40 Boudoir Photography Ideas

Boudoir photography is about capturing natural beauty and empowering your subject. Sure, boudoir photography is about photographing intimate moments with flattering curves and angles, creating a sense of beauty and sensuality, but it's really about so much more than that. A boudoir photographer focuses on creating an empowering experience. For your subject, it's about self-acceptance and self-empowerment; it's about bravery and feeling beautiful and powerful. A boudoir photographer's job is not only to take stunning photographs of their beautiful subjects but also about how their subjects feel. Whether you feel like you're out of creative ideas, your work feels stale, or you just feel a bit uncertain about boudoir photography, we're here to help with a ton of ideas for you.

boudoir-photography-guide-1

Whether it be lack of inspiration, uncertainty around the boudoir photography style in general, or just feeling like you’ve tried all the boudoir photography ideas out there, if your creative juices have stopped flowing, we’re here to help. 

Boudoir photography is often described as sensual, romantic, intimate, and on occasion, even erotic. The style tends to verge somewhere between fashion photography and glamor photography. There is usually a lot of emphasis on hair, makeup, and wardrobe, and the model is almost always the main subject of the piece. 

If you’re an experienced boudoir photographer looking to spice up his/her images, or you’re just easing into this photography style, there are plenty of boudoir photoshoot ideas to choose from, which we’ll help you with below. 

Once you’ve made your way through our ideas, we highly recommend checking out these boudoir portfolios, as well as in this post showcasing some of the best boudoir portfolio examples. With a little inspiration, we have no doubts that you’ll be able to tap into your creative energy and start brainstorming your own boudoir photography ideas.

8 Boudoir Photography Ideas

As mentioned above, boudoir photography is often very intimate in nature. Because of this level of intimacy, boudoir photos have the potential to feel cheesy, raunchy, and/or tasteless. To avoid this, there are certain photoshoot ideas that boudoir photographers will want to implement to help produce classy, tasteful, sexy images. Let’s review. 

1. Start With An Inspiration Board 

Just as with any styled photoshoot, taking the time to consider the overarching aesthetic and mood to go with your photos is essential to create a cohesive feel. A vision board can help you better determine things like photoshoot location, wardrobe, and any props that might be necessary. 

You can also create a vision for your overarching aesthetic like photographer Margaux Pastor. A vision like this helps you better nail down who your target client is and what style of boudoir you’ll specialize in. Having a vision like this also makes it more likely that you’ll find a client who is happy with the finished product. 

Boudoir-Ideas-1

2. Natural Light Is Your Best Friend 

When coming up with ideas for your boudoir photoshoot, don’t be afraid to let natural lighting be your go-to source of light. Natural light is soft, flattering, and fills a room without any harsh shadows. 

As you gain experience as a boudoir photographer, you might feel more confident adding diffusers and beauty dishes, but as Jaime Patterson’s work shows, natural lighting can create classic, feminine boudoir photos that feel chic and elegant. 

boudoir-ideas-2

3. Let Your Model Pick Their Outfit For The Shoot

Like we said earlier, in boudoir photography, your model should be the main subject of your photos. Because of this, ensuring that she feels confident and comfortable throughout your time together is key to success. 

With that in mind, let your model pick an outfit that she feels most comfortable in. Even if you personally think the black lingerie fits better with the photos, if your model is not comfortable, it will show through with the finished product. You can always give your model some guidance for her outfit but at the end of the day you want her to feel confident and comfortable.

If you take a look at Amanda Wingenbach’s portfolio, you’ll notice all the models are dressed very differently, making it clear that each model was able to pick her own wardrobe to help with confidence.

boudoir-ideas-3

4. When In Doubt, Try Black And White

If you’re struggling to come up with new boudoir photography ideas, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. You can simply try playing with some post-production editing. In particular, black and white photography tends to be popular with boudoir photographers for its sensual and mysterious feel. 

Wouter Colen shows this off perfectly with a boudoir portfolio that is done entirely in black and white. 

boudoir-ideas-4

5. Play With Wardrobe 

Oftentimes, when we think of a boudoir photoshoot, we immediately think of lingerie, but boudoir doesn’t always have to mean lingerie. Boudoir can encapsulate whatever makes a model feel sexiest. Maybe it’s a fluffy robe or a combination of lingerie and clothing (i.e. lingerie paired with a blazer or a casual button-down blouse). It can even simply be a knit top that seductively hangs off the shoulder, as shown in this image by Staf Devriese.

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking boudoir has to be one specific aesthetic.  

boudoir-ideas-5

6. Let The Eyes Do The Talking 

You’ll find plenty of boudoir photos where the model’s eyes are downcast or closed seductively, but if you want to bring that extra wow factor to your photos, having your model look seductively into the camera can make a big impact. 

This will require some work on your end to help get the model comfortable with you. Looking directly into a camera’s lens can feel awkward and vulnerable, especially if you’re working with someone who isn’t a professional model. 

On the other hand, when you can get your model to look right at you like Bille Stock, you know you’ve truly done your job as a photographer. 

boudoir-ideas-6

7. Focus On What Makes The Model Feel Most Confident 

If you’re struggling to come up with ideas for a boudoir photoshoot, why not let your model guide you?

Perhaps they have a body part that makes them feel sexy and confident? Maybe they would prefer a certain angle? As a photographer, it’s of course your job to capture your model in the most flattering way possible, but when you’re struggling with ideas for your shoot, it’s best to take the model’s lead, capturing exactly what it is that makes them feel most sexy. 

If you look through Staf Devriese’s portfolio, you’ll see that each model is posed entirely differently to help show off different body parts.

boudopir-ideas-7

8. Keep It Simple 

We’re going to get into some more specific ideas for boudoir photoshoots in the next section, but if there’s only one thing you take away from these ideas, let it be this: keep it simple. 

With boudoir photography, there’s a tendency to go over-the-top with wardrobe, props, and all the extra dramatic touches. While there’s nothing necessarily wrong with this, if you’re struggling with boudoir photography ideas, it’s always best to keep it simple like Margaux Pastor. Use natural lighting, focus on what makes the model feel most confident, and your photos will quickly come to life.

boudoir-ideas-8

8 Boudoir Photoshoot Ideas

So how can we take some of the boudoir photography ideas from above and implement them into a full photoshoot? We’ve listed out ideas below, but remember, as a boudoir photographer, one of the biggest determining factors for your success relies on your model’s comfort level. The combination of considering both our ideas from above as well as the model’s comfort level will help in producing a successful boudoir photoshoot.

1. Photograph Couples

If photographing women has become a little stale, why not try incorporating couples into your photography? You can still get across that same sexy aesthetic, but with a partner in the mix, you have the opportunity to turn up the heat even more. 

You can opt for a more playful and flirty feel, or you can go all out with some sexy bedroom shots. Either way, Margaux Pastor shows us how to accomplish boudoir photography with couples. 

boudoir-ideas-9

2. Shoot In The Bathtub Or In Water 

Shooting in a clawfoot bathtub is always a good choice when it comes to boudoir photography because it gives off that sensual, romantic, and slightly vintage feel. 

Having said that, if you don’t have access to a clawfoot bathtub, why not try hitting up the beach? Or even posing by a pool. You can even have your model pose in water like Amanda Wingenbach. The result is a simple backdrop that allows the model to shine. 

boudoir-ideas-10

3. Embrace Nature 

Depending on your model’s comfort level, don’t get stuck thinking you always have to shoot indoors because of the sexy nature of your photoshoots. If you need to shake things up with your shoots, it might be time to try getting outside. 

Whether it be a beach location like in this shoot by Payam Emrani, in a garden, in a forest, or on top of a mountain, outdoor boudoir photoshoots have the potential to really make a statement. 

boudoir-ideas-11

4. Try Video Boudoir

Have you ever tried playing with boudoir video photography? If you have experience shooting video footage or you’re looking to expand your range of services, boudoir video photography is worth looking into. 

While there will likely be a learning curve in terms of how to shoot and how to direct your model, Billie Stock proves that once you figure out how to shoot boudoir video the payoff is massive.

boudoir-ideas-12

5. Ditch The Backdrop 

If you’re tired of spinning your wheels trying to think of new backdrops and photoshoot ideas, why not try ditching the backdrop altogether, like in these photos by Payam Emrani?

Doing so allows the model to be the real star of the show, eliminating distractions and keeping the focus on her. You can opt for a black backdrop as shown, but also don’t be shy about adding bold colors to your backdrop. 

boudoir-ideas-13

6. Capture A Candid Moment 

With its seductive poses and carefully curated ideas, boudoir photography tends to be a highly posed style of photography, which doesn't leave a lot of room for spontaneity. 

If you're hoping to bring some creative flavor back into your photography, try capturing some candid moments. For example, capture your model laughing like in this photo by Margaux Pastor.  This way, not only do you end up with a sexy shot, but you also get something that is candid, lighthearted, and playful. 

boudoir-ideas-14

7. Wedding Boudoir 

This isn’t going to be a photoshoot idea that every bride will want to participate in, but if you have a bride who wants to bring some spice to her wedding photography, we highly recommend testing out this photoshoot idea. 

Wouter Colen shows us how to pull off wedding boudoir photography with this sexy, elegant, and chic photo. White lingerie also always works when it comes to wedding boudoir photos. 

boudoir-ideas-15

8. Focus On Portraiture 

And last but not least, when coming up with boudoir photoshoot ideas, don’t forget about the power of portraiture. We know how tempting it can be to capture the ultra-sexy poses and looks when you’re shooting in this style, but sometimes, when you take a step back and really focus on the model and her face, you can convey a lot more as seen in this photo by Bruce Turner

Also, don’t forget to keep the eyes in mind when shooting this idea. As mentioned in the last section, getting your model to look directly into the camera can end up making a strong impact. 

boudoir-ideas-16

8 Self Boudoir Photography Ideas

Self Boudoir Photography Ideas

As a photographer, have you ever considered taking your own boudoir photos? While you might naturally feel more comfortable behind the camera, stepping into the model’s shoes can not only elevate your work as a photographer but you also might be surprised by how beautiful the photos turn out. 

Self portraits have a long history in photography. Next time you’re stumped about who or what to shoot, put yourself in front of the lens and try testing out some of these self-boudoir photography ideas.  

1. Show Off The Camera 

Shows off your status as a photographer by actually using your camera in your photoshoot. You can follow Maria La Sangre’s lead in her self portraits where she uses her camera to block her face and give the impression that is taking the photo in the mirror. You don’t have to actually take the photo in the mirror since that will compromise the quality of the photo, but simply giving off the impression that you are can give the photo a unique spin. 

boudoir-ideas-17

2. Make It A True Selfie 

You can go with the above idea and utilize your camera during your session, or you can really embrace that selfie energy by using your phone as your “camera” in the shoot. Again, you don’t have to actually use your phone to take your photo, but simply having it in your photo like Maria La Sangre can give the piece a real raw and realistic edge. 

boudoir-ideas-18

3. Focus On Body Parts 

Depending on your comfort level, you don’t always have to show your face in your self boudoir photography. As mentioned above, you can use some type of prop to block your face, but if that isn’t the style you’re going for, you can also get up close and personal with other body parts during your photoshoot (i.e. breasts, hips, buttocks, etc.)

Once again, Maria La Sangre shows us how to pull this off like a true professional. 

boudoir-ideas-19

4. Bring In A Partner

As mentioned in the last section, we want to remind you that bringing in a partner to your shoot is an option for a self boudoir shoot. 

This is especially relevant to male photographers who might feel uncomfortable being the subject of boudoir considering the majority of boudoir photography tends to focus on women. If you have a female partner who would be willing to shoot a boudoir couples shoot with you, this is a great opportunity to try out self boudoir photography similar to this photo by Chico  

boudoir-ideas-20

5. Shoot In Your Home 

All photographers will have different comfort levels when it comes to being the subject of their own boudoir photoshoot. If you’re someone who feels pushed outside their comfort zone by this idea, we highly recommend shooting within your home. 

This way, you don’t have to worry about anyone intruding on your photoshoot time and you can really let loose, like in these relaxed photos from Billie Stock

boudoir-ideas-21

6. Face Away From The Camera

Speaking of not feeling entirely confident in front of the camera, you can always try facing away from the camera during your shoot like in this photo by Staf Devriese. You can even opt for a full nude shot from behind if you want to ramp up the sex appeal without showing your face to the camera. Either way, showing your face to the camera is not entirely necessary, especially when you’re working with self boudoir photography ideas. 

boudoir-ideas-22

7. Try Out A Silhouette 

A silhouette is a great compromise between showing your face but still remaining somewhat hidden. Silhouettes also add an air of mystery about them and can work excellently on body types that have a lot of curves to show off. If this is you, take note of this photo by Staf Devriese for some major inspiration. 

boudoir-ideas-23

8. Go For Detail Shots 

And last but not least, when brainstorming self boudoir photography ideas, don’t forget to add those detail shots in. This is an excellent opportunity to play with styling. For example, in this photo by Wouter Colden, pearl necklaces and bracelets are the subjects of the detail shot. 

As much as we’ve emphasized how important it is to make the model the star of the photos when you are the model yourself, there are no rules and you should feel free to work on some of your detail shots. 

boudoir-ideas-24

8 Boudoir Photography Theme Ideas

As mentioned, sometimes the more simple and natural boudoir photoshoots can pack a punch, but we also want to encourage you to play with the theme, especially if you’re feeling creatively stumped. Introducing a theme to your boudoir photography is a great jumping-off point for helping you figure out location, wardrobe, props, and even poses. 

Try incorporating some of these themes into your boudoir photoshoot, and we’ve got a feeling the shoot will start coming together in no time. 

1. Pin-up / Retro 

While this theme might seem a bit over-done, it’s a popular theme in the world of boudoir photography for a reason. 

Not only does a pin-up style give you a very specific theme to go with, but it can also result in stunning photos that feel retro and nostalgic with a touch of Old Hollywood glamor. Utilizing pearls is always a great idea like in this photo by Wouter Colen.

boudoir-ideas-25

2. Parisian 

Taking another page out of Wouter Colen’s book, we also always recommend a Parisian theme to those looking to achieve stunning boudoir photos. Not only is Paris known as the city of romance, but there’s also an elegance, chicness, and old-world feel that comes with a Parisian theme, which we think works perfectly with boudoir photography.

boudoir-ideas-26

3. Preppy / Office 

When in doubt about how to take your boudoir photos to the next level, a preppy/office vibe will never fail you. With the perfect amount of sass and sex appeal, this is an easy-to-achieve theme that can deliver big results. Staf Devriese shows off this boudoir theme with this photo.

boudoir-ideas-27

Give your model a pair of glasses, and voila, theme achieved. 

4. Masculine 

When you think of boudoir, not too surprisingly, your mind automatically goes to femininity, but if you’re willing to switch things up with something that feels a bit more masculine, we’ve got a feeling you’ll be pleased with the results. 

For instance, in this photo by Jamie Patterson, the simple use of plaid and tools gives the photoshoot a more masculine aesthetic without compromising on the sexy nature of boudoir.

boudoir-idea-28

5. Vixen

When it comes to boudoir photography, there’s no such thing as too much sex appeal. If you have a client who wants to bring the heat, why not try going for a more spicy, vixen style of boudoir? 

Think leather, whips, high heels, latex, and all things black and red, like in this photo by Maria La Sangre. You can even consider this a 50 Shades of Gray theme if that helps you nail down the vision.

boudoir-ideas-29

6. Beachy 

We love a good beach theme because not only do you achieve all the flattering natural light, but it also adds an element of nature to your photoshoot. It’s a way to achieve a theme without going too over-the-top with the props and wardrobe. 

Having said that, you always can add in more props to really bring in the beach theme (i.e. ice cream, hats, suntan lotion, swimwear, and umbrellas), but just shooting at the beach can help make your beach theme come to life, like in this photo by Payam Emrami. 

boudoir-idea-30

7. Romance / Fairytale 

Whether you shoot your fairytale boudoir shoot in a garden or you dress your model in pink lace and tulle, bringing some fairytale energy into your shoot can help you achieve the perfect amount of sex appeal and soft femininity.

You can see this romantic energy come across in this photo from Amanda Wingenbach.

boudoir-ideas-31

8. Gothic 

On the other end of the spectrum, if that soft fairytale energy doesn’t work for you, why not try playing with something more gothic? You can even think vampire-inspired. For example, dark makeup, black lingerie, and a moody aesthetic. This image from Amanda Wingenbach helps demonstrate that energy perfectly.   

boudoir-ideas-32

8 Maternity Boudoir Photo Ideas

In recent years, maternity boudoir shoots have become quite popular, which shouldn’t shock us too much considering how stunning the final results are. Fully embracing a woman’s curves and showing off her pregnant belly are always the two key components of a successful maternity photoshoot. Wardrobe and theme can also help make your vision come to life.

If you’re struggling with ideas to implement during a maternity boudoir photoshoot, these should help: 

1. Natural

When it comes to maternity boudoir photography, less is often more. The pregnant belly itself is usually quite statement-making on its own. To achieve this more natural theme, we suggest natural lighting, minimal/no props, and natural materials for the wardrobe (i.e. linen, silk, etc.). With this more natural maternity photoshoot, the point isn’t to be overtly sexy, and instead, it’s more about producing something sweet that can last as a keepsake, like in this image by Staf Devriese.  

boudoir-ideas-33

2. Bring In A Partner

Once again, when in doubt about what to do for your boudoir photoshoot, bringing in a partner is never a bad idea. This is especially true with boudoir maternity photography since bringing in a partner can really make the images feel more intimate and special. 

There are plenty of poses and different ways you can incorporate a partner into a maternity photoshoot, but Staf Devriese shows us how to keep it simple with this maternity boudoir idea. 

boudoir-ideas-34

3. Black And White 

We’ve said it before but we’ll say it again: You can’t go wrong with a black and white boudoir photoshoot. Add on the maternity element and we end up with a session that feels classic, timeless, and feminine, which are all good things in our books. 

If you want to achieve that classic black and white look when shooting maternity, we highly recommend following Jamie Patterson’s lead with this maternity photo. 

boudoir-ideas-35

4. Keep It Feminine 

When shooting maternity, because we’re focusing on such a female-centric experience, keeping your photoshoot very feminine in nature can really help elevate your images. In these images by Wouter Colen, he achieves this feminine feel with pink lace, natural lighting, and a backdrop of pink pillows and white fur. 

boudoir-ideas-36

5. Nude 

Not every woman is going to be comfortable with a full nude maternity photoshoot, but if you do have a client who really wants to show off her changing body in photographs, nude maternity photos can make for stunning photography. 

You’ll see in this image from Margaux Pastor that keeping everything else very natural and clean can help with eliminating distractions. Sticking with that black and white theme also doesn’t hurt. 

boudoir-ideas-37

6. Focus On The Belly 

Not too surprisingly, when you’re shooting maternity, a focus on the pregnant belly is always a must. You can, of course, get a full-body shot, but you can also get up close and personal with the belly, making it the real focus of attention during your photoshoot like Margaux Pastor did in this image.  

boudoir-ideas-38

7. Use A Mirror 

We don’t know what it is about mirrors and maternity photos, but they always make for a great boudoir photoshoot idea. Perhaps it gives off a self-reflecting feeling or an appreciation for the female form as a woman admires herself in the mirror. Whatever it is, using a mirror in a maternity boudoir photoshoot like Amanda Wingenbach is a great idea. 

boudoir-ideas-39

8. Boho 

And last but not least, a boho-inspired maternity photoshoot almost always works in the world of maternity photography. Often shot out in nature, this style of photoshoot will feel natural, whimsical, and feminine. You can incorporate flower crowns, lace, and other boho props to help elevate the theme as shown in this image

boudoir-ideas-40

Create an online portfolio website

Showcase your boudoir photography with Format's Online Portfolio.

Create your own portfolio website with Format today.

Plus, get FREE access to our exclusive Photography Business Masterclass Course

Start Your Free Trial