Lights, Camera, Action: How to Get Ready for a Boudoir Shoot

I’ve had a how to get ready for a boudoir shoot post in my back pocket for almost a year now — I did my shoot in February or March of last year, first debuted it on the blog in this post, but, now, with it being February and all, it seemed like the right time to hit publish.


When I booked our wedding photographer, Lauren Miller of Lauren Louise Collective, I did so not only because I loved her editorial, moody style, but, also, because she offered boudoir photos as an add-on with an engagement and wedding package. This was something I always knew I wanted to do (and would 100% do again!) and I specifically sought out photographers that had an impressive boudoir portfolio.

Also, it wasn’t that I was thinking I wanted to give the photos to Adam or anything like that — I just genuinely wanted to have this experience and document myself feeling my most sexy.

Lauren is a boudoir photographer extraordinaire — seriously. I’ll get into what you should look for in a boudoir photographer in the next section, but, first, I’ll tell you that if you’re in DC, you should book her. Regardless of whether you’re getting married. She does boudoir marathons a few times a year where she’ll rent out a room in a hip hotel (probably The Line in Adams Morgan), bring in hair and makeup, champagne, and will go through 8 shoots in that one day. As a warning, the marathons sell out super fast, so follow her on Insta and snag a spot as soon as she announces. I did mine as a solo shoot, but the marathon would be a fun way to treat yourself if you’re feeling sexy — or as if you need a reminder that you are.


How to Get Ready for a Boudoir Shoot - Lauren Louise collective boudoir - dc boudoir photographer


Unless you’re a professional model, you probably go into any photo shoot wondering, “What the heck am I doing here?!” Whether it’s engagement photos, headshots, wedding photos, or, of course, boudoir photos, it’s a little intimidating to think about what you need to do both before and while you’re in front of the camera.

When I did my boudoir shoot, I had booked a room at The Line Hotel in Adams Morgan (you definitely could do your shoot at home, but I loved the idea of a minimalist hotel room!), went out to dinner the night before at Lapis, and then had a relaxing morning listening to podcasts and taking a solid 2 hours to primp and pamper. I didn’t want to feel rushed at all and wanted to be ready to strike a pose when Lauren arrived.

But, regardless of whether you book a hotel room and make it an occasion, go into a photographer’s studio on a sunny afternoon for a set shoot, or bring your photographer into your home for a cozy session, let’s chat about how to get ready for a boudoir shoot.

Leave your self-consciousness at the door. Don’t love running around in your skivvies in front of someone else? Well, remember this person has shot dozens, if not hundreds, of these boudoir shoots before, so it’s just another Tuesday to them.

Pick lingerie that you feel comfortable and sexy in. Try it on, wear it, make sure you feel like yourself in it. Make sure you’re comfortable in it. Make sure it fits. Yes, you want to feel and look sexy, but if those straps are digging into your stomach, you’re not going to feel confident. There are tons of scandalous + pretty + comfy options out there — choose those. Here’s another hint: make sure the tags are cut out!

Think about a variety of looks. Maybe you wear a one-piece bodysuit in some photos, a bra and panties combo in others. Thong, high-waisted undies, etc. I’m all about racy, lacy items, but it’s nice to have a range. Even if black is your go-to, throw a color in there. I went with a lace bodysuit, a thong + strappy bra, a teddy + thigh-highs, a lace cami and shorts, high-waisted panties + bra, and a sporty thong + bralette. Yes, I changed often and quickly. I’m not sure I’d recommend doing quite that many looks for time’s sake, but I couldn’t decide!

Bring backup options. I brought a few options I didn’t even end up wearing! I wanted to get Lauren’s opinion on what she thought would photograph best and I wanted to see what I was feeling that morning, so I made sure to have a few extras on hand.

Consider a relaxed, non-lingerie look. I didn’t do this because it’s not really my vibe, but I’ve seen women look romantic and sensuous in an oversized men’s dress shirt or a cozy sweater.

Look at images of shoots you love and think about how they’ve posed. You want to do what feels natural for you, but a little inspiration never hurt. Scroll through your photographer’s Instagram feed to get an idea of her style (presumably this is why you booked her!), see what others have done, how they’ve posed, and if there are any shots that you absolutely love and want to make sure you get. Lauren did a great job of demonstrating poses that I could imitate — don’t think twice about asking your photographer what to do!

Morning of, pamper yourself and go the extra mile with all your normal grooming. Don’t skip your body lotion and maybe even kick it up with some body oil. Shave your legs. Wash and blow out your hair. Do your makeup a little more like stage makeup than you normally do. Make sure you’ve got a fresh mani and pedi. This is not the time to rush through your getting ready routine. Make it a date with yourself and do it up.

Relax and have fun! Lastly, don’t forget that this is fun! Don’t stress about how you’ll look. It’s your photographer’s job to make you look amazing


How to Get Ready for a Boudoir Shoot - Lauren Louise collective boudoir - dc boudoir photographer

How to Get Ready for a Boudoir Shoot - Lauren Louise collective boudoir - dc boudoir photographer


Okay, we could have ended the post there, but here’s a little chat about lingerie and $$$ (maybe this is an in-depth post for another day?!)…

I did splurge on one lace cami and shorts set from BHLDN for my boudoir shoot and, while it’s a set that I love day-to-day, I actually barely wore it during the shoot. The pieces that photographed the best were some of the budget buys from, of all places, Victoria’s Secret…during their semi-annual sale. The red lacy number, the black teddy, and the strappy bra — all Victoria’s Secret finds and all were probably under $35 (I’ve had them for years, so don’t quote me on that). Victoria’s Secret gets a bad rap and I don’t have a single everyday bra or pair of undies from there, but it gets the job done for boudoir-worthy lingerie.

And, one more place to check out: Nordstrom Rack. This is where I found my getting ready nightie and robe for my wedding, but it’s also where my retro-inspired Calvin Klein underwear comes from. Go online (it’s better than in-store!) and you’ll find designer lingerie for a song.

Now that I’ve thrown all this boudoir info at you, feel free to reach out if you have any questions you might have about the experience or how to get ready for a boudoir shoot. I’m happy to chat more or connect you with Lauren!


How to Get Ready for a Boudoir Shoot - Lauren Louise collective boudoir - dc boudoir photographer


1 Comment

  1. Jenn
    February 21, 2020 / 11:33 am

    I did a boudoir shoot before my wedding as well and actually really enjoyed it! I’m good friends with my cousin, so she came over as well and we just blasted music, had some cocktails, and just laughed and laughed. I have no idea how the photographer got any sexy shots because we were all laughing so much! It was fun to let loose and leave your inhibitions at the door. If you’re feeling nervous (i totally was!), it really helped having a friend there to cheer me on.

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