Boudoir photography is a type of photography that focuses on sensual and sometimes erotic depictions of its subject. Boudoir subjects are normally not models and are often photographed in lingerie or sensual clothing. The purpose of boudoir photography is normally to empower the subject and create photos that are pleasing both to the subject and sometimes for a romantic partner. Boudoir photography sessions are often set in a bedroom (boudoir means a woman’s bedroom or private dressing room), studio, or hotel room and often feature the subject in sensual poses on a bed.
A boudoir photographer is someone who creates sensual images of women and men in natural settings such as a bedroom or private room for their personal empowerment and sometimes for a romantic partner.
Boudoir Photography Tips
Boudoir photography requires several skills both photographic and interpersonal. Here are some tips for getting started in boudoir photography.
- Educate & Prepare – The first thing that is essential for becoming a boudoir photographer is to educate yourself on posing, lighting, and directing. It’s also important to provide your subject with clear guidelines of what they can expect from the session. Learn more here: Five Posing Tips for Boudoir Photography
- Find the right location – Ensuring that your subject is composed in a place where they are comfortable and confident can make all the difference for a boudoir session. It’s also important to ensure good light and a flattering backdrop. A well-lit hotel room, studio, or even the client’s bedroom can make an ideal setting for a boudoir session
- Create a safe and comfortable environment – Since your subject will most likely not be a model, he or she might be nervous before the session. Ensure that you’ve communicated in detail before the shoot what will happen and what the subject should expect. Also, ensure that no one else is present at the shoot location. Finally, make sure you communicate clearly that you will not share the client’s photos unless they give prior approval.
- Bring the right gear – To create a beautiful boudoir image, you’ll need the right gear. First, you’ll need a reliable camera and a few lenses (we’ll discuss these more below). But there are other tools that you might need as well. Are you shooting in a darker room? You’ll probably want to bring a speedlight, softbox, and light stand.
For more information: How to Start A Boudoir Photography Business
Best Camera for Boudoir Photography
You don’t need the most expensive or technologically advanced camera to get started in boudoir photography. What you will need is a reliable DSLR or mirrorless camera that accepts interchangeable lenses. Great cameras to start with include the Canon EOS R, Nikon Z6, or Sony A7RII. Each of these cameras can be found for under $2000 (or less for refurbished) and are mirrorless, so they are light with great autofocus, solid high ISO performance, and modern so they won’t become obsolete.
Best Lenses for Boudoir Photography
More important than the camera you choose are the lenses you choose for a boudoir session. You’ll want lenses that are sharp, that let in lots of light, and that produces excellent bokeh. You’ll also want to choose a flattering focal length. Anything from 35-85mm works well. The 35 is perfect for full-length portraits while the 85 is ideal for close-ups. For wider shots, the lenses that work well are the Canon RF 35 1.8, Nikon Nikkor Z 35mm f/1.8 S, and the Sony FE 35mm f/1.8. For closer shots, the Canon EF 85mm 1.8, Nikon Nikkor 8 85 f/1.8 S, and the Sony FE 85 1.8 are all superb lenses for starting out in boudoir photography.
Educational Resources for Boudoir Photography
When starting out in boudoir photography, the most important thing is learning as much as you can and getting lots of practice. There are many great educational resources (listed below) that can help you learn the basics, but then you need to shoot as often as you can. Enlist friends and trusted family members to practice directing and begin building your portfolio.