Boudoir photography is a wonderful service to offer as a portrait photographer. However, it can be intimidating to know where to begin. Below I offer some tips on how to get started with shooting Boudoir and offering it as a service to your clients.

Don’t Be Shy
If you are interested in offering Boudoir photography as a professional service, it’s important to start by creating a portfolio of images to serve as examples of your style and what you offer. This also allows you to do a handful of shoots as practice and through this process you can try different things and see what you like the best within Boudoir and what you want to focus on. These shoots are most commonly referred to as “test” shoots.

Finding subjects for test shoots can be tricky with Boudoir, as this area of photography is a lot more intimate than your typical portrait session. While it may be easy to find volunteers to build a portfolio of children’s portraits, for example, it’s a bit harder to find subjects comfortable posing in just their underwear. Luckily, there are lots of aspiring models across the world and I use websites like ModelMayhem.com and Craigslist.org to find them. Test shoots are generally a trade of time in exchange for images so it’s perfect for models who are looking to build their portfolios and gain more experience. There are always models looking for photographers to work with so get out there and start building that portfolio!

Ease Your Clients in Slowly
Once you have a portfolio built and you are establishing yourself as a Boudoir shooter, you will start being contacted by women who would like Boudoir portraits but who are not working models. They may be looking for a gift for a significant other or they may just want to do a photoshoot for themselves. The important thing is to immediately put them at ease and help them to relax in front of the camera.

To help clients ease into the Boudoir session, I start with a glam portrait that is composed from the waist up. This way we can start slowly and give each client time to loosen up before having them completely remove their outer clothing to shoot head-to-toe. I have found that a lot of the nervousness that your subject may feel will go away as soon as they see that you know what you are doing. Once we have the tight portraits captured, the client has had time to relax and become more comfortable with you.

Use Lots of Props
Another way to help your subjects relax in front of the camera is to give them something to pose with. During the holidays this is really easy as there are lots of suitable props in stores. At a holiday Boudoir session I usually have the following on hand; a Santa hat, tinsel garlands, large ribbons and bows, a small, wrapped package, etc. Giving your subject something to hold in their hands helps them to relax a bit and pose more naturally.

Outside of the holidays, good prop choices can be items that are personal to your client. For example, one of my clients wanted to pose with a teddy bear since it had been a gift from her husband. Items with personal significance will not only give your client a prop to work with but can also make the portraits more meaningful to them.

Hopefully this article will give you the confidence to get started with Boudoir. The best way to improve your skills as a photographer is to practice so get out there and get shooting!

--
Born and raised on the West Coast, Laura Tillinghast began making art at a young age. She explored many mediums until finally discovering photography when she was 17 years old. From that point on, she knew she had found the tool she was looking for to bring her imagination to life. Shooting primarily advertising and editorial content, you never know what you will find infront of Laura's lens. Whether it is a gorgeous model, a rock band or a bowl of oatmeal, she shoots with the same goal in mind; make it beautiful. See more of Laura’s work at her website: lauratillinghast.com