Boudoir Session Planning Guide
Welcome to one of my favorite parts of the site which I reserve exclusively for my boudoir clients! I've gathered tips and tricks to help you plan a fun, yet relaxing, boudoir session. Whether you're gifting these photos to your partner, or have decided to book a session just you, boudoir sessions have so much to offer! I love photographing a client during her session and seeing the confidence and self love which emerges the further we get into the shoot. As a boudoir photographer, one of my favorite parts of my job is being able to help women see themselves as how everyone else sees them: beautiful.
Below you'll find everything from what to expect, outfit inspiration, what to bring with you the day of your session and more. I'm so excited you're here, and even more excited to be working with you!
What to Expect During Your Boudoir Session
I know having your photo taken with fewer clothes on than you're used to might be a bit unnerving! When you first arrive, we're not going to dive head first into the photography portion of your session. I'll put on your favorite Pandora station, then we'll take some time to chat and sip some bubbly. You'll also have a few minutes to change into your first outfit and I'll explain some of the core poses I use!
To ensure we have time for each of these moments, please be sure to arrive 15 minutes before your scheduled session time.
Location, Location, Location
I generally work out of my natural light studio based in Bridgeport, Connecticut, but the location of your session is up to you! If you need help deciding on a spot, I'd be more than happy to recommend a few (there are plenty of great hotels and Airbnb spots around the state). I will challenge you to think outside the box, and brainstorm unique locations that you might have special access to that most people don't. For example, maybe you, or someone in your personal or professional network, can secure permission to a location that would otherwise be off-limits, like a penthouse or private estate. In-home sessions are also a wonderful option, as it is a place where you're most comfortable.
Your session includes my travel time anywhere within a 30 mile radius (60 miles round trip) of my office. If you'd like to conduct your session somewhere outside of this area, I'm always up for an adventure! The travel fee for locations outside my regular area of coverage is $0.75 per mile. I love traveling and am on the road quite often, so I'd love to make it work! If you would like me to meet you in a destination outside of the Connecticut or New York City area for your boudoir session where I don't already have plans to visit, just let me know and I can give you a custom quote.
Boudoir Outfit Styling & Inspiration
When it comes to deciding what to wear for your boudoir session, the options are endless! I generally recommend my clients bring a selection of outfits, as to add some extra visual interest to your photographs. We can narrow down what you'll wear during your session together while enjoying some bubbly! Feel free to mix it up between cozy and sexy outfits (see some examples below).
As women, we come in all sizes, shapes and colors. Some of us have scars, others have stretch marks from childbirth, and that's okay! That's what make us women. No matter your size or shape, there are plenty of places to find both cozy and sexy outfit styles that will allow you to to feel fabulous and rock your confidence. Some favorites of my clients' include stores such as H&M, Torrid, Victoria's Secret, Cacique and Adore Me.
For cozy boudoir outfits, consider any of the following items:
- Button down shirt (either be yours or your partner's)
- Off the shoulder cotton tee or long sleeve shirt
- A cute pair of cotton PJ shorts
- Chunky sweater
- Knee-high or thigh-high socks
- Silk PJ romper
For sexy boudoir outfits, consider bringing some of the items below:
- Lace lingerie set
- Silk or satin
- Lace bodysuit
- Mesh or lace bralette
- Your favorite pair of heels
- Lace babydoll
Pinterest has an abundance of ideas for boudoir outfits. If you're feeling stuck with selecting some styles, check out my Boudoir Outfit Inspiration Board here!
Make a Statement
Pairing an accessory or two (see recommendations below) with each outfit can really help bring some extra dimension to your images. Necklaces, bracelets and earrings bring great visual interest, so choose pieces that don't compete for attention. If you want your session to have a bit of an editorial vibe, fresh florals in a crown or stems around the bed can be a truly romantic touch as well!
If you're looking to bring on a pro to style your session, I've worked with some of the best in the business and would be happy to give you their information!
I love when my clients bring items like jewelry, their favorite pair of heels or any bridal accessories to their session! Not only do they add an extra element to your photos, but they also help to personalize your session as well. Below are some common accessories many women bring to their sessions:
- Pearl necklaces, bracelets or earrings
- Engagement and wedding rings (if applicable)
Many of my brides love to gift their future spouse a boudoir album. Bridal boudoir sessions are conducted the same was as my regular boudoir sessions, and can include any of the bridal accessories you'll be wearing on your wedding day:
- Engagement ring
- Veil or headpiece
- White lace lingerie set
- White silk or satin robe
Bridal boudoir sessions are also a perfect excuse to schedule your hair and makeup trials! In the event you are looking for someone who will do a fabulous job by accentuating your natural beauty, I highly recommend Kiki and the team at Belle Noelle Beauty! I've worked with Kiki for both boudoir sessions and weddings, and am always amazed at her beautiful work!
Quick tip: Confidence. It's always the best accessory.
A Little Extra Polish
Treat yourself to a mani-pedi the day before your session, especially if you're bringing your engagement and wedding rings with you!
Skip the Spray Tan
Although it may seem counter-intuitive, I recommend that you do not get a spray tan before your session, even a few days prior, because it tends to photograph orange even when it's applied subtly and by a professional. Your actual skin tone will photograph the most beautifully
One Final Note
I know I just gave you a lot to think about. I created this guide to help make your boudoir session experience something you'll look back on fondly. At the end of the day, the location you choose and the outfits you select won't matter nearly as much as the way you feel during and after your session. I want the moments we spend together to be a time where you can just be yourself and enjoy it. Above all, my goal for you is to walk away from your session feeling confident and empowered. Have fun. Laugh a lot. I'll take care of the rest!
Boudoir Session Checklist
- Set date, time and location with Shaina
- Review guide for style tips
- Schedule hair and makeup appointments (if applicable)
- Choose your outfits
- Get your nails done
- Clean your ring(s) (if applicable)
- Pack a bag with:
- Boudoir outfits
- Touch-up makeup
- Any personal items you're bringing