7 Easy Steps to Your Boudoir Photo Shoot

Everyone’s Doing It!

Boudoir photography is becoming increasingly popular with women of all ages, shapes and sizes – including brides! A boudoir album and breathtaking wall art make a perfect gift, but the timing for your boudoir photo shoot needs to be planned right so that you achieve your goals and get everything in time. Here are some simple guidelines to make your boudoir session a success!

boudoir photo shoot brunette in purple lingerie with pink angel wings

1. The Pre-Game Plan – Choosing a Boudoir Photographer

When you started considering a boudoir photo shoot, you probably scoured the Internet, looking at photographs on social media, and comparing prices. True boudoir photography takes skill, experience, the right gear, good lighting, and a great personality, so this is NOT the type of photography to skimp on. You want gorgeous images and a really good, professional boudoir photographer, so you’re going to pay a decent amount of money.  My average boudoir client spends around $3,500 – my collections start at $800 and most clients invest thousands in prints and luxury products.  I’ve yet to hear any of them voice regret.  Occasionally, I’ll get a call from a prospective client who doesn’t want to spend more than $250, because her friend did a session she bought on Groupon.  My response is: “You get what you pay for, and I wouldn’t take my clothes off for someone who only charges $250.”  For real.

So what are the things you should look for in a boudoir photographer?

First, visit their website and check out the work.  Does their style match what you’re looking for?  Do their clients look gorgeous?  Is their photography flattering for all body types?  What about wardrobe, hair and makeup?  If you don’t like the styling… if everyone looks like it’s 1993 and you’re getting the feeling something isn’t right, move on.

Next, read their reviews.  Check out their web site for testimonials.  Ideally, you have a friend who worked with an awesome boudoir photographer and can get a referral. (check out my studio’s reviews HERE.)

Then, set up a consultation.  I personally speak with every potential client prior to their booking a photo session. (You can schedule your free consultation HERE.)It’s the best way to get a feel for personality and to share my creative approach, and I can really help them start planning their session.  I ask questions like, “What’s your/your partner’s favorite part of your body?”  “Is there anything you would like to de-emphasize?” “What would you like to accentuate?”  We also talk in depth about wardrobe and schedule an in-person wardrobe consultation to better understand what would look best on them, the styles to help them to achieve their goals of the type of images they would like to have, and how to bring both personality and emotion to their photos, as well as the kind of music they like, to fully customize their session.  

Boudoir is an incredibly personal type of photography, so you really need to be comfortable with your photographer. Be sure to sign a contract/photography agreement.  NEVER work with a photographer that doesn’t have a contract as you will subject yourself to potential legal problems and your privacy will not be protected. Plus, it’s unprofessional.  I require contracts so everyone knows what to expect and is protected.

2. Timing Your Boudoir Session

When doing a boudoir photo shoot as a gift–groom’s gift, anniversary gift, holiday gift, etc–timing is very important.  If you need your album in two weeks and you haven’t had your session yet, it’s not going to happen.  Most boudoir photographers need six to eight weeks from the time of the session to album and wall art delivery.  I require a minimum of six weeks.  So ask your photographer what they need, then work with them on choosing a date.  If you’re hiring a stylist for hair and makeup, decide if you’re going to use the photographer’s stylist, or if you’re going to use someone else, and book them as well. Be sure to ask your photographer if they allow outside stylists in their studio. My clients typically work with my stylist, and those beauty services are part of the overall experience we deliver, but if you want to hire your own stylist, I’m very flexible. Allow for two hours in the hair and makeup chair.

3. Planning the Perfect Boudoir Wardrobe & Styling

Once you’ve chosen a date, it’s time to pick out what you’re going to wear and how you’re going to have your hair and makeup done!  This is the fun part!  I mean, what woman doesn’t like to play on Pinterest and shop?  

By far, the most helpful step to planning a knock-out boudoir photo shoot is nailing your wardrobe, and we do that together, as mentioned above, at your in-person wardrobe consultation. You’ll also get to check out our Luxe Closet and all the fun, glam props, red-bottom stilettos and jewelry you might want to use for your session. We send tons of helpful tips via email as the date of your session approaches, and my team is always available to answer questions. (For more ideas about outfit planning, check out my previous BLOG posts.)

4. Two Days Before Your Boudoir Session

This is the time for personal grooming.  Here’s a list of things to consider:

Waxing – you know if you need more time for your skin to calm down, so plan accordingly

Spray tanning – I usually say NO. SPRAY. TAN.  But if you must…be sure to get a very natural color, and go to someone good! Allow enough time so that your “tan” doesn’t rub off on your photographer’s sets. Mine are mostly white, so this is important. I will charge you if you stain my sets. :/

Eyebrow shaping

Manicure/Pedicure (show your nail artist photos of your outfits) Pale, neutral colors are best, and short, manicured nails are perfect.

Root touch up on hair color if needed

Start drinking a ton of water with lemon juice to get rid of bloat

Make sure you have all your outfits, shoes, and accessories; do any last-minute shopping.

5. The Day of Your Boudoir Session

Here’s a checklist of what to do right before your boudoir session:

Shave unwanted body hair – do this the day before, if you know your skin needs a little extra time to settle down.

Exfoliate and moisturize face and body

Wash and dry hair, no product other than leave-in conditioner

Wear loose-fitting clothes and avoid anything that can leave lines, like tight socks.

Pack your wardrobe; plan on bringing more outfits, shoes, and accessories than you’ll need.

Be on time.

Expect to be nervous. That’s normal.  When I did my boudoir session, I was so nervous I couldn’t stop sweating!  It was terrible and I didn’t know what was happening until my photographer said, “It’s just your nerves.  It’s okay, it’ll stop.”  And it did. Once we started shooting, I totally relaxed and got into it. That always happens with my clients.  Everyone says within fifteen minutes of starting photography, they got comfortable and started having fun.

Many clients say, “I don’t know how to pose…  Will you guide me?”  Yes!  It’s your photographer’s job to pose you so you look your best.  Your job is to have fun!  Expect to have a two hour session, including outfit changes.  The poses can hurt, especially when you’re on tippy toes, arching your back, and engaging your ab muscles while in heels.  There’s a saying in the business, “The more it hurts, the better it looks!” My clients tell me it feels like doing Yoga, but you’ll never have to hold a pose for very long, and you’ll notice the difference in you images.  

6. What to Expect After Your Boudoir Session

Every photographer has different policies and timelines, so be sure to ask your photographer what to expect after your session.  I’m going to explain how I do things so you get a general idea of my process.

The day of your boudoir session, I shoot with my digital camera and show you the back of the camera from time to time, so you get to immediately see what we’re creating!  (When you see how great you look, it’s an incredible boost for your confidence!)  

When we’re done shooting, you get dressed in the bedroom and pack your things.  Then we sit down and select a date – usually 7-10 days after your session, for your ordering appointment.

After you leave, I go through your images to select the very best ones from your shoot, and then I begin the process of retouching your images, resulting in magazine-quality photos.

The day of your ordering appointment you’ll view your images, one by one, until we’ve reached your final selections. From there, we’ll look at all the album collections, folio boxes and wall art available to you and I’ll help you make a decision on your investment.  

Within a few hours, I’ll provide a proof of your album, and then I’ll order all of your products from my suppliers and print labs. If you choose a collection that includes digital products, they are delivered the same day that payment is made. Albums and wall art generally take about three weeks to be delivered.

7. Now That You Know…

You’ve got the roadmap to a successful boudoir session, so let’s get going!  Stop putting it off, thinking, “If I could just lose this last ten pounds…”  Boudoir is about celebrating your natural beauty, not perfection.  Every woman is beautiful…right now.  Go for it!

boudoir photo shoot brunette wrapped in white sheet