Boudoir Photography Ideas for Your Next Photo Shoot

February 21, 2023

By Zenfolio

Boudoir photography continues to take the world by storm, with many women (and men) clamoring to have their own empowering, sensual portraits taken in lingerie, swimsuits, and other fashionable attire. If you’re just starting out or are in a bit of a creative rut and aren’t sure what to do during a boudoir photo shoot, read on for inspiring and unique boudoir photo shoot ideas from Zenfolio to help add variety to your boudoir portfolio website and gain more clients in the process.

boudoir photo shoot
All Photos Courtesy of Zenfolio

Boudoir Photoshoot Ideas: Lighting, Exposure, and Mood

When setting up a unique boudoir photo shoot, it’s about creating that dramatic look that attractively accentuates your subject. Using the proper lighting can go a long way in bringing out the detail in your subject’s eyes. You can also use a high dynamic range and adjust the shutter speed for a more dramatic effect.

Black-and-White Boudoir

black-and-white boudoir

There is something incredibly elegant about black-and-white boudoir photography—it’s classic, sensual, and artistic compared to a bright color image. Vintage lingerie is a great idea to include in black-and-white boudoir photography sessions—there’s something so sensual about lace lingerie combined with fishnet stockings or garter belts. Color carries with it a lot of meaning and evokes different emotions compared to shooting in black and white where the image is devoid of that extra, often distracting information. It allows the photographer, and the viewer to focus on the tones, light, composition, and the shapes your subject’s body is making. And black and white photography carries with it a timeless element. The easiest way is to create three versions of the same image: one in color, one in monochrome, and one in a sepia tone. You can then offer your clients a choice on which they prefer. 

High Key Boudoir

High Key Boudoir

High key boudoir photography is an excellent option for those not comfortable being photographed with dark shadows highlighting their facial features. High key boudoir photography softens any wrinkles or imperfections in a more flattering way than other lighting styles would have it. The resulting image (above) has less contrast, which also helps make skin appear smoother. Consider having your subject stand in front of a bright window. It’s a bonus if the sun shines through it, so you get a flare shot simultaneously. Comfort is what you want to focus on here. If you can, have the high key boudoir photography session in the subject’s home.

Low Key Boudoir Photography

boudoir photo shoot

Typically, low key boudoir photography entails using less harsh light sources and a more natural look. Low key photography is considered more gentle on the eyes than high key photography because it’s softer, darker, and less contrasty. With low key boudoir photography, ensure that the background has no clutter. While this style may have less light and softer tones, it can be easy to overlook the background.



To get the best silhouette boudoir photography, it’s recommended to get your subjects wearing a formal dress or piece of lingerie that’s sophisticated and light. Layer with a blazer, scarf, or wrap for added warmth and attitude. Your props can play an important role in this type of shoot to set the mood and create your desired feel, so think about what you want to come across. Candles are always sexy and sensual, but if you have another idea (think: hats, aprons), go for it. Make sure you place your subject between the camera and the light source and set your exposure settings to expose for the highlights so your subject will be silhouetted by the light behind, without showing detail in the shadows.

Natural Light

Natural Light Boudoir

The best time to take natural light boudoir photography is in the morning when the sun is high and bright. When the sun shines through a window, you’ll get a beautiful, natural glow on your subject. If you find the natural light is creating too much contrast you can use a reflector to fill in some of the shadows for a softer, more even look.

Low Light

Low Light

Low light photography is perfect for boudoir photographers who want to use natural light sources or have dark settings, such as a bedroom. With low light boudoir photography, the right poses are everything. Lingerie can appear much more revealing in low light than during daylight, and because of that, you may want to let your subject know. They might have a few different attire options in mind once informed about that.

Black Light

Black Light Boudoir

Black light boudoir photography is a great way to get some of your best photos, and it’s easy to do. Black light is a great way to add a touch of glamour and elegance to your boudoir session. It makes everything look fuller, richer, and more beautiful than it ordinarily would be in natural light. Create a dark room by putting dark curtains over your windows. The curtains will block out the sunlight, allowing you to take amazing photos without any other light source. Set up your props in advance so you don’t have to worry about them when it’s time to go on location.

For more on inspiration and boudoir photo shoot ideas and tips (including Outdoor Boudoir in the woods, on the beach, in snow, country-themed boudoir and more), read the full Zenfolio article HERE.

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