Investing in Your Boudoir Session | What Should You Bring to Your Boudoir Session?

I get this question a lot. A lot. And it’s not wonder; most women don’t step in front of the camera of a professional photographer but maybe a few times in their lifetime and typically it’s not just for themselves, except for high School senior photos. Engagement photos, wedding photos, family photos from JC Penney (oy vey). Boudoir photography is becoming very popular but even then most women consider that a once-in-a-lifetime session.

I have really started to try and educate my clients on what they should bring and also about investing in their session a bit. Again–we women don’t really pamper ourselves a whole lot and how many times do you really think you’re going to step in front of a camera for a session for you? Just you? Not often right? Maybe…once? Well Boudoir photography isn’t cheap so why would you pay all that moolah to have a creative and artistic photographer photograph you in clothing you’re not sure you like and just so happen to be on sale dirt cheap? I’m not telling you to invest a million bucks but some key pieces and just one “it” outfit can make a gigantic difference in the outcome of your session. I find when I work with women on styling and talk about looks, clothing, styles and ideas they get very excited and that building of energy between us makes for a very powerful session.

So Below I am going to list a few tips to keep in mind when considering what you should wear for your upcoming boudoir session and how to invest in a few key pieces.

~Keep it simple. Keep it about you. We women tend to go overboard with…well…everything. Don’t you snicker here…yes you…the one that practically bit her nails off last Friday because you couldn’t decide whether you should make a “spread” or a “tapenade” to take with your sliced baguette to the Ladies Night In. This is what we do. We stress. We worry, we contemplate, we ask our girlfriends, we cruise the internet to find out what other women did. But remember, a Boudoir Session is about YOU, not your clothing. The clothing you choose should highlight your personality and your style. Yes, this is definitely a time to get out of your comfort zone but don’t forget to incorporate yourself into this. Whomever you’re doing this for will want that, whether it’s your significant other or yourself.

~Clothing should enhance what you like about yourself while helping to camouflage what you don’t like. Many times I have had women bring in a teensy bra and a barely there pair of undies and then tell me they are very self-conscious about their belly. Hmmm…yes, I can pose you creatively to help hide your belly but wouldn’t it be better if you brought an outfit that you felt good about when you looked in the mirror? These same women will walk out of the dressing area hunched over, arms around the belly with a deer in the headlights look. Now you tell me…how sexy do you feel at that moment? How well do you think you’re going to photograph in that outfit? What if you chose a lovely slip in your favorite color? Or what about a corset with higher-waisted pair of undies giving the illusion of a body suit and finished that off with a suit jacket/tuxedo jacket of the same color. WHAM! Now we’re talking! Whatever you bring, make sure you actually like it. Make sure when you put it on you’re thinking “Holy slap happy whammie slammie bippity boppity boo am I one hot chica!” Yea. I said it. Be good to yourself. Yes you, the one that just thought “Oh I am so gonna do this…after I lose that last 10 lbs.” Quit it. Right now. Be good to yourself.

~Boudoir isn’t all stilettos and thongs. When I began this business, traditional boudoir was all the rage: corsets, stilettos, thong underwear, garters…very traditional lingerie. Well it has come a long way since then and now there is Glamour, Vogue-Inspired and yes, traditional boudoir is still very popular. But remember, a little black dress is just as sexy as a thong. Are you more boho inspired? Try tops with flowy material and low riding skirts. Are you more high-fashion? Try glitzier tops, jeans or skirts. Are you fru-fru? Bring ruffled, ultra-fem tops, consider those adorable ruffled skirts that flow and look almost reminiscent of a tutu. And don’t forget the accessories! A flower pin for the shirt, a belt to give you more of a waist, a sash that can be used as a belt, wrapped to make a top or even used around your neck as a scarf. Be creative. If you see a blouse at a store and you are instantly drawn to it, get it! I have a lot of women say to me “I’d love to do that type of session, but I don’t look like the girls on your site and I don’t want you to photograph my bum.” I couldn’t have said it better myself. 🙂 Boudoir shoots aren’t just about bums anymore; they are about celebrating you for who you are. And if you are a pair of slacks and a glittery top, then let’s work it girl.

~Key pieces to bring and that “It” outfit. Key pieces are actually mostly accessories. There are so many things I can do with an organza flower pin: put it in your hair, attach it to the strap of your shirt, pin it to your tank top, add it to a belt…lots and lots. As I said above, a sash: wrapped in your hair, around your neck, around your waist and I can probably think of at least 3 different ways to turn that sash into a top. A swath of soft, flowy fabric in your favorite color: I can wrap it around your waste and turn it into a skirt, I can wrap it around your nude body, I can have it around your shoulders billowing with a fan blowing on it, I can hang it from a window to create a backdrop. As for the “It” outfit, well, that’s up to you. Do you want to do a series in your favorite jeans and shirt? Do you want to do a high-fashion series in a gown? Or were you a ballerina and would you like to do a series with you dancing in your toe shoes? Whatever it is make sure you have that one outfit, top, bottom or whatever it is that just gives you tummy tingles thinking about being photographed in it.

The most important thing to keep in mind with any photo session is that you want to be able to see your photos and think “Wow, that’s me.” Not “Wow, who is that? It looks nothing like me.” My job is to capture your personality, your energy and your essence. My job is to make your session a fabulous, fun experience that you will remember forever. Your job is to make sure what you bring makes you excited and happy about being photographed. You need to make sure you are comfortable in the clothing you bring, that you feel good when you put it on. Otherwise, your fear and discomfort will show in the photos. Sheesh, you can get that from any friend wielding their point-n-click for free. 😉 You don’t need me for that.

It doesn’t matter who is photographing you (pick me! pick me!) but be sure that you are in constant communication with your photographer about what to expect, the clothing you should bring and any other topic that is relevant to making your session a success. Here are a few resources to help you with this:

~Pinterest. I bet you need no intro to Pinterest but just in case, this is basically the visual Facebook. You can follow anyone you want based on your own interests but the great thing here is that you can create your own board for your session to put ideas together. I am now creating a board for all of my boudoir clients so we can communicate visually back and forth. It’s so much fun!

~Polyvore. OK–if you haven’t heard of Polyvore boy are you in for some fun. Polyvore is a site you can visit and create an entire digital outfit, save it and post it to wherever you want. So any item you can find online you can also find on Polyvore and mix and match whole outfits and save it so you can reference it later. And you can post these outfits to your Pinterest page! And if you’re a bit stylishly challenged you can follow others that are not and see what they’re up to. If you like a creation they put together you can Pin It to your own board. I love this site! And the awesome thing is that Polyvore has every item linked back to it’s source so if you like what you see you can buy it right then and there online. Can’t get any easier than that!

So what are you waiting for! Get talking, get shopping and reserve that session right now. Yes you…the one that has already planned out 3 outfits in her head and is trying to figure out what fib she’s going to tell her husband so she can get to my studio for her session. 😉

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