Welcome to Day 3 of Boudoir Photography Week! Today I’m sharing some tips for the day of the shoot, illustrated once again by some of my favorite bloggers’ stunning pin-up and boudoir photos.
- DRINK WATER. When in doubt, have yourself a sip of water.
- Do a little bit of exercise– some stretches, yoga, a quick run, whatever. Get the blood pumping and your muscles warm, get everything awake and limber. This is a HUGE do-as-I-say-and-not-as-I-do, and it’s the number one thing I wish I’d done differently both times. I honestly wish I could have taken a pole class beforehand, because I know I would have been a stretchy and sultry and relaxed.
- Exfoliate and moisturize– you may not have a firm idea of your poses or the exact outfits you’ll wear before you arrive at the photographer’s studio, so it’s best to be prepared. Make sure your skin is very clean, and put lotion on EVERYTHING. I normally hit my legs and elbows with lotion and call it a day, but give your shoulders and hips and belly and butt and feet and hands and basically everything else some love too– your skin will look fabulous on camera.
- If you’re doing your own hair and makeup before you go to the studio, make sure to wear something that either has a wide neckline or that zips or buttons, so you don’t mess up your hair and face. Give yourself plenty of time– rushing can make you feel anxious.
- Some photographers recommend not wearing underwear or tight clothing while you’re traveling to the studio, so as to avoid red marks on your skin. I am a strict bra-wearer so I did not go commando, but I did wear a looser-fitting, older, broken-in bra, non-digging knickers, and very soft leggings and tops. If you’re very worried about red marks, bring a robe with you to wear while you and the photographer are setting up, or while your hair and makeup’s getting done, so your skin has a chance to relax and lose the color.
- EAT SOMETHING. I was super vigilant about eating light and clean beforehand so I wouldn’t be bloated, which is fine, but you do need to eat something. Your adrenaline will be all fired up, and you need fuel. Bring snacks, like an apple and some granola or something along with you, too.
- DRINK WATER. Sense a theme? Bring water with you– getting your picture taken can be weirdly tiring.
- Remember to breathe. I am notorious for forgetting to breathe when I’m concentrating: in ballet classes, singing lessons, acting performances, tests, whatever. Your face and body tense up when you do this, so even if you’re holding a pose or facial expression, try to make your brain say “hey, are you breathing? Try it– you may like it!” And then do it. I can totally see it in pictures when my face freezes up and I’m mentally checked out, and the pictures where I’m remembering to breathe, or I’m genuinely laughing or smiling, look so, so much better.
- Move around between poses. Shake your head, smile really big and goofily for a full 10 seconds, do a few jumping jacks, roll your neck, stretch your arms over your head, touch your toes, and point your feet and roll your ankles. It’s surprisingly easy to stiffen up, so making an effort to stay loose and limber will give your pictures a more relaxed, effortless feeling.
- Music! We may or may not have played “Adele” and “Taylor Swift” stations on Pandora. I also brought some of my pole dancing playlists with me. Have something playing that makes you feel happy and/or sultry and/or relaxed.
- If you’re self-conscious, start slow. We all have our own little bugaboos, so while I do recommend being a little daring and challenging yourself to step out of your comfort zone, don’t feel pressure to do anything that makes you feel miserable. My bugaboo is my stomach– as long as it’s covered, my brain is all “Sweets, you are now fully clothed. Carry on, sister”, even if all I’m wearing is underwear. [This is how I found myself traipsing through a backyard in a Westchester neighborhood in platform heels, seamed stockings, and purple lingerie. Ah, good times.] When I’m just wearing a bra and knickers, I’m much more self-conscious, and some of my pictures reflect that. Ease into it and remember to breathe– the pictures may pleasantly surprise you!
- Consider bringing a friend, if the photographer agrees. Caryn and I had a mutual friend (Ezmeralda, of Ezmeralda’s Birthday Cake fame) join us for the second shoot, and she was just amazing. She acted as art director and props mistress and hair wrangler and cleavage wrangler, she suggested poses or adjustments, and she helped me pick out jewelry and stockings. Sometimes little things will suddenly go goofy, like stray hairs or a loose suspender, and you can’t see them because you’re the one posing, and the photographer might miss them because she’s focused on apertures and light settings and stuff, so having someone there who could say things like “Pause! Sweets isn’t gonna be happy with this cleavage situation” was really nice and reassuring.
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So! That’s a wrap on a few days of talking about what to do before your shoot. Those of you who have participated in a shoot, what tips or tricks have you found helpful? I’m not so well-informed when it comes to actual poses– does anyone have a good strategy, or some tried-and-true tips?