I am so excited to be featured in the amazing photography magazine Denim + Grace. It is a publication that I have loved and followed for a while so when I was contacted by their editor Heather Tindall I was floored. She complimented me on my boudoir photography and asked me to contribute an article on “Redefining Boudoir Photography”. It was so fun to do and write. This is an area of photography that I am so passionate about so I jumped at the chance. If you want to read the article I wrote it is under the pictures. Even more so… If you want your own personalized boudoir session give me a call or shoot me an email:)xo Liz


Boudoir Photography has not changed much since the early 90’s when Glamour Studios started opening their photography shops in malls across the country. The big hair, overdone makeup, constant backlight and of course overly soft lenses were a necessity. You would also always have your typical poses, hand on jacket, over the shoulder glance and don’t forget the lips partially open. This opened the doors to last century boudoir photography. A new twist on the exact same game. The typical shot list which includes laying on their back looking at you, a high heal through the thong and the ever so popular legs in the air pose. The only difference is that hot curlers have been replaced with flat irons. For a photography session that should be the most intimate of all, how did it become so commercialized and cookie cutter? When did fitting a mold of beauty become the definition of what is sexy?

I am guilty as charged. Before my enlightening moment about a year and a half ago, some of my brides and other clients had requested boudoir sessions that were done in my studio. I would look at Pinterest or a few blogs for inspiration and luckily their photos turned out ok, very similar to the ones I just referred to. I never really cared for them though. The sessions felt forced. How could it not? When you put someone in a little box studio, laying half naked in front of a camera with a bright flash making sexy faces and doing awkward poses, it is going to feel unnatural. One day after looking through a Free People magazine I felt a physical energy pulse of excitement run through every ounce of me. I knew photographing women, outdoors or in comfortable surrounding, being themselves and free with movement and excitement or a calmness and peace is what I needed to do. I called up a past client and mom of two Lisa because even with the limited interaction we had, I could feel she was a free spirit like me. I explained to her the vision in my mind and a couple days later she showed up with a suitcase of clothes and I photographed her with my heart, void of any expectation… and it turned out to be my favorite shoot I had ever done. The Boudoir {Redefined} session was born that day.

You may wonder, what defines a Boudoir Redefined session. The answer is simple… your Client. Each session is about them. There are 3 areas of preparation needed to have a successful shoot. These 3 include answering questions about them, choosing relevant locations and props and their wardrobe {styling}.

Some answers you need from your clients include – When do they feel the most beautiful? What part of their body are they most proud of? What type of clothing makes them feel sexy? What about them does their significant other (if it is for them) find most attractive about them? Which type of setting are they most comfortable in? How would they describe their personal style? What would their friends say their personality is like? When the session is directed around what makes them FEEL beautiful, rather than what you as the photographer THINKS is beautiful, their inner light will shine and confidence will be expressed through the photos. Isn’t that what true beauty is all about?

As the photographer, you have a portion of your work done with those questions answered. It is now your responsibility to determine the correct location, the lighting, time of day, and overall style to design the shoot around them. Do they want indoor or outdoor? If it is indoors do they want it in their home, hotel room or studio? If it is outdoors, will the location be secluded, does it contribute to the overall objective of the shoot? Are their any “props” that should be included to enhance or personalize the shoot? For example, if she or “her man” are into music, it could be fun to incorporate a guitar. If she is a country girl, cowboy boots, or even a horse could be a relevant prop.

Once you have learned about your client and picked a location, the final thing to do is pick the feel, clothes and determine hair and makeup styles. We often pick a name for the shoot. Some past names of shoots include “Quiet Moments”, “Sporty Sexy”, “Water”, “Reflection” and “Boho Cowgirl”. Having a theme or name can often help your client collect clothing or other items that are relevant to create a cohesive shoot. Clothing, or lack thereof needs to be appropriate according the location for a Boudoir Redefined shoot or you will end up with a pictures that feels awkward and out of place. Having a girl with a cowboy hat in a studio boudoir session will look like a glamour shot where as a cowboy hat in a field could come across flirty and appropriate for the situation. The same goes for a lacy, black negligee. Place that in a forest setting, rather than a sleek hotel room and you are left wondering why she would wander in the woods dressed like that.

No matter what the theme or feel of the boudoir session, a hair and makeup artist is always recommended. It goes beyond looking pretty but feeling confident. The hair and makeup will polish the look and boost their confidence making them feel as beautiful that they look. A boudoir redefined shoot is about freezing a moment time where they FEEL their definition of sexy.

Preparation is key to redefining your boudoir sessions. Boudoir is no longer cookie cutter. The poses that you have been used to using no longer are relevant to every person and situation. Different body types and comfort levels will keep you on your toes. My husband has found me in front of our full-length mirror with a Victoria’s Secret or Anthropologie magazine trying out different poses and looks. Hand, knee, hip and head placement can all create different looks and feel. Most of the time you can achieve the pose you want easiest by showing it. From there, your client will add their own interpretation but it will look polished and your client will love the result in their photos. Do not forget the shot “after the shot”. These are my favorite shots. When your client is getting into position or after they are done, they often create beautiful forms and will do natural things with their face and body that become some of the most treasured pictures. Constantly move your own body. By moving yourself you will find unique shots and angles while pushing yourself to new creative levels.

Even though every session is approached a little differently, some things are constant. You must be confident with your camera, photography skills and directing your client. When dressed in little clothing, most women will feel vulnerable and will look to you for reassurance. Make sure that you give a lot of encouragement and positive feedback from the very beginning. At all times it is your responsibility to let them know how well they are doing, how beautiful they look and remind them how good the pictures are turning out. Staying silent for much more that a few moments will create insecurities in your client. It will make them wonder if they are doing well. They look to us as the professional for direction to make their pictures great. ALWAYS be positive. Even if you know a pose is not working, click the shutter with a smile and then move onto the next set. Be sincere, engaging, confident and encouraging. Remember that you have control over the emotion your client is expressing. If you get loud, tell some jokes and get her laughing the pictures will mirror that emotion. However if you want to get a somber face, or be able to capture a serene and quiet moment, then lower your voice, give them a moment to ponder and that will come through in your photographs.

At the end of the day, these photos are a way of women to see themselves as they really are. Beautiful, strong, courageous and honest. We have a privilege to redefine boudoir so women feel like the most beautiful version of themselves. When they look at the images from their boudoir redefined session, it will be a reflection of them and not a foreign dressed, strange hair, caked on makeup version of themselves that they do not even recognize. Free, happy, beautiful, sexy and wonderfully unscripted. Remember it is about bringing out the inner beauty and not faking some outer shell in silly outfits and cheesy poses.


Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *