16 Things You Wanted to Know About Boudoir Photography But Were Afraid to Ask

1. What is boudoir photography?

The term ‘boudoir photography' is used to describe a number of things, including lingerie, pin up, fetish, tasteful nudes and even just shots that have a hint of a tease or little bit more skin on show! Basically it refers to anything remotely seductive. How far you go with it is entirely up to you.

There is a common misconception that a boudoir photography shoot means totally naked; it can be, but only if that is what you’re going for. The majority of shots have lingerie, stockings and pretty glamorous hair and makeup but at the same time a simple oversized shirt with messy hair and very little makeup is considered Boudoir when shot in the right way. It is very much customisable based on what kind of look you like.


2. How do you build up the confidence to do a shoot for boudoir photography?

This is great question, purely because an unbelievable amount of people would love to do a boudoir photography shoot but lack the confidence they think they need to do it. It’s kind of fear of the unknown at work here. People dream up scenarios where they have to strip down in front of a complete stranger, they imagine a seedy photographer making them feel super awkward with extreme poses. They imagine the shots will highlight the cellulite more than the curves and that the photographer may also in some way feel awkward.

Well... In a word… No! None of this happens. Seasoned photographers have seen everything possible and are trained in all aspects of photography. To a photographer, you are the subject and they look at a shoot from the perspective of creating a piece of art with each image. They have an in-depth discussion with you about what kind of look you want so you will not be directed in a way that would be uncomfortable for you.

Also, there are robes and screens if you don’t want to walk around in your sexiest get up! As far as the end result goes, we have NEVER come across a client who regretted doing a boudoir  photoshoot and the typical thing people say after their shoot is ‘It wasn’t scary at all’. The only confidence you need is to get in front of the camera. Once you’re there the rest is so much easier than you might think!


3. Are boudoir photoshoots vintage style?

Although the word ‘Boudoir’ refers to vintage glamour, in photography the meaning has evolved to cover anything seductive. Saying that, by far the most popular form of Boudoir photography is the classic meaning. This would be stockings, corsets and a classic red lip and liquid liner. As beautiful as the original Boudoir look is, it does not mean that you have to look like a 1950s pin up to do a Boudoir photoshoot. It can be absolutely anything you like.


4. Do you have to have your own outfits?

As the majority of boudoir is lingerie and stockings, it is definitely best to put together your own look for the shoot as quite frankly, some items just should not be shared! Also, with so many different shapes and sizes, a one size fits all approach would never work for boudoir. Finding a look for a boudoir photoshoot is all about what appeals to you. Some prefer delicate fabrics that drape off one shoulder whereas others opt for a structured corseted look.

Putting your boudoir look together is great fun, you can dig out your most daring lingerie, grab that corset that you haven’t worn yet or even that dress that’s just a little bit too see through! Take note of images you like and what the outfits are and remember to think about the details. Your boudoir look should be personal to you and the overall feel you wish to create.


5. Are boudoir photography images photoshopped?

Often images you see in the media and online have had a complete photoshop transformation. Do not be fooled by the flawless look that you see, it is not a true representation of beauty. We believe less is more! When you view your images for the first time you will see them exactly as they are taken. Very often clients are happy with the look of the shots as they are. However, if requested, a light natural edit can be done. The whole point of Boudoir is to showcase you as you are so we believe a heavy overly photoshopped look is not necessary but we can of course do a little tweak if you like!


6. What backgrounds and sets are used?

This varies based on what kind of images you would like. Sometimes a simple background is used to keep a very clean and classic look and sometimes a giant gold chaise longue is called for! Many photographers and studios set dress for the occasion. If you have something very particular in mind, be vocal and very often your photographer can set it up. At our studio, we have a range of backgrounds and sets that are suitable for boudoir and we tailor them to suit the look and style that you are going for.


7. How many people are there on set?

At Vanity Studios, it is just you and your photographer. On occasion there is another shoot at the same time but they will be working in a different part of the studio and yours will be kept completely private. For boudoir, it is best to keep what we call a closed set with as few people present as possible and that's why we recommend weekday bookings around 4pm.


8. Has anyone ever backed out at the last minute?

Ha! Perhaps they have considered it, but no! We have had a lot of people demonstrate those last minute nerves but never a total back out. Once people have gone through hair and makeup and discussed the process with the photographer, they usually feel great and are raring to go! The scariest part of a boudoir photoshoot is just getting it booked. If all else fails, we have wine!


9. Can you do a boudoir photoshoot with a partner?

Absolutely! We have done many couple shoots of this nature. Again, these have been everything from going shirtless for a classic skin on skin shot to pulling out the PVC and the props! It’s totally customisable and tailored to you and your partner. It has been quite a popular option for anniversaries and engagements and the results never fail to please.


10. What do people use boudoir pictures for?

There are many reasons people book a boudoir photography shoot. They are not just for models and Burlesque performers. Many people do a shoot as a gift for their partner, they seem to pop up a lot around Valentines Day! It is also a great pre-wedding gift! However, by far the most popular and possibly the best reason to do a boudoir photoshoot is simple: body positivity and a confidence boost! When you’re creating the images for these reasons, boudoir photography never fails to make you feel empowered and full to the brim with self love.

Very often, your confidence inspires self acceptance in others. Seeing yourself captured in such a beautiful way exactly as you are is one of the best ways to feel great about yourself. For this reason, a lot of people shoot boudoir for milestone birthdays, reaching those body goals and our favourite reason to shoot boudoir… the classic post break up revenge photoshoot!


11. Do you have to wear heavy makeup?

It’s true that photographic makeup is a little heavier than your average day to day look. However, there are no rules about boudoir photography makeup. Many people opt for a heavier look as that’s what works with their chosen outfits so it is what you typically see. Some styles work better with a soft, glowy look. It all really depends on what you’re going for.

The two most popular boudoir looks are of course vintage with a red lip, liquid winged liner and waved glossy hair and the other is a smoky eye. When we talk about smoky eye looks, there is such a huge scale to work with. It can be soft and minimal or heavy and black and still be classed as ‘smoky’. In makeup artistry the word just simply refers to the way the eyeshadow is applied and not the heaviness of it! If you are unsure about what makeup you would like have a look at some images and give your makeup artist a reference to the kind of look you like.


12. Who can see your images after your photoshoot?

All viewing sessions are completely private and only you, your photographer and the viewing consultant will see your images. Once you have selected the shots you like, the others will be removed from the system. They will never be shared on a public platform unless you have expressly given us permission.


13. Do older women ever do Boudoir shoots?

Of course! There is nothing more empowering than a woman who celebrates herself at any age. Women have done boudoir shoots to celebrate their 60th birthdays at Vanity Studios. It is a great way to feel fantastic about yourself and to defy the norms! We absolutely love when a client unapologetically owns who they are and boudoir is a great way to showcase this in an image.


14. Can men do a Boudoir shoot?

Why the hell not?! Boudoir is simply a style of photography and if the style is essentially a sexy photoshoot, it is for anyone! Men in Boudoir has even been referred to as 'dudoir' or ‘dudeoir’, which we love! We have done countless suggestive shots with men, everything from underwear to spraying them with water and oil for that ‘just out of the shower’ look. Men’s boudoir is great and actually pretty popular! It just shows there is no limitation on this style of photography.


15. How much does a boudoir photoshoot cost?

It really depends! Whilst that's a horrible answer, there are a lot of factors that go in to it. It can be dependent on the experience of the photographer, how many images you want, how many outfits you want to shoot, their location and set up and whether you want hair or make up. At Vanity Studios, we'd estimate a typical boudoir photoshoot price for make up, hair and a 4 outfit change boudoir photography session would cost around £300 - £500 and include around 10-15 high quality images.


16. Can you go extreme/ fetish with your look if you want to?

You can go as far as you like! It is YOUR shoot. Boudoir photography is about whatever makes you feel good. Ultimately, that is the whole point of boudoir photography! It should be a bold representation of you. Do not hold back if you want to go for it! Most people wish they had brought their most daring outfits when they are at the studio but by then it’s too late! When it comes to boudoir photography you do not need to adhere to your day to day norms… it’s always best to step out of that comfort zone to create images you are sure to love.


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