Like with any portrait photography, your work can start to look static and boring if you’re not always trying out new ideas to diversify your boudoir photo poses. That’s why we’ve rounded up all of the very best boudoir photography poses, from essential boudoir poses to creative and unique approaches that will breathe new life into your online photography portfolio.
Boudoir Poses Inspired by Art History
If you need inspiration for the best boudoir poses, why not take a look at the vast collection of nude figure paintings throughout art history? By referencing famous boudoir poses, your viewer will automatically draw a connection between your art form and the piece it alludes to, adding depth to the meaning of your composition. Although most of these examples involve a fully nude figure, you can adjust the wardrobe to suit your artistic vision or your photography client’s needs. Here are some classic boudoir photography ideas based on famous paintings, and how to execute them to perfection.
1. La Grande Odalisque by Jean August Dominique Ingres
If you didn’t take art history in school, you may not recognize this painting from the title alone, but you’ll probably know it when you see it. There are actually many famous paintings of the odalisque in art history, but this one by Ingres is one of the most universally recognizable.
In order to achieve this boudoir pose, have your model lie on one side on a bed, couch, or chaise longue. Instruct your subject to lie on their left side, back to the camera, supporting themselves on their left forearm, knees slightly bent, while looking back at the camera over their right shoulder. All the better if you can deck out your studio with lush, lavish fabrics and pillows to complete the fantasy.
2. Venus of Urbino by Titian
This famous painting by Titian depicts a nude woman in a similar boudoir pose to La Grande Odalisque, so you could easily photograph both in one shoot. In this essential boudoir pose, the model is lying on their right side, front-facing the photographer. She props herself up on her elbow on top of a pile of pillows, one leg over the other, with her left hand delicately placed between her legs.
3. The Birth of Venus by Botticelli
This boudoir photo pose emulates the famous Venus in the half shell, so your model will be standing. While the figure in the painting has her long flowing hair to cover parts of her body, you might want to introduce a sheet or piece of fabric to achieve a similar result. Your subject should stand facing you, with most of their weight on their left leg. Their right arm should be placed between their legs while their left hand rests on their chest.
Boudoir Photography Poses on the Floor
It may not seem the most glamorous, but the flat, uniform surface of a clean floor can make a great, versatile setting for trying out a bunch of boudoir poses. Make sure you lay down something comfortable for your model, whether that means a big fluffy blanket, a thick carpet, or even a futon draped in fabric. Here are some ideas for the best boudoir poses that involve lying on a flat surface.
4. Arched Back
For this pose, ask your model to lie flat on their back, and then expand their chest forward, keeping hips and shoulders on the floor. This will create a curve of negative space between their body and the floor, showcasing the lines of their body. From here, you can play around with the positioning of the model’s legs, arms, and face to change things up so you can determine what are the most effective boudoir poses for your purpose.
5. Lying on One Side
This is a great boudoir pose to show off your model’s natural curves in contrast to the straight horizontal line of the floor. Have your subject lie on one side on the floor, with one arm extended above their head. Then get them to bend their upper leg, creating a curve between their shoulder and hip to emphasize their waist. You can also adjust this pose to accentuate your model’s curves even further by having them prop their upper body up on one elbow.
Best Seated Boudoir Poses
Although a lot of boudoir photoshoots seem to involve a reclining model, there are no rules to say that you can’t change it up and introduce a chair or other furniture into the mix. Here are some boudoir photography ideas that involve sitting rather than reclining and how to make the most of them.
6. Facing Sideways
In order to create a boudoir pose that will make the most of your subject’s body, it’s all about playing up their curves and angles. For this reason, it’s a good idea to angle your chair slightly away from the camera as opposed to sitting face on. Instead, rotate the chair so that your model is in profile when they sit down. From here, you can experiment with the negative space between their body and the lines of the chair, elongating or bending legs and sitting towards the front or the back of the chair depending on what you are going for.
7. Edge of Chair
Lean forward. More modest with arms covering chest and legs together or more forward with legs wide and confidence
Cropped Boudoir Photography Ideas
Although many boudoir poses are designed to showcase the model, this is not always the case, particularly if you are involved in product, clothing, or jewelry photography. It entirely depends on the situation, but sometimes using a close crop or focusing on only one part of the body is more effective for your purpose. Here are some cropped boudoir photography ideas that you can introduce into your repertoire for a slightly different feel.
8. Crop Out the Face
If you want to get creative, play around with how you line up your camera, and experiment with cropping the shot to only include part of your subject. You can use this technique to draw your viewer’s attention to a certain physical attribute or body part. This is a great boudoir pose for a model who is shy or wants to celebrate their body while remaining anonymous. If you are shooting a lingerie or clothing line, this can also focus the eye on the clothing rather than being distracted by what the subject’s face looks like. By cropping out the model’s face, the image becomes more universally relatable, because it could be anyone in the photo.
9. Feature the Model’s Jewelry
Boudoir poses offer a great opportunity to showcase what the subject is wearing, and that includes jewelry and other accessories. For example, photoshoots featuring engagement or wedding rings often go hand in hand with boudoir poses. There are a few different ways you might choose to draw the viewer’s attention to your model’s accessories. You can adjust your DSLR camera settings so that the jewelry is in focus against a blurry background, and have your subject run their hand through their hair or rest it on a fabric that accentuates the jewelry.
Boudoir Photo Ideas for Plus Size
10. Legs Crossed
For plus size or curvy subjects, it’s all about accentuating their curves and focusing in on their best features. Have your model stand and cross one leg in front of the other. This will emphasize the curve of their hips compared to the smaller width of one leg in front of another, making it a great boudoir photo idea for plus-size clients or models.
Couple Boudoir Photoshoot Ideas
11. Laughing Together
When it comes to shooting boudoir poses with couples, one of the most important things you can do to make your photo shoot a success is to make your subjects feel comfortable. Even if they’re going for a super sexy and serious vibe, it’s a good idea to get your models to loosen up with some more casual and fun poses at the beginning.
A great way to position a couple for boudoir poses is by having them start face to face with their arms around each other. From here, you can ask them to adjust their positions based on which features you want to emphasize. For example, an arched back will show off your model’s waist and hips. On the other hand, a male subject may want to emphasize their muscles, so you might instruct them to stand up straight or even flex.
Male Boudoir Photo Ideas
While a typical boudoir photoshoot may focus on a female subject, male boudoir photographs are very much on the rise. Start by asking your client what they hope to achieve from their photoshoot. Maybe they have recently gotten into great shape and want to show off their new muscles. Or maybe they are not that confident in their body and want to learn to embrace it. Having that information ahead of time will help you to create the best atmosphere possible to achieve these male boudoir photo ideas.
13. Taking Off His Shirt
There’s just something seductive about the act of removing clothes. By capturing the moments in between being fully clothed and nude, you can lend an air of anticipation to your boudoir poses. This technique can also work with pretty much any outfit. For example, you can use a simple white t-shirt and pull it off, or have the model slowly remove a button-down shirt. This will help them start to feel sexy and confident without having all the emphasis be on a particular part of their body.
14. Facing Away from the Camera
A great way to emphasize a strong back is by having your subject face away from you. Then have them rotate slightly to either side to bring attention to the curves of their back. You can also ask your model to put their hands behind their head, flexing those arm muscles.
15. Working Out
If you’re looking for male boudoir photo ideas that emphasize strength and muscles, why not move your photoshoot to the gym? Ask your subject to life weights or hop in the boxing ring or swimming pool, then show off some of their moves. These boudoir poses will help your client feel extra confident and powerful, as well as showcasing a hobby that they enjoy.
Outdoor Boudoir Photo Ideas
A professional photography studio is usually the setting for boudoir photoshoots, but sometimes, clients like to get a little more creative with the settings they choose. Shooting a boudoir pose in nature can add a feeling of freedom, wildness, and even confidence, depending on how you make use of the natural landscape that is available to you. Here are some of our favorite outdoor boudoir photo ideas that you can use to create a memorable and unique online photography portfolio.
16. Incorporate Flowers
Looking for a way to create a boudoir atmosphere while out in nature? Grab a bundle of wildflowers. Your subject can hold them and pose with the bouquet, using it to cover themselves, or you could even use them as an accessory in your model’s hair to add some natural whimsy to the photoshoot.
17. Holding Fabric in the Wind
If you’re going to be outside in the elements anyway, you may as well use what you have available. If your model is clothed, try using a sheer robe or loose-fitting negligee that will pick up the breeze and show movement in your boudoir pose. You can still make use of fabric and the wind even if your model is completely nude. Just grab a bedsheet or large piece of fabric and have your subject face towards the wind, holding the sheet out behind them so that it billows and acts almost like a cape, creating visual interest and softness.
18. Boudoir Photos in Water
If you’re willing to try something a bit different, consider choosing a setting for your boudoir poses near a natural lake or other water. To get really great boudoir photos, find a location where you can physically position yourself above the body of water, so you can achieve some awesome shots from above. If your subject can float on their back, get them to move their body around in different ways to accentuate their curves. Similar to holding a piece of fabric in the wind, you can also apply this technique to your boudoir poses in the water. You may have to experiment, but if done right, the combination of flowing hair and water can come together to make a beautiful and memorable boudoir photo.
Burlesque Photoshoot Ideas
Burlesque is all about opulence. So how can you turn up the heat on a standard boudoir pose? Here are some amazing and unique burlesque photoshoot ideas that are sure to get your creative wheels spinning.
19. Dripping in Pearls
Whether your subject is reclining on a bed, sitting on a chair, or standing up, you can use excessive amounts of pearls (or other strings of jewelry) to really play up the burlesque in your boudoir poses. Drape the pearls seductively over your model’s neck, chest, face, or whatever part of the body you are attempting to showcase in your boudoir pose. This will make for a photoshoot that is equal parts elegant, opulent, and sexy.
20. Foot on Chair
Some boudoir poses are more demure, while others show off your model in a dominant, bold light. Grab whatever chair you have around the studio, and have your subject face you with one foot up on the seat of the chair. The facial expression will make all the difference in terms of creating a boudoir pose that is believably fierce and daring.
21. Strap Falling Off Shoulder
Sometimes, the implication of clothes coming off can be more alluring than the naked body itself. When you have a bra strap or shirt falling off of your model’s shoulder, your subject instantly appears demure and innocent but in a sensual way. In order to pose your model for this boudoir photoshoot idea, start with them facing away from the camera. This type of boudoir pose can take place on any surface, so feel free to get creative. Next, arrange the clothing to look like it has accidentally slipped off of your model’s shoulder. Then have your subject look over their shoulder at the camera, with eyes facing you or cast down, depending on the tone you want to set.
Seductive Photography Poses
Most boudoir poses are sexy to begin with, but there are certain ways to dial up the sensuality for a client who really wants to show off their bold and confident personality. Here are some ideas for seductive photography poses that you can pull out of your repertoire at your next boudoir photoshoot.
22. Boudoir Poses with a Mirror
Props can be a very effective way to add some visual interest to an otherwise simple scene. If you can get your hands on a floor-length mirror, there are tons of options for boudoir poses that will be brought to life by this simple furniture addition. Place the mirror in front of your camera at an angle, so that you and your camera gear won’t end up in the shot. Then have your model stand and pose in front of the mirror, where your camera can pick up their body in front of you as well as their reflection.
You can play around with angles to determine how much of the body you want to show in the mirror and in front of it. Move around your subject to capture different angles before you decide which ones are working best for your creative vision. Including a mirror in your boudoir poses allows you to showcase multiple angles of the body in one shot, and adds depth to the room.
23. Overhead Boudoir Poses
Another way to show off your subject’s curves with a creative boudoir pose is by shooting from overhead. This can mean physically positioning yourself and your camera to look straight down on the subject, or just slightly above and behind them. Have your model lie down on the bed or other surface on their back with their head closest to the camera. Then have them angle their face up to emphasize their jawline, while the rest of their body is foreshortened in an appealing way.
Classy Boudoir Photo Shoot Ideas
As the photographer, you have a ton of control over the mood that your boudoir poses exude. Depending on your creative vision and your client’s desires, this may mean you end up using either sexier or more understated boudoir poses. If your client wants to show off their body while still remaining elegant, these classy boudoir photo shoot ideas are the perfect place for you to get your inspiration.
24. Under a Sheet
Lighting plays a huge part in creating a successful boudoir pose, and you probably already know that the most universally flattering light is natural white light. We don’t all have floor to ceiling windows in our photography studios, but you can fake it with some crafty boudoir poses!
First, set up a piece of furniture with a white sheet laid across it. Make sure the sheets you’re using are pure white or they will affect your overall result. Next, have your model lie down on the sheet on their side, with their face gently resting along their arm. Make sure they are not putting all of their weight on their arm or one side of the face will appear squished. Then lay another white sheet on top of your subject. Ideally, you can attach it to something to create a tent-like effect, and get your camera under the top sheet as well. This will result in flawless, flattering lighting and an intimate vibe that is still super classic and classy.
25. Looking Back Over Shoulder
If your subject isn’t keen to show too much of their body, having them face away from the camera may be your best bet for a successful shoot. This way, you can still show off the model’s back, and you can determine how covered up or revealing the boudoir poses are. You can also introduce a sheet that the subject can drape across their body. Ask them to look over their shoulder, creating elegant, classic lines that will complete the pose.
26. Cross Arms Over Chest
Just because your boudoir subject may be topless doesn’t necessarily mean they will want to show off everything. You can adjust their body positions to play up the nudity while still projecting a classy vibe. One idea for a covered up boudoir pose is to have your model cross their arms in from of their chest, shielding themselves from being fully revealed.
Tips for Positioning Your Subject’s Hands in Boudoir Photography
If you’re going to be working with clients or models who may not have experience doing boudoir poses, it’s always good to have some advice for them in terms of where to put their hands to enhance the photo, rather than having them just lie there.
27. Hand in Hair
A great way for amateur models or subjects to position their hand in a way that looks and feels natural and adds to the overall composition is by having them put their hand in their hair. They can lightly push up their hair to add volume and visual interest to your boudoir poses, or run their fingers through their hair.
28. Hand on Chest
One of the simplest boudoir poses is to have your model recline and rest their hand gently and sensually across their chest. This can be used to draw attention to what the subject is wearing or to their physical assets.
We hope these awesome boudoir photography ideas have sparked some inspiration for you! Now that you have all the tools right in front of you, you’ll have no problem at all setting up beautiful and memorable photoshoots to show off your detailed understanding of boudoir poses. Now get out there are start shooting, and don’t forget to update your online photography portfolio along the way!
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