Boudoir Session Prep
your session is scheduled... so what happens now?
Whether you've experienced a boudoir session before or this will be your first, the thought of preparing for such an experience can be overwhelming. Every session has a different feel to it, every setting has it's own unique challenges and every photographer has their own shooting style and preferences. The last decade and a half of specializing in intimate portraiture have allowed me to learn what works and what doesn't for my shooting and editing style. Helping to prepare you for your session helps me to ensure you get the most out of your final session images.
The most exciting part of preparing for a boudoir session is putting together the wardrobe and accessories to bring along. If you haven't already, start putting your session bag together with things you'd like to wear during your session. Below are some tips that combine what I love to shoot, the most popular items brought by clients and some boudoir essentials. Keep in mind that none of these things is a requirement as I have shot entire sessions with just a bed sheet, but you can use them as a guide to developing your own ideas.
Pick out lingerie that highlights all of your beautiful curves and be sure that it fits you properly. Poor fitting lingerie can ruin a set of images that would have been otherwise beautiful. It's not uncommon for women to be unsure of the size they should be buying so if you're not sure of the proper size for you it's the perfect excuse for an afternoon with a friend to grab some lunch/coffee and have yourself fitted at a local boutique. The ladies at Victoria's Secret are always helpful as well.
A tight T-shirt, soft sweater or over-sized button-down shirt can be even sexier than lingerie so let your own personality shine through in the items you bring with you on session day.
Bring something of importance to you or your significant other, such as a piece of jewelry or clothing. This serves as a great way to personalize your shoot.
Bring clothing and lingerie that makes you feel incredibly sexy and good about yourself instead of items that you think you should be wearing.
If you're gifting your session images to your boyfriend or husband, bring a brand new tie or shirt for him that you could wear in some of your images and then wrap it up for him afterward.
Tops that fall off one shoulder, socks that go over the knee, long necklaces and anything sheer are a great addition to your bag.
Heels are a great addition to everyone's session bag, even for those who never usually wear them, and black ones match everything. Aside from making you feel incredibly sexy, a good pair of heels will elongate your legs and change the way you carry yourself which will naturally accentuate all the beautiful curves that I'll be highlighting in your session images. Keep in mind that while you'll be standing and posing in them, you won't be walking around much. So if you've fallen in love with a sexy pair of stilettos that you never wear because they're a killer on your feet, now's the time to fall in love with them all over again. Bring a few pairs along if you have them for more options.
Bodysuits and high waisted panties are some of my favorite things to shoot because women of all shapes and sizes look spectacular in them.
Within the week before your session...
There are a few things you can do leading up to your session to make session day run smoothly and some things that should be avoided.
DO wax a few days before your session or shave the night before.
DO NOT wax if you've never done so before or wax just before your session because you don't know how you're skin will react and it may leave you with irritation that will be difficult to work with when editing.
DO get a trim or color touch up for your hair.
DO NOT get a drastic change to the length or color of your hair. You may not love it the way you hoped you would and this will greatly affect the way you feel about your session images.
DO take care of your skin leading up to your session. Drinking plenty of water and using moisturizer daily is just about all you need.
DO NOT get chemical peels or other skin treatments which may cause unpredictable reactions that could impact your skin for an undetermined amount of time.
DO stay out of the sun and avoid getting tan lines. Red blotchy skin from the sun and tan lines are some of the most difficult things to work with while editing and because everyone's skin is unique, I cannot make any promises or guarantees in regards to sun exposure.
DO NOT... and I repeat DO NOT get yourself a spray tan or use self-tanner prior to your session. This is one of the most frequent mistakes that women make when preparing for a boudoir session. While you may appear to have a "sun-kissed glow" in person, it is not suitable for this style of photography. My camera will pull the orange hues from the chemicals and that's all I will see when your images are loaded onto my computer for retouching. In addition, self-tanner and spray tan solutions tend to accumulate and look dark in places that are unflattering and are sometimes impossible to remove during editing. I know that dirty orange skin is not what you have in mind for your images and so I try to discourage women from doing this. Creamy skin is where it's at but if you're concerned about your skin tone, please let me know at the start of your session and I'll add a little artificial glow to your images during the retouching process.
DO spend some time removing all the tags and size/care labels from your lingerie and panties.
DO NOT forget to remove the stickers from the bottom of your heels and to clean up the bottoms of your heels as best as you can if bringing an old pair with you to use.
DO put a playlist of songs together on your phone that makes you feel incredibly sexy. I have a playlist ready to go if you don't have any music you'd like to play.
DO NOT forget to add enough music to cover your total session time and be sure to bring your phone charger along just in case.
DO get a mani/pedi the day before your session. White tips and french tips always look good regardless of what you plan to wear.
DO NOT get crazy with the design of your nails. I hope to keep the focus of your session images on you and don't want your nails to distract from that.
DO get plenty of rest before your session.
DO NOT forget that exhaustion and stress can be seen in your eyes. Let's have fun with this!
DO get excited for this experience because it's a ton of fun and you'll totally rock it!
DO NOT worry yourself silly over unexpected bruises and blemishes. Life happens and I've got your back. It's my job to worry about these things and I promise you, I'm not worried!
The day of your session...
Trust me on this!
Wear clear deodorant to avoid marks on lingerie and other items.
Wear loose-fitting clothing for as long as possible leading up to your session. Jeans, underwear with tight elastic, bras, tight socks and other items tend to leave marks on your skin in places we want to photograph bare. A baggy shirt and cotton pants or shorts with some flip flops or loose slip-on shoes should do the trick.
Eat something light but satisfying to carry you through your session before your session time.
Make sure to bring your phone, charger and wireless speaker if you have one, especially if you have a playlist you'd like to put on.