I get asked a lot of questions about Boudoir Photo Sessions. Mostly, about airbrushing, or what a girl should bring to a session to wear. But I don’t get as many questions as I used to about how a girl should prepare for her Boudoir Photo Session. Preparation is extremely important. You think it would be obvious for a girl to do her nails, shave her legs, etc. But you would be surprised how often I get a client who doesn’t want to show her hands because of her nails!!! Really ladies, it’s BOUDOIR PHOTOGRAPHY! That means showing your body! including your hands! More importantly, however, there is some mental preparation. The mental and the physical are linked and can affect each other. Without your nails done and your hair cut the way you like it, it can affect how sexy you feel. Which is the most important thing! I can help you with expression, I have some tricks, but ultimately, the sexy, comes from you!
So below I have a list of the most important things to consider when preparing for a Boudoir Photography Session.
1. Do your nails and toes. It’s a good excuse for a spa day. Get a good mani/pedi or do it at home. Your nails don’t have to be long, just a nice manicure. Color is optional. It’s usually best to stick with a color that’s fairly neutral, so it doesn’t clash with any of your outfits. If you don’t like nails or have a job that isn’t nail friendly, the Lee Press-on type of nail will work. They look very real in photos.
2. Hair. Your hair is THE most important factor in the style of the photo. It affects the entire tone of the picture. I have the most excellent hair and makeup artist, Lorri, who styles the hair and does the makeup for my girls. But it’s best to have a cut you like and to be mindful of your roots. I do 3 dimensional photography. The top of your head is likely to show, so make sure you have timed your appointment with your stylist correctly. Don’t change your style or color right before a session!!!! Also, you know your hair. Is it best freshly washed? Or does it style better after a day? Do you like your hair best right after your trip to the stylist? Or do you like it better after it has settled in for a couple of weeks?
3. Come to the studio with your hair and makeup as you do everyday. We do not need you to come bare-faced, unless that’s what you want. Do come with dry hair, but you can style it normally.
4. Schedule your appt taking into account your ‘cycle’. Not that I care, but I know you will feel sexier without your monthly visitor.
5. Tanning. Ugh! I get asked about this a lot. Tanning is okay, if it’s what you normally do. The most important thing is an even skin tone. How light or dark you are is really not that important. In fact, a very dark tan really does not photograph as well. If you don’t like tan lines, then the tanning bed just to even things out a bit is a good idea. But don’t overdo! I can’t fix a sunburn! Unless you want all black and white photos! You will not feel sexy with a painful sunburn!
6. Working out. If you normally work out or are active, you know what activities will help you to feel sexy and lean. Do that the day before, but not the day of. Your muscles actually swell after a heavy workout. So unless you are doing a fitness shoot, you don’t want to bulge! If you don’t work out, that’s just fine. I KNOW how hide your flaws. And anyway, working out does not guarantee a flawless body.
7. Shave your legs and take care of your bikini area. The camera doesn’t always pick this up, but YOU will feel sexier, and THAT will show.
8. Eating before a session. I like to do Boudoir Portraits first thing in the morning. Most ladies are thinnest then and they feel thinner. But it is good idea to have a little something before the session. Also, if you want a glass of wine to relax you, you really need to eat a little. I don’t want to scrape you off the floor!
9. Clothing selection. This is probably the hardest for most ladies. When you are doing what is probably a once in a lifetime photo session, you want to get the most out of it. So, try on a few things and see what you like. Think of clothes and lingerie as a ‘tool’ to make you look sexy. Check out my post “What to wear for your Valentine’s Day Photography” for some descriptions of different lingerie, and what it can do for you. Also, use your imagination! I think it was Einstein that said: “Imagination is more important than intelligence”. Look at magazines to see what you like. Raid your closet and your friend’s closets! Play on his profession or yours. I once had a client who worked at the county morgue. She brought a body bag in for her session, and we made it sexy! What does he like? What do you like about your body? Use lingerie and other clothing to show off. You are in the spotlight! Model for the day! Work it!
10. I have saved the most important thing for last. Your mental ATTITUDE! Sometimes a client is just determined that she will not look good. She will tell me about every part of herself she doesn’t like. Point out every flaw (perceived flaw). I will attempt to change her mind, and I am usually successful. But this must occur BEFORE the session is finished. If I haven’t changed her mind about herself before the session is done, it will show in the photos. No matter how beautiful she really is, you will see in her own eyes what she feels about herself. THIS is the key to good Boudoir Photography. So, my advice here is to believe me when I say, no matter what you think your flaws are, I can make you look your absolute best. Not because I am a magician, but because I see the real beauty that you are. I am not shackled by your preconceived notions of your self image. I simply see what is in front of me, and it is beautiful. Only waiting for me to expose it.