How to prepare for a SUCCESSFUL Boudoir Photoshoot
Updated: Jan 4
The 7 Must-Do Things to focus on before a Boudoir Photoshoot that most photographers don't talk about.
I am sure you didn't wake up one morning and decided to do a boudoir photoshoot. You probably have fantasized about it for a LONG time, maybe even years! I know this because I have photographed over 3000 women and ALL of them have been waiting for the right time, the right occasion, the right relationship, a special birthday or anniversary, waited to get in shape, lose weight or get a mommy makeover....
And when you finally decide it is time to get out of your comfort zone and step in front of the camera to take sexy boudoir shoots, suddenly your heart starts pounding and your inner critic makes you wonder if this is a good idea...
"...What if you don't look good in boudoir photos? What if all my body imperfections are obvious in the images? What if I can't pose or look sexy? What if I end up feeling worse about myself after taking pictures.....?"
And the list goes on and on....looking for reasons to "talk yourself out of doing a boudoir photoshoot"
I know EXACTLY how you feel. Not only have I photographed over 3000 women since 2007, but I have been stepping in front of the camera myself since I was 38 and well into my 50s as I write this blog post.
So I want to share the LESS THAN OBVIOUS tips that I hardly see any other boudoir photo studio talk about besides the most obvious "technical things" so, here we go!
ONE: DO YOUR RESEARCH AND PICK A QUALIFIED PHOTOGRAPHER
You could be the most beautiful woman with an incredible body and end up very disappointed with your images if you work with an inexperienced photographer that doesn't show quality boudoir images of real women who represent your age and body type in her/his portfolio.
If you are looking for an exceptional experience and high quality photography, you must do your research and invest in an experienced professional. You can show up completely unprepared for your shoot and the photographer should be able to still get you ready and create beautiful images of you (that is an extreme case of course).
It happened to me once, I had a client that came straight to the studio from the hospital because she didn't want to miss her session. It was my job to get her ready and have enough lingerie, shoes and accessories for her session and she ended up getting a 15 image collection at the end!
If you are not fully prepared, your photographer should. If you feel you are not photogenic, or feel you won't look good in boudoir photos because you are too big, too small, too tall, too short, too awkward, too....fill in the blank...STOP! The best boudoir photographers near you should be capable of handling ANYTHING and make you look like a model in your boudoir images.
Check out boudoir galleries for different photographers and look for the ones who have women in their websites who look like you, have a similar body type, ethnicity and age range. If you like how those women look, you will be making the right decision by selecting that boudoir photographer for your own shoot.
TWO: DECIDE THE REAL REASON WHY YOU WANT TO DO A BOUDOIR PHOTOSHOOT
You might think this is has nothing to do with how to prepare for a boudoir shoot but on the contrary, it is super important because your emotional reason to do a boudoir shoot will determine your level of satisfaction on the final images and experience. You could be in the best shape of your life and be super prepared with outfits and fresh hair color for your session, it won't make a difference if emotionally you are not prepared for the outcome you desire, how you want to feel after you see yourself in those images.
Wanting few sexy photos for your boyfriend is a VERY DIFFERENT reason than wanting to feel beautiful and sexy if you are turning 50 and feel you are getting old, or if you were left feeling less than good enough after your husband cheated, or your body changed after having babies or gaining weight....
Doing a boudoir shoot is a very emotional experience for ANY woman regardless of the reason, however, if you are doing it to get approval, love, attention, recognition, commitment, fidelity, proposal, validation....you are up for a HUGE disappointment and here is why...
Men see women from a different glass. If you have been told by your husband that you are beautiful and loves you just as you are even after babies or getting older, he is seeing you through the lens of LOVE. While you are seeing yourself through the lens of self-judgment and criticism. Men don't want perfect bodies, they want perfect love and to be desired by his wife as much as he desires her. He will appreciate the pictures but what he truly wants is for you to be in touch with yourself and your body. Men find body confidence more attractive than sexy lingerie regardless of body type or size, while women, very understandably, feel more confident when they feel good about their bodies.
So ask yourself this question: Does it really matter what my body looks like as long as I feel great about me and my body?
Boudoir is the perfect experience for a woman to feel good about herself and her body and you should do a boudoir photoshoot for you first, to embrace who you are and feel comfortable in your own skin. Then you can share the images with your husband so that when he sees the images, the real you, your confidence, MATCHES what he sees in the photos.
THREE: BE READY TO INVEST IN YOURSELF AND NOT CUT CORNERS.
Most likely, you won't be doing a boudoir session often so DO IT RIGHT. Quality boudoir photography, lingerie and professional makeup come with a price tag. Save for this experience if you need to but don't expect to get glammed up, work with the best boudoir photographer in your area and have a luxury album with 20 to 30 images for few hundred dollars. The best boudoir photographers in your area will have boudoir packages in the thousands of dollars. My boudoir packages start at $1000 but hardly anyone invests that, my own clients invest an average of $3500 in their boudoir images. Check out my boudoir packages here.
FOUR: SHOP FOR THE BEST LINGERIE FOR YOUR BODY TYPE
Most women do not have model bodies, in fact, most of my clients are mature women over 40 and plus size women. They have had babies, weight fluctuations, their bodies are not the same than in their 20s and many have gone through surgeries, disease or accidents that have left them with scars.
Lingerie is a TOOL to make your body look it's best in boudoir photos by providing support, coverage and shaping. There are 11 essential pieces of lingerie that you can shop for and are the best for a boudoir photoshoot. I created a very comprehensive Lingerie Guide that shows these 11 pieces in real women during their boudoir sessions that show how they look in different body types.
This guide shows you tips on how to style your lingerie and the essential accessories to make your lingerie work for your body type. It also has a curated list of lingerie brands and online lingerie boutiques that I have found have great lingerie for a boudoir session, great prices and go from size extra small to plus sizes going up to XXXL for beautiful plus size boudoir photography.
FIVE: GET YOUR BODY READY
Getting your body ready can mean a lot of things for different women, from working out to tone your body, to just getting a good night sleep. Unless you focus on a 3 to 6 month workout and nutrition program to tone your body and lose 10 to 20 pounds in weight, it WON'T make a difference for the camera if you didn't lose those extra 5 pounds. As a matter of fact, you shouldn't have to lose weight for your shoot. I am a strong believer of loving your body at any weight, especially when it is out of shape.
After I had knee surgery I gained about 20 pounds and I decided to do a boudoir shoot at my heaviest in years and those are the images that to this day, I have hanging on my wall to remind me to love my body at any weight not just when I am in shape.
So, trust the process and don't stress yourself about your weight, just do it!
Boudoir poses are designed to enhances your assets, dissimulate things that are distracting and slim you down. In the same way, lingerie that has been carefully selected for your boudoir shoot will slim you 10 pounds instantly.
The things that you MUST NOT overlook to get your body ready are things like:
Coloring your hair, especially your roots at least a week ahead to avoid having stain on your scalp
Having your hair clean, dry and ready for styling. Dirty and oily hair will not produce the best hair styling so, wash it the night before and make sure it is not wet when you arrive to your studio.
Doing your nails with a neutral or complimentary color
A good night sleep
Lots of water for at least 24 hours prior to your session
Shaving, waxing or sugaring your body
Having a light meal the day of your session to avoid being bloated
Lots of face moisturizer
Proper and timely tanning of your skin
If you have your favorite lipstick color, bring it with you. It will be easier to use than to try to match the exact color.
Take an antihistaminic the morning of your session if you have ANY type of allergy or sensitivity to makeup and just in case, bring red-eye drops.
SIX: CLEAR YOUR SCHEDULE AND BE ON TIME
Doing a boudoir photoshoot is something you don't do everyday. You should see it as a special day FOR YOU and you deserve a little TLC so don't rush and preferably take the day off to really enjoy the experience.
Getting you ready for your photoshoot with professional hair and makeup, the shooting time and viewing your images without rushing requires your time and your attention. Expect to spend four to five hours at your boudoir shoot to get the most of your boudoir experience.
Making the final selection of your images might be the longest process and can be up to an hour and a half to two hours, really! You don't want to rush this part, you must dedicate the time to truly appreciate each image, make comparisons and deciding which images you like the most for your final boudoir album. This is a fun and empowering time and I personally like to have wine and snacks to make it an enjoyable experience. Bring some snacks for after your photoshoot, you will be hungry!
In the same way, plan your driving time so you are not running late. Your photographer might not have a conflict by starting later but most likely, your makeup artist will. Most makeup artists are freelancers and have appointments at different places during the day. Getting you camera ready can take over one hour and if you are running late and the makeup artist has to leave at a certain time, she will not be able to do her best work on you due to the lack of time. I can't stress enough this part because good hair and makeup are the most important elements for a successful boudoir photoshoot so, plan to be on time or a little early so you have time to wind down, relax and truly enjoy the experience.
SEVEN: COMUNICATE WITH YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER
I finally want to talk about something I never see other photographers talk about in their blogs and that is COMMUNICATION. There have been several instances that if I hadn't asked the right questions prior, during and after the session, some conflict might have arisen.
The most common lack of communications that can happen are:
The style of photos you expect. If you have samples of images you love and found on other photographers sites, you can't expect your photographer to produce the same image, rather an interpretation of that image and at the end it might not work for you. What is best is to let your photographer do what she/he does best and at the end, try the concepts you want.
Not being honest about your hair and makeup, styling of your lingerie or jewelry pieces selected because you don't want to hurt anyone's feelings. If you don't like a lip color, how your lingerie looks on you or a piece of jewelry that is too much for your taste, speak up before the photoshoot starts. Those are things that CANNOT be photoshopped out and should be corrected BEFORE the shoot starts so, don't be shy and speak up. Also, trust your photographer on making your outfits work for your photoshoot even if you don't feel they do.
If there are poses in your photographers website that you love, take a screen shoot and show them to her/him. That is what she/he does all the time so getting you those particular poses that are very important to you should be a personal request. Don't assume you will get all the poses you see in the website, ask. Your photographer can't read your mind. If you want nudes, ask for it. If you have a favorite lingerie outfit, tell her it is your favorite so it gets more attention.
If you have an idea of the final product you want to have in your hands, a boudoir album, prints or wall portraits, it is a good idea to communicate this with your photographer. If you want to display your images on a wall, depending on the size, you might want a vertical vs a horizontal image. If you have a particular pose that you'd love to see displayed on that wall, the photographer needs to know in order to shoot in the right ratio, vertical or horizontal, in order to fit that wall.
If you have a deadline to get your final images, TELL your photographer. Retouching and album design take time and you are not the only client, there is probably a schedule for working on images and can be weeks after your session. Inform of a desired delivery date so you are not disappointed later.
Review your final image selection and understand that if you decide to exchange images later, your photographer most likely will charge you a fee since time has been spent retouching your initial image selection. If you have any doubts about your selection or want your spouse to review them with you, ask for an online gallery right away to review and exchange images BEFORE any retouching is started.
I have been doing boudoir photography since 2007 and worked with over 3000 women by now so the seven recommendations above is what I consider are most important to have a successful boudoir experience and be thrilled about your images. Your mental state, communication, proper shopping and selecting a good photographer will beat anything else you might do to prepare for your boudoir session.
If you are ready to book your boudoir photoshoot with me, you can start HERE.
DID YOU ENJOY THIS BLOG AND FOUND IT USEFUL?
SHOW ME SOME LOVE BY CLICKING THE ❤️ BELOW ⬇️
⬇️SHARE IN SOCIAL MEDIA ⬇️