From using old-fashioned pin-up poses to modern props like cell phones, boudoir photography spans a very wide range. This is great news for you, because the genre is sure to include your personality, too. There are no set rules to boudoir. The purpose of a boudoir shoot is to capture what makes you shine.
A boudoir session produces photos that are guaranteed to be not only flattering, but a reflection of your favorite aspects of yourself. It's great for any age, any body type, and any comfort level. From PG-13 "naughty" poses to innocent, elegant G-rated shots, your boudoir session can be anything you want it to be.
Embrace Your Comfort Zone
You may be cringing at the thought of having boudoir photos taken, envisioning what will happen when racy shots get leaked to the Internet and end up on your coworkers' screens. But boudoir photos can be completely clothed–as long as they capture an intimate sense of your personality, the form that takes is entirely up to you.
Maybe you want to give your groom-to-be a special present, but you're shy about disrobing in front of a male stranger. Luckily, there is a growing trend of woman-owned boudoir companies who will take you from posing to post-processing without a pair of male eyes ever catching a glimpse of your session.
Remember, the more comfortable you are, the better your photos will turn out. If you're at all unsure of yourself or your photographer, your smile will look forced and your photos will look awkward. If you're enjoying yourself and fully experiencing the moment, your happy mood will shine through the photographs and delight whoever sees them.
For this reason, it's especially important to find a photographer whom you really trust. Don’t just hire the first person who shows you a nice portfolio. Visit multiple photographers and ask as many questions as you like about their processes. Different photographers will have different approaches, such as asking you to bring your favorite music to the shoot, or keeping the room completely free of distractions. When you find someone who seems like a friend, you'll have a much better experience.
Don't be afraid to confide in your photographer if you have any areas of your body you'd like to hide. Your photographer is on your side, after all. If you've always hated your stomach but loved your legs, for example, you can ask for a photo shoot that emphasizes your calves. Your photographer should be excited to brainstorm with you in order to create the perfect experience–and the perfect photos.
Pose to Advantage
For side shots, put your weight on the leg that's furthest from the camera. This will make your waistline look slimmer and flatter the natural curve of your hip. The same goes for other pointy body parts, like shoulders, knees, elbows, hands, and feet. Anything pointed toward the camera will appear larger. This is good to avoid if you want to make certain parts look slimmer, sure, but it's also good common photo-sense as you're framing your shots. Even the most gorgeous model will look awkward if her shoulder is eclipsing her cheek.
Want a simple way to engage the viewer's imagination without revealing too much skin? Try looking off-camera. This is an incredibly easy trick to create a dreamy pose that will seem suggestive to anyone looking at the photo. An off-camera gaze implies that you're thinking, and invites the viewer to guess what you're thinking about. To really make your eyes shine as the camera snaps away, try pretending that you have a secret no one else knows.
Ultimately, the poses you choose are up to you and your photographer. Practice a few in front of a full-length mirror and don’t be shy about sharing your favorites. You may also want to flip through the photographer's portfolio or find images from other boudoir shoots online for inspiration.
Make Your Shoot Special
Historically, a boudoir photo shoot took place in a lady's boudoir: the dressing area in the bedroom where men would only be invited under very intimate circumstances. She would be photographed in sensual poses, such as putting on stockings or brushing her hair–intimate acts designed to titillate the imagination. Modern boudoir sessions, however, take the idea of an intimate photo shoot and turn it into something more playful and imaginative.
If you're intending the photographs as a present to your betrothed, you may want to highlight the aspects of yourself that best represent your relationship. Maybe you enjoy kicking back on Sunday afternoons and playing video games together–you can pose for your boudoir shoot with a game controller, or you can dress as your favorite in-game character. Maybe the proposal happened on top of the Ferris Wheel at the county fair. For your photo shoot, give yourself a cotton candy bikini!
What really makes you tick? If you're a bookworm, you may want to pose behind a stack of paperbacks or give your best "shh" face under a pair of horn-rimmed glasses. If you're indulging your princess side, bring along a feather boa and the tiara you intend to wear on your wedding day. Do you love the great outdoors? Take your photo shoot out of the boudoir completely and pose in a mossy tree.
Leave plenty of time for your photo shoot so neither you nor your photographer feels rushed. Boudoir photography is a fun and creative opportunity to let your true colors shine. Experiment with lighting, props, poses, and facial expressions. Try not to get bogged down in wondering whether every single photo will be a masterpiece. Just have fun and look forward to after the shoot when you get to embark on the most fun part of all–choosing your favorites!