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11 Questions You Were Too Embarrassed To Ask Your Boudoir Photographer.

Updated: May 13

a boudoir photo of a woman laying in bed in black lingerie

So, you've been thinking about taking the plunge and doing a boudoir session for an upcoming anniversary or wedding? You're not alone! Boudoir photography is certainly a growing gift idea for several reasons, not to mention it's blast to create. Even though boudoir photography has gone mainstream, people still often have questions about the process.

I've been photographing women for a long time, and I've probably seen and heard it all. As fun as boudoir may be, it's still not every day women are shed their clothes in front a photographer they really don't know. Not only that, due to the intimate nature of this style of photography, potential clients may also have questions about the process, that, well, may be awkward or may seem a bit personal to ask.

No worries. I've compiled a list of questions you may have been wondering about boudoir, but were a bit embarrassed to ask. so let's get started.

Q1: Do I have to get naked for a boudoir session?

This is a topic that comes up from time to time, and the simple answer is no. Although boudoir sessions mostly take place in lingerie, but there is no requirement in any boudoir shoot for nudity. One of the best parts of a session is it's a great excuse to head out and buy some new outfits, but in general, boudoir is more about beauty than nudity. The key is to wear outfits in which your are comfortable and have a great time.

Nudity certainly can be involved in sessions, and although I don't keep statistics, I'd say about 1 in 3 sessions have some form of nudity in the session. What does that mean? Well, there are certainly lots of fun shots which may include bare bodies in some way or form.

Additionally, there are lots of cute shots that have more of an "implied" nudity. What does that mean? Well, for an example, see below. Shots with implied nudity are typically where they client may be nude (to some extent), however, she is using sheets, or arms, or the angle of the shot to sort of cover parts of the body. In this manner, a client can get a "nude" shot...without really exposing parts to the camera.

Nudity is not your thing? No problem. In a boudoir session, though, it's as fine to go as bare as you dare. Boobs, booties, and even sexy shots with total nudity are all part of the boudoir scene. Want to zazz up your album a bit by taking it off? No problem.

a black and white boudoir  photo of a woman in bed

Q2: Do I have to change in front of people?

No. In my personal case, clients have a private room to spread out their belongings, get changed, and even have a private restroom. Typically, a private changing area would be provided in most instances.

Check in with your photographer on what kind of accommodations he/she may provide.

Q3: Do I have to bring my own lingerie to a boudoir session? Or is it provided?

Well, this is a instance where you'd have to query the individual photographer you may be using. I, personally do not. I may occasionally bring along a few sheer robes (which are typically used for women who'd like the idea of a nude type shot... without going all the way...) or perhaps another piece of lingerie I thought would look cute in a shot.

My thoughts on this topic are that women come in so many shapes and sizes, its very difficult to provide outfits for everyone. Additionally, and this may just be me, but the idea of sharing lingerie-- well, seems is bit, I don't know-- would leave people feeling a bit strange knowing the outfit has been worn over and over....

That's just my opinion, however. I do know of photographers who provide whole clothing racks of items which clients can use during their sessions. So, I guess this is a matter of what someone's personal preference is on the subject.

Q4: How are women grooming these days for boudoir?

Um, well, as a man my observations here can hardly be classified as solid empirical evidence, but I think in general we live in a fairly hairless era. Although your pubic area isn't exactly front and center in boudoir photos... there are certainly some shots where it may play a supporting role...

There may be certain shots taken while you're standing where undies are pulled down on one side or another, or others taken while you're laying down where undies may be pulled down, and well, you may be on display a little more than usual... (and in my experience these are typically client favorites that wind up in their albums!) It pays to be prepared!

a woman in red lingerie laying in bed

Does this mean everything must go? Absolutely not. Whichever your personal styling preference, the key here is preparation. Although getting this area in a photo isn't for everyone, more and more session do tend to include teasing shots that may include some geography below the equator.

Q5: Do I have to wear tons of makeup for a boudoir session? Makeup, yes. Most women do not have an issue here, however I do hear from time to time client stating they don't regularly wear makeup and want a natural look with little to no makeup. This is one area where I tend to step in and push the issue a little bit-- my wonderful makeup artists know how I am :-)

Professional makeup is essential to the final look and feel of a boudoir session. I always ask clients if they have viewed my galleries...and if "overdone" makeup was an issue that glared out at them. The answer is always, no.