The Best Things to Wear for Boudoir Photos

Almost the first question most boudoir clients ask me after they book a session is “ What do I wear?” While I send every Illuminate Boudoir client an extensive guide full of boudoir outfit ideas, here are some of my favorites to inspire you in your search for what to wear for boudoir photos.

For me, the most important thing in any photo session, but especially boudoir, is to bring out your own personality and style. While I can tell you all about lingerie, and give you my photographer tricks for how to highlight what you love, my most important advice is to choose the pieces that make you feel comfortable, or powerful, romantic or sexy. How you feel in your boudoir wardrobe is just as important as how you look.

Read on to learn about:

6 Different Lingerie Styles and How to Pick Underwear for a Boudoir Session

3 Non-Lingerie Ideas for Boudoir Photos

How to Make Your Favorite Feature Look Amazing in Boudoir Photos

My 4 Favorite Places to Buy Lingerie in Minneapolis and Online


6 Different Lingerie Styles and How to Pick Underwear for a Boudoir Session

Bra and Panty Sets

Odds are you have at least one matching bra and panty set in your dresser and a boudoir session is a lovely excuse to wear your favorite, or invest in something new that feels a little special. Solid-colored pieces with some lace, sheerness or texture photograph well and add some dimension to your photos without distracting from you!


Garter Belts, Garters and Stockings

A garter belt goes around your waist and traditionally would hold up silk stockings (they’re how everyone had to keep their stockings up before the invention of elastic and pantyhose) and they’re perfect to add a little drama or for a vintage vibe.  When shopping for stockings, make sure you don’t get a “stay up” pair with textured rubber on the inside. These are designed to be worn without a garter belt and, because the tight rubber helps the stocking stay up, they can cut into your leg a bit. Go for the kind without rubber that are intended to be used with a garter belt, and they’ll be much more flattering!.


Teddies and Bodysuits

If a one-piece swimsuit decided to become underwear, the result would be a teddy. These one-piece garments combine a top and underwear into one and are some of my favorite wardrobe choices for boudoir. Undeniably special, they come in a huge variety of styles so it’s easy to find one that really highlights you and captures the vibe you want for your session, from epic and confident, to romantic and sweet. Usually Teddies are looser, while bodysuits are stretchy and close-fitting, but the terms are often used interchangeably.

Mariah Boudoir-17.jpg


Chemises and Nighties

An elegant choice for boudoir, chemises and nighties are technically garments to sleep in, they’re usually soft with no structure or body-shaping and fall mid-thigh. Chemises and nighties come in so many styles, and their delicate details provide lots of interest in boudoir photos. They’re also great if you’d prefer a little more coverage for some of your portraits.

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Technically a style of nighty, babydolls are fitted at the top with a skirt that falls loosely from just blow the bust. Generally I don’t recommend these for boudoir portraits as the gathered skirt fabric obscures your waist and tends not to photograph well.

Corsets and Bustiers

If you’re looking for a bit of structure and shape, a corset or bustier is the way to go. Both of these are usually constructed with interior architecture that will shape and cinch your waist and lift your breasts. Corsets come in many varieties from waist-only corsets, to those that cover your breasts as well, bustiers usually have a cleavage-enhancing or shaping element.


3 Non-Lingerie Ideas for Boudoir Photos

While most of my clients bring at least some special lingerie to their boudoir photos, it certainly doesn't have to be your only wardrobe choices. Cozy robes and sweaters, pieces of your partner’s clothing, or your strong, confident workout wear, all make for beautiful portraits that capture a different side of your personality.


How to Make Your Favorite Feature Look Amazing in Boudoir Photos

Here are my favorite ways to choose boudoir wardrobe pieces that highlight the things you love about your body.

Make your bum look amazing

To highlight your bum, choose anything with a “cheeky” style panty. A teddy or panty bottom that’s cut to show just a bit more of the curve of your tush creates beautiful, flattering lines in the photography. While it may seem counterintuitive, underwear that shows much more of your bum, like a g-string or thong, creates lines that just aren’t as flattering in photographs. Also look for beautiful details like lace trim or sheer details that will draw attention to your tush.

Leah Boudoir-07.jpg


Show off your legs

To make your legs look extra-long, look for high-cut bottoms. The higher the leg opening the longer your legs will look - in this case, wearing a lace thong can be a great choice - if you’re posed facing sideways, the delicate line will emphasize the length and curve of your legs.

Emily Rose Boudoir-26.jpg


Proud of your collarbones?

Draw attention to your shoulders and collarbones by choosing pieces with delicate straps, beautiful necklines or pieces that leave your shoulders bare - these are sometimes called “bateau” necklines.

Megan Boudoir-03.jpg


Celebrate your cleavage

There are two routes to go when drawing attention to the bust, if you want a structured silhouette with lots of cleavage, a bustier or push up bra will give you that lifted form. For a more natural highlight, bralettes with sheer panels, bold colors or detailing will also draw the eye.

Meghan Boudoir-07.jpg


My 4 Favorite Places to Buy Lingerie in Minneapolis and Online

No matter what you choose to wear, fit is important. I recommend purchasing lingerie from a boutique that can offer a professional fitting and help you choose the right pieces for your body.

Locally in Minneapolis, I love:

Some lovely choices online are: