How To Take Your Own Boudoir Photographs

Colleen Townsend
Cell phone cameras are ubiquitous and sexting is all the rage, but there will always be something extra sultry about a proper boudoir photo. While many people are more than happy to Tweet their outfit for the evening or share sexy photographs with a partner, a boudoir photo doesn’t have to include anyone but you. Whether you’re looking for a sultry photo to post up on your bathroom mirror or framed in the living room, here are some tips for your own solo photoshoot.

  1. Lighting is key! We all hear this, but what does it mean? For one, you want to create a shadow-less light. Professional photographers have elaborate and expensive lighting setups but if you’re working from home your best bet is afternoon sunlight cascading through your window. Early morning light can be a bit harsh, but later on in the day it softens and flatters the body. If you’re working without the light of day, you want bright light that is well diffused onto your body from multiple angles.
  2. Identify a place in your house that has access to good lighting and is clear of clutter. Although your bedroom might seem like an ideal spot, your cleaning mileage may vary. Walls can also make a great background and if you’re really interested in putting in the effort, tack a sheet to the top of your wall. Lighter colors will help reflect the light, darker colors will absorb it and may require a few extra illuminating sources.
  3. Plan out your outfit. Boudoir photos are often times at their sexiest when the subject is fully clothed. One reason that pin up portraiture is so compelling is because of all the character and context the costume provides. If you’re looking for inspiration, think of some of your favorite activities and dress accordingly and don’t be afraid to integrate some props. They’ll help you come up with new and interesting poses and you’ll be working with something you already know and love. As a side note, think ahead to what kind of marks some costumes can leave on the body. Fishnet stocking, bra straps, corsets, and tight underwear can all leave indentations on the skin. It can be helpful to leave those for the end of the shoot unless you’re a whiz with photo editing.
  4. Get friendly with your makeup kit. It’s really easy to look washed out under all of those lights so don’t be afraid to go the extra mile with the brush and sponge. Although you might look very overdone in the mirror all of that extra foundation and eyeliner is going to look much more subtle in the photograph. The goal is to make your beautiful features pop out from their flat surface. If you’re on the fence about your hair err on the side of natural at first and see how you like it. It’s much easier to poof your hair up than it is to smooth it back down.
  5. Put your camera timer to use! Almost all digital cameras have a timer option. While there certainly are a lot of great ways to pose your body while still holding the camera it’s much harder to pull off. Think ahead of time how your want your body to look. Flip through a magazine and observe the what each model is doing with their body. As a model, you have to be aware of what your body is doing in relationship to where the camera is pointed and where the main source of light is. There are a couple of tricks models rely on for taking a good photograph: arching their back, standing up on the toes or pointing them, and always being aware of what their hands and legs are doing. Natural looking photographs very rarely feel natural and it isn’t unusual to feel tired at the end of the shoot from all of the stretching. If you’re relying on your camera timer, pick one pose you can easily remember and take photos from different angles. Position your camera on a tripod (or pile of books, bills, whatever), set the timer, and then jump into your pre-determined pose until you either find something you love or move on into a new pose.
  6. A lot can happen to a picture on the editing floor. If you’re already an ace with editing software, have at it. If you’re still a beginner there are a lot of free software options to explore. I like Picnik because of how easy it is to use. Sometimes half the fun of a boudoir photo is finding out what you would look like in high contrast.

A boudoir photograph doesn’t have to be for anyone but you. It’s a celebration of your body, your interests, and your sexuality and you do not have to share that with anyone. You can make your own brand of pinup calendars, coffee mugs, postcards, and more with some help of the internet. A quick glance at your private set of naughty photos can help add a burst of confidence when you’re getting ready for your day at work, a night out on the town, or before a date. The process of taking the photos absolutely requires some self-indulgence and creativity that is all about you. When you’re in the driver’s seat of your own photo shoot you’ll also learn a thing or two about how those advertisements in magazines are made. Great models aren’t born; they’re made with expensive lenses, expert lighting, makeup artists, hair stylists, and editors, and lots of experience knowing how to position their body into dynamic poses. Taking part in that process, even in your home, can help demystify the process and make your feel more comfortable in your skin.

[Image courtesy of WikiCommons]

We hope you’ll follow us on Twitter @mysexprofessor and make friends with us on Facebook.

About Miss Maggie Mayhem

Miss Maggie Mayhem has worn many sex positive hats over the years. She has six years of experience as an HIV Prevention Specialist proving testing, counseling, and results disclosure as well as street based outreach for at risk youth. She is also a volunteer at the San Francisco Sex Information Hotline offering education and information to callers from around the world. She is also an erotic performer in San Francisco and loves to meet new people and show them new things. Maggie has also just recently returned from Haiti where she was part of the earthquake recovery and is looking for her next chance to go back and pick up her beloved 16lb sledge hammer once again.

  • Kate

    What a great, informative post, Maggie! I really enjoyed this.