BOUDOIR | Not all shoots are created equal. Here are the 2 most important things you’ll need to rock your shoot.


Boudoir is a hot topic, obvs.  We receive lots of questions from you guys about it, so now’s as good a time as any to devote a post to the topic and, hopefully, help you guys become a bit more comfortable with the concept.

If you’re considering doing your own shoot, then it’s likely the scariest aspect of your entire wedding planning experience (excluding mother-in-law interaction and the chair raising dance – while it is, no doubt, an immeasurable amount of fun, the thought of being propped up by intoxicated family members and friends scares the bejeezus out of me).

It’s no secret, boudoir is just a bit… frightening.  And you know what?  You have every right to be a little apprehensive.  Getting naked in front of a stranger with a camera, ready to document every inch of your body is an intimidating concept.

For many people who aren’t very familiar with contemporary boudoir, the very word stirs up internal responses like “I’m not a trashy stripper” or “I don’t want to look like a trashy stripper” or all too common “I’m too chubby – I need to lose these last five to ten pounds before I can do my own shoot” … and that’s simply not the case.  If you find the right photographer, that is.  Because there really are just two ingredients to a good boudoir session: self-confidence, and a great photographer who is skilled in the art of boudoir.  That’s it.  And if you add a really good makeup artist and a little bubbly, well then you’re on your way to the most exhilarating photoshoot of your freaking LIFE.

Now, here’s where people like Kristen of Haute Boudoir come in.  We love Kristen; she’s such a cool person, not to mention an amazing photographer, and she really knows how to capture the true beauty in a woman.  You see, it’s not all about sex and skin.  … Ok, it has a lot to do with skin, I won’t lie. :)  But that’s not the endgame.  It’s really about the experience, and if you let yourself enjoy the experience by allowing yourself to love your body and reveal that to the camera, you’re pretty much guaranteeing a great shoot – one that both your future hubby AND you will cherish for years to come.

A few words from Kristen on her approach:

My Boudoir style is inspired by fine art and fashion photography.  Women spend so much time before their weddings getting into shape, and perfecting their skin and hair.  Indulging in a private, intimate fashion photo shoot where you look and feel like an A-Lister or even supermodel is a great way to celebrate all that hard work!  Plus, I’m sure the boudoir pictures will be the groom-to-be’s favorite!  What makes me different is the overall approach.  I take my inspiration from fashion magazines like Vogue, W and Vanity Fair, treating each woman like a star, complete with magazine quality retouching, and, if you want, full hair and makeup.

A lot of photographers are starting to do more boudoir, but I wanted to redefine what modern boudoir photography was for my clients.  Many people think of boudoir as risque, cheesy or embarrassing, but boudoir shouldn’t necessarily be about stripping down to your underwear or birthday suit, or being made to look like a blurry, overly made up mess.  Boudoir Photography should be a collaboration between the subject and the photographer, expressing and capturing the inherent beauty of the woman, which is really what defines sexy.

You don’t have to get this frisky… but who doesn’t love a nice perky butt shot, right?  Am I right?  I’m right. ;)

Pointer: this is one of the best positions to achieve the tushie perkiness of your dreams.

Shots depicting shyness are often the cutest ones.  If you don’t feel totally confident, just go ahead and rock the shy thing you’ve got going.  As evidenced below, it’s ADORBS!

Haute Boudoir is a member of Vendor Love, The Knotty Bride’s Preferred Vendor Guide.

So, ladies, I’m curious – please indulge me…

Let’s say you were considering a boudoir shoot of your own… would you feel comfortable stripping down to nothing but your birthday suit?  Would you take it all the way to your skivvies but that’s where it ends?  Or would you keep your tank top and boy shorts on for the entire ride?

xoxo!  – Alison

Label(s): "DEAR TKB..." Advice Column, {Real Boudoir}

Love all of this...


  1. Janine on January 10, 2011

    I plan to do a boudoir shoot – *might* get all the way naked, but not counting on it. ;) The shyness will probably kick in before I can strip all the way down. I’m really excited, but I’m sooo nervous still. You said something about “bubbly” – do boudoir photogs give you a touch of booze for shoots? (crossing fingers)

    • Lisa Mitchell on February 6, 2015

      My photographer asked me if I’d like champagne during my shoot, and I said “Yes! Of course!” But, my pictures wouldn’t have been any different if we didn’t have champagne. I was a bit nervous at first, but it was so much fun that I lost the nervousness pretty quick. I think the best part about it was that I knew it would be the only time in my life that I could do these kind of photos with a professional photographer and “get away with it.” LOL Also, I made little souvenir albums for the best man and groomsmen, and they loved them.

  2. Jen on January 10, 2011

    I’d still like to lose a little poundage before I would do this. But that’s definitely true about all boudoir phtogs being different. Makes all the difference in the pictures.

  3. Alison on January 10, 2011

    Janine: it depends on the photographer, but bubbly most certainly can help if you need a little, ehhem, loosening up. It can really relax you and make you much more playful, which in turn can result in a pretty awesome batch of pictures!

  4. Stephanie@Geezees on January 10, 2011

    I would actually go naked, but after seeing some of these shots, i am reconsidering, maybe just a tank or boy shorts would be sexier :)
    Thanks for the tips and thanks for sharing!!

    • Lisa Mitchell on February 6, 2015

      Do both! Shoot some with one of your fiancé’s dress shirts. Shoot some with boy shorts and a tank top. Shoot some with sexy lingerie and/or a white veil. Try different things. But, definitely shoot some topless and nude. If you don’t like how they turn out, you don’t have to use them. Or, just give them to your guy for his eyes only. But, remember, this is your big chance. If you don’t go all the way, you will wish you did, later.

  5. Marlen James on January 10, 2011

    These types of shoots are one of those things you have to do once, so why not bare as much as you feel comfortable and while stuff is still perky :)

  6. Lena on January 10, 2011

    I’ll confess, I’ve done a boudoir shoot or two of my own, and I absolutely adore them! I love, love, loved your interview with Kristen, one of the best photographers around in my personal opinion, and I think your advice about taking the very best photos of yourself you can is fantastic!

  7. Rima Campbell on January 10, 2011

    I always have bubbly available for my clients — who doesn’t love a little champagne? And honestly, a boudoir shoot is all about celebrating the female form and drinking champagne is the best way I can think of to celebrate :-)

    • Farasat Iqbal on December 25, 2012

      Beautiful idea

  8. lizzie @ love your way on January 10, 2011

    i think i’d feel weirdly comfortable doing a boudoir session if i didn’t know the photographer at all…hm…

  9. Kristen Nichols on January 10, 2011

    A big hug to Alison for giving me a chance to talk about boudoir from my perspective. I really do think that every woman should do a shoot at LEAST once in her life, if not every few years. What it does for confidence, attitude and all of your relationships is much more profound than just the photos.

    xoxo to all you women out there, and thank you for being so kind about my little labor o’ love!

  10. Megan on January 10, 2011

    These photos are fantastic! I was definitely a “no-way-in-hell will I ever strip down and be photographed” kinda girl, but if I got to wear a white tank and boy shorts and still look hot rolling around on a fuzzy rug? I’m in.

    I’d totally do that, and I’d flaunt all my assets!

  11. Lia on January 11, 2011

    I work for a wedding and portrait studio, and we all got together to do individual shoots to launch our new boudior line. It was definitely different for me, being photographed & maybe especially because I’m not in the best shape! But I must admit, it was such a great atmosphere being around all the fun company before going to do my shoot. It got me into an upbeat mood about it all, knowing that we were all going to go do it and made me much much more comfortable. It always sounded weird to me to have a boudoir party, but it was actually way fun. ( not being photographed in front of EVERYNE of course! ) I would recommend getting together with a couple good girlfriends to do it! I definitely wish I had seen these posts sooner for more inspiration tho! They’re greeat!

  12. Thao on January 11, 2011

    Only if i’m comfortable w/ the photog… I recently took some photos for my gf and all of them were more than happy to take most of it off and walked around with out any problems.

  13. Sarah the Stylist on January 13, 2011

    What super classy boudoir shots! A lot of people assume that you need to strip down, but these pics are great examples of how sexy it can still be without bearing all.

  14. April Belle on January 18, 2011

    It’s so inspiring to see creative and tastefull boudoir photography. In meeting with potential clients it is always my first priority to reassure them that I am a women who knows how vulnerable one can feel “stripping down” for the day…and that I make every effort to create a vibe that inspires them!

  15. kelley on March 4, 2011

    oh mercy… i might wear a really big shirt! (actually sorta did that when pregnant with my first… wearing hubby’s white button down!)

    loving your blog!

  16. lauren on March 15, 2011

    I really want to do one, I’m just super scared he might not like it. I’m pretty shy…..How do you present the photos to your groom?

  17. Nina on November 3, 2011

    I would never ever. The examples are all of women of above average attractiveness, and I fall way back into the unattractive end of the scale. I do adore the concept as I’m all in for celebrating the beauty of the female body, but I would rather be dead than have to submit myself to the torture of having all my faults documented.
    My girl would probably like the photos, but if I despised myself in them, I doubt they’d bring me much joy.

    Thumbs up to anyone and everyone who has the guts and spirit to do this though!

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  22. Kara on November 6, 2013

    Late to the party here, but I came across this post on pinterest when looking for inspiration for my next boudoir session. I highly recommend EVERY woman have boudoir portraits done once or twice in their life. I had my first session when I was 8 months pregnant with my son…and I have to say, it made me feel so amazing about my body, despite normally feeling like a beached whale, and I still LOVE the images today. I’m gearing up for my next boudoir session next week…will be a 50′s pin-up style and I’m SOOO excited. Getting hair and makeup done and can’t wait to see how the pictures turn out. Don’t do it just for your husband or husband to be…do it for yourself…to celebrate your strength and amazing beauty as a woman. Thanks for this blog post…the photos are just beautiful and the advice is fantastic!!

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