So you’ve boldly decided to do your first boudoir photo shoot. Maybe it’s for your S.O.’s birthday, your anniversary, or Valentine’s Day—or maybe it’s just a gift to yourself that’ll make you feel sexy for years to come. Either way, this kind of shoot can be ultra-liberating and empowering. Of course, it can also be nerve-wracking for first-timers. What should you wear? How do you pose? Do you really need to get your makeup done by a pro?
This guide will help prepare you for the big day, ensuring your boudoir shoot is successful but, more importantly, fun.
Know Your Style
While in the planning stages, begin to think about the look you’re going for. Are you channeling contemporary chic or more retro pin-up? Hollywood glam or girl-next-door? Start searching through magazines, Pinterest boards, etc. for inspiration and send them to your photographer ahead of time—that way, he or she will have a visual concept of what you’re going for.
Once you start to home in on the style, that will help to dictate everything from your wardrobe to the lighting. It can help to think of one word to sum up your ideal vibe for the shoot, whether it’s sultry, playful, or exotic.
Communicate with Your Photographer
If your photographer knows the parts of your body you feel most confident about, he or she can better plan the shots better to highlight those assets. Maybe you feel great about your hips, your derriere, or your cleavage—all of these features can have attention drawn to them with the right poses and angles. Or perhaps you love your lips—in which case, the photographer can shoot a sensual shot from above that focuses on them.
Go Pro for Makeup
It’s best to enlist a beauty professional for the job when it comes to a boudoir photo shoot. Even if you feel confident about your current routine, doing makeup for a photo shoot requires entirely different considerations, especially if a flash is involved.
You should also communicate with the professional doing your makeup about the look you’re going for and the aspects of yourself you want to show off because there are ways to accentuate your eyes, lips, cheekbones, or other features using cosmetics. Make sure to have some products on hand for touch-ups as well.
Wear What You’re Confident In
There are no rules when it comes to your wardrobe—so choose pieces that make you feel sexy. Because, if you’re not comfortable or confident in what you’re wearing, it will most certainly read in the photographs.
For some, that may mean a lacy plus-sized bralette and matching panties, while for others it may mean a men’s button-down shirt and tie, a silky teddie, vintage garters and pumps, or even a sheer off-the-shoulder sweater.
It’s best to have a few different options on the day of the shoot just in case something doesn’t work or you want to try a couple of different looks and the photographer’s schedule allows for a wardrobe change.
Set the Mood
A boudoir photo-shoot should be a positive, memorable experience from start to finish. So, think about what might make you feel more comfortable. The location will play a huge role in this—so think about whether you might prefer to be in your own home rather than a photographer’s studio.
If you do choose your home, think about the rooms that have the best natural light (ideally from multiple windows). Consider designing a playlist packed with music that could help you relax. Or, have a mini bottle of champagne on hand to add a celebratory vibe and help ease your nerves a bit. What about inviting your BFF over? Having a cheerleader on hand might help you to loosen up, enjoy yourself, and not take the experience too seriously by offering just the support and encouragement you need.
Practice Makes Perfect
If you’re not used to posing for a camera, it may feel a little awkward at first. So, warm up to the process by testing out some poses in front of your mirror—ideally, in the actual garments you plan on wearing.
Test out different hand placements, neck tilts, angles, and facial expressions to get a sense of what you’re going for. For example, looking up at the camera with your chin tilting downward offers a more innocent, wistful look, while doing the opposite will give off a more bold, powerful look.
Of course, the photographer is a pro and will likely have all kinds of guidance to give you, but seeing yourself in the mirror beforehand will give you a sense of what your own preferences are—after all, it’s all about what you think looks good, not someone else!
Check Your Inhibitions at the Door
Insecurities will absolutely get in the way of capturing the best photos possible, so do whatever you need to do to get out of your own head about any flaws or fears. Maybe, right before the shoot, you come up with a mantra to say or a song to rock out to solo that makes you feel like you can conquer the world.
Whatever strategy you choose, the idea is to calm your nerves. Don’t forget that there’s no reason why you can’t smile or laugh once in a while. In fact, staying straight-faced the entire time could make it seem like you’re making too much of an effort to be sexy. So just relax, be yourself, and remember: You don’t have to try hard; you’ve already got what it takes.