If you’re new to photographing boudoir sessions, these intimate events can feel a little intimidating.  You might wonder what equipment you’ll need, or what else to pack.  Today, I’ll give you a rundown on what you’ll want to include in your boudoir photography kit!

What Do You Bring to a Boudoir Photoshoot?

As a photographer, you’ll need to take a professional grade camera, a wide-angle or portrait-length lens, memory cards and a confident attitude, for your boudoir photoshoot.  Other gear you might consider are a reflector, off-camera lighting, props, and client comfort items.

We will cover all of these below in a little more detail, including why they are important and how you can use them.

  • Camera
  • Lenses
  • Supplemental lighting
  • Props
  • Client Comfort Items

The Camera

Boudoir photos often lean toward moody and mysterious.  But you’ll still need a high-quality camera that performs well in low light and has interchangeable lenses.  Look for either a DSLR or mirrorless camera that has at least 24 MP in resolution, accepts different lenses and handles low light conditions like a champ.

Lenses

There’s no one perfect lens for boudoir photoshoots.  Which lens you choose depends on your style and the location.

For indoor sessions in a hotel room or the clients’ bedroom, include a fast, wide-angle lens such as a 24-70 f2.8 zoom or a 35mm f1.4 lens.  These fast lenses give you a large maximum aperture to let in more light.  You’ll also be able to shoot in tighter spaces.

For outdoor sessions or indoor closeups, bring a short portrait length lens.  These lenses, such as a 50mm f1.8, 85mm f1.4 or 70-200mm f2.8 zoom, offer less distortion and allow for plenty of space between you and your client.  They require more working space, however.

Supplemental Lighting

If you think you’ll need some additional lighting in your scene, consider bringing one or more of these items on your boudoir photoshoot.

Reflector

A reflector can help bounce natural or artificial light back into your scene.  The work great opposite a window to fill in shadows.  Reflectors can also block light if you need just a bit more shadow for some added mystery.

Off-camera flash

Sometimes there just isn’t enough natural light for your session and you need some help.  An off-camera flash adds light where you need it and doesn’t need to be mounted on top of your camera.  A speedlight or strobe and a modifier to spread and soften the light can help you create lots of different looks. You can light your subject or be creative with side and backlighting.

Continuous lights can also work as supplemental lighting.  Look for lights that stay cool so you don’t overheat as the light is cast onto her face.

Props for a boudoir Photoshoot

Props

Props can help with posing options for boudoir sessions.  They can also add depth to your scene, change the mood, or accentuate your client’s personality.  

Common boudoir props include beds, mirrors, luxurious linens, tubs or pools, upright chairs, or pillows.  Other props to consider are scarves, lace, flowers, foods, specific items to match your theme, jewelery, or items that match your clients wardrobe.  If she’s wearing Green Bay Packers underwear, for example, you could use a football or helmet as a prop.  If she’s wearing a gorgeous vintage black nightgown, an antique dresser with elaborate vintage perfume bottles would be appropriate.

On the other hand, you can ask the client to provide props that are meaningful to her (or him) as well as the romantic partner, such as a favorite shirt, tie, cuff links or heirloom hair comb.

Want help achieving that moody, mysterious vibe for your boudoir images? Get our Dark and Moody Presets for Adobe Lightroom!

Step Stool or Ladder

Many great boudoir poses require the photographer to be physically above the client.  Even if you’re tall, a step-stool or ladder can be a great tool for a boudoir session.  You’ll be able to capture different angles of view than you could standing on the ground!

Client Comfort Items

While you don’t need any of these items, you’ll look like a total rock star to your client for providing them!  Think about what might make your client feel more comfortable and relaxed.  Ideas are items like water, a heather, a fan, a dressing screen, music, shine powder, hairspray, or a mirror.  You could also provide a few robes or dressing gowns to use between sets or to incorporate into the shoot!

Conclusion

The better prepared you are for your boudoir photoshoot, the more confident you’ll feel and the better your images will be.  Make sure to bring the right gear, props, lighting and client comfort items you need next time a boudoir client calls for a photoshoot!