Boudoir photography is an art form that can empower women and celebrate their beauty and confidence. As a photographer, it is important to approach boudoir photography with sensitivity and creativity to capture stunning images that highlight the best qualities of your clients. In this article, we will discuss some useful tips for capturing beauty and confidence in your next boudoir photoshoot.

Pre-photoshoot Preparation

Photo by Michelle Ford for the Boudoir Photography Gear Article

The key to a successful boudoir photoshoot is preparation. This includes communication with the client, mood boards and inspiration, location scouting and setup, and wardrobe and styling. Before the shoot, it is important to communicate with the client to understand their vision, preferences, and comfort level. Creating a mood board with visual references can help you and the client to set expectations for the shoot. Location scouting is essential to ensure that the environment is suitable for the shoot, and the wardrobe and styling should complement the client’s body type and skin tones.  Be sure to provide guidance for the following:

What to Wear – Help your clients figure out what to wear depending on the concept of the shoot and their body type.  We believe styling the shoot contributes to the overall feel and imagery of the photos.

Hair & Makeup – Hair & makeup is just as important as the styling and wardrobe.  If your clients feel pampered and glamorous, they will feel more confident and more comfortable being photographed.  For boudoir photography, consider a glam look with wavy, voluminous hair and smoky, sultry makeup to make the client look both sexy and alluring.

Boudoir Photoshoot Lighting and Composition

Lighting is one of the most critical factors in boudoir photography. Different types of lighting can create different moods and atmospheres. As a photographer, you should experiment with different types of lighting to find the best fit for each client.  Here are a few tips to follow when it comes to boudoir lighting:

Natural light or flash that mimics soft natural often looks best.

Black and White Boudoir Photography Tips and Inspiration

Moody images often looks artistic and allows you to use shadows to conceal

Image by Olga Tenyanin for the article Boudoir Lighting for a Moody Look

Composition is also an essential aspect of boudoir photography. You should experiment with different angles, framing, and positioning to create a flattering composition. For example, using a low angle can elongate the legs and make them appear slimmer, while using a high angle can make the client appear more petite.

Boudoir Photoshoot Posing and Direction

Posing is the most important element of our photographs.  A woman can be perfectly styled, have flawless makeup, but if her body and eyes are not in sync with the viewer, it can be a distraction.  We strive to understand each woman’s body type and size so we may pose her accordingly.  Our aim is to create the most flattering shapes for our clients so anyone viewing can feel an intimate connection with the photographs.  By posing our clients properly, it also minimizes the need for extra post editing work.

Learning the subtle variations in hand gestures, looks, and body placement will diversify your portfolio and give you a better understanding of the nuances of posing. In general, one of the biggest mistakes photographers make is moving from scene to scene too quickly, without making adjustments to the posing of their subjects. The five different posing ideas presented here will help you pay attention to small details that make a huge difference.  Here are a few posing tips for Boudoir Photoshoots.

Use Hands and Arms to Conceal


Odds are, if a hand’s placement doesn’t look natural, it will draw attention to the fact that the subject is concealing something (refer to the image above). Place the subjects’ arms in a way to make it seem as though it wasn’t their intention to conceal. By doing so, you leave more to the viewer’s imagination and create thought-provoking imagery.

Watch How the Hands Are Placed

Since we are on the subject of hand placement, pay close attention to how your subject places their fingers on their body. You want to avoid stiff and tense “Barbie Hands”  and you can do this by requesting that your subject shake out the tension in their fingers and softly place their hands on their body.

It’s also good to note that bending at the wrist releases tension and eases the fingers to lay naturally. Once this has been addressed, place the hands where they would naturally be if the subject was to conceal their private parts and avoid mirroring arm placements at all costs.


Relax The Lips

Closing and pressing the lips together can have the effect of creating tension in the jaw line, and typically this isn’t what we’re going for. Instead, try having your subject open their lips, ever so subtly, to release tension and go for a softer look. Making this slight adjustment completely transforms the feel of a portrait, and the look of the subject.


Direct Where the Eyes Go

If your subject desires a sexy, confident overall feel to the images, direct them to have their chin up and eyes looking down at the camera. This showcases a more domineering and powerful gaze. If it’s an innocent and ‘longing’ look that’s sought, direct their chin down and have them look up towards the camera.


It’s good to note there that direct eye contact with the camera is the perfect posing idea for shots where you are peeking in on a scene (behind a door, through a curtain, etc), however for a voyeuristic image, have the subject look away from the camera.

Create a Comfortable Boudoir Photoshoot Environment

Creating a comfortable environment for the client is essential to make them feel confident and relaxed during the shoot. You should ensure that the environment is clean and tidy, and there are no distractions or interruptions. You should also have music playing to create a relaxing atmosphere, and you can offer refreshments to make the client feel more at ease.

Boudoir Photoshoot Editing and Post-Processing

Post-processing is a critical aspect of boudoir photography. You should use editing techniques to enhance the client’s beauty and confidence. For example, you can adjust the exposure to highlight the client’s skin tone, or you can use skin smoothing to create a more polished look. However, it is essential not to over-edit the images, as this can create an unrealistic or artificial look.

In general, a moody editing style looks great for boudoir photos.

Image by Olga Tenyanin for the article Boudoir Lighting for a Moody Look

Crop To Tell A Story

Be aware of what you choose to show and where you choose to crop.  Cropping tells a story of its own, so combining that with the power of posing leads to a world of difference in the overall quality of your shoot.

Choosing the right lens for the appropriate pose allows you to have a wide versatility of shots in just one scene. You can also use micro adjusting  of limbs, fingers, and head movements while using a tighter portrait lens and then doing the same with a wider lens, gives you the ability to capture more of the scene for more options.


Capturing beauty and confidence in boudoir photography requires sensitivity, creativity, and technical skill. By following the tips discussed in this article, you can create stunning images that empower your clients and celebrate their unique beauty. Remember to communicate with your clients, experiment with lighting and composition, guide them through different poses, create a comfortable environment, and use post-processing techniques to enhance their natural beauty. With practice and dedication, you can master the art of boudoir photography and create images that inspire and empower.

Check out more from our Fine Art Boudoir Earthen Bathup Workshop and learn more on how to post-produce, pose, and light for boudoir photography. Gain access to this workshop and so much more by purchasing a Premium Subscription to SLR Lounge!