top of page

A Boudoir Photographer's Advice: 10 Things To NEVER Do During Your Session

Updated: Nov 2

a boudoir shot of a blonde haired woman in blue lingerie laughing

Boudoir photography. The term alone evokes images of sophistication, allure, and a secret intimacy usually kept behind closed doors. But it's more than just capturing seductive poses in alluring attire. It's about embracing your body, celebrating your self-worth, and immortalizing a moment of utter self-love in a world too often obsessed with nitpicking every imperfection.

In essence, boudoir is an art form—a delicate balance of light and shadow, angles and curves, raw emotion and structured composition. It's a space where vulnerability meets empowerment, where every individual, regardless of shape or size, can feel like a masterpiece in their own right. It's not merely about lingerie and satin sheets. It's about encapsulating the essence of the individual—their spirit, their strength, their passion.

While it may seem like an adventurous, perhaps even daunting, endeavor for some, a boudoir session has the potential to transform one's self-perception in profound ways. It is a journey towards self-discovery and self-appreciation. That's why it's critical for those considering this journey to understand what it entails, not just from a practical standpoint, but also from a perspective that seeks to maximize the overall experience.

Of course, the quality of the experience doesn't solely depend on the subject's enthusiasm or the photographer's skill. Preparation plays a significant role in this delicate equation. Knowing what to avoid during a session is just as vital as knowing what to do. Missteps, both minor and major, can cast shadows over the potential brilliance of the moment.

Over the years in this profession, it's become clear that the most rewarding sessions are the ones where clients come armed with the right knowledge. A well-informed client isn't just a boon for the photographer; it's also advantageous for the client themselves, as it significantly enhances the value they derive from the session.

I've pretty much seen it all, so, let's navigate this together. Here are ten things that you should never do during a boudoir session—a compilation of wisdom distilled from many sessions, many stories, and many transformative experiences. Take these suggestions to heart, and you'll be well on your way to an unforgettable boudoir experience.

a blonde haired woman smiling during a boudoir session

Thing #1: Don't come unprepared

As in any venture, preparation is key when stepping into a boudoir session. It's not simply a photoshoot, but a journey towards self-appreciation and empowerment. This journey requires a certain level of preparedness to truly encapsulate your essence, your character, your spirit. Imagine going on a wilderness expedition without your essential gear or walking into an important business meeting without a clue about the agenda. Preparation, or the lack thereof, can make or break these situations. The same holds true for boudoir photography.

Take the time to reflect on what you hope to achieve from the session. What narrative do you want to tell through your images? Do you want to channel a sultry diva, or perhaps a vulnerable nymph? Maybe you're looking to showcase raw power or maybe delicate elegance. Having a clear vision for your session helps guide the process and ensures the final images capture exactly what you had hoped for.

Preparation extends to the choice of wardrobe as well. It's not just about lingerie; it's about any clothing or accessory that makes you feel like the best version of yourself. This could be that oversized shirt that whispers casual confidence, that favorite dress that screams power, or that simple necklace that carries sentimental value. Whatever your selection, make sure it reflects your personality and resonates with the story you want to tell.

Finally, consider the mental preparation. It's completely normal to experience a flutter of nerves or a hint of apprehension before a session. But preparing yourself mentally, perhaps with relaxation techniques, positive affirmations, or just some quiet reflection, can go a long way in ensuring a successful session. It's about stepping into the studio feeling confident, relaxed, and ready to embrace the transformative journey of a boudoir session. Because remember, you're not just stepping in front of a camera; you're stepping into a space of self-celebration.

Thing #2: Avoid excessive alcohol before the session

A glass of wine or a dash of champagne— it's often seen as a shortcut to easing nerves and summoning that free-spirited, carefree vibe. While a little bit of liquid courage might seem like a good idea before stepping into the spotlight, overindulgence can potentially hinder the very essence of a boudoir session.

The thing with alcohol is, while it might momentarily embolden you, it has a way of masking true emotions, creating a facade that isn't necessarily reflective of the real you. Boudoir is about celebrating your authenticity, your raw emotions, and an excessive amount of alcohol can blur those lines. Plus, it's easy to underestimate the power of alcohol, especially when you're in a situation where nerves are running high.

It's also worth noting the physical effects that excessive alcohol can have on your body. It can lead to bloating and dehydration, both of which can affect how you look and feel during the session. Alcohol can also cause your eyes to appear bloodshot or your skin to flush, neither of which are ideal when you're trying to capture stunning photographs. In extreme cases, it might even lead to feelings of nausea or dizziness, significantly impacting your comfort and enjoyment of the session.

But that doesn't mean you need to battle your nerves single-handedly. There are plenty of alternatives to help you relax and get comfortable. Mindful breathing, for example, can be incredibly effective. Some light stretching or yoga before the session can also help ease any tension in your body. And of course, a good rapport with your photographer can go a long way in creating a comfortable atmosphere. Remember, boudoir photography is about capturing the beauty of your authentic self, and it's essential to keep that authenticity front and center throughout the session.

a boudoir photographer and a client posing

Thing #3: Don't wear tight clothing to the studio

OMG! I hate photoshopping out clothing lines. 😂 An often overlooked aspect in the run-up to a boudoir session involves the choice of attire you don before stepping foot into the studio. It might seem inconsequential, even negligible, in the grand scheme of things, but hear me out—wearing tight clothing prior to a session can inadvertently sabotage the aesthetic you're striving for. Let's delve into the why behind this seemingly odd piece of advice.

Consider the material and structure of most tight clothing. It tends to grip and press onto your skin, and while it might serve to accentuate your curves in everyday life, it can leave unsightly marks on your body. In the same way that a hairband leaves an indent in your hair, tight clothing can leave imprints on your skin. These pressure marks can be stubborn and take time to fade away—time that we don't usually have in the middle of a session.

So, imagine this: you're adorned in your chosen outfit for the session, perfectly made up, radiant in the soft studio lighting. But then, there they are—those telltale indentations, those pressure marks from the tight jeans or the pressing bra you wore to the studio. Sure, some of them can be removed in post-processing, but wouldn't it be better to prevent them from appearing in the first place?

What's the solution then? Opt for loose and comfortable clothing as you prepare for the session. Think flowy dresses, loose pants, or even comfy pyjamas—anything that does not press onto your skin. Consider a sports bra or a bralette, which is less likely to leave marks compared to an underwired bra. The goal is to keep your skin as free from pressure as possible.

Paying attention to these seemingly minor details can significantly impact your boudoir experience. Remember, boudoir photography is a symphony of light and shadow, curves and lines, emotion and aesthetics—and even the smallest discord can affect the harmony.

Thing #4: Don't forget to communicate your boundaries

Venturing into a boudoir session is an exhilarating journey, one that can explore the bounds of vulnerability and empowerment. The essence of such a journey is rooted in comfort and trust, both of which are possible only when clear lines of communication are established. This brings us to a crucial aspect of the boudoir experience: the communication of boundaries.

Boudoir photography is a dance, one that's choreographed around the singular entity—the client. While a certain level of artistic direction from the photographer is essential, it's important to remember that this dance is fundamentally about you. It's about your comfort, your boundaries, and your journey of self-celebration. If there are certain poses, themes, or styles that you're not comfortable with, it's imperative to express that clearly.

Open and honest dialogue is vital. This involves conveying your boundaries and your expectations beforehand, thereby enabling the photographer to tailor the session around your unique requirements. It also means voicing any discomfort or concerns during the session itself. Remember, there's no room for hesitations or uncertainties in a boudoir session—it's a sacred space of self-expression and any discomfort can invariably reflect in the resulting images.

Never forget that this is your boudoir journey, your story to tell. It's a place where you get to define your limits and dictate your comfort. So, go ahead and communicate your boundaries fearlessly, for this is your realm, your moment to shine.

boudoir photo of a red haired woman laying in a bed

Thing #5: Avoid trying drastic beauty treatments right before the session

Beauty treatments and their promise of instant glamor might be alluring, especially when you're preparing for a moment as special as a boudoir session. The lure of flawless skin or that perfect eyebrow arch can lead one to explore a world of facials, skin treatments, and more. However, it's important to tread carefully here, for this world is riddled with variables that can turn a promise of beauty into a potential disaster.

New or drastic beauty treatments, especially those done close to the session, come with a plethora of risks. There's the risk of allergic reactions, redness, or even breakouts. In the best-case scenario, these could cause minor discomfort; in the worst, they could completely derail your session. There's nothing worse than waking up on the morning of your session to find a rash spreading across your face or your skin reacting adversely to a treatment.

A rule of thumb to follow is this: avoid any drastic beauty treatments at least two weeks before your session. This includes treatments you've never tried before and treatments that have previously caused any adverse reactions. This buffer time allows your skin to recover if there is a reaction and also enables any minor side effects to subside.

If you're considering a beauty treatment before your session, opt for tried-and-true routines. Stick to the products and treatments that your skin is familiar with. This is not the time to experiment, but to enhance your natural beauty. Remember, boudoir photography is about capturing and celebrating the authentic you— not an altered, disguised version. Your inherent beauty, in its most genuine form, is more than enough for a mesmerizing boudoir session.

Thing #6: Don't compare yourself to others

In an era of ubiquitous social media and relentless exposure to images of perfection, comparison has unfortunately become a societal norm. Be it body shapes, lifestyles, or even experiences—we're often found measuring ourselves against others. However, let me tell you this: a boudoir session is not a platform for comparison. It's a celebration of individuality, a testament to personal journeys, and an intimate expression of unique beauty.

Boudoir photography is a narrative of self-empowerment, an exploration of your individuality. When you step into that studio, the focus is solely on you—your story, your experiences, your essence. Comparing yourself to others in such a space doesn't just defeat the purpose, it undermines the essence of this unique self-celebration. It's like trying to fit a round peg into a square hole; it simply doesn't align with the ethos of boudoir.

It's essential to understand that every person who steps into a boudoir studio carries a different narrative. Each body carries its unique map of experiences and each heart its collection of stories. Boudoir is not about creating cookie-cutter images, but about capturing these unique narratives. It's about celebrating your individual journey, your unique beauty, and your personal strength. You are not the woman in the magazine or the model on Instagram—you are unabashedly, unapologetically you, and that is who we're here to celebrate.

Instead of comparing yourself to others, consider this: every person you might be comparing yourself to has probably had their moments of insecurity, their own struggles with self-image. You're not alone in this journey. Boudoir is a celebration of resilience, of the power of self-love, and of the courage to embrace oneself fully. So, let's focus on celebrating you, not comparing you to someone else. It's your moment under the spotlight—embrace it, enjoy it, own it.

a woman having fun at a boudoir shoot

Thing #7: Don't rush yourself

Imagine stepping into the world of boudoir photography as stepping into a sanctuary. It's a sanctuary where time slows down, where you're allowed to pause, breathe, and reconnect with yourself. It's a place where there's no room for haste, for rushing through the process. The beauty of boudoir lies not in the speed but in the journey, and to rush through this journey is to rob yourself of its magic.

One of the most exhilarating aspects of a boudoir session is the transformational journey it embodies. The process of shedding inhibitions, of embracing your unique beauty, of channeling your inner goddess—it's a process that requires time. Attempting to rush through it can hinder this transformation, stifle your expressions, and leave you feeling disconnected from the experience.

Moreover, a boudoir session is about capturing moments of authenticity, moments that reflect your true self. Authentic moments, however, cannot be hurried. They need to be allowed to unfold naturally, in their own time. Rushing can induce stress, create forced expressions, and disrupt the natural flow of the session. It's like trying to force a butterfly out of its cocoon—you end up disrupting a process that's meant to be beautifully organic.

Instead of seeing a boudoir session as an event to rush through, perceive it as a space to savor. Give yourself permission to take your time, to explore different facets of your personality, to enjoy the journey. It's not a race against time, but a dance with it. So let's slow down, let's breathe, let's immerse in the moment. Remember, the magic of boudoir lies not in the end product but in the process—the process of self-celebration, self-appreciation, and self-discovery. So take your time and let the magic unfold at its own pace.

Thing #8: Avoid unrealistic expectations

Boudoir photography is an enchanting realm where fantasy intertwines with reality, creating a unique tapestry of self-expression. It's an arena where you're the center of attention, the protagonist of your own story. Yet, like every tale, this one too requires a fine balance between fantasy and reality. The key to a satisfying boudoir experience lies not in the realm of the fantastical, but in managing expectations realistically.

To approach a boudoir session expecting to look like a different person or to fit into a narrow definition of beauty is to stray away from the core essence of boudoir. Remember, this isn't about reinventing you or morphing you into someone you're not. Boudoir is about celebrating the authentic you, about capturing the beauty inherent in your individuality. Unrealistic expectations can not only set you up for disappointment but also shift the focus away from your unique beauty.

Often, unrealistic expectations stem from the images we're bombarded with daily—the so-called 'perfect' bodies, the flawless skin, the improbable poses. It's vital to remember that these are often the result of careful staging, professional makeup, and sophisticated image editing. Expecting to mimic these images is not only unrealistic but also contradicts the spirit of boudoir. Boudoir is about real bodies, real emotions, and real beauty—not manufactured perfection.

Setting realistic expectations doesn't mean limiting yourself or suppressing your aspirations. It means embracing yourself as you are, acknowledging your unique beauty, and cherishing your individual journey. It's about understanding that boudoir photography isn't a magic wand that transforms you into someone else, but a mirror that reflects the enchanting beauty that you already possess. So let's embrace this reality, let's celebrate it, for it's within this reality that your unique allure lies.

a boudoir shot of a woman posing in bed

Thing #9: Don't forget to trust your photographer

The art of boudoir photography is built on the pillars of trust and understanding. When you step into that studio, when you pose in front of that camera, you're entering a partnership, a collaborative dance with your photographer. This partnership, however, thrives on trust. Trust that your photographer is there to guide you, to celebrate you, and to capture the authentic you.

Boudoir photography can be a journey through uncharted territories. The vulnerability, the intimacy, the exploration of personal boundaries—it can all be overwhelming. However, your photographer is your compass on this journey, guiding you through the process, leading you through the landscape of boudoir. To hesitate, to hold back, to doubt this guidance is to impede your own journey.

However, trust is not a switch that you can simply flip on. It needs to be cultivated, nurtured over time. This is why open communication with your photographer is paramount. Discuss your apprehensions, your expectations, and your comfort levels with your photographer. This not only builds trust but also ensures a personalized, comfortable, and empowering boudoir experience.

Trusting your photographer doesn't mean blind faith; it means believing in their professional expertise, their artistic vision, and their commitment to your comfort and satisfaction. It's about realizing that they, too, are invested in this journey, that they, too, want to create a memorable, empowering experience for you. So let's walk this journey together, hand in hand, trust in trust. For in the dance of boudoir, trust is the rhythm that guides our steps.

Thing #10: Avoid being too rigid or tense

Boudoir is a dance of liberation. It's about shedding the rigid constructs of societal norms, about breaking free from the chains of self-doubt. It's about embracing fluidity, both physically and emotionally. Rigidity, in this dance, is a discordant note—it disrupts the rhythm, disrupts the flow. To truly enjoy and benefit from a boudoir session, you need to let go of this rigidity and allow yourself to move with the music.

Physical rigidity or tension can restrict your movement, making your poses appear forced or unnatural. This, in turn, can make you feel uncomfortable, and these feelings will likely be evident in your photos. It's crucial to remember that boudoir is not about perfect poses, but about genuine expressions of your inner self. A relaxed body leads to natural, fluid movements, which can significantly enhance the authenticity and appeal of your photos.

Just as important is emotional rigidity—holding onto preconceived notions about how you should look, feel, or behave during your session. Boudoir is a journey of self-discovery, a journey that requires emotional flexibility. It requires the ability to let go of any preconceived notions and embrace the process as it unfolds, even if it doesn't align with your initial expectations.

Avoiding rigidity doesn't mean compromising on your comfort or boundaries. It means being open to the process, embracing the unexpected, and allowing yourself to flow with the rhythm of the session. It's about replacing rigidity with openness, tension with relaxation, apprehension with anticipation. Remember, the magic of boudoir lies in its fluidity, its ability to capture your unique essence in its most genuine, most fluid form. So let go of the rigidity, embrace the fluidity, and watch the magic unfold.

a boudoir photographer posing with a client


Boy, I write a lot, huh. 😀 As we journey through these nuances of a boudoir session, it's essential to remember that each point, each suggestion, is rooted in the ethos of boudoir photography—celebration of self. Boudoir is not about projecting a certain image or ticking off a checklist of perfect poses. It's about an intimate, empowering journey, a journey that requires you to be authentic, open, and compassionate towards yourself.

Whether it's avoiding unrealistic expectations, communicating your boundaries, or trusting your photographer—each point is woven into the fabric of the boudoir experience. They are not strict rules to adhere to, but guiding principles to help you navigate the landscape of boudoir. To imbibe them is to enhance your journey, to elevate your experience, and to allow your unique beauty to shine through in its purest, most authentic form.

Moreover, it's crucial to understand that boudoir is not just about the final images. It's about the transformative journey you undertake, the process of self-discovery you embark upon. The end product—beautiful, empowering images—is but a snapshot of this journey, a memento of this transformative experience. Embracing the process, enjoying the journey, and celebrating each step is as essential as admiring the final images.

As you prepare for your boudoir session, carry these tenets with you. Use them as a compass to guide your journey, a roadmap to enhance your experience. And remember, in the world of boudoir, you're not just a subject in front of the lens, but an active participant in a transformative dance. So step in, let go of inhibitions, trust the process, and embark on this empowering journey of self-celebration.

40 views0 comments
bottom of page