Ultimate Boudoir FAQ – All You Need to Know
Curious about doing a boudoir session? Congrats on taking the first step towards some major self-love and care! (Even if this is a sexy gift for someone else, your confidence will still reap the benefits!)
Whether you’ve already booked your session or you’re just testing the waters, you probably have a lot of questions. I’ve put together an extensive list of questions a lot of my clients ask.
Client or not, please always feel free to ask me anything. I am here and happy to help however I can. Boudoir sessions are typically pretty far out of a person’s comfort zone, but I promise they are WELL worth any nerves.
What if I don’t have anyone to gift the photos to?
Alllllllllllllllll the more reason to do it!! Doing a boudoir session as a romantic gift for your partner is so thoughtful and special, but it still counts if it’s a gift to yourself. I often and heavily encourage people to do boudoir sessions for themselves, as they can be some of the most empowering experiences you’ll ever have. Celebrate yourself! Celebrate your body and all that it does for you! You deserve this, do it for YOU!
As Alexandra Elle wrote, “You owe yourself the love that you so freely give to other people.”
Do I have to be nude/wear lingerie?
Definitely not! Even if you prefer to refrain from showing much, booking a boudoir session can still be a liberating experience. I strive to produce tasteful and classy images even for clients who do choose to take it all off, but you will never, ever be pressured to do anything out of your comfort zone. Let me know and I can help you get creative with putting together outfits that aren’t lingerie.
Modesty can absolutely be sexy and you should never let a photographer pressure you to show more skin than you’re ready for.
I DON’T FEEL NATURALLY SEXY. WON’T I BE AWKWARD ON CAMERA?
No way! Almost everyone feels jittery at the beginning of their session. Posing scantily-clad in front of a camera and a stranger may sound daunting, but even my most self-doubting clients start to relax after a few shots.
My job is to make you feel comfortable and at ease, and I will pose you from head to toe. If only I had a dollar for each time I’ve heard, “I didn’t even know I could look like that” after a photo reveal…
What’s the atmosphere like?
I usually start with the most conservative outfit to get you warmed up, and we’ll work our way up to the sexier stuff when you’re comfortable. You will be guided from start to finish and from top to bottom, so you can relax and concentrate on feeling like your sexiest self, leaving all the work to me.
Truthfully, I do my best to match my client’s energy, so every session feels slightly different from the last. But they do follow a similar flow. Music will be playing upon your arrival, the playlist curated around whether you are doing this for yourself or for a partner. I use a mix of natural light and light stands, and there’s a lot of laughter. I assure you, I’m about as un-intimidating as it gets.
My style in boudoir photography is a little different from the norm. I strongly dislike famous “pose flow charts.” I don’t put each woman into a strict routine of pre-decided poses, because I believe every woman is different, feels differently, loves different parts of herself, has a different personality, etc. Clients become my inspiration as I pose them. I won’t treat you like a rotisserie chicken (“lay on your back – ok lay on your side – ok lay on your stomach – ok lay on your other side – ok done”).
Where do we shoot?
This is your session, and we’ll shoot wherever you feel fits your vision best.
I offer up my home studio (downtown STL) to all my boudoir clients as a free place to shoot, but some clients prefer to shoot in their own homes for an added level of intimacy. Others choose to rent out an Airbnb or hotel suite with decor they love, or even a secluded outdoor location! My camera equipment is all transportable. My only note is to keep in mind that for your photos to look their best, we’ll need plenty of light and space to work in.
Do you shoot groups?
YES! Boudoir parties are SO. MUCH. FUN. Adult birthday parties, bachelorette parties, slumber parties, you name it, boudoir can be part of it. Just shoot me an email with all the information you have, and I’ll get back to you with some quotes. The more women participating, the lower the pricing. The atmosphere at a boudoir party is one of the most uplifting girl-power experiences you can have.
Do you shoot couples?
I absolutely do offer couples’ boudoir sessions and LOVE the creativity they allow me. Pricing for couples’ sessions work the same as my solo packages.
My recommendation for ultimate romance: Book a couples’ boudoir session in a picture-perfect Airbnb, double it as a mini getaway, and spend the night out on the town since you’ll already be in full-glam and feeling steamy.
How many outfits/How many finished pictures do I get?
This all depends on which package you choose! My most popular package includes 3 outfits, 30-40 edited digital images, and a mini bedside album. Shoot me a message and I’ll send you a PDF with more information on packages.
Are my photos safe?
Absolutely! I photograph you alone, edit your images alone, and will never share your photos unless we have a prior agreement or model release. I understand how important it is to have a boudoir photographer you can trust. This means your photos are handled with respect and discretion every step of the way.
Can I bring a friend with me?
You can! But, I don’t recommend it. If you absolutely need to bring a friend, be certain that this is a friend you feel 100% comfortable posing in front of. When shooting in my home studio, I require that any friends stick with us as we shoot (instead of wandering around my home). If you think you would be even the slightest bit more shy with them watching, this could seriously impact your boudoir experience.
Also, keep in mind that I have had friends do boudoir sessions together for discounted rates! Just ask about my Friends-with-Benefits Sessions and I’ll give you the deets.
There are parts of my body I don’t like. Can I still do this?
In the past, clients have asked me to photograph them in a way that leaves out a specific feature, or to edit out scars and stretch marks. This is your shoot and I will happily do whatever is in my means (and is reasonable) to accommodate your concerns! Having said that, I also hope that every client knows that we are ALL too self-critical. When you don’t seek society’s approval, you are at your most powerful!
How old do I have to be?
I prefer all my boudoir clients be 21 or over, but if you’re really wanting a boudoir session and are at least 18 years old, send me a message and we’ll discuss! I offer plenty of other portrait photography styles for younger clients.
How far in advance should I book?
It’s possible- but rare- that I’ll have the time and space in my schedule for a last minute shoot, so don’t leave it to chance if you can help it! (But it still won’t hurt to ask.) Some clients decide to book on a whim of self-love, and others book 9 months out to save up, meet fitness goals, celebrate an anniversary, etc.. I recommend booking your session at least 6 weeks in advance to give yourself time to build your wardrobe, schedule hair or waxing appointments, guarantee photo delivery dates, etc..
When will I get my photos back?
My turnaround for finished images is three weeks after the session date. Sometimes it’s quicker than that, but everything depends on my schedule! The editing process takes a long time. Trust me, you don’t want me to rush!
Should I come with hair/makeup done? Or will it be done on location?
This depends on which package you choose. As you’ll see after getting in touch with me, two of my packages include hair and makeup done professionally on site, while the two lowest priced packages do not.
To get the ultimate luxury boudoir experience, I definitely recommend taking advantage of letting professionals pamper you. All you have to do is roll out of bed, grab your bag, and show up! However, I do give the option to exclude professional hair and makeup services to make sure I’m accessible to clients who can’t feasibly drop a larger sum on their session.
(It’s worth mentioning here that Ulta does affordable glam makeup for customers who set an appointment.)
I’m not a woman. Can I do a boudoir session?
You absolutely can, and I’m sorry if you’ve previously felt unwelcome in the world of boudoir photography. Boudoir sessions can be a powerful tool for anyone, and anyone is welcome to inquire about a session with me. I’ve done beautiful, masculine boudoir sessions that have left both the client and myself in love with the results.
The women in your portfolio all look like models, but I’m not “model-esque.” Can I still do this?
Surprise! None of those women are models! They are typical women like you and me, just posed and photographed professionally, in a way that’s flattering to their specific body and style. From posing, to eye movement, to breathing, to facial expressions- I have you covered. You (most likely) aren’t a professional model, and I certainly don’t expect you to act like one. All you have to do is take the leap, show up, and trust me. Your photos will become the kind that others look at and think, “I could never look like her.”
Will you Photoshop me?
I use a multitude of editing programs on my boudoir photos, but I strive to edit my clients in a way that accentuates the natural beauty they already have. You will still look like you, just your best version of you.
I believe that some boudoir photographers go WAY overboard when editing their clients, which can actually be detrimental to their confidence and mental health. They just paid a significant chunk of money to be shown they aren’t good enough the way they are! (I’ve had a photographer completely change the cheekbones that I’ve always loved, and make my nose way smaller. I didn’t even know my nose was too big, but, thanks to him, I’ve certainly thought about it a lot since.)
Other boudoir photographers proudly refuse to retouch their clients at all, taking a “purist” approach. While I understand, appreciate, and value their perspective- I can’t get on board with that extreme take either. So, I fall somewhere in the middle. You’re investing a lot into this session, and you deserve a polished product worthy of that investment. I believe a lot of things are temporary, not a real part of you. Acne, blemishes, uneven skin, bruises, stray hairs are not you. A huge driving force for offering boudoir is getting to show you the same treatment that celebrities receive in photographs, in hopes that you see they have NOTHING you don’t have (you know, except unlimited money, time, nannies, drivers, in-home chefs, nutritionists, stylists, and private gyms). All my editing is done in a way that looks natural.
Do you accept payment plans?
Yes! You certainly do not have to pay your session fee all at once. Half of your fee is required upon booking, and serves as a nonrefundable security deposit to save your date. The other half isn’t due until your session date approaches.
Should I show up early?
There’s no need to show up more than a couple minutes early, and I will never rush you to finish your session.
Can I bring props?
Bringing props is a great way to add some personality to your session. My style typically strays from cliché boudoir props and poses, but I will happily help you come up with some unique ideas to make your session feel extra special! I’ve shot boudoir while the client is baking, wearing ballet shoes, stretching in active wear, referencing their favorite book or movie, or even cosplaying!
How should I prepare?
Don’t worry, I have your back before you ever step foot through the door. Upon booking, I send every client my Boudoir Cheat Sheet full of tips and tricks with regards to outfits, preparation, and making the most of your session. Below is an additional guide with some prepping ideas. Remember- this is meant to help provide you with ideas, NOT a list of requirements! Boudoir sessions are not meant to be stressful or hindering, so only do the things you want to do, and ignore the things you don’t.
3-7 Days Before
If you’re planning to visit the salon for a haircut or color, give yourself a week to make sure you’re happy with it.
If you wax, do so a few days in advance to avoid redness and bumps. Same rule applies for facials.
Make sure your eyebrows are as shaped and groomed as you’d like them to be.
If getting a manicure and/or pedicure, do so a few days ahead of time.
Only get a spray tan if you’ve had one before and loved it.
Stay out of the sun if you can. A sunburn will impact your photos!
Drink plenty of water, lower salt intake, and avoid alcohol. (I’ve worked with a hungover boudoir client twice, just trust me on this.)
Cut out all the tags on your lingerie. Those extra long Victoria’s Secret tags are the bane of my existence.
Stretch in the mornings and again in the evenings. Consider doing some yoga sessions (YouTube has plenty of free sessions to follow)!
Try on your outfits to make sure you love how they look and feel!
1 Day Before
Bathe, shave, moisturize, and then moisturize again! Clean and dry your hair.
If your nails aren’t done professionally, make sure they are clean and neatly trimmed.
Double-check that your outfits are packed, including all shoes, props, and accessories.
Plan what times you need to wake up, be finished getting ready, and leave your house. Eliminate reasons to rush in the morning!
Schedule time to relax all evening. Watch your favorite movie, enjoy a face mask, meditate, or whatever brings you peace! Try to get a good night’s sleep.
Use clear deodorant.
To avoid red marks on your body, come to your session wearing loose fitting clothing (no bra, sweats or leggings instead of jeans, flip flops instead of tight socks, etc.)
Eat a light-but-nourishing meal and stay hydrated while getting ready. Don’t come on an empty stomach!
Stretch again, at least a little.
Take any ponytail holders off your wrists.
Breathe – you’re about to have an incredible experience that you absolutely deserve!
Make your own playlist full of songs that make you feel liberated, powerful, and sexy! We can play your arrangement during your session, and building the playlist can be therapeutic and get you hyped for your shoot! Just let me know you’ve built a custom playlist you’d like to listen to.
Where are you located?
Downtown St. Louis, my favorite city in the country. Most of my clients fall between Chicago and STL, but I’ve traveled as far as Georgia for a shoot before. If traveling to St. Louis isn’t your thing, let’s chat!
Who are you?
Okay, no one has ever asked me this before- but they should! A boudoir session is one of the most intimate, personal, and vulnerable things you can do, so please be picky about who you let photograph you!
Let me give you the CliffsNotes version: My name is Brianna- Bri for short. I grew up in Central IL, and am a Bradley University graduate. From ages 18-20, I had a modeling contract with an agency based in Chicago. I hated almost every moment of it, and never renewed my contract once it expired. At work, I was pressured, pitted against other women, and constantly criticized when I wasn’t perfect. In my personal life, girls I knew (even some family members) started to bully me online when I started to do well. My confidence had never been lower, and it took a while to recover emotionally.
Looking back, I think this is what drove me towards jobs that empowered women, even if I didn’t realize it at the time. Through the rest of college, I worked at David’s Bridal, where I got to help brides blow themselves away while the women who loved them hyped them up.
When I got engaged and moved to Springfield, IL, I started working at Victoria’s Secret for some extra wedding income, and was offered a promotion to Bra Specialist. This allowed me to empower women in a more intimate setting, where they were often shopping after a breast enhancement/reduction or childbirth, celebrating an anniversary or divorce, splurging after a promotion, celebrating fitness goals or even getting their first real bra. It become my job to help vulnerable-feeling women fall in love with their bodies, and I loved every minute I spent in the dressing rooms. (This job also helped stoke the flames for my love of lingerie.)
In both jobs, getting to help women see themselves in a new light felt so rewarding.
In addition to those significant experiences, I danced, coached, and choreographed at a competitive level until I was 24. I coached dancers aging from 3 to 27, studying and instructing body placement, getting creative with the human body, and fighting to strengthen the self-esteem of my female dancers.
Cut to 2016, when my husband Travis and I started Social Shot, doing production-quality photography, videography and marketing for businesses, and for weddings. A few months in, a friend answered my open call for a boudoir session. It turned out better than I allowed myself to hope for, I fell in love, and the rest is history. It felt as though all my experiences served as a ladder to get me exactly where I belonged. I consider myself lucky every single day to have the job I do.
I’m here to help! Send me an email at Bri@socialshot.com for further questions, or to get started planning your session.