How To Shoot Bridal Boudoir

White high heels alongside a bouquet

A variation on the typical boudoir shoot is the bridal boudoir shoot. In this article we’re going to talk about how you can be fully prepared to shoot your very first bridal boudoir session right out of the gate. 

There’s not a whole lot of difference between shooting regular boudoir and bridal boudoir but where they differ is key in pulling off a successful shoot. So, sit back, settle in, and get ready to learn how to shoot bridal boudoir. 

Understanding the Purpose of Bridal Boudoir

It’s important to understand what the purpose of a bridal boudoir shoot is. In most cases, the bride-to-be is going to be giving her soon-to-be husband an album of boudoir images as a wedding gift.

This is an important distinction because men prefer women who smile more than the woman herself. Let me explain…

The Sexy Smile

Men find women sexy when they smile, especially when that smile is directed towards them. So, it’s important to get some good images of your bride with a sexy smile while she’s looking right into camera. That way when her man views the images, she’ll be smiling at him.

And to him, that’s sexy.

woman with a sexy smile

This small but significant detail can be overlooked because women, in general, prefer not to smile when getting boudoir images taken of themselves. A more stoic seductiveness is what appeals to them.

This is, of course, a generalization, but I’ve found it to be true in my experience working with women in my boudoir business. 

If you’re a female boudoir photographer, this is something you might overlook because it’s just one of those differences between men and women.

Why Men Find Smiles On Women Sexy

I have a theory on why men find smiles on women sexy. 

I believe it’s rooted in the fear of rejection men have towards women. When a man likes a woman, the one thing he fears most is being rejected by her. Being rejected can lead to all kinds of unpleasant feelings for him, some of which are embarrassment, ridicule, scorn. 

A smile from a woman can be a sign of acceptance… on some level. In many cases it’s a sign that she’s open to him and that she is possibly attracted to him. When a woman consciously directs a smile at a man, that can have a lot of meaning in the courtship ritual. 

photo of smiling woman sitting on rock

When a man notices a woman smiling at him, she’s not rejecting him… she’s accepting him and that lowers his fear of rejection and all those unpleasant feelings that go with it. 

When a woman is smiling at a man in a highly sexual scenario, like in a boudoir image for example, the man interprets that as the woman being comfortable with her sexuality, likes sex, and wants sex… (from him, in his fantasy) and that turns him on. 

That’s my theory, at least.

So, whether you’re a male or female boudoir photographer, make sure to get some sexy smiles from your bride because her man is going to like that.

Iconic Wedding Items For Bridal Boudoir

The biggest thing that separates a regular boudoir shoot from a bridal boudoir shoot is the use of iconic items from the wedding ceremony in the imagery. 

I’m talking about the veil, garter, ring, bouquet, high heels, his black bow tie, his jacket, cufflinks. These are all items we identify with the wedding ceremony and represent that special day. 

White high heels alongside a bouquet

Ask your bride to bring as many of these items as she can, along with any white stockings or special lingerie she may have. 

Another thing to talk about is if she wants all her lingerie to be white. White can be another element, just like the veil, that pushes the whole bridal boudoir theme even more. 

Feature Or Atmosphere?

There are two ways to use these items. You can feature them or use them as atmosphere. 

You’ll more than likely want to feature the veil by having your bride wear it in various shots complimenting her attire (or lack thereof). 

It can also be used as a sexy see-through covering, giving her soon-to-be husband an enticing preview of what he has to look forward to on the honeymoon.

Placing a small bouquet, cuff links, or bow tie on the nightstand next to the bed or in the background somewhere adds atmosphere to the setting without drawing too much attention. That’s true also for a pair of high-heels abandoned at the foot of the bed.

Bridal Boudoir Detail Shots

Gold and diamond ring

Don’t forget to capture some detail shots as well. 

A close-up of her hand delicately tracing her upper chest area with her engagement ring on or a close-up of her legs with thigh-high white stockings and a garter around one thigh are subtle ways to feature these iconic items from the wedding.

Setting For Bridal Boudoir

I believe the setting for a bridal boudoir shoot should be a bedroom. The bed represents the physical union of two people coming together through marriage, so make sure to take plenty of images using the bed.

Different ways to use the bed would be to have your bride lying, sitting, or kneeling on it or she could be on the floor leaning up against it — okay, that’s fairly obvious, but what are some other ways?

woman lying on bed near window

Just like with some of the items mentioned earlier (bow tie, cufflinks, bouquet) that could be used for atmosphere, the bed could also be used in a similar fashion. Having it in the background while your bride poses in the foreground would be effective, even if you’re just catching a portion of it in frame.

A Bird’s Eye View

An effective shot if you can pull it off is a bird’s eye view of your bride lying on top of the bed in all her womanly rapture. It’s not something you see a lot because it does require some logistics to be able to shoot straight down onto her but when done effectively is quite amazing.

Shoot In A “Bedroom”

Boudoir image of plus size black woman lying on bed

If you shoot in a studio (like I do) you can easily replicate a bedroom with an inflatable bed, some sheets and pillows, and a nightstand. This is done in movies and TV all the time. Just choose your angles that work best to sell the illusion you’re in a real bedroom. 

(For more info on the inflatable bed I use, refer to my video on YouTube here.)

An alternative to shooting in a studio would be to shoot in your bride’s actual bedroom. You would first have to scout the location to make sure it would work with lighting and decor, but if she’s up for it then by all means that would work.

Another option would be to rent a hotel room or an AirB&B. If renting a hotel room be sure there are no logos or trademarks that show up in your shots. 

Getting Creative With Bridal Boudoir

Using White As A Theme

Using white as a theme should be something you discuss with your client. She may like the idea, as it reinforces the whole bridal theme or she may want to steer away from that. 

It can work both ways.

Boudoir image of woman in white slip

You can go for an all white look, with lingerie, bed sheets, decor — or have nothing white except what the bride herself is wearing so she stands out in sharp contrast to her surroundings. 

It will depend on what aesthetic the two of you decide upon.

Using Black & White Photography As A Theme

If your bride likes black & white photography, make sure your lighting provides you with plenty of highlights and shadows to get the most out of that look when you convert your images to black & white in post.

Black & white can give your bridal boudoir images a classic and timeless feel to them.

Black & white boudoir image of black girl in white one-piece

Going Vintage As A Theme

If your client is into a vintage look you can suggest doing her bridal boudoir shoot in a retro style. 

You can find vintage lingerie stores online that recreate the look of styles that were popular from nearly every decade, and if you have access to some vintage pieces of furniture that would just add to the look.

Related Questions

Should You Have A Special Bridal Boudoir Package?

You could… but then you’re limiting yourself to what that package offers. If you stick with your regular packages then the bride can choose between those and pick high, middle, or low.

To show potential clients that you take bridal boudoir seriously you could have a separate gallery of just bridal boudoir images. It would also be good for SEO since you’ll have a “Bridal Boudoir Gallery” as a heading on your website. 

Summary

As you can see, there are distinct differences between a regular boudoir shoot and a bridal boudoir shoot, and if you’re interested in reading more about the benefits of having an inflatable bed to create a “bedroom”, check out the article below where I talk about the bed I use near the end of the article.

Related Articles

Top 3 Bed Poses For Boudoir Photography

Thanks for your time!

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Charles Mitri

Founder / Lounge Boudoir

Bella Mitri Boudoir

Charles Mitri

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

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