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Boudoir Poses : Ideas & Tips For Photographers

Posing is one of the biggest challenges in boudoir photography. Not only do you need to flatter your client, but you’ll also need to direct her into a variety of boudoir poses if you want to have a profitable sale. As a professional boudoir photographer, I’m going to show you some posing tips you can use to wow your clients and thus make more money from your photoshoots.

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Boudoir Pose Ideas

The following are some examples of boudoir poses I curated from my work. If you’d like more boudoir pose ideas you can reference my portfolio here.

Master The Art of Posing Women

In this guide I’ll show you how to pose the nude female form in a way that tastefully flatters her body type and creates emotion. This guide is intended for beginner and intermediate photographers and will teach you how to balance the proportions of any woman to make her look her best.

By first teaching you the fundamentals of posing, these principals will help you progress to a point where you can confidently pose any woman in an improvised fashion.

Boudoir Poses For Beginners

The main idea behind posing is pretty simple. Basically we pose women to enhance their natural hourglass shape. Anything we can do to emphasize a woman’s curves will naturally flatter her. So rather than show you a bunch of boudoir poses for beginners, I think it’s more beneficial for you to understand the fundamentals of how to embellish or diminish any region of the body you want.

To direct my clients, I use specific language and mirroring (asking them to copy me) to communicate my boudoir poses and corrections. 

To cheat a woman’s proportions in her favor, I’ll ask her to bring regions of her body closer to me or push them away from the camera. Areas of her body that are pushed away from the camera will get diminished while those brought closer to the camera will get highlighted. 

Once you highlight or diminish what you want, you’ll then want to check the 8 major movement regions of her body. As a general rule when posing women, if it bends, bend it. Checking the following regions before taking each shot will help you identify stiffness in a pose.

  1. head
  2. shoulders
  3. arms
  4. wrists
  5. waist
  6. hips
  7. knees
  8. ankles

It’s a bit more complicated then this, but these ideas are the foundation of posing theory. Rather than get hung up on the details though, let’s follow this up with some specific examples to show these ideas in practice.

Related: 11 Easy Boudoir Poses For Beginners  

Plus Size Boudoir Poses

Plus size women can be a challenge for boudoir photographers to capture because their natural hourglass shape might be obscured by body fat. The good news is that we can embellish select areas of the woman’s body via posing to help enhance her figure!

To do this you’ll need to assess the woman’s body and determine what region you want to make appear larger or smaller. Every woman will be different for what will flatter her most, so ultimately it will be up to you to highlight or diminish the right regions of her body with your pose.

One of my plus size clients posed onto her back
One of my plus size clients posed onto her stomach

For instance, if your client stores her body fat in her thighs and butt and is self conscious about cellulite in these regions, a top down angle would be an easy way to flatter her. By photographing her above her eye line you’ll effectively bring her face and bust closer to the camera. With this perspective you’ll highlight her face and bust over her tummy, butt and thighs. 

As another example of a way to enhance plus size women, you can also flip her over on her stomach. The idea is the same here despite the change in position. You’ll want to position your clients face closest to the camera and her hip further away. This will help reduce the size of her butt by cheating the cameras perspective in her favor. 

Laying down poses are really good for plus size women. This is because when you have them on their back, gravity will help slim out their stomach. Conversely if you pose them on their stomach, the bedding can offer cover for her torso. 

plus size boudoir poses
One of my plus size clients posed in a standing position
boudoir pose example
One of my plus size clients posed in the seated position

Standing and sitting poses for plus size women use exactly the same principal.  While standing, I’ll direct my client to turn her hips away from me and push one butt cheek back away from the camera. This will help her butt look smaller and will also stretch her tummy out as much as possible.

For sitting poses, I use the same technique. By directing the woman to sit on the very edge of the chair and having her lean slightly forward, we can again diminish the size of her butt in relation to her bust which balances her proportions. By having her lean slightly forward with her chest, we can then further enhance the size of her bust as needed. You can adjust the degree of enhancement or diminishment as needed for your clients specific body type.

Boudoir Pose Chair

boudoir pose ideas
My client posed into a chair so her legs block her tummy.

At just about every location I photograph my boudoir sessions, there is almost always a chair I can use to pose my client on. Chairs can be tricky to pose women on because of the way they tend to fold the body forward if the woman sits in them properly. This makes the tummy shorter which can obviously introduce stomach rolls on even very lean women.

To correct for this, I like to direct women to sit in the chair improperly to elongate their bodies or block their tummy. You can do this in a variety of ways. My favorite starting points are:

  • Pose her deep into the chair and have her bring her knees up to block her torso.
  • Ask her to slide down the chair so her butt is on the edge of the seat, then have her arch her back to elongate her torso. 
  • Have her lay in the chair and use the foot rest to pose her into a more laying on back position, this will again elongate her torso.
boudoir pose chair
One of my clients posed in a chair so her butt is close to the edge of the seat.
boudoir poses
A boudoir chair pose using the foot rest to elongate my clients body

Boudoir Mirror Poses

 

boudoir mirror poses
Mirror pose captured over my clients shoulder

Another great way to add some variety to your clients set is to pose them with a mirror. Mirrors offer a unique and challenging perspective because you’ll often capture your client from the front and back with the inclusion of the mirror. 

The reason this is challenging is because this can cancel your posing enhancements. For example, your client can both push a body part towards you while also pushing it away as you capture her and her reflection in the mirror at the same time. The following are my best  tips when formulating boudoir mirror poses.

  • Shoot over your clients shoulder and crop out the areas of her body you’re trying to diminish. 
  • With small mirrors, try capturing your client using the frame of the mirror to frame the woman.
  • Use the widest aperture available to focus on your client where the enhancement is posed. The opposite will be out of focus which will further help you diminish the area.
boudoir mirror poses
Aperture set to f2.8 to keep her reflection sharp where the enhancement is posed
boudoir mirror poses
Using the mirror in this hotel room to frame my clients pose

Boudoir Poses Outside

Boudoir poses outside aren’t much different then boudoir poses inside. The big difference is that outdoor opportunities are usually less comfortable and less clean then indoor areas. Thus, I try to direct women in standing poses as much as possible in the beginning of the outdoor set. Then I’ll pose them with outdoor features or on the ground later if need be.

By doing this you can help keep your clients hair and makeup fresher for longer. It also keeps the woman more comfortable so you can get more images for her before she runs out of energy. 

However you decide to capture your client, the more you can get her to interact with the environment, the better. This can really help anchor her into the scene so everything feels cohesive.

Boudoir poses outside

Boudoir Posing Tips for Selfies

boudoir pose selfie
Think about how you'll hide your hand when posing for boudoir selfies

Posing for diy boudoir photography can be very limiting if you don’t have a tripod and remote trigger to get your camera (or phone) more than arms length away from you. Thus, I highly recommend you get both of these items if you’re trying to pose yourself for flattering selfies. 

However you decide to capture yourself, the easiest thing will be to pose next to a window or doorway. These areas will offer the best natural lighting opportunities in most cases.

Next, you’ll want to position your camera at eye level or higher for a slimming angle. Alternatively you can position your camera low (roughly two to three feet off the ground) if you have narrow hips and want to exaggerate your hip to waist ratio. Booty shots in particular are a good excuse for a low camera angle if you want to exaggerate your hip line.

In any case, just remember that you’re going to need to think about how you’ll hide the camera trigger when taking your shot. Sometimes you can hide it out view with a free hand. Other times you’ll need to trigger your camera with your toe so you can include both of  your hands in the shot.

Related: How to do boudoir photos at home

boudoir poses
Capture boudoir selfies from a low angle to amplify your hip to waist ratio

Boudoir Posing Prompts

Knowing how to balance out your clients proportions and make her appear more shapely is arguably the most potent tool you have as a boudoir photographer. That said, if you can’t communicate to your client exactly how she needs to move her body to get into the position you want, she’ll never quite do the pose right. In short, the words you use to direct your client will ultimately determine how effective your posing will be.

For example. If I wanted to highlight my clients bust, I could ask her to “lean forward” to get her breasts closer to the camera. Alternatively I could ask her to “lean forward with her chest.” The second prompt offers significantly better direction as it will tell your client to lean forward while leaving her shoulders back. 

Another example would be if you asked your client to “touch her thigh.” In most cases the woman will touch the area very stiffly making the pose look ridged. Instead try using language like “lightly touch your thigh.” Using this extra word “lightly” will generally get the woman to place her hand with bent joints which will make the pose look more authentic and feminine.

Perhaps my favorite posing prompt though is the one that I use at the beginning of every session. Instead of directing my client using words, I generally prefer to direct my client using a technique called mirroring. 

To use this technique, stand across from your client and ask her to mirror you. This means when you stand across from your client and turn your head left, she’ll turn her head right (the same direction you did). Most women will do this backwards at first but will quickly understand what to do once you show them.

This way all she needs to do is copy your movements from that moment forward. I find this to be a much easier way to direct women into flattering boudoir poses if they have a hard time taking verbal cues. 

In closing, the following are some of my most used verbal prompts I use to help guide women into better boudoir poses:

  • Point your toes
  • Shift your weight to your back leg
  • Bring your knee over your other knee
  • Push your hip away from me
  • Turn your hips away from the light
  • Breath in though your lips
  • Splay fingers, touch light
  • Trace your collar bone with your middle finger
  • Lean forward with your chest
  • Bring your forehead closer to the camera and chin down

Master The Art of Posing Women

In this guide I’ll show you how to pose the nude female form in a way that tastefully flatters her body type and creates emotion. This guide is intended for beginner and intermediate photographers and will teach you how to balance the proportions of any woman to make her look her best.

By first teaching you the fundamentals of posing, these principals will help you progress to a point where you can confidently pose any woman in an improvised fashion.

Jason Guy

I am a portrait photographer based out of Sonoma, California. I create portraits for people of all ages with the goal of making images that are timeless. Portraits you will look back on decades from now, and still love them just as much then as you do today. While flattering lighting and pose are important, capturing how others see you is what I ultimately strive for.

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