Boudoir Photography…Are You Tempted?

Marlen James is a boudoir and portrait photographer from Toronto. She indulges her addiction of lingerie and shoes by taking pictures of them. Wait… that sounded better in my head. Talking in the third person is fun. She is a pro at making people feel comfortable, is a decent makeup artist, but an awesome photoshoper and photographer.

First off, boudoir photography has changed a lot since the cheesy studio days. You know, those days when there was a muck-colored background and a fake column to lean on and someone standing there in their undies. If that doesn’t make you cringe you must not have seen images and you are one of the lucky few.
Oh and the boa. Do not forget about the boa.

Now boudoir photography has turned into a fashion statement. We are surrounded by sexy images everywhere. Maxim, Cosmo, Miss America (that was some puffy hair) and others really put “it” out there. Women have become more comfortable with their sexuality, and they are owning it.

The thing is… boudoir photography is not about nakedness at all. It’s about sexy tousled hair, bedroom eyes, a just-kissed mouth, and lingerie that you only wear on special occasions. It’s about taking pictures because that’s on your bucket list… or simply because you feel good in your own skin.

With that in mind, here’s a little bit about what to expect–

The session
The experience is totally nerve racking. I kid you not… it is one of the scariest things to do ever. I’m talking “underwear in front of the classroom” nightmares. But it is also one of the silliest things you can ever do. I mean here you are in your fancy lingerie pouting your lips. Try to keep a straight face for more than a second and not giggle. It’s hard!

It will take some time to warm up and relax. The first shots are always awkward. The photographer will guide you and look for a way to highlight your assets. It is in their best interest to make you look gorgeous.  Take advantage if they offer a make up artist. Most studios have one on hand. Fake eyelashes will take that sultry look to the next level.

The photographer

The job of the boudoir photographer is to help you feel comfortable, silly, and unguarded. Only then can the sexy bubble out.

The most important thing is to get a sense of their personality. Read their blog, their whole site, check out their facebook and twitter. Ask yourself, “Would I be friends with this person?” That is where comfort comes in. Work wise, does she/he have a studio? Would you prefer a location?

Ask about their privacy policy as well. Most photographers are happy to comply with “do not post my boobs” on the internet, but others consider this boudoir photo of you their intellectual property that they have the right to distribute as they please. Make sure you ask.

Lastly, look for a photographer that specializes in boudoir. After all, would you want a pet photographer to capture you in your underwear? In addition, there are several types of boudoir. They range form the artistic nude, to 50s-style pin-up, to the most natural “getting ready” boudoir. Make sure the photographer has worked with the style you want.

The outfits

Bring two or three items of lingerie with you. When in doubt, the photographer will help you choose. Think about bringing a dress or skirt and shirt combo you can undress from (for example: a little black dress or a pencil skirt and white button shirt for a more sexy librarian look). If you are busy undressing you feel less conscious on how to pose because you are doing it naturally.

In the colors area it is best to stay close to the neutrals — black, white, beige, red and hot pink. They flatter most skin tones. Stay away from blue. On light-skinned people it gives a “smurf” tinge, and it makes darker skin look grayer… but baby blue looks great on blondes. Also make sure your lingerie fits you. There is sexy spillage and then there is bulge. Stay on the comfort side.

Items to bring include corsets, baby dolls, boy shorts, lacy underwear, thigh highs and garters, a camisole, button shirt (yours or your man’s),and, if you have a sports fan, bring the jersey… just wear your sexiest pair of knickers underneath. As far as shoes… the newer the better, sometimes the soles are in the picture.

So… go shopping for an outfit. Get the manicure and pedicure. Treat yourself to some lingerie, shoes, and a boudoir photo session. It is worth it!

*All photos by Marlen James

Mad Mimi Form


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Cora Harrington

Founder and Editor in Chief of The Lingerie Addict. I started TLA in a small studio apartment in 2008. Since then, it's become the leading lingerie blog in the world, and has been featured on the websites for Forbes, CNN, Time, Today, and Fox News. I believe lingerie is fashion too, and that every who wants it deserves gorgeous lingerie.

12 Comments on this post

  1. Krystal says:

    I'd love to do this, but I can never find a photographer in my area. Got any suggestions as how to find one? I'm in the Houston area if that helps.

  2. Daria says:

    I've thought about doing this for years. There are a few people in my area who advertise this service; I've found that Craigslist was a good tool for searching. Many of them do couples boudoir photography, as well, which I hadn't thought of (and which my husband probably wouldn't go for- ha!), but it's a neat concept.

  3. LeksiDesigns says:

    Seems very scary to me, but might do it with the right photographer!

    I am just stopping by to say I love your blog and am presenting you with an Award! Yay! To get it go here:

    Happy Sunday!

  4. Anonymous says:

    This was a great article. For Krystal: I live in Austin and when we did our search there were several people who were based in Houston. Just search for Boudoir Photography in Houston TX and you'll get several results. Contact them and see who you feel most comfortable with. We used a woman named Melissa Glynn here in Austin and she was great.

  5. Lua says:

    I have been wanting to take boudoir photos for a while now! :) I love the idea! It sound like so much fun. I'm in So. Cal so there are quite a few photographers that specialize in it…I need to hurry up & do it already! :) Great post

  6. Kris Fulk says:

    Love this article! Thank you for enlightening your readers!

    Kris Fulk
    Houston Boudoir Photographer

  7. Flash Frozen Photography says:

    This was a great article about what to wear and how to select a boudoir photographer.

    Know that if the photographer doesn't have a studio that there can be extra costs of a hotel room. You also want to be sure that you are safe when selecting a photographer so find some one with a presence in the community via the chamber of commerce. I would not want to pick someone from Craigslist.

    Kathy Rappaport

  8. Maria says:

    I really believe that every woman should consider something like this.

    On my site ( I have a page where real everyday women like me (without a perfect body); of all colors/body types and ages can post their picture, in lingerie, as I did.

    It is almost therapeutic! Women write and tell me how empowered they feel by doing this; not embarrassed or inadequate but rather bold, capable and sexy. I felt the same way, too. Almost "transforming". Just another example of the power of lingerie! :-)

    Also, you don't necessarily need a boudoir photographer, my husband did mine with our little camera, and many women submit their own self-made pics, webcam pics, etc.

    That being said, with the info in your post, I think I will seek out a boudoir photographer, here in Portugal, to take this to the next level!

  9. Dawn says:

    There is a fabulous world-wide resource for finding a QUALIFIED boudoir photographer that meets certain standards and abilities… When it comes to looking good, as Revlon says, "You're worth it!"

  10. Maria Woods says:

    Thanks for a great article!
    My husband and I are boudoir photographers in the San Francisco Bay Area and we constantly receive feedback from clients saying how their session was so empowering and sexy – even life-changing in one case!
    So I really think every woman should go for it!

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