Updated: Mar 13
When you’ve committed to experiencing your first boudoir session, it can feel exciting, unfamiliar and even a little intimidating. It is completely normal to be nervous or to wonder what it will be like. Brianna Lane Boudoir is one of my favorite Twin Cities boudoir photographers (who I work alongside frequently and has even photographed me!) and has asked me to make a helpful list of how to prepare for your first boudoir session. While all boudoir photographers do things a little differently and have their own unique style, these are some can’t-miss tips to make your boudoir session the best it can be!
1. Be Mindful of the Little Details.
Your hair stylist and makeup artist will take care of your hair and makeup, but boudoir photos turn out their best when clients do some pampering a few days prior to their session. A fresh manicure and pedicure or neatly trimmed, clean nails that are free of chipped polish are the most common example, but others include shaving or waxing to your comfort level, a root touch-up if you color your hair, moisturized arms and legs... even a spray tan or a facial can be part of your preparation. It’s about what feels right to you, so some, all or none of these could be what makes you feel ready to step in front of the camera.
2. Select Your Favorite Lingerie.
You might be a lingerie lover, or the kind that adores a cozy pair of sweatpants and bought a few sexy pieces for your session (with the tags still on). Either way, most boudoir photographers prefer you to bring at least 2-3 looks for your session. If you’ve never selected lingerie for yourself before, choose pieces that highlight your favorite parts of your body or ones that express what you find sexy (white and pastel colors typically represent softness and playfulness while darker colors and heavier fabrics like leather or velvet often evoke mystery and sensuality). Some clients who are doing a session to create photos as a gift for their partner like to bring along a button-up shirt, necktie, jersey or something sentimental that belongs to their partner.
3. Get a Good Night’s Sleep (and remember to hydrate)!
There are no two greater skincare products than sleep and plenty of water. The night before your boudoir session, limit alcohol (nobody feels sexy when they’re hungover!), drink lots of water, try to get 8 hours of restful sleep, and have a light but satisfying meal before you arrive. Remember that boudoir sessions aren’t just posing for pictures but an act of self-love and self-care, and the more you approach it as kindness to yourself, the more you’ll enjoy the process from start to finish. This starts before you even enter the studio.
4. Identify What You Want to Show Off (and what you may feel a little insecure about).
Most of us have parts of ourselves that we love to celebrate and others we’ve always struggled to love. Identifying this clearly with yourself (without beating yourself up) and communicating this to your photographer can help your session go much more smoothly. Unless communication is open and honest, a photographer may focus on one part of your body and not realize you have a difficult relationship with that part. We often see ourselves differently than others see us, and most of the time we are much harder on ourselves than others are. Some common places clients can need more kind to themselves are their stomachs, thighs, booty and arms. Boudoir photographers are great at coaching clients to pose in certain ways that can help you see yourself in a different light, catch a great angle or even help camouflage a part of yourself that you’d rather keep covered.
5. ... And On That Note, Ditch The Shame!
There is absolutely no shame in bringing up your feelings, asking for privacy while you change, or requesting some encouragement to feel your best during your session. Boudoir professionals are not there to criticize, judge or “fix” you; in fact, many of us involved with boudoir photography fell in love with the art form because it helped us feel empowered and we want others to experience that too. Boudoir is supportive, empowering, and about embracing who you are.
6. Prepare To Be Pampered!
You should arrive to your boudoir session with clean, COMPLETELY dry hair and a clean, moisturized face that is free from any makeup whatsoever. Coming with wet hair or residual makeup on from the night before (or makeup on because it feels odd to not put it on in the morning) can delay your session and cut into the time allotted to have photos taken. Boudoir sessions are typically kept on a firm timeline, so making sure your hair and face are prepped to be made camera-ready keeps you on-schedule, relaxed and able to fully enjoy your experience.
7. Let Your Skin Breathe.
A lot of the clothes we wear each day leave marks on our skin that will show up in photos. Wearing loose-fitting, comfortable clothing and removing things like your watch or that ponytail holder on your wrist help make your photos flawless. Other things that leave marks on skin are bras, panties, socks, jeans and elastic on leggings. Wearing a big t-shirt, a casual cotton dress or drawstring pants is a big help too. Then, you can be totally comfortable during your hair and makeup, and save the more close-fitting clothing for when you’re in front of the camera.
8. Take a Deep Breath.
It is normal to be nervous if you‘ve never done a boudoir session before. What’s important is to enjoy the process and have fun! Boudoir photographers are great at directing and guiding you through the process, which goes faster than you think! And don’t worry- for most people, it takes a few practice shots to get comfortable. Feel free to ask questions, pitch ideas to your photographer if they pop into your head, laugh, smile, and take deep breaths to reset yourself if you find yourself holding your breath.