There are two fundamental elements that make great boudoir photography – an amazing client experience and knowing how to guide clients with posing. (I would also be pressed to argue a third – pointed toes. If you know, you know.) Even successful photographers often struggle to master boudoir posing. The combination of the client’s vulnerability, angles, and full-body posing makes it hard to get each detail just right.
And if you’re struggling as a new photographer or a photographer new to boudoir – you’re not alone. We all struggled with it in the beginning.
But after 10 years guiding women behind the camera, I can honestly say I’ve come up with a pretty powerful boudoir shot list. I’ve learned how to help women be in awe of their own bodies and well…I’ve been sitting on all of it!
So, I hope you’re ready. I’m sharing my little black book of boudoir poses with you. Consider this blog is my boudoir shot list laid out for you to learn. Each pose comes with a photo of what the pose looks like and a link to watch a video tutorial.
And PS: If you’re stumbling on this as a woman looking to create sexy selfies for your partner, Welcome! These are beginner, easy boudoir poses you can do at home too. So go ahead. Make your partner drool, Queen!
Before we break each pose down – let’s go over the categories. I pulled out my client favorites for this: poses with a sheet, poses with high heels, standing poses, and the classic on-the-bed poses. There are tons of other great poses and props you’ll learn, but these are the basics of boudoir photography. These are your money shots! The poses in these categories are easy to learn and your client will love how they turn out.
Now let’s start with some sheet work.
Sheet poses are going to be your best friend because they can go two ways – shy or playful. I like to use these at the beginning of a photo shoot. Because she can “cover-up”, using sheets is a great way to ease her into feeling comfortable and confident. On the opposite hand – once your client is feeling herself, you can get some great playful shots of her rolling in the sheets.
The first sheet pose comes off as shy and “unknowingly” sexy. You can do this pose on the bed, on the floor, or even on a couch.
To start, have your client sit on her feet (kneeling) with the sheet draping across her chest. To make her boobies pop, you can also have her hold the sheet under her chest (while secretly pushing up the girls). Then, have her look down at her shoulder. Arch the back and bring her chin up, just a bit.
This is for my playful Queens out there. When she’s feeling herself, feeling flirty, and ready to tease – this is the pose you break out. I recommend you do this pose on the bed, but you could also do it in front of a fireplace on a fluffy rug. Go crazy!
To start, have her lay on her back and arch it. Have one hand in her hair and the other hand hugging her body with the sheet between her legs. Toot her bottom toward the camera so the camera blurs it slightly. Then have her make eye contact with the camera.
In my example photo, Brittany is giving us flirty, playful Vixen. Your client will look just as stunning in this pose!
There is just something out-of-this-world sexy about a woman wearing pair of stilettos. I’m sure you’ve seen these all over Pinterest, but there are three high-heel boudoir poses that are great for beginners.
Yes, this is a spicy pose! This pose looks great if your client is wearing a strappy outfit or bare. You’ll want to do this pose up on something like a bed or couch. She’ll need room for the heels to hang off whatever she’s sitting on slightly and will need room to spread her knees out.
To begin, have her sit on her legs at the edge of the bed and hold the spike of her heels with her fingertips. Not her whole hand – her fingertips! (Zoom in to see Jordan do it perfectly.) Make sure her back is arched to pop that booty out.
You must get her on the bed for this one! This pose screams “come here” and she’ll be screaming with how stunning she looks! It highlights the bootie and who isn’t a sucker for heels?!
The key is to have the leg furthest from the camera be straight and on the floor. Then, have her other knee- the one closest to the camera – bent on the bed holding the body up with both hands. Guide her to let her back sink into the shoulders to create the slightest bend. We’re not going full-on back arch here!
This high heels pose is a classic. It focuses on her stunning face with a hint of her spicy heels. I like to do these in Louboutins because the red bottoms really draw your attention to the heels. You can do these in any heels you have on hand, though.
To give a hint of heels, first have her lay on her stomach with her legs up, crossed at the ankles. Make sure the camera is lined up so her feet are above the bootie. For the best booty shot – have her lift her hips up off the bed.
Extend the hand furthest from the camera out. Then have the hand closest to the camera cradle her face, laying over her outstretched arm.
You’ll want to make sure you’re at a slight angle to her for this shot to work. If your camera is in-lin with her all you will see is her head. Angling from her slightly will allow this to be a full-body shot and give you the blur effect when you focus the lens on her face.
“When she stands, she commands.”
Standing poses don’t get enough credit in boudoir photography. Most of us think of bed-shots but, like my quote says – when she stands, she commands. I’m always using standing poses in my shoots and today I’ll share my number one standing boudoir pose that is easy for anyone to master.
I like to call it “Yes, I’m fine.” I’ll let my lovely client, Brianna, show you how it’s done.
To create this power pose, you will need your client to stand with her body facing away from the camera. Set yourself up at a 45-degree angle from her shoulder so you barely see the arm furthest from you. Have her bend the knee closest to the camera so it almost looks like she’s kneeling. Then pull a top or shirt over her hips in the front without covering her entire thigh.
It’s best if you can do this in front of a window with a sheer curtain for natural lighting. You can also just hang a sheer sheet or curtain up and have lighting behind it. We want to light her face.
Speaking of face, turn her face towards the camera for this one. A “no smile” shot gives a very commanding, powerful, and sexy look. Smiling can either give you a playful shot or a shy shot. Do both and let her choose how she wants to be remembered!
Yasss, we finally come to the “it” girl of boudoir photography poses – bed shots. Investing in a beautiful bed for your boudoir photos does not have to be expensive. We’re about the illusion of luxury – but in truth, a faux-gold metal framed bed and the cheapest mattress out there will do. She’s posing, not taking a nap. You’ll also want to make sure you have fully blankets and (I prefer) white sheets. White will go well with whatever outfit color your client chooses.
Now that your shopping list is ready, let’s get into how you’re going to pose her in boudoir bed photos!
The first bedroom boudoir photo we’re going to talk about is meant to highlight her in all her glory. We’re talking about her face, her booty, her boobies, and her legs. It’s a classic.
To nail this, sit your client on the edge of a bed and ask her to part her feet in a wide stance. Make sure she’s sitting on the bed just enough to be able to point her toes like you see Samantha doing here.
Then, have her grab onto the bed and push her chest out so it creates a pretty defined arch in her back. Bring her chin up and towards the camera. Stand diagonal to her so you can see her booty and chest in the frame.
Next, we’re going to get up onto the bed. This boudoir pose is all about angles.
First, have her kneel on the bed with her knees out wide and sit on her feet. This is your first angle. Then, place the hand closest to you (the camera) on her inner thigh, almost her knee. The bend in her elbow accentuates that angle we created with her thighs.
Next, have her lift her chin up and close her eyes. Place the hand furthest from the camera on top of her head, with her nails almost running through her hair. This will give you a bent elbow and another angle. You should see a small triangle of space between her face and arm now. Bend that elbow every so slightly towards the camera to make a more defined shape.
Tinesha makes it look effortless here, and your photo should make it look effortless too.
From here on out, we’re staying on the bed. This next pose is perfect in front of a window, but if you don’t have one then you can also do it with the headboard in the background. It’s probably one of the easiest beginner boudoir poses there is!
To start, have her sit with her back to you. Raise her arms and cross them at the wrist. Make sure her hands are staying relaxed, with the fingertips every so slightly pointing towards the front (of her).
Then, my secret to this pose is..lift her chin towards the ceiling. This will cause her hair to cascade down her back (if she has long hair). If she has a short do, this will cause a slight arch in her back that will be visible. It’s a masterpiece.
Ok, yes…my beautiful model is on a bench and not a bed. But this pose looks amazing on a bed or bench. I just used this photo because 1) Kyndra killed this pose and 2) to show you options of how you can diversify your scenes by using a bed or other furniture, like a bench.
To have your client slaying her “bootie and smirk” pose, first have her lie down on her stomach on a bed or bench. Have her place the hand furthest from you in her hair. Then have the other hand pull on the strap of her top.
If she’s on a bench – have her push up her hips by bringing the knee furthest from you up to her chest like Kyndra is doing here. You can’t even see it, but the angle helps. If she’s on a bed – have her put her knee out as wide as possible and angle yourself so it’s not visible in the shot.
This pose is all about the details. I bet half of you didn’t even notice the strap pull at first! That’s why this position is so sexy. There are so many little details that draw your eye in. She’ll feel stunning and you’ll come out looking like a pro boudoir photographer.
Now that you have my little black book of boudoir poses, it’s time to start practicing. I always say a great client experience makes a great photographer. So, even though you know the poses, you have to practice how to make your client comfortable so you’ll get the best shots possible. Remember, she’s in a vulnerable position – either in her lingerie or naked.
Nailing your ability to guide your client into poses is honestly more important than understanding what the poses are. Without knowing how to guide your client like a professional, you won’t get good shots. (And she won’t be comfortable!)
So, before you book your first boudoir photo session ask a friend to be your model. Practice guiding her into these poses. Experiment with where you need to be standing to get the money shots. Play with your lighting, your set, and your bedside manner. (Yass, I said bedside manner!) You’ll be posing people like a professional boudoir photographer in no time.
This blog was so fun to write! It was awesome being able to dip into my little black book of boudoir posing tips and I know how much I wish I had these when I started. Don’t forget to use the video tutorial links for each pose to get further behind-the-scenes training. Watch it over and over until you’re comfortable. I modeled them myself and you won’t hurt my feelings if the views skyrocket!
Also, if you’re interested in more top-tier boudoir photography education then visit my mentorship page. When I’m not behind the camera, I help female photographers learn how to start, grow, and scale their photography business. Join my email list to get more tips and behind-the-scenes action, plus exclusive insight on how I run my 6-figure photography business.
But most importantly. Let me know which pose you’re trying first!