Advice // Should I Have a Boudoir Photo-shoot?

Image: Belle Boudoir

A boudoir photo-shoot is a style of photography which often takes place in luxurious surroundings and is carried out with the intension of capturing the subject in the most flattering and beautiful way possible. Boudoir shoots can be soft, innocent and intimate or they can be risqué and sexy. It all depends on the personal preferences of the lady being photographed. In recent years the UK has seen a surge in the popularity of pre-wedding boudoir shoots, and it is this subject which I will be writing about today.

Why have a boudoir shoot:

Most brides book a boudoir shoot for two reasons; either as a gift to be presented to their groom on the night before their wedding, or as a way of documenting just how fantastic they look as they enter the next chapter of their lives. Or perhaps it is for both of these reasons, as it was for me. I booked my shoot because I want to be able to look at my photos before I present them to my fiancé, and to feel a surge of confidence in how I look. And we all know that an extra shot of confidence is essential for any bride as she approaches her big day!

So, do I advise all brides to have a boudoir photo-shoot before their wedding takes place? Well yes I do actually, and I do so wholeheartedly! It really doesn’t matter what size or shape you are; a boudoir photo-shoot will ramp up your confidence levels ahead of your wedding, and receiving a book full of images of you looking gorgeous is sure to impress your groom! But I have one small note of caution to add before we move on; if you have some body issues (who doesn’t?!) then I suggest that you plan a romantic and understated shoot, rather than a shoot which involves a great deal of nudity. A simple sheer night gown will hide a multitude of ‘issues’, and sometimes seeing less is more sexy than having everything on show! For super confident ladies I still suggest that you take a slightly less revealing outfit so that you can warm up to taking it all off for the final photos. Oh, and white, ivory or pale pastel lingerie always looks best for a bridal boudoir shoot.

Choose your photographer & venue carefully:

If you feel happy with the prospect, it’s a good idea to ask your wedding photographer if they have done a boudoir shoot before, and if they would be happy to do one for you. By hiring your wedding photographer to carry out your boudoir shoot you will have the opportunity to get comfortable with them taking your photo before your big day arrives, and they will learn how to properly capture you in order to make you look your best. However, I totally understand that some women may feel a little unsure about having their wedding photographer as their boudoir photographer, but remember that your photographer is a professional, and will most likely have seen it all before! My advice is to look at all of the options open to you. When I was researching my own boudoir shoot I spoke to four photographers in total before deciding to book my wedding photographer, as it’s important to find out what’s available and what is a reasonable price for this service.

Once you’ve booked your photographer it’s time to locate a suitable venue to act as the backdrop to your photos. If you’re on a budget you could always opt to have the photos taken at home in your bedroom or living room, or even your garden! Booking a venue can be a little tricky sometimes as you will only need to use your chosen room for half a day. Some venues will provide you with a room at a reduced price, while others will want the full amount, so be prepared to ring quite a few venues before you receive a decent quote. I was lucky in this regard because my photographer sorted all of this out for me, and there’s a chance that yours will do the same. All you need to do is ask!

Whether you choose to book your wedding photographer or a photographer who specialises in boudoir shoots, you really shouldn’t worry about how to pose for your shots. Your photographer will have done this all before and will able to advise and position you in such a way that the resulting photos capture your best bits. I would say however, that boudoir shoots are by their very nature quite revealing, so be prepared to feel quite exposed. While I haven’t been through this process myself yet, I have it on good authority that after the first few moments it all gets very easy, and your inner goddess will shine through.

Lottie's top tips:

As you can imagine it’s very important that you prepare for the shoot as much as possible in order for you to get the most out of it. Take a look below for my advice on preparing for a boudoir photo-shoot…

  • Start a fitness regime at least two months before your shoot so that you feel more confident when the day arrives. Improving your body will also make you feel and look even more beautiful on your wedding day, so it’s a win-win situation really.
  • If you’ve chosen to have a boudoir shoot where you will be showing a lot of flesh it’s important that your body is polished to perfection. Start using a good quality and gentle exfoliator on your face and body at least four weeks before the shoot to give you a healthy glow, and don’t forget to moisturise! On the day of the shoot make sure that your skin is properly quenched so that it looks soft and glowing in your photos.
  • You will also want glossy hair for the shoot so start using an intensive conditioning treatment as soon as you have booked your shoot to get your hair looking gorgeous. You may also want to visit your hairdresser to make sure your locks are perfect, but don’t have a cut or colour done for at least a week leading up to your shoot. Your hair will need time to relax.
  • As with any type of photo-shoot it is necessary for you to apply a little more makeup than you usually would do due to the lights which your photographer will be using. Practice your look a few times before the day, and ask your maid of honour to give her opinion on what works and what doesn’t. For my shoot I will also be wearing false lashes for added drama, and if you like this idea I strongly suggest that you practice applying them. They can be very tricky! If you’re worried about your makeup or hair then you could always have both professionally done on the morning before your shoot. Perhaps you could use the hairstylist and makeup artist that you’ve booked for your wedding?
  • Choose your clothing, lingerie and accessories carefully. Don’t be tempted to go for very complicated lingerie which is covered in ruffles, feathers and crystals as this will probably be lost in the photos. Keep it simple and ensure that every item you intend to wear for your photos fits you perfectly to avoid lumps and bumps! If you’re going for a classy and understated look then include a sheer robe or night gown to wear over your lingerie, perhaps with lace detailing as a nod to your upcoming nuptials. You may also like to include a few wedding accessories such as your jewellery, garter, veil and bridal shoes.

Once your shoot has taken place you will want to have a book created which contains the best of the images taken on the day. Most photographers will offer to create an album for you; however you could opt to create your own as this may save you money. Whatever you choose you need to have the album created in plenty of time so that it’s ready to be presented to your groom on the night before your wedding.

Best of luck with your shoot!

--Lottie ♥