Boudoir photos were once considered taboo and thought to be reserved for a small section of the population, but in recent years, the trends have changed. Today, these photo shoots have evolved into an artform. Boudoir is a sensual, beautiful way for women to express themselves, take control of their image, exude body confidence, and enter into their best light. And let’s not forget— these photos make great gifts, too!
Deciding to put on your best lingerie and pose in front of the camera can be nerve-wracking though. There are so many questions:
What do I wear?
How many outfits do I bring?
Is the photographer going to hide this double chin?
How do I style my hair and what kind of look am I going for makeup-wise?
In an effort to ease the anxiety for a boudoir first-timer, we’ve enlisted a couple of seasoned, professional photographers to speak to the best ways to maximize your photo shoot.
Meet the experts:
Photographer: Tracy Brown, professional photographer and owner of Boudoir by Tracy
Location: St. Louis, MO
Tracy wants every woman that comes to her for a shoot to love the experience from start to finish. Every woman should feel beautiful, important, and valued, and Tracy strives to help her clients realize all three. “It’s not just the product you're taking home, it’s the pampering, the love and friendship, and the confidence that lasts beyond the session.” Find Boudoir by Tracy Brown on Instagram.
Photographer: Tianna Yentzer, owner of Yours Truly Portraiture
Location: Norfolk, VA
Tianna’s studio focuses on body positivity and showcasing every woman in her best, most natural light. To Tianna, boudoir photography is all about “empowering women to gain confidence in who they are, love themselves the way they are, & inspire them in true unashamed beauty through the artistry of photography.” Find Yours Truly Portraiture on Instagram.
Tip #1: Always, always use a professional photographer
For this kind of photography, you might feel vulnerable or self-conscious, which can show in your pictures. You might be worried that you won’t look pretty or that you’re not in the best shape. Ease these tensions from the start by choosing a professional, experienced boudoir photographer. The photographers that specialize in boudoir know what they’re doing, and they know how to make you feel your best.
“I post my clients from head to toe so they don’t have to worry about where to put their hands or how to position themselves,” says Tracy. “A professional photographer knows the angles and the placement to show a woman in her best light.”
Likewise Tianna has an eye for the beauty in the curves of the body. “My craft is all about finding the sensuality and the artistry in the body. The women that come to my studio are doing this mostly for themselves. I want each women to look at these photos and know that they represent her at her best.”
Booking a professional is the best way to ensure you receive the product you want: killer photos that make you feel great!.Yes, hiring a professional is going to be more expensive than soliciting your friend who has recently taken up photography on the side, but you’re paying for the experience, the professionalism, and the end result. You won’t regret throwing down a little extra cash for a top notch experience.
Tip #2: Let someone else handle your hair and makeup
Both Tracy and Tianna work with makeup artists and hair stylists to help clients look their best the day of the shoot. If the photographer you work with doesn’t offer these services as part of the experience, consider looking into hiring your own. The last thing you want is a lopsided cat-eye or untamable frizz the day of your shoot. These mishaps tend to ruin your mood and make you anxious, and hiring a stylist is an easy way to stop a problem before it starts.
You also want to choose a photographer who has your style in mind. For Tianna, a natural look is best. “I want my clients to look at these photos and see themselves. I don’t want them to see their beauty shine through, so I think natural hair and makeup looks the most beautiful.”
Tracy, on the other hand, has no real preference, but she does think a makeup artist is important. “A professional makeup artist is going to know how to create a look that will show up well in the photos, which will make the client feel great.”
Both photographers offer a consultation with the makeup artist before the shoot. This way, the client can share their goals for the shoot, and the makeup artist can make sure the service they provide meets the needs of the client. This is a great way to make sure there are no surprises on the day of the shoot, which eases your mind and brings down the anxiety level.
Tip #3: Bring multiple outfits and consider something outside the box
For most shoots, you’ll have the opportunity to change your outfit, which adds variety and character to the final product. Many photographers offer a set number of outfit changes within their pricing models, but you definitely want to have at least two. If you are new to lingerie and not sure where to get started, don’t hesitate to ask questions. “It’s important to bring a few outfits that flatter the body type,” suggests Tracy. If you don’t know what might flatter your body-type, reach out and ask. An experienced professional can make suggestions.
Tianna’s studio has a selection of outfits to choose from if you don’t have your own. “My girls can choose an outfit I have in house, or they can bring their own. I do suggest light, neutral, or black for their outfits though. I do this because I think bright or bold colors take away from the subject, which is the client herself. I want the focus to be more on her and less on her outfit.”
When it comes to outfits, you don’t have to feel like the thongs, garters, and padded bras are the only options to achieve a sexy or sensual look. Fitted bodysuits, rompers, pajama sets— even a men’s button-down can work. Do you feel great in your simple, Calvin Klein bra and boyshorts? Bring them. The job of the professional you’re working with is to make you look and feel your best no matter what outfit you bring to the table. A great boudoir photographer can help you create the look you want with just a simple tee and panties if that’s what you want to wear.
Tip #4: Feel your best in your skin with a couple of tricks
The goal of a boudoir shoot is to make you feel beautiful and sexy. With a few easy suggestions, you can feel your best in your own skin. “Hydration is really important,” says Tracy. “It really affects the skin so I advise my girls to drink lots of water in the weeks leading up to the shoot to bring out a natural glow. A tan is always great, too, because who doesn’t feel better with a tan?”
Instead of a spray tan, you might opt for a lotion like St. Tropez Gradual Tan Everyday Tinted Body Lotion. The lotion adds a natural tint to your skin to achieve that perfect summer-style glow.
Tianna suggests staying away from salty foods the week before the shoot. “Lots of fruits and veggies are great to reduce bloating, which makes a woman feel great, too.”
Tip #5: Relax and trust the process!
A little anxiety and self-consciousness is pretty normal when getting ready for a boudoir shoot. After all, you’re about to drop down to the bare minimum in front of a stranger. Luckily, the professionals account for this, and they make every effort to ensure you feel your best and have a great session. “My girls spend about an hour or two in hair and makeup before they get to me, and after a good amount of pampering, they’re usually pretty relaxed, but if not, I always offer a little wine and food during the shoot.”
Some photographers try a more hands-on approach. Tracy knows that on average, her clients will take about 30-45 minutes before they feel comfortable, so she builds a little ice-breaking into her shoots. “I have a series of poses that are really flattering that I start out with, and while shooting these, I strike up a conversation with my clients,” says Tracy. “I let them see the first few shots. They see that they can trust me to make them look great, and that helps them relax.”
Whatever your reason for a boudoir photo shoot— whether you’re gifting the photos to someone or just wanting to feel beautiful in your own skin— a professional photographer can help you achieve the look you want. A boudoir shoot should be a positive experience. Research the photographers thoroughly, ask questions, and make sure you’re comfortable with the professional you choose.
Have you done a boudoir shoot before? Do you have any other tips to share? We’d love to hear them. Add your tips in the comments below! If you want to try on a few outfits without the pressure of an in-store experience, let our professional stylists curate the perfect outfits for you.