poses while looking out the window in her bridal lingerie

How to Get Started?

If you're interested in getting started with boudoir photography, keeping a few things in mind is essential.

  • First, finding a photographer whose style you like and who you feel comfortable working with is crucial since boudoir photography can be intimate and personal.
  • Second, communicate your vision for the shootwhat kind of feel are you going for? Romantic? Sexy? Playful? Once you've conveyed your idea, it's time to prepare for your shoot.
  • And finally, don't forget to have fun! Boudoir photography is about celebrating sensuality and sexuality, so enjoy the process.

What to Prepare for a Boudoir Session?

woman poses and stares at the camera with her head resting on her palm
woman lays on the bed and looks up to the camera

woman lays on her stomach and stares at the camera with her chin on  her hand

You can do a few things to prepare for your boudoir session.

  • Take some time to pamper yourself. Get a manicure and pedicure, have your hair and makeup done, or take a relaxing bath. You want to feel your best for your shoot!
  • Think about what you're going to wear. Boudoir photography is about being sexy and confident, so choose a lingerie or a piece of clothing that makes you feel great.
  • Ensure you have a good playlist to listen to during your shoot. Choose a piece of music that fits your boudoir photos' seductive and entertaining vibe.

What to Expect in a Boudoir Photo Shoot?

You can expect to pose in various ways during your boudoir photo shoot. Your photographer will likely start with traditional poses, such as sitting or standing before moving on to more intimate positions. There are no rules when it comes to boudoir photography, so don't be afraid to try something new.

What are the Styles of Boudoir Photography?

The different boudoir photography styles include traditional, dramatic, glamour/elegant, playful, fine art, vintage, pin-up and maternity shoots. You and your photographer will choose from various styles depending on your personality, needs, desires, and specific circumstances.

pregnant woman wearing lingerie and robe lays on the bed holding her stomach with her legs on the headboard
woman poses on top of the chair with one leg kneeling on the sit in her white lingerie and heels

Knowing the different styles of boudoir shoots will help you communicate your expectations and goals in in your boudoir session. The differences between the types of boudoir photography may seem minor or negligible. However, while their differences might be subtle, the style chosen can impact the final result.

Makeup and Hair Styling for Boudoir Photos

Having your hair and makeup done is essential in a boudoir shoot. Several boudoir studios offer on-site hairstylists and makeup artists as part of their photography packages. In addition to fake eyelashes and hair extensions, makeup styles can be as natural or heavy as you like.

woman poses in front of the mirror with a lipstick in hand in a maroon one-piece lingerie

It is helpful to remember that while your photographer and stylist may have expert opinions about your look, you are the final authority on it. Therefore, prepare photos of the look you're interested in so the stylist can see what you envision.

How to Pose for a Boudoir Shoot?

You would usually have a say in which part of your body you want to highlight before the shoots to focus and emphasize your features. Photographers can also improve your posture by directing your poses to accentuate your curves and photograph your stunning posture. 

Here are the three sexy boudoir poses you can try. 

Silhouette

There is a strong influence of silhouettes in boudoir photography. The shape offers hints and possibilities. The rest is left to your imagination. 

silhouette shot of woman bending over and whipping her hair on the bed
silhouette shot of woman in front of a window
silhouette shot of woman in high heels sideview

The Kneeling Pose

For boudoir poses to be effective, they don't have to be dramatic or assertive. Instead, start kneeling on a bed and looking slightly away from the camera. 

woman in her lingerie doing the kneeling pose on a bed
woman sits on the floor with her elbow on the side of the bed in her black lingerie

Playing Peek-a-Boo

This lovely boudoir pose gives your image a sense of mystique and intrigue. It's also an exceptional way to show off your curves.

woman lays on her stomach staring at the camera while covering half of her face with her hair

Learn more: 15 Pose Ideas For Stunning Boudoir Photos

Choosing a Location for the Boudoir Shoot

You can do boudoir photography in several different locations. For example, some women prefer to do their boudoir photo shoots in their homes, while others prefer to rent a hotel room or Airbnb for the day. If you're not sure where you want to have your boudoir photo shoot, we recommend talking to your photographer about different location options. They will be able to help you choose a location that suits your needs and budget.

woman leans in front of a pole outside barefooted
backshot of woman in her lingerie and high heels walking up the stairs
back shot of woman with her hand sup in the air and legs crossed in a forest

How Much is Boudoir Photography?

Boudoir photographers charge an average of $150 per hour. Fees may vary widely by region and even by zip code. You'll typically be offered three packages starting from $400 and includes some or all of the following:

  • number of hours for the boudoir session
  • number of images for viewing/ordering
  • makeup and hairstyling on site
  • number of outfit changes
  • a female assistant
  • private location

Some photographers offer a flexible monthly payment plan to help those who are budget-conscious and want to have their session paid off by the date of their shoots. Or perhaps you wish to keep your gift a secret by paying in smaller amounts. If the photographer does not display their packages on their website, you'll have to contact them. They will email you a PDF file and the URL to their "private" pricing page.

Post Boudoir Shoot: Retouching the Photos

A photographer's approach to retouching a boudoir photography shoot varies greatly. Many boudoir photographers use magazine-style editing, which can include frequency separation for that flawless appearance, while others perform little to no editing at all. For minor tucks, a liquify tool is often applied sparingly to remove temporary blemishes. A technique for softening or smoothing the skin may also be used in order to reduce or eliminate skin imperfections.

woman laying in bed with one leg on top of her knee and arms on her head

My main goal when I post-process boudoir session photographs is to ensure my clients look like themselves. An overly edited image conveys a message that can harm a woman's self-esteem. As a result, I strive to empower my clients. My goal is to challenge their expectations of themselves through this experience. As a boudoir photographer, I aim to remind them that they're just as stunning and sexy as any glossy magazine model. Ralph Deal

Final Words

Boudoir photography is a true art form. It requires planning and research same with other types of portrait shooting. Still, it also demands that you have a close working relationship with your photographer, particularly for people who aren't comfortable being sexy or showing off their body parts in general.

Boudoir photography is a fabulous way to celebrate sensuality and sexuality so go out and have fun! Will you be giving boudoir photography a try?

Don't forget to check our website for more tips and advice on all things boudoir.


Want to experience boudoir photography? Contact us to schedule a call.

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