Interest in boudoir photography is growing—and every photographer can capitalize on this trend. But some potential boudoir clients have a natural reservation about boudoir photography. After all, this type of photo shoot can make people feel very vulnerable and body conscious.
7 Tips to Make Clients Feel Comfortable During a Boudoir Photography Session:
- Talk to Clients Before the Photo Shoot
- Partner with Stylists and Make-Up Artists
- Keep Your Studio Space Clean and Inviting
- Set the Mood with Music
- Know Boudoir Poses that Show Off the Client’s Best Assets
- Provide Clear Instructions
- Compliment and Reassure Your Clients
Most clients are nervous before a boudoir shoot. Your attitude and communication style can help put them at ease so that they can reveal their best and most beautiful selves during the shoot.
Understanding Boudoir Photography
What is boudoir photography? What is the history of this unique photography style? Traditional boudoir photography is intended for the enjoyment of a subject’s romantic partner. It’s been a popular style of photography since the 19th century, influenced by early erotic photography from France, pin-up photos, and celebrity photography. Boudoir photography has been steadily growing in popularity since the start of the 20th century.
Typically, your clients are everyday people—not models. That means they will have less experience with poses and may need a lot of guidance to achieve the boudoir images they desire. And since many people choose to be partially-clothed or in lingerie for boudoir pictures, they may feel self-conscious about perceived body flaws.
Once clients get over their initial nervousness, many find the experience to be fun and memorable. There are several things you can do to help them feel relaxed. In fact, some of the most important steps in any boudoir session take place before the shoot itself.
Preparation is key to bring out the sexy side of every client. Following our seven boudoir photography tips can help you make every session a success!
1.Talk to Clients Before the Photo Shoot
Meeting with a client first is always a good idea, but it’s especially important before a boudoir photography shoot. You want to establish a rapport and let clients know they can trust you. Discuss their ideas in detail to clarify expectations. Show them samples from your boudoir portfolio to help them envision their photography session.
Are they looking for bridal boudoir photography, romantic boudoir photography, or risqué boudoir photography? Will you be taking photos of a woman or man? Or will you be taking boudoir pictures of a couple? Aim to answer these and other key questions before every boudoir session.
Also, you need to understand where the photo shoot will take place. You may have an established boudoir studio. If you don’t have your own studio space, hotel rooms can work well for boudoir photography. Another alternative is taking boudoir photos in your client’s home. The client might feel most comfortable in their own bedroom, so be sure to suggest this option. This is an especially great idea for couples.
You can also reassure your client that you can enhance boudoir photos during post-processing. In fact, there is a Lightroom preset package specifically designed for boudoir photos. With a few clicks, you can achieve the sexy, moody vibe that’s so popular in boudoir photography.
Another important topic of discussion is the cost of the shoot. It’s important to set expectations on boudoir photography prices up-front to avoid any confusion or misunderstandings.
2. Partner with Stylists and Make-Up Artists
One way to make your boudoir photography clients feel comfortable is to help them access their most beautiful selves. Many clients could benefit from professional expertise.
By partnering with a trusted hair and make-up artist and stylist, you can increase confidence in your clients. If possible, invite these professionals to your planning session before the photo shoot. They can recommend everything from makeup and hair options to the best boudoir photography outfit ideas.
For women, boudoir photography can take many directions. If your client is interested in boudoir pinup photography, carefully sculpted hair and bright lipstick is a common choice. But others prefer tousled hair and smoky eye makeup, along with sexy lingerie. A good stylist or team can help achieve the makeup and hair combo for every boudoir photography session.
Male boudoir approaches can also vary. Some men want to reveal their sensitive side. Others with an athletic bent may want to show off their physique. And others may gravitate towards nude boudoir. A hair and styling consultation can produce sexy photography no matter which style your male clients prefer.
3. Make Your Photo Shoot Space Clean and Inviting
Whether you shoot in your own studio or use hotel rooms, make sure the space feels welcoming before the client arrives. Ideally, you should have several options for the photoshoot setting—such as a bed, a couch, and possibly a dressing table. A selection of backdrops and props is also ideal.
Before you invite clients into your space, go through it carefully to make sure it is clean and free of clutter. If your boudoir studio is in your home, put away any personal effects, such as family photos. A shelving unit with bins or baskets can be a great resource for keeping your boudoir photo shoot space tidy.
If you use bedding—such as blankets or pillows—make sure it is clean and fresh before the photo shoot. It’s a good idea to have several types of bedding materials, such as silk sheets and faux fur blankets, to give clients options. Towels are another great option to have on hand.
Also, pay attention to the temperature of your studio space. Since most boudoir photography pics feature people in minimal clothing or lingerie, you’ll want to make sure the room is warm enough. If your studio is cozy and warm, you may be able to add a fan during some shots to achieve a windblown and tousled look for some images.
4. Set the Mood with Music
Ask any professional boudoir photographer and he or she will likely tell you that music is key to making every client feel comfortable. You can invite clients to bring their favorite playlists—or create your own to suit different moods.
If your client wants fun and flirty images, you can select familiar up-tempo songs. Pop songs and classics work well. For romantic boudoir photography, love songs can create a sentimental vibe in their images. Clients interested in wedding boudoir may also prefer love songs to help them reflect on their partner and relationship.
When clients desire erotic photography, sexy boudoir music is the way to go. This can be anything from upbeat dance club music to slower songs. For a client who wants a moody and rustic vibe for their erotic boudoir shoot, roots music, soul, or classic country songs could work well.
You can have some standard playlists ready to go for every boudoir photo shoot. But don’t forget to ask clients for any personal favorites during your planning meeting. You can mix their song selections into your playlists and may discover some new music ideas to inspire future boudoir photo clients.
5. Know Boudoir Poses that Show Off the Client’s Best Assets
No two boudoir clients are alike. Some have alluring eyes, while others have graceful legs, and others boast sensuous curves. Every smart boudoir photographer should know a range of poses to help the client’s most beautiful qualities shine through!
You can suggest some standard poses at first, but let your client’s comfort be your guide. While many poses can highlight a client’s body, you should know about any concerns he or she might have about perceived imperfections. This body insecurity can be a factor in plus size boudoir photography or nude boudoir photography, but any client may have sensitivities. Always remind clients that you can use the best photo editing apps to touch up boudoir pictures and make them look their best.
Some clients may instinctively know how to portray their best features, while others need more coaching. Since your boudoir clients are probably not practiced models, they are unlikely to have any posing experience.
One way to break the ice and get clients to loosen up is to demonstrate boudoir photography poses yourself. You can show clients exactly what to do so that they can replicate boudoir poses with ease.
6. Use Clear and Respectful Language
Clear communication is another vital element of successful boudoir photography. Even if you’ve demonstrated specific boudoir photography poses, you may need to make adjustments. A friendly, yet professional tone can go a long way in a boudoir photo shoot.
Tell your clients exactly what you want them to do. And use language that is non-sexual and respectful. Boudoir is all about empowering clients to look and feel their best, so any language that is crude or demeaning is definitely the wrong choice.
Here is another expert boudoir photography tip: Always ask permission before touching clients during a photo shoot. Whether you want to uncross angles or brush away a stray hair, communicate this in advance. That way, you can make minor adjustments without startling your clients or making them feel uncomfortable.
7. Compliment and Reassure Your Clients
Throughout the photography session, praise your clients often. Tell them they look beautiful, sexy, and vivacious. Compliment them when they achieve perfect boudoir poses or portray an especially flirtatious look. Share what you find most attractive about them. You may help them see their body in a new light.
Often a photographer will want to keep a steady stream of directions and compliments going during a boudoir photo shoot. The reason? This constant communication helps sustain a client’s energy while avoiding any awkward pauses. An unexpected silence can cause a client’s insecurities to surface and dampen the mood of a photo shoot.
Invite your clients to share how they feel during the shoot as well. Sometimes a quick break is needed, which can be as simple as relaxing on the bed or couch for a few moments.
Client Comfort is Key in Boudoir Photography
Boudoir photography is a popular way to mark the stages of a relationship—from an engagement to a bridal boudoir session or an anniversary. Others choose a boudoir photography session if a prolonged separation is inevitable. Whatever the reason, you can help individuals and couples feel comfortable and achieve the best possible boudoir photo.
Start by having thorough discussions with clients in advance of the boudoir shoot. Review your boudoir portfolio and ask them to share any favorite boudoir photography blogs or online boudoir photography galleries they like. You can also connect them with a stylist or makeup artist to perfect their makeup and hair for the session. Let them know the pictures can also be enhanced with a photo editing app to achieve the perfect finished look.
Make sure you create a welcoming environment for your boudoir photo shoot—whether it occurs in your studio or a hotel. Have a ready supply of blankets, linens, towels, and props. You can also use music to help set the mood and achieve a dynamic photo session.
Throughout the boudoir shoot, positive and clear communication is key. Give your clients specific posing and don’t be afraid to demonstrate boudoir poses yourself. Always let clients know what you want them to do in each shot—and be specific. Let them know how to breathe, angle their head, or arch their back for best results. Compliment and praise them often to help clients stay relaxed. This will help them attain the boudoir photography images of their dreams.
If you want to move into boudoir photography, there’s no better time than the present. You start by learning solid portrait photography techniques. Seek out a boudoir photography tutorial or boudoir photography blog written by an expert to learn new skills. And practice working with Lightroom presets to make boudoir photo post-processing a breeze.
Whether your clients want nude boudoir, erotic boudoir, or more tasteful boudoir photography, you’ll be ready to meet their needs. With some learning and practice, you’ll be a pro at taking quality boudoir photography pics in no time!