7 Lessons I’ve Learned as a Boudoir Photographer

I’ve been photographing boudoir in Chicago for the last 8 years and I’ve learned a thing or two along the way. Mostly, I’ve learned how much I love this art form. I think it’s safe to say that you guys can expect a lot more boudoir from me in 2019. Here are a few of my favorite lessons that I’ve learned from being a boudoir photographer.

Lesson 1: It’s Not Actually for our Significant Others

I photograph a lot of bridal boudoir for my wedding clients. Every woman tells me she is doing this as a gift for her significant other, but I find that it rarely has anything do with her fiance at all. Don’t get me wrong, a boudoir album will be an unforgettable wedding gift, but I don’t think that’s why women do it. Choosing to take boudoir photos is a step towards body acceptance and self love.

Lesson 2: Body Image Issues Belong to Everyone

People always tell me how all my clients look like models. Truth be told: very few women I work with feel this way. This has taught me two things: 1) we are all really nice to total strangers. 2) we aren’t so nice to ourselves. Everyone has their own body image hang ups. Let’s be kinder to ourselves and our bodies.

Lesson 3: I Hate That “Photoshop” Has Become a Verb

If you do a boudoir session only to change everything about the way you look, you aren’t doing it right. It honest to god breaks my heart when women ask me to photoshop their bodies. A photoshopped version of you is not real and it’s not better. You are enough just as you are, imperfections and all.

Lesson 4: Being Sexy is the Most Unnatural Thing Ever

I swear, society’s definition of “sexy” is pure myth. We’re told sexy should involve smouldering makeup, big hair, sky high heels, skin tight lingerie, and pouting faces. When are we ever like that on a normal day?! It’s not real life! I think sexy is laughter. Intelligence. Strength. A beautiful smile. Sweatpants and a ponytail. A kind heart. Boudoir photos shouldn’t seduce or entice. They should 2000% be about capturing your natural beauty from the inside and out.

Lesson 5: Boudoir Posing is 50% Posture, 50% Hand/Hair Placement

No, you don’t need to know how to pose. Yes, I’ll guide you through all of it. With about 8 years of experience under my belt, I know the difference between a good boudoir photo from a great one. More often than not, it’s all about good posture, hand and hair placement.

Lesson 6: Pilates Has Made Me a Better Boudoir Photographer

Speaking of good posture, taking pilates classes has without a doubt made me a better boudoir photographer. I swear half of my boudoir posing cues come straight from Pilates classes. And that may be why some of my boudoir clients tell me their photo sessions feel like a workout. Thanks Lightspace and Shyft!

Lesson 7: No One Ever Feels Ready to Do a Boudoir Session

I always say it takes guts to do a boudoir session. The truth is, none of us ever feel ready. It’s way easier to make a long list of excuses than to rip the bandaid and just do it. Booking a boudoir session basically means you are hiring someone to bring out the very best in you. You probably aren’t going to regret that.

If you think you’re ready to do a boudoir session, I’d love to hear from you! Email me at ashley@artistrieco.co or join my boudoir email list.


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Reach out to Ashley today and let's start planning the perfect photography experience for your wedding, boudoir or portrait session.

Email: ashley@artistrieco.com