How to style boudoir portraits
I approach boudoir as a way to celebrate/document both your body and your spirit. Boudoir portraits become so much deeper than just pretty photographs - they come to document yourself in a really holistic, empowering way. I love creating boudoir portraits because they become a way to express and embrace who you are at a particular moment in time.
Bringing a defined personal style into your boudoir portraits is a way to express your personality, to make your portraits feel more like "you". When I start planning a session with a new client, I spend time talking with her about what she is looking to capture in her portraits, the kind of feeling/vibe she wants her pictures to have, and we collaborate to think about how she can bring that style out in her pictures.
As a Minneapolis boudoir photographer, I get a lot of questions about how to style boudoir portraits to feel full of life and personality, so here are a few ways you can bring out your style in your portraits.
Consider your style inspiration
Are you hoping for your portraits to feel soft and romantic? Feminine and sexy? Strong and empowered? Relaxed and natural? Think about what feels true to your personality, and what speaks to your soul at this moment in time - how do you want to look back at yourself? What do you want to celebrate about yourself?
You don't need to have a single style that everything fits under - people are multifaceted, and it's great if your boudoir session channels multiple inspirations. Lots of women do end up honing in on a particular aesthetic - whatever you decide, it's helpful to think about what moods/feelings are inspiring you, and you can use that to plan how you'll style your session.
As you're planning your outfits, consider what kinds of moods/feelings different colors bring out. White tends to feel really feminine and bridal. Soft, muted colors can feel romantic or effortless. Deep, rich tones can feel strong or bold; black tends to be classic and sexy.
If you're trying to decide what outfits to bring to your session, choose pieces with colors that emphasize the feeling you're going for. A variety is great too - pale cream, rich emerald, and faded gray/blue would be a beautiful combination for an effortless/relaxed style. Soft rose, bright white, and muted cranberry would bring out an elegant, romantic feeling.
Texture & fabric
While choosing what pieces of clothing and/or lingerie to bring to your boudoir portrait session, you can also consider how texture will play into your overall style. Nubby sweaters feel casual and cozy; delicately woven sweaters can feel romantic and feminine. Cotton bras and t-shirts can feel strong while a flowy linen chemise might feel effortless and natural. Lace and silk can feel romantic or sexy or strong (depending on the fit or cut).
Beyond clothing items, you can bring other items and accessories along to your session to enhance the feeling of a particular style or aesthetic.
Jewelry (necklaces, bracelets, earrings) can enhance any style - delicate pieces will add a hint of sparkle, while bolder jewelry will be more noticeable/prominent in pictures. If you want your portraits to feel natural or romantic, you could consider bringing a flower crown or a bouquet of fresh greenery. Enhance a cozy vibe with a knit blanket, a mug of coffee, or a stack of your favorite books. Bring along items that are true to your personality - your reading glasses, your yoga mat, a feathered fan, or your favorite pair of heels or sandals. Even if we include those items for just one or two images, having those details included packs a punch of personality into your images and really brings them to life.
Where to go from here
I hope that these ideas have been a helpful start and that you're starting to envision the direction/style you'd like to take your session - there are so many ways you can bring out your personality into your portraits, and thinking about the style/feel you want your pictures to have while you're planning what to bring to your session makes a big difference.
If you're feeling overwhelmed or unsure of how to curate the right mix of pieces for your session, worry not! I'm here for you 100% - whether you have a pinterest board of inspiration images you'd like to show me or if you want to meet up for a wardrobe consult before your session, I'll partner with you to help plan your session to reflect your unique style.
If you're looking for more inspiration and ideas, a great place to start is by downloading my boudoir magazine! You'll see more tips for planning boudoir outfits, sessions from recent clients, and inspiration galore. Click here to download it now!