Updated: Mar 26
The simple answer is, yes! It is common for women to share boudoir sessions. Hi, my name is Michael, and I'm a boudoir photographer who has photographed hundreds of women throughout my career. In this brief post I'll go over several different situations where women share boudoir shoots together.
Boudoir and bringing a friend simply go hand in hand. This is not a new idea. From the beginning of boudoir photography women have always had the idea of bringing a friend along to their session. When I first started my career, this was typically one of the more popular questions I'd receive from clients.
Why does this happen? The reasons are multiple and range from simply a bit of needed moral support, to gathering your entire bridal party together for an afternoon long shindig.
Let's take a look at some of these examples below.
Sometimes women are a bit anxious about their sessions. It's not unusual. From the time I started shooting boudoir, I would get emails from my clients, "Is it OK if my friend Kelly comes along, I'm a bit nervous."
As a matter of fact, this is something I've always personally encouraged, and it is a part of my client onboarding materials. The simple fact is that most women have never taken part in a boudoir session before-- and taking their clothes off for photos isn't something they do every day.
It can definitely lead to some nerves beforehand. This is completely natural. The truth of the matter is, though, after getting to your session these nerves vanish, and a boudoir shoot really is a fun time.
Your friend, though, can be a great source of moral support. So bring her along! She can help you with outfits, and perhaps even hang around to sit with you while you're getting your photos done.
To Share A Session
Sharing a concurrent boudoir session with a friend is also another popular booking. Typically, it may go something along these lines. Katelynn will book a session, tell her friend Amanda, and Amanda will tell Katelynn "I've always wanted to do that too..." The end result is typically an email or call from Katelynn to the photographer asking if Amanda can come along, as well. "Absolutely!"
You won't find very many photographers turning this situation down. --And everyone benefits. First, it's fun sharing a boudoir session with a friend. Second, the photographer gets to kill two birds with one stone by hosting two sessions as once.
Coming to a boudoir session with your friend is kind of like the moral support example above, except both of you will be taking photos. It's a fun way to spend an afternoon. After getting hair and makeup done, the two women simply alternate turns taking photos, that way no one is sitting around for an hour being bored waiting for their chance.
Afterward, everyone gets their own cute photo book.
This is the O.G. of group boudoir sessions. Boudoir Parties have been around for a long time. In my experience boudoir parties are typically wedding based groups, but they can also be for other occasions, too. Are you part of a bridal group? It's a great occasion for a boudoir party. If sharing a session with one friend is fun, can four or five friends be even better? Yes.
What's a boudoir party? Well, a boudoir party is simply a bunch of women who all come in for photos... and a bit of a party.
Boudoir parties are hosted in many different ways based around preference and budget. What's the best number for a boudoir party? In my experience its four to six women.
Your boudoir party usually kicks off with some wine or drinks, followed by makeup and hair sessions for everyone involved. Snacks can be served and everyone can chat and have a good time. Once makeup is completed, the guests take turns with their boudoir photo shoots.
It's a great time. After the group is all completed, sometimes the gang will get together for a few group shots. Afterward, the takeaway is typically photo books, digital files, or some other kind of photo product for all involved.
The options for arranging such an event are too numerous to go over here in detail, but if you're curious you can check out my article on How To Throw A Successful Boudoir Party. In some cases, all the women chip in together to pay for the bride, and a possibly the brides photo album-- but this can vary from group to group. Additionally, the bride may have extended session time during the boudoir party.
So, if you have a group that's looking to do something a little different, a boudoir party may just be the thing for you.
BFF Boudoir Sessions
The BFF session may be new to the boudoir party, but it is a growing menu option over the past few years. BFF sessions grew out of standard option to share a session with a friend, but there is one difference...
As I mentioned earlier, a big part of boudoir is friends coming in together. I started noticing that there was a definite subset of my clients who would come in for their session, and, well, wanted to take things up a notch and take some photos together.
I would receive some awkward requests during the session, "Is it OK if Jenny and I do a couple of shots together?" This seemed to be in the client's plan from the beginning, but there were a bit anxious to bring it up. After talking to a few of these clients and getting some feedback, it seemed there was a pent up demand for this type of shoot. So, once again, I made a simple change to my website, and my onboarding materials to get this type of option "out in the air," and it's been a "thing" since.
Whose shooting BFF sessions? Although this type of thing isn't for everyone (and it isn't intended to be) there is a large enough group of women who are attracted to other women, and want to have an intimate, or in some cases more sexual, experience with their friend-- and a boudoir session is an accommodating place. No worries.
My BFF women come from all across the spectrum from married, to single, to female couples.
How do these BFF sessions work? There are a few different ways these sessions seem to come together. Typically, they run like a standard boudoir session, and at some point the women wind up doing a few sets of photos together. Often, these "shared" photos don't quite make it into the album, they seem to be more for the women to keep for themselves. Occasionally, however, they do. There is the "OMG my husband would definitely love these," from time to time.
In the end it's all about having a bit of adult fun.
Women have been sharing boudoir sessions since the dawn of boudoir photography. --And your boudoir photographer has certainly seen and heard it all. If you've been thinking about bringing along someone to your upcoming session don't hesitate to ask.
From a bit of moral support to planning the ultimate bridal boudoir party, boudoir is about having a good time, and in the process producing beautiful photos that you'll have to share and enjoy for years afterward.
I hope this post was helpful, and as always, if you have questions about boudoir photography, please send me a note.
All the best,