What's It Like To Have A Couples Boudoir Photo Shoot?
Updated: May 7
What's it like to have a couples boudoir photo shoot? In short, a lot of fun! Digging deeper, a couples boudoir session can be anything from playful to super sexy and intimate. Let's take a look...
Hi, I'm Michael. I'm a little bit of a geek, but I'm also a boudoir photographer from New Jersey. I've photographed hundreds of women over my career-- I've been at this a while! Have you been searching for info on couples boudoir sessions? You're not alone.
Couples boudoir wasn't really even a "thing" until fairly recently. I know the first time I had a couple was maybe five years ago... and it wasn't even planned. I had a client who came in for a boudoir session, and she brought her husband along. He was loitering around the whole session watching his wife, and near the end of the session the client kept playfully motioning to her husband to jump in with her and do shots together. He shrugged her off once or twice, but finally relented. She was was having a great time during her session, and she responded with a big grin when her husband finally obliged.
So we shot a few impromptu boudoir shots of them together, and she was super happy. When she was previewing her photos a few weeks later, most of the favorites she picked were the photos of the two of them!
Since then, I've been doing and increasing number of couples boudoir sessions every year. I receive more requests for information about sessions, and the couples boudoir page of my website gets increasing traffic, as well. Surely, couples boudoir has arrived!
...And why not! Couples boudoir is different from standard boudoir in a few ways. Primarily, its not a secret. My entire life as a boudoir photographer is one of secrecy-- secret phone calls, secret text messages & secret emails. It's all about sneaking (in a good way!) Boudoir sessions are often gifts, and therefore surprises. The shoot is kept a surprise from the unsuspecting boyfriend or husband. Women have to come up with stories on why there were absent for a day... and often are surreptitiously smuggling out their wardrobe and shoes hidden away in bags and in the trunks of cars. Pfew! That's a lot of pressure!
Couples boudoir, on the other hand, is in the open. Couples have time to prepare and come in with a little different spring in their step. People generally seem a bit more at ease, not living a life of lies(!) for the past few weeks.
Want to know more? I'd thought I'd take you through the process of the journey of a typical couples boudoir session. It's a bit of work, but if you take your time and plan wisely, that work really pays off in the end. Just a note: I'm sure every photographer has their own unique twist on a couples session... and this just happens to be mine.
So What Is It Like To Have A Couples Boudoir Photoshoot?
Let's get started. The boudoir photography landscape has been a bit messy over the past few years, and I'll get into more detail on that later, but I'll walk you through some of the important keys of planning your session, and I'll get into a bit of what to expect. To start off, why are people doing this?...
Why People Have Couples Shoots
Why do people do this? In short-- it's fun. Unlike traditional boudoir, which is still mostly done as a gift for a partner, couples boudoir seems to be done more often for the fun of it, and not necessarily for a particular occasion or event.
The social acceptance of boudoir has come a long way over the past 10 years. I often talk about how back in the day it was something that was best not talked about by decent people in public, and photos were hidden away under lock and key lest someone find out... Oh! The Shame! ...Meanwhile, today I have clients live streaming their sessions on Instagram and sharing photos all over social media. Quite a change!
As the perception of boudoir photography has changed over time, more and more people have taken part in boudoir sessions. Afterward, women do really walk away feeling great about themselves. Not only that, women like to feel beautiful, and that's exactly what boudoir is all about. An expert boudoir photographer's job is to create an intimate beauty. In it's essence, boudoir really isn't a sexual thing at all. Granted, people are in lingerie, or even possibly naked, but blatant sexuality is not really on the menu of a boudoir session, and it's definitely not the focus. (For people who would really like to get into the definition of boudoir photography you can read more about it in this article.)
Women keep their boudoir albums, and look at them for years. They are that important. Couples boudoir grew out of the desire to share this amazing type of solo experience with a partner. Sometimes couples boudoir has the misconception of being about photographing sexuality, but like standard boudoir, the focus of couples sessions really isn't about blatant sexuality... it's more focused on closeness and intimacy.
For the right kind of couple, it's a great activity. Often, I think the shoots are to inject a bit of a spark in a relationship. I once had a couple that just started dating and the woman wanted to do something adventurous on one of their first few dates. How exciting! Here are some of my unscientific reasons for a couples shoot:
Couples looking for a bit of excitement.
To celebrate a relationship milestone.
Because "you've always wanted to try."
An fun anniversary celebration.
A Birthday surprise.
An exciting date idea.
Couples who want intimate photos of themselves.
Who Has Couples Sessions?
The range of people that come in for sessions is pretty diverse. I'd say the the majority of my couples are mid 20-ish to early 30-ish, but I have had people up in up to their 50s stop in for a shoot. Dating couples and married couples are probably fairly evenly split. These groups are mostly opposite sex couples, although female same-sex couples are also a group who come in.
What Style of Couples Boudoir Session Do You Want?
Style? Yes, style. Every photographer runs their shoots in their own unique manner. Some photographers may really want to focus more on cutesy playful type sessions and images with lots of pillow fights, cuddling, and sweet smiles. There are other photographers out there who tend to have sessions which skew in more of an intense sexual nature with more of a focus on nudity and sexual intimacy.