Welcome to a behind-the-scenes look at the life of a boudoir photographer. As a photographer focused on body-positivity, empowerment, and sexual freedom, my goal is to create a safe and inclusive space for clients to explore their bodies, celebrate their sexuality, and feel empowered in their own skin.
In this post, I’ll take you through the various stages involved in the boudoir photography process, from the initial consultation to the final delivery of the images. Whether you’re a client interested in booking a session or simply curious about what goes on behind the scenes, I hope this post will provide insight into the art and craft of my photography. So, let’s dive in!
1. Booking and pre-shoot communication
Usually the client reaches out to me via email, or my contact form. Usually they have already browsed around on my website, and they know what package they’d like. Either way I like to discuss with them what kind of images they’d like, and how many. And then we start planning a date! I put the date in my schedule when they’ve agreed to my booking terms, and I’ve received the deposit.
Then like a week before the shoot I contact the client again, to let them know my address, in case they want to shoot in my home studio, or I ask where I should travel to. The client asks any questions they might have, and we agree on a time.
2. Set Up and Preparation
On the day of the shoot I like to tidy up my apartment a bit, and I put the table away to make room for the shoot. I also unfold my tripods and make my photography equipment ready to be used. When the client has booked my makeup service, I also put the products I’ll be needing out on my workspace, and get the high chair ready for the client to sit on while I do their makeup. I have already washed and sterilized my brushes the night before, so I just have to do a quick alcohol spray on my powder products and I’m all set!
3. Makeup and styling
The client has arrived, yay! We sit down with a cup of tea or another drink of their choice, just to get to know each other a little, and so they can get more at ease. I then ask them to show me the outfits they’ve brought, they can put everything on my bed so I can have a look at it. Sometimes I make some suggestions, like adding a harness or gloves from my personal collection.
Then it’s time to start with the makeup. I clean and moisturize the client’s face, and then I start applying the look they like, sometimes I know exactly what they like because they’ve sent inspiration photos, and other times I can make suggestions and plan a look for them.
Model on the left: Melissa
I ask the client what kind of photo’s they like, how they feel most sexy and beautfiful, and if they have any kinks they like to be captured in the pictures. Some clients want to look more sensual, others want to look more dominant and edgy. So it’s very important for me to know what kind of energy they want to exude in the shots. Then we talk about what parts of the body they really love and which ones are a little bit less loved, so I know what to emphasize and what maybe would be better to put less emphasis on.
5. Time to take photos!
Now it’s time to capture the shots! I set up the studio with colours and props that match the first outfit, and I give the client directions on how to pose. I usually start off with simpler poses, so they can get more comfortable with it, and then when I think I can push them a little bit, I start suggesting more daring or difficult poses. I always emphasize consent, and make sure the client is 100% okay with the pose. Often it’s a bit hard to describe what I mean so I have to get on the floor and do it as well, so they can mirror me.
In the meantime I have to constantly readjust the lighting, and see what angles and camera settings work best.
After the shoot I give the client a discount voucher, if they refer a friend they’ll both get 15% off their next shoot.
Model on the right: Nympha Ophis
6. Reviewing the shots
During the shoot I’ve already shown the client some photos, but I like to not show too much, just enough to know what it will generally look like. When the shoot is over and I’ve received the full payment, I start loading the photos on the computer. In some cases the client has chosen the “photo gallery add-on” which is an extra service where I build an account for my client that they can access with a password. They basically have a private page on this site. After I have taken out the blurry photos and the ones where the client’s eyes are closed etc, I put the images on their private page and notify them that they can make a selection. When they have, I get an email with the numbers of the photo’s they want to be edited!
Not everyone wants to pick their own photos though. It can be nice for people to skip this step, as they trust I will choose photos that they look good in, and my artistic eye. Getting the final, edited images is often a really great reveal, that can be a little emotional. If you’re already seen all the photos unedited, this is a little less the case. But regardless, I want to leave the option to choose with the client!
Now I start editing! This takes longer than the shoot itself, as I like to retouch with great care and I’m a bit of a perfectionist. I’m still pretty fast though, so 90% of the time you get the edited photos within 3-7 days.
I make the colours nicer, and readjust the shadows and highlights. I also like to contour and highlight the face and smooth out your body contours. I don’t change your body itself, it’s more like softly smoothing out the bulging from a tight bra strap or garter. I brighten the eyes a little, and generally just make you a bit glowy. I never want to change someone too much, because you’re already gorgeous as you are! I’ll just glamorize you a little.
Model on the left: Goddess Quenn
Now it’s time to send you the pictures!! So exciting! This is the most nerve-wrecking step for me, because I want the client to be so happy. I hit send and wait… And then I get that super excited reply, yay! At least most of the time, haha. Sometimes the client still has some requests, like a slightly warmer filter or to maybe remove some cellulite. That’s fine, I’ll get right on it! I love it when my clients are honest with me, so I can make them happy, instead of not liking the photos or putting bad smartphone filters over it (yes, that’s a pretty big insult for a photographer, lol).
Now I usually journal about how it went, what I’ve learned, and what I can do better next time. I also ask the client to fill in a feedback form, but this is totally optional, and I understand if they don’t want to do this step. Then I check in with the client if I can use some of the images for my biweekly blog update or for my social media. Usually we’ve already talked about this during the shoot, but I like to double check. Most clients prefer not, which is understandable because unfortunately taking sexy photo’s is still stigmatized in today’s society. But maybe they’re okay with me using one unrecognizable shot to accompany their testimonial, which is super sweet of them! Either way, I hope to see them again, thank them for their trust in me.
In conclusion, boudoir photography is an art form that can help individuals to explore and celebrate their bodies, sexuality, and identity. As a kink & boudoir photographer, my goal is to create a safe and empowering space for clients to express themselves and feel confident in their own skin. From the initial booking to the final delivery of the images, each stage of the process is carefully crafted to ensure that clients feel comfortable, respected, and empowered. I hope this behind-the-scenes look at the life of a boudoir photographer has given you a better understanding of what goes into creating these beautiful and empowering images. If you’re interested in booking a session or have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Thank you for reading!