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What to expect from your first Boudoir Photoshoot

At Love Not War, we are all about empowerment, whether this is from learning your body to exploring your sensuality through a striptease, we encourage it! These are all pleasurable and intimate ways to discover yourself. In this article, we discover other ways of promoting self confidence, mainly in the form of a boudoir shoot.

Through the use of lighting, sets, outfits, materials, and atmosphere, boudoir photography gives you a chance to explore a side of yourself that you may not know exists. From showing your sensuality and playful side to discovering the powerful, seductive person that is waiting to come out, it’s a great way to explore your body, and your self-confidence as you share the photos with others or keep them for your eyes only. 

There are endless reasons to take part in a boudoir photoshoot; weddings, gifts for your partner, modelling and many more. However for many of us, myself included, the main reason is for self-confidence and empowerment. By creating imagery that is focused on yourself, you can tap into your inner seductress and show yourself some love. 

In the below article, I have shared my own experiences from preparation to what happens at a boudoir shoot, alongside helpful tips from Ellie Bungay of Authentqiue Photography.

Before the shoot – how do I prepare? 

Boudoir shoots are there to help you feel comfortable in your skin. To prepare for your shoot, how much or little you do to get ready is up to you. Personally, I prepare by going through my self-care routine which includes getting a wax, doing a face mask and making sure my hair is clean and my natural curls are perfect. However, this level of preparation is dependent on you and what makes you feel comfortable and relaxed in your own body. If your form of a self-care routine is as simple as a hot shower then that’s fine! The aim of a boudoir shoot is to feel confident and powerful within your own skin. 

Depending on the type of package you have for the shoot, you may have your makeup and hair included, if this is the case then it's recommended to just make sure you turn up clean in preparation for your make-up artist. Come prepared with rough ideas for what you want to look like, references will speed up the process and help the make-up artist and hairdresser.

When picking out the outfits for the shoot, Ellie Bungay, owner of Authentique Photography and Sensuality Sessions for women said: “Think about the clothes that make YOU feel your most sensual and your most powerful and connected to you, this does not have to be stereotypically ‘sexy’. This can be anything from an oversized jumper and fluffy socks, to elaborate lingerie, to our best outfit of all, our birthday suit!” 

It is important to remember that the boudoir shoot is for you to feel comfortable and powerful. When I had my sensuality shoot with Authentique Photography, I knew that I wanted a shoot that took me from feeling powerful, dominant, and powerful to soft, feminine, and beautiful and my outfits were part of this. 

Can I have props? 

Alongside outfits, hair and make-up, props are a great way to help you feel comfortable and set the mood or look of a shoot. If you want to look dominant, why not add a whip or flogger to the outfit? Or for a more submissive feel, you could try restraints or a collar? For something softer, wrapping yourself in material might create an elegant look. 

 If you’re going for something more sexual, why not do a photoshoot with your vibrator? With the fun shapes, colours and sizes of the Love Not War range, the vibrators would be the perfect, naughty additions to your next shoot. P.S, the orange head range will bring a pop of colour to a bed shoot. 

What to expect during a boudoir shoot 

Depending on the type of shoot you have booked, the steps within may vary but they will all start with a discussion on what you are aiming to achieve and looks you want before discussing the outfit and set options. Come prepared with an idea of how many outfit changes you want; do you know if you will feel comfortable being semi or completely naked? The initial discussions either when booking or at the start of the shoot is a great way to set your boundaries and make sure that you are going to get out of the shoot what you came for. 

Ellie explained that her sensuality session shoots go as follows: “We will choose and plan your outfits, sets, style etc. together. Building from the clothes you feel most comfortable in first and moving through the levels anywhere up to full nude as we go and as you feel through what feels right and good to you.” 

Be prepared for a few stops in between images as the photographer plays with their lighting, angles, and lenses to find the perfect shots for you, if it is an all-day shoot, you may also find that they employ ring lights or overhead lighting, so the shots don’t become too dark. A good idea is to also be aware of how much time you have for a shoot. If you have a 45-minute shoot, choose easy to change outfits and be ready for your photographer to move through the shots you have discussed quicker.

During the shoot itself, you may end up moving to different sets, trying different angles and poses and even trying things you haven’t before. Did I ever think I would have the confidence to do a shoot pressed up against a window in only a thong? No. Did I love the images that came out? Hell yes! 

How to relax during the shoot

When you first start the shoot, no matter how clothed or unclothed you are, you may find that you feel nervous or self-conscious. This makes complete sense; it is an intimate photo shoot where you are baring yourself both physically and emotionally in a way that you haven’t before. As well as that, the general idea surrounding boudoir shoots is that they are all about looking and feeling sexy. A smoky eye, sultry look and black lingerie comes to mind when we think of what a boudoir shoot entails. However, this is not always the case and the best way to look sexy is to feel relaxed. 

When discussing her sensuality shoots, Ellie gave the following piece of advice for how to relax: “Get into your body, close the eyes, focus on your breath and breathe into the body. Activate your senses - scent, touch, taste, smell, sight - light your favourite candle/incense, wear fabrics that feel good on your skin, move, dance, shake out that restrictive energy.”

By relaxing your body and face and allowing yourself to be in the moment you allow your true self to shine through, and what's sexier than that? 

As someone who finds silence and stillness restrictive, being allowed to move and dance and talk was how I dispelled my nervous energy throughout the shoot. I was able to move around and try out my own poses that I felt comfortable with, listen to music that I enjoyed and talk with the photographer in between the photos being taken. Having a joke and remembering that smiling can be just as sexy as trying to hold a sultry look, in fact, it can make you feel more confident. 

Doing a boudoir photo shoot is a fantastic way to boost your self-esteem and create beautiful memories for both yourself and others. It’s a way to connect with your body on a deeper level and explore your sensuality, whether you’re doing it for yourself, to create memories that you can hang around the home, or for someone else.


Words: Katrina Fairhurst 

Images: Authentique Photography 



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