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The Boudoir Session 101: Step By Step Guide​

The Boudoir Session 101: Step By Step Guide

Boudoir photography has been around since the 1920’s but it’s really been in the last 5 years that it has become so enormously popular. No longer just for brides, boudoir photography caters to women of all ages and backgrounds.

Most women today have a friend or coworker that has done a boudoir session and a quick scroll through IG or FB will show you hundreds of images of women in lingerie or less, looking pretty amazing. If you’re one of those women that looks at those photos and thinks, Wow! I’d love to look like that but have no idea how to even make something like that happen, then this post is for you!

Boudoir 101 will hopefully show you that you don’t need to be skinny or own a closet full of expensive lingerie to do boudoir. The only thing you need to do is take that first step. Decide to do a session.



How To Find A Boudoir Photographer?

So now you’re ready to consider a session but where to find a photographer? Hiring a professional that can provide you with amazing images is the goal.

The metro DC area offers a large selection of options and you should choose someone you feel matches your personality and style. Are you looking for dark and moody photos or more light and airy? Do you love black and white? Many photographers have the skill to provide beautiful photos that match your style but it’s also important that you’ve worked closely together to be prepared for your session. It’s not enough to just show up!

There’s a lot of preparation that goes into being ready for your boudoir session. Will your photographer guide you through the process? What kind of education do they send you before your session? Feeling prepared and ready will help alleviate anxiety and nervousness about doing boudoir!

Next Steps After Hiring A Boudoir Photographer

Where Does The Session Happen? Boudoir sessions can be done really anywhere. Many photographers work out of hotels or airBnBs if they don’t own studios. Some photographers work out of their homes. Regardless of the location, privacy is a key factor in boudoir. Clients often feel very vulnerable during the session so it’s important that the environment feels safe.

Once concerns about privacy and safety are covered, you can really let your hair down and experience the freedom of expressing yourself in front of the camera. That may sound impossible but a professional photographer will be able to guide you every step of the way. Looking sexy for photos is really about posing and expression.

So you’ve hired the photographer and now you are wondering….what the heck am I supposed to wear for these photos? Having the right outfits for boudoir is key! 

Obviously many women equate boudoir with lingerie but everyday items like jackets and sweaters work great as well. There are lots of resources online about what to wear for boudoir. Pinterest is great for searching looks that fit your personality and style. The most important thing is to work with the body you have and choose items that flatter your assets and maybe hide areas you don’t love. Again, a professional photographer would be able to help and guide you in this area.

Boudoir: What Happen In The Studio During Your Session

Now, you are in the studio in your amazing bodysuit and thinking to yourself “I am just not a sexy person…what am I going to do?” This is actually the #1 reason why women are hesitant about doing a boudoir shoot. They can’t believe that they would know how to pose, or how to look sexy in front of the camera.

The truth is that those sexy looks are just created with lighting and posing. I often have clients tilt their heads back, breath through their lips with a hand placed on their chin and Viola! It’s like magic how sexy they look. When the client sees their finished images there is usually an audible gasp and a “I can’t believe how sexy I am”! (one of my favorite moments in the studio)

Well you look stunning in that bodysuit with the sexiest look ever on your face but you don’t love that tattoo on your arm? You wish you didn’t have cellulite or stretch marks. Erasing these things is a relatively easy process but requires proficiency with photoshop or another photo editing software. Retouching is about perfecting your images. It should never be about making a size 14 into a size 4.

You want it to be you in the photos but maybe the best version! Talking to your photographer is essential when deciding on the level of retouching you are looking for. Some photographers don’t edit photos and provide a more documentary style look to your photos. Others offer full magazine retouching.

After Your Boudoir Session-Buying Photos

You did the shoot with the best photographer and the photos are unbelievable. “I can’t believe that’s me “.  Now what? How do you envision owning your photos?

Photo studios offer a range of options for boudoir clients. Most popular is probably the boudoir album. Generally these are authentic leather books with your favorite images printed onto lay flat style pages. Yes, you can be a centerfold! Some clients want to show off their photos and prefer digital files that they can share online or maybe do some of their own printing. Others want to create beautiful wall art for their homes. Can you imagine the most amazing photos of yourself on the wall in your bedroom or closet that can remind you daily of how gorgeous you are?

Regardless of the delivery, your photos should be something you can look at for many years to come.

So that’s the boudoir process in a nutshell. I hope this article will help women see how easy making the leap to do a boudoir session can be. I promise that it can be an incredible and rewarding experience and you won’t regret it!

If you’d like to learn more about the particular boudoir experience I offer in my Alexandria Virginia studio I’d love to talk to you. Shoot me an email at or just call me at 703-661-9171.