What Is Boudoir Photography? | A Photographer's Guide

What Is Boudoir Photography? | A Photographer's Guide - Mastin Labs

As a professional photographer who’s still in the process of developing their style, it’s a good idea to try your hand at a few different niches. One area to explore that’s creative, intimate, and promotes body positivity is boudoir photography. Besides being a fun addition to your professional portfolio, this style can help you hone your portrait skills as you learn the best techniques, such as lightning and basic poses.

Boudoir Photography Explained

Boudoir is a French word meaning a woman’s dressing room. This style became popular with WWII-era pinup girl posters. The idea is to create playful, erotic images that focus on the subject.

young woman kneeling on a bed with plants around her looking at the camera

Boudoir portraits paint your subjects in a sensual light, making them feel comfortable and beautiful in their own skin. The subjects are usually women, but it’s becoming more popular for men and couples to try a boudoir session, too.

The keys to mastering intimate photography are learning the best techniques and having the right gear. Let’s take a look and what you need to know to get started.

What Is the Purpose of a Boudoir Photo Session?

Typically, boudoir sessions are booked by clients and don't feature a professional model. Why the client wants boudoir pictures varies. Some want the pictures for themselves to feel beautiful and celebrate their body. Others want to create a boudoir album to gift to a partner for a special occasion.

There are different kinds of intimate portraits a boudoir photographer can specialize in. For example, you may find that you enjoy maternity boudoir shoots, portraits of couples, or plus-size boudoir photography. Having a makeup artist on hand, as well as different lighting setups, can enhance the mood even more.

What Are the Best Locations for Boudoir Photoshoots?

If you have a studio, that’s a great place to start. If you don’t, there are several locations for a fun and sensual boudoir experience.

A bedroom. Ask your client if they would like to shoot in their bedroom. If not, you can style a guest room in your home or rent a hotel room for the occasion.

Another room in the house. Boudoir photographs are typically done in the bedroom, but there’s no reason why you can’t use another room, like the living or dining room. As long as the rooms have good lighting and space to work with, any room can be suitable for boudoir shots.

Outdoors. Yes, you can even have a boudoir experience outside. The beach or forest can give you the perfect surroundings and lighting to create stunning photos.

What Are Some Great Poses for a Boudoir Shoot?

Boudoir photography is about celebrating all body types and finding the most flattering poses for each. It’s normal for clients to feel a little nervous or uncomfortable in the beginning, so it’s up to you, as the professional, to ease their fears and make them feel beautiful.

Ask them if they have any limitations before you begin. You should also ask what they’re going for, as their body language can be playful, inviting, powerful, or something else.

young woman with one arm wrapped around herself and holding a lit match with the other arm

  • Arms: Angle or wrap your client’s arms around their body. This shows off their curves and can be playful or teasing. You can also position the arms away from the body to stretch the body out.
  • The lower half: Play around with your client’s legs and hips at different angles. The female body has plenty of curves to show off, so you can find a variety of poses to work with.
  • Couples: Experiment with eye contact and closeness. Couples boudoir photography is about intimacy and love, so ask them to make eye contact and hold each other in ways that show closeness.

What Is the Best Camera To Shoot Boudoir Photos?

You’ll want a full-frame camera with a full-size sensor (if you can splurge) or a crop sensor (if you’re on a budget. The top brands for creating the right look and feel for boudoir photography are Canon and Sony.

Many boudoir photographers agree that the best camera for this style is currently the Canon EOS RP.

Make Your Boudoir Clients Happy With Flawless Presets

Mastin Labs offers beautiful presets for all styles of photography, including boudoir. With options like Dark & Moody, Black & White, and Lifestyle, you’ll find just what you’re looking for to make your clients’ visions come to life.

young woman laying with the top of her back on a bed lifting up her shirt

We aim to create timeless products for all photographers, no matter where they are in their careers. We've created a community of passionate learners on the same creative journey. Check out our collection of presets today to find that special touch for your next boudoir shoot.