8 Things You Need to Know About Boudoir Photography

From pin-up calendars to anniversary gifts, these classy, sensual photos are taking the world by storm. Intimate sessions can create soft, romantic, and sometimes naughty portraits that will make a woman, or sometimes man, feel beautiful and sexy.

The boudoir photography follows many of the same rules as portrait photography. Making the client comfortable, finding the proper lighting and having the right equipment are key to creating a masterpiece. Try these eight tips to run a successful boudoir session.

The Client

Comfort is Key

A boudoir session is very private and intimate. While some women have no problem being outgoing and opening up, some may find it intimidating. Helping your client open up by discussing the shoot beforehand could be very helpful.


Some photographers like to create a brief questionnaire for their client to fill out to help gain insight into their personality. Talking with your client face-to-face prior to the session could also help put her mind at ease.

Having water and a few small snacks on hand might help give the studio a cozier feel and help your client to open up. Anything you can do to put your client at ease will help the session run smoothly.

A Variety of Styles

Often, a client will ask for requests regarding the outfits to bring. Ensure her that it should be something comfortable. Wearing something too far out of her comfort zone will drastically affect the outcome of the portraits.

Have her choose something flattering that properly fits and reflects her style. This could be anything from lingerie to an oversized button-down shirt, as long as she’s comfortable.

In the Studio

Evoke Emotion

No one wants a dull, dead-behind-the-eyes photo to commemorate their photo shoot. That being said, the look of sheer terror, like a deer in headlights, isn’t ideal either.


By learning more about your client’s personality, you can help create a natural sense of enjoyment during the shoot. If she becomes overwhelmed, stop and take a break, relax, and refocus.


Help your client loosen up by starting with basic poses, like sitting on her knees or lying on her back or side. It helps to let her keep her hands busy by playing on her hair or gripping a pillow. When she is comfortable, you can move on to more complex shots.

Think Ahead

Sometimes, life happens. No matter how prepared you are a pair of stockings may run, a corset may rip, and clothing may slip. Being prepared for any type of wardrobe malfunction can turn a good photographer into a great photographer. Try to keep an emergency kit on hand with extra stockings, fashion tape, and a small emergency sewing kit.

The Equipment


While natural lighting is the most flattering, it is not always attainable. If possible, have your client pose near a window.



If needed, reflectors and flags can be used to manipulate natural lighting. Failing natural light, using a colourama backdrop and a single studio light can yield complimentary shadows.

The Props

Boudoir photography does not require dozens of wardrobe changes and a surplus of props. A simple chair with a textured blanket, throw pillows, costume jewelry, or rose petals will suffice.

The Lens

Using a lens with an exposure triangle works best for these types of sessions. Controlling light, along with movement and depth is very important. A versatile lens could offer you a range of options, from full body to headshots.