Updated: Jun 18, 2019
Hi everyone. My name is Michael, and I'm an expert boudoir photographer who works with women from all over New Jersey and the NYC area who are looking for amazing photography. It's my thing!
I've photographed lots of boudoir sessions, and the amazing part is how its still growing in popularity year after year as a gift idea. --And why not?! It's literally one of the most fun experiences you can have creating a gift. Although boudoir is fun, it still can involve a bit of preparation to get the most out of your session.
Have you been thinking of giving boudoir as a gift to your significant other? We'll, you're in the right place. I thought I'd take a few moments and put together a few expert boudoir tips to help you set out and win your boudoir session.
In no particular order, below are some great tips to help you get the most from your boudoir shoot.
Tip 1: Just Fave Fun!
I'd estimate 98% of the women I work with have never had a boudoir session before. --And that's perfectly OK! Actually, as an experienced professional, I'd much rather prefer my clients have no experience in front of a camera.
Most women are not born natural models, and it's my job as the photographer to make you feel and look that way. Although there is a lot of behind-the-scenes technical work going on behind the camera, in my book, rule number one is to always make sure my client is having a great time and enjoying themselves.
Many women will only wind up doing something like this once, so relax and just have fun with it. Everyone has a bit of nerves at the beginning, but if you're working with a competent professional, you'll see these jitters are short lived, and soon forgotten. I can tell you first hand that many of my clients have such a great time I can't get them out of the building after the session is done! They want to shoot more outfits and keep on going.
And remember-- No one is perfect. Don't sweat the small stuff. Boudoir is one of the rare experiences where you walk away feeling invigorated and like a new person! Forget the minor imperfections-- in this magical day and age photographers have a fancy tool called Photoshop that zaps away all the lumps and bumps-- so just smile and enjoy the experience. ...After all, rolling around in your underwear isn't really a very serious thing, is it?
Tip 2: Add A Personal Touch!
Do something to make your session your own. Although my boudoir work is fairly traditional, I still encourage my clients to bring along fun props to make their session their own.
Take a few moments in the process of preparing to think of an item or two that may be a personal favorite of yours or your boyfriend/husband/partner.
Are you coming in for a wedding boudoir session? Bring your wedding veil, garters, bridal lingerie, shoes, etc..
For those looking to take it up a notch: handcuffs, restraints, blind folds, etc,
Other popular props are sports jerseys, hats, husbands work shirts, uniforms. -You get the idea! They are typically not going to be a bulk of your photos-- at least not for me, anyway, but it is fun to include a photo or two to create that intimate connection to the recipient and make it a super personal experience.
Yeah, Mike, but my item I'm thinking of bringing may be a bit odd...help?! Hmm, well, let me tell you, it's probably not anything I (or your photographer) haven't dealt with before!
Along the same lines, its likely your photographer has seen just as many unique props pass through their doorways and will be just fine with it. Just a small example of some of the items I've had clients bring in include: Live snakes, whips, authentic super hero shields, Star Wars light sabers, baked goods, super hero costumes, and the list goes on and on...
The bottom line is bring it! (...And keep tip #1 in mind.) If you don't like the way the shot turns out, don't put it in your book.
Tip 3: Find The Right Photographer!
I've written lots of blog posts over the years about finding the right studio. It's an important step in getting top notch results and having a pleasurable experience from beginning to end.
Take your time and do your homework here. I know it's the opposite of how you are programmed to shop-- but focus on shopping by quality, not the lowest price you can find. Hunting around hours to find the lowest session price in your area doesn't make you the "winner"... and sadly you will often wind up the "loser" in many such situations. Why? You can read some of my extensive advice on this subject on my article Why choosing the lowest priced photographer will be your biggest mistake here. --Just....don't... do...it.
Boudoir photography skills and results vary wildly from photographer to photographer. It is a branch of photography which is extremely difficult to master, and few do it well. There's lot of bad boudoir photographers out there...so don't fall victim. Why? Because anyone can buy a camera, put up a website, and state they are a "pro" boudoir photographer.
I know it's hard to resist that link you received from your bestie because she knows someone who knows someone who just started a boudoir photography business. Dig into the quality of results of any photographer. Most will have lots of photos online and on social media platforms like Instagram, so these days its real easy to get a cross sample of work.
As well meaning as your cheap referral may be, if six months ago her life's goal was to be the "cupcake queen" and was running a failed at-home cupcake business, she may not be your best choice. Despite the cash influx from her recently sold stand mixers to get a fancy new camera on Amazon, and the declaration that her new life's goal is to now make women beautiful.... thank Debbie for her offer, but move onward.
Boudoir takes years to master and do well. Like any other skilled art form it take tons of time, practice and the gift of natural ability to do well.
Aside from results, it's important that you find a photographer you can trust so you will feel comfortable in front of the camera. Trust your photographer and let him or her direct and pose you to bring out your best.
Tip 5: Give In To A Bit Of Pampering!
Relating to an earlier point... a boudoir shoot typically is a one-time experience so why not make the most of it!
Have you been waiting for an excuse to touch up your hair color? Now's your chance. A bit of pampering before your session helps you feel good about yourself and gives you a feeling of confidence.
The weeks leading up to your session are great times for that facial, manicure and pedicure. Schedule a spa day, or set out and visit your local nail shop. Believe it or not, your hands will be in a lot of photos, so fresh nails really are a must.
Additionally, in the day and age we live in, women's body hair seems to be less and less of a desired trait. During your session certain areas of your body may be a bit more front and center than usual. It may be time to deal with that stubble.
A growing part of many women's routines these days are waxing or laser hair removal treatments. Laser hair removal is an amazing technology and takes smooth to a whole new level. Be sure to take care of any of these procedures at least a week or so ahead of your session to give your skin time to heal.
Treating yourself is a nice thing to do none-the-less, and will only add to the final result.
Your final images will be around for years.
Tip 6: Get Your Rest (And Eat)!
This is a biggie! Over the years I've seen many clients come in for their sessions looking like world beaters, and after only a short time I can see the smiles disappear as they start yawing and slowly start crashing...
What's happening here? People get a bit anxious beforehand and may have difficulty sleeping. It's normal. Do your best to get to bed early and be well rested. A tired face is something that can't be fixed in Photoshop.
In my experience there's another culprit at hand, as well. Lack of a good night's sleep is definitely an issue, but I've also discovered that many women do not eat leading up to their sessions, either. I understand nerves may be in play, but be sure to eat.
Women arrive in the studio the morning of their shoot running on nervous energy, but within a short time settle in, and once that happens they get hit hard by both the lack of sleep and he lack of nourishment-- and crash.
Eat. Eat. Eat. Eat the morning of your session. Even if its something small. I tell all my clients to bring along a snack: nuts, yogurt, Kind bars, etc. --It's in the prep guide they receive from me!
Even if they avoid eating before they come in, having a quick snack on hand can really help to re-energize once the crash comes and get you going again. This is important information.
Tip 7: Use professional makeup!
Professional makeup application is vital to the finished look of your work. I know! I choose and only work with the best makeup professionals in my area. Their hard work makes my job so much easier.
Many professional boudoir photographers include this service with their pricing-- but always check and ask. If professional makeup is not available, check some local beauty salons in your area. There's a good chance a local salon has someone there who can do your makeup. You can make an appointment and stop in the morning of your session.
Use a professional. They know how to do camera-ready makeup, apply lashes (which are a must!), and get you looking your best.
Not only is professional hair and makeup better for the camera but it also makes clients feel more confident for the shoot.
Tip 7 1/2: Get Your Hair Did!
Touching upon the tip above, hair is also a vital look to your finished photos. As with makeup, some boudoir photographers will include professional hair styling with their sessions. Sometimes this service is an added extra, which is well worth purchasing.
Getting curled up helps provides a "fresh from the salon" look which makes you feel great, and look great. Photographers can't fix bad hair in Photoshop, so what you walk in with...is going to be very prominent in all your photos.
Additionally, no one ever looked bad with professional extensions. Full looking hair is sexy hair. Ask your photographer if their makeup artist can provide an extension service.
Thanks for stopping by and I really hope these tips will be some solid information that will help and give you a leg up on a successful boudoir session.
If you have any questions or comment leave a note below, or visit my website at Mike Cassidy Photography and send me message.