Updated: Jun 11, 2019
Hi everyone. I'm Michael. I'm womens portrait and boudoir photographer from New Jersey who works with woman from all over my state, as well as the NYC and Philly areas. I've photographed hundreds of women over the years, and what I've learned is that the smallest details can really push your session to the next level.
Feeling a bit lost in the whole "getting ready" process? You're not alone! Getting prepared can be tough to do when you're not exactly sure what you'll need. Not only that-- sometimes clients wait till the last minute to prepare for their boudoir shoot, and may not quite know where to even begin! If you're lucky, you may get a bit of help, as some photographers provide their clients with some guidance in the form of a "prep guide," but many, sadly, do not.
Fear not! I'm here to help. And it's easier than you think. There are a few essentials that every woman should bring along to their boudoir session, many of which you already have.
Boudoir need not be complicated. Your session is about having fun-- so leave the worry behind, and keep it simple. With only a few simple items, you can have the session of the century. ---Everything else is just a bonus.
I've created a list of 6 items every woman should bring along to their boudoir session. These are some essentials basic items which are the foundation of any boudoir session.
By gathering up these few items, you'll have a great foundation and nothing will be lacking for your session. Got extra time and money to bring in a few more after you've rounded these up? Great!
Let's take a look at a few of my session essentials...
Jeans, really? Yes, Jeans! One of the most versatile item you can bring along to your session is something you have around home that you use every day-- your favorite jeans! I've had my clients bring jeans with them for years, and with good reason.
Everyone looks good in jeans. Jeans are an item everyone has, and not only that, they really do look great in boudoir photos. Jeans? Yes! Jeans! Jean and a bra, or jeans and a tank are a cute look for photos. They can even be work alone.
They are great for both standing shots, and while laying down. Why are jeans so great in photos? I think they are a familiar item which to which everyone can relate. They are comfy, personable, and when used in the right way-- even sexy.
Bring along those jeans... BUT please leave the "Mom" jeans and the "high waisted" jeans at home.
Heels are another necessary item for your session. Don't have any? See if you can borrow a pair, or head out to your local shoe warehouse and pick up a sexy pair of black heels.
They are great with almost any lingerie outfit-- and even jeans, as we noted above.
Heels add the flavor of refinement and sensuality to poses.
Fishnet stockings have come on super strong over the past few years as a boudoir accessory, and with good reason. They are super seductive and when photographed right, can bring your session to a whole new level.
Most women don't have these laying around home (or maybe you do!) but they are an easy purchase these days. I typically have a few pairs in my gear bag for clients, and one of my favorite pairs can be purchased easily on Amazon.
Note that these tend to come in multiple hole sizes, typically from small to large-- with, what I've found, no consistency from brand to brand. I tend to stick with the medium and large size holes.
4. Necklaces, Bracelets & Ear Rings
Necklaces, bracelets & ear rings add that extra finishing touch that really add to a photo. Many boudoir photo may only be you in undies... so a necklace or bracelet can really add a bit of extra interest to a photo.
What I've found is that many clients rush out the morning of their sessions and forget their jewelry accessories.
There is no need to go crazy here, but I'd say bring at least one necklace, one pair of ear rings, and a few bracelets in your session.
They don't need to be fancy or expensive, either. I've kept black plastic beads and faux plastic pearls on hand for years. If a clients forgets their own jewelry or I see a situation where they will look great I grab them!
Those are just inexpensive blacks beads I bought in Ebay (I think) years ago...and have gotten tons and tons of use out of them.
5. Black Bra Sets
Black bra sets are the staple of boudoir! When all else fails you should have at least this item with you.
These are the universal "must-bring" for your session. They are great for all sorts of standing and lay-down type poses. Not only that, if you are a fan of black & white-- this will give you the best look for your black & white images. (Color can look a little quirky sometimes when converted.)
Also, this is an item that all women have handy! One tip though, leave the t-shirt and "casual" styles at home. Boudoir is about being cute and sexy...so bring in your lace favorites.
6. Bra Inserts
Yes! Bra inserts...what a great boost! In case you aren't aware of this little secret-- let me change your universe. Years ago I had woman come in for a session who brought some along, and wow, what a difference! Since then, I've always had a few sets with me for my clients to use.
Bra inserts come in several sizes, so you can pick the size that work best for your body and shape. Simply slip them in your bra for your session, and boom! a new you. They really can add an extra bit of voluptuousness, especially for boudoir... where accentuating curves are important.
When you're all done, back in the bag they go. They are a simple and inexpensive way to give your self a bit of a boost for your session, and well worth the investment.
You can easily find them online in that $20 - $40 range-- and they are not only for your boudoir session!