How To Make Any Woman Look Longer & Leaner In A Boudoir Shoot

In this article we’re going to explore a number of methods that can make any woman appear longer and leaner in a boudoir shoot. However, before we do that, we must first ask ourselves why we would even want to do that in the first place? Isn’t the current climate all about capturing who we are authentically and being proud of who we are, as we are?

Well… yes and no.

Yes, on the one hand, we as a society, as a culture, have evolved our sense of “beauty” to the point that we now see it in all shapes, sizes, and ethnicities. 

Our perception of what beauty is has widened quite a bit from previous decades, largely due to the advertising world listening to everyday women’s backlash to the unrealistic and unsustainable images of what they kept promoting as “beauty”.

So, as a society we’ve come a long way.

How Human Nature Comes Into Play

With all that being said, there’s the role that human nature plays. 

We all want to present our best selves when we’re getting our picture taken. We want the best representation of ourselves to show up when the camera starts clicking. That’s only natural, and that’s human nature.

It’s also human nature that human beings, and women in general, are attracted to the notion of appearing longer and leaner no matter what their size.

How do I come to this conclusion?

I have yet to see discussed on any talk show, or read in any magazine, or view on any website fashion advice for women on how to appear shorter and wider. 

“Top 3 Tips For Women On How To Dress To Look Shorter and Wider”

Or a headline that reads, “Shoe Companies Stop Making High-Heels As Demand Plummets”.

It’s an aesthetic that women embrace regardless of what size they are. That’s why high-heels are so popular because they make women’s legs look longer and leaner. 

Vertical Beings Verses Horizontal Beings

Human beings are vertical creatures. We stand and walk on two feet. 

Two white polar bears

Many animals, like bears, panthers, or crocodiles that walk on four legs are horizontal creatures.

So, it’s only natural for us as a species to be attracted to an elongated vertical form… an attraction we’re probably not even conscious of but is an innate part of who we. 

We are vertical creatures by nature, from head to toe.

So, with that anthropological discussion out of the way, let’s get back to boudoir. 

Below are nine ways to make any woman appear longer and leaner in a boudoir shoot.

1.) Put Their Hair Up In A Bun

I’m going to be talking a lot about extending the form and what I mean by that is we’re going to be doing things that not only physically extends the human form, or elongates it, but also creates the illusion of extending the form.

So, the first thing you can do if your subject has long hair is to put it up in a bun that sits on top of their head. This does a couple of things.

It physically extends their form by adding a couple of inches in height, but also exposes the neck which, once their hair is out of the way, highlights one of the thinnest parts of the human body. 

Adding to that combination by telling them to sit or stand as if they had a string attached to the top of their head that is pulling them up, and you’ve not only physically made your subject longer and leaner but with the exposed neck, added the illusion that they’re longer and leaner.

This technique is unique because it creates two effects, the added inch or two on top of their head along with the exposed neck.

2.) Raising Their Arms Above Their Head

Okay, I admit, this one is rather obvious but I feel I should still mention it. Having your subject raise their arms above their head will obviously make them look longer and leaner.

The longer part is obvious but by raising the arms it exposes the mid-section so there’s less bulk around the torso.

Now, when I say “raise their arms” I don’t just mean straight up in the air. That would look rather silly. It should be done in an artistic way.

If they bring their hands together in some fashion, or stagger them slightly, that will create a diamond shape with a point at the top. By the way, this technique works best when your subject is standing although they could be sitting on a bed and raise their arms if, in your opinion, the composition works.

3.) Have Them Point Their Toes

This is a biggie, not only because it physically makes your model longer and leaner, but it just looks nice.

Pointed toes extends the line of the leg to the very end of the tippy toes as opposed to cutting that line short at the ankle with a bent foot. 

Dancers do this all the time by the way. Whenever I shoot dancers they are hyper-aware of their extremities — feet, arms, hands, and fingers. 

Pointed toes is like the finishing detail of a pose… in most cases. I’m not going to say “every single time” to point the toes but in most situations you will want to.

Did you know there are two types of toe-pointing?

Ballerina Toe Pointing

The first is when the woman is not supporting her weight with her feet. Let’s say she’s sitting on a bed with her legs extended out in front of her. In this scenario she can point her toes like a ballerina.

Ball of Foot Toe Pointing

The second toe-pointing technique is when the model is supporting her weight with her feet. This is when the ball of her foot is touching the floor but her heel is raised. So, instead of her entire foot being flat on the floor, just the ball of her foot is touching. 

Pointing the toes is the number one way to make a woman’s legs look longer and leaner. So, remember, “Point those toes!”

4.) Create A Straight Line From Head To Toe

Utilize poses that form a straight line from the top of the head to the tip of the toes. 

More than likely these will be poses where the woman is lying on her side on a bed, sofa, chaise lounge, the floor, or even a coffee table. 

Stretching the body out in this way will make any woman, no matter what size or height she is, appear longer and leaner. 

Boudoir floor pose

The straight line is formed where the body makes contact with the bed (sofa, lounger, floor, coffee table) while the upper portion provides all the curves with the natural undulating flow of the female form.

5.) Shoot From A Lower Angle

Another technique you can use is to shoot at a slight upward angle. This works best when the subject is standing or kneeling, but you want to avoid shooting directly up someone’s nose.

Angle yourself to one side or the other when using this method.

6.) V-Shaped Bottoms 

When selecting bra and bottom sets, use V-shaped bottoms as opposed to T-shaped bottoms.  The design of the V-shaped bottom is going to sit higher up on the hip, exposing more of the upper thigh and lengthening the appearance of the legs.

T-shaped bottoms cut off that extra upper thigh and hip area with their straight horizontal lines, stopping that leg extension dead in its tracks. 

7.) One Color Two-Piece

When choosing outfits such as bra and bottom sets or anything else that is a two-piece, make sure the two pieces are the exact same color. Having different colors in a two-piece outfit breaks up the form into separate halves and will make you look shorter. One unifying color unites those two separate halves into the illusion of one longer unit.

8.) Wear Black

The concept that wearing black makes you look longer and leaner has been promoted by women and fashion designers for decades but why is that? What is it about black that has that slimming effect?

According to neuroscientists it’s in the way our eyes see color as opposed to black. They believe the neurons in our eyes “exaggerate the size of light stimuli”.

That’s why a black circle with a white background will look smaller than the same size circle that is white with a black background. Go figure.

Regardless, wearing black will make you look longer and leaner. Just imagine for a moment staring at yourself in the mirror in a long black silky slip as opposed to one in white. 

Now which do you think makes you look longer and leaner? 


9.) Wear High Heels

Women love high heels… or at least the look of ‘em. They can be uncomfortable though (so I hear, I’m a guy).

If you think about it, when a woman wears high heels it’s similar to her pointing her toes (the ball of foot toe-pointing kind). She’s up on the balls of her feet.

This elongates the leg because the line of the leg is not interrupted by the bend at the ankle, unlike when her foot is flat to the ground — it’s inclined.

High heels is the one-two punch of making any woman look longer and leaner because not only does it physically make the woman taller but it also creates the illusion that her legs are longer. 

The Trifecta

Combine high heels with V-shaped bottoms and matching bra of the same color and you have the trifecta of making any woman look longer and leaner. It’s the triple play in baseball, the three-point shot in basketball, or the triple if you’re playing darts.  


As you can see, it’s quite easy to make any woman appear longer and leaner by implementing any of these techniques or a combination of several. Another trifecta could be to create a straight line from head to toe with the woman lying on her side with toes pointed while wearing V-shaped bottoms (her bottom leg straight, top leg bent at the knee). She could even have her bottom arm stretched out (arm over head) with her head resting on her bicep. 

This is a mix and match type of thing but just being aware of the different methods you can employ will help you create a longer and leaner pose… if that was your intention. And speaking of intentions, check out my article, “How To Shoot Boudoir With Intent And Create Better Images”.

Thanks for your time!

If you found this article helpful, please pass it along to someone it may also benefit.

Charles Mitri

Founder / Lounge Boudoir

Bella Mitri 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.

Recent Posts