I’m not a boudoir photographer, but I have been asked by clients about shooting boudoir and have done a few boudoir and lingerie shoots during my career. I actually really love shooting boudoir and lingerie because I think it’s a really empowering experience for someone to pose in little to no clothing. I also see it as an honor and huge compliment to me as a photographer for someone to ask me to shoot such an intimate subject matter. I see boudoir and lingerie photo shoots as a way to encourage and celebrate my client; I want to capture their entire beauty and the confidence that they have. I know that there is a very fine line from being tasteful and artistic to being crude and tacky; as a Professional Photographer, I would never want to put my name on crude or tacky photos.
Since I shoot primarily in a studio setting, I’m not really equipped to take on a typical boudoir shoot. This means that I don’t have room to store a full bedroom (or even a bed) in my studio. When I booked my first boudoir client, I told her that and she was totally okay with it. She told me that she did not want a typical boudoir shoot, but she wanted to do something to make her feel confident and special.
So here are a few tips to shooting boudoir & lingerie in a studio setting instead of a home or hotel room setting!
Treat Your Session like a Fashion Campaign
Being pampered and having a supermodel experience for the day is an awesome addition to your client’s experience. Always have a hair & makeup artist(s) on set to get and keep your client camera ready. Since I wasn’t setting up a bedroom or going to a hotel, I looked at a few lingerie campaigns for visual inspiration. My favorites are currently Fleur du Mal, Agent Provocateur and La Perla. I love the simplicity of these shots; they are classic, beautiful and feminine.
Credits: Photographer: Travis Curry, Model: Victoria C., Hair & Makeup: Sara Elizabeth Artistry
Need a Bed?
If your client really wants a bed, I suggest making one out of a blow up mattress. White sheets and pillows are always timeless. I do not have a blow-up mattress, but I have an awesome ottoman in my studio that I can cover with fabric and have really beautiful lying down shots. These also work for some cool fashion & beauty shots. I use a step stool to position myself above my client when shooting. You may also be able to find an awesome vintage couch to use too. Retro chairs, industrial stools and apple boxes can also make for unique set pieces. Finding visual references from lingerie campaigns will help you create your sets too!
Photographer: Travis Curry
Props are fun and can help your client tell a story. Shooting in a studio on Savage’s Seamless Paper Backdrop is an awesome way for you to use stuff like glitter, flower petals or feathers to create a fun burst of movement in your shots. Masks can be fun for an anonymous twist!
A lot of boudoir clients want a little black book as a keepsake from their shoot. Utilize your session by shooting details of your client, the lingerie, their jewelry, lips, face, etc. I’ve even used things like fabric and prisms to obstruct my lens and create unique detail shots. These detail shots will give an editorial feel to your album design.
Photographer: Travis Curry
Keep it Simple
Ultimately we want the shots to be about our client; not the bed they are in or the glitter they are throwing. You want to show off the inner beauty and confidence that you’re bringing out in your client, so if things feel too contrived, scale back and keep it simple. Often my most compelling portraits are with 1 light on a single seamless backdrop.