Boudoir Pose Breakdown — Resting Desire & Restless Desire

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In this installment of Boudoir Pose Breakdown, we’re going to take a look at a reclined pose (and its close relative) that can be executed on a bed, on the floor, or on a sofa… really anywhere there’s a flat surface in which your lady can lie flat on her back.

How And Why I Name My Poses

Giving names to these poses can either be really easy and obvious or difficult and somewhat obscure. I usually label them in such a way to help me remember their positioning as well as an emotion I feel is best suited for them. 

This second part is a constant reminder to me that a pose isn’t just about “putting this leg here and that arm there” but also about (and more importantly) the emotion that fuels it. This emotion can be a subtle nuance or outright front and center, as well as varying degrees in between, but that’s something to be determined by you and your subject.

Giving poses distinct names also helps me quickly write out a shot list. Currently, I have a somewhat standard but flexible shot list that I start from, substituting certain poses with others depending on the client’s personality and how edgy she wants to get. 

The two poses we’re going to talk about today are really the same pose with just some minor adjustments but they say two different things, and I always shoot them one right after the other for efficiency sake. They can also be shot with the photographer standing on the floor at roughly 45 degrees or up on a ladder or chair looking down at roughly the same angle. 

I prefer the shot up on a ladder because I find the composition more interesting and the image more unique, and you get all those wonderful highlights and shadows in the sheets which I find makes for a better looking shot.

The Pose — Resting Desire

Boudoir pose resting desire

I call this pose Resting Desire

Have your subject lie on her back with her head towards camera, feet away from camera and somewhat angled. On a bed or on the floor this angling is easier because there’s more room for her to offset herself, but on a sofa the photographer will have to do more of the angling themself. 

Bend the knees, feet together, legs together, eyes closed, with bent arms resting above the head. I prefer the arms to be asymmetrical, so one arm rests higher than the other and I prefer the arm closest to camera to be lower while the arm furthest from camera higher. 

There can be a subtle smile on her face, as if she’s reminiscing or dreaming of some pleasurable scenario that has taken place or is about to take place — this is the desire part and the emotion connected to the pose.

The Variation — Restless Desire

Boudoir Pose breakdown Restless Desire
Shot at ground level as opposed to up on a ladder or chair.

The variation on this I call Restless Desire, and is sort of an amped up version of Resting Desire.

With Restless Desire her feet are separated, which parts the legs, back is arched, eyes closed, mouth slightly open. An easy way to direct this is once she separates her feet, tell her to take a deep breath through a slightly open mouth so her back arches and her chest rises, and to hold that position at its apex. 

The emotion behind this pose is that she’s now experiencing that pleasurable situation she was only dreaming about with Resting Desire.

If Resting Desire takes places in the future, then Restless Desire takes place in the here and now.


There are several variations I shoot (as far as what her hands are doing) that can be applied to both versions. Two of my favorites are…

Tugging On Bra Straps

Shot on a ladder to get a somewhat bird’s eye view. The sheets become more prominent from this angle serving as a canvas to your subject.

Have your subject hook her thumbs under her bra straps with wrists flared back, pulling out and away from her body. This gives the pose more energy.

Slipping Off Bottoms

Another go-to is to have your subject hook both thumbs under either side of her bottoms as if she’s slipping them off.

Ground Level Or On A Ladder?

You’ll want to experiment with shooting these two related poses at ground level and at an elevated height, whether on a ladder or chair. See which angle you like better and then see which shots clients end up buying.

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Thanks for your time!

Charles Mitri

Founder / Lounge Boudoir

Charles Mitri

Charles Mitri is an award-winning boudoir photographer and also founder and writer of, an educational blog and resource website for boudoir photographers worldwide. He lives in Yorktown, Virginia.

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