Most Popular Boudoir Bed Poses

Boudoir bed pose of young black woman lying on bed in white lace one-piece

Nothing says “boudoir” more than the image of a woman in sexy lingerie lying on a bed. It’s the quintessential boudoir setting.

In the following article, we’re going to lay out a simple workflow that will allow you to take a multitude of different images of your subject lying on a bed in a quick and efficient manner. 

Now we’re only going to talk about poses where the model is lying down as opposed to kneeling or sitting on the bed. These reclined poses are designed to capture the sensual curves of a woman from head to toe, or as I like to call it, the “landscape of the body boudoir”.

The Unique Characteristics Of Bed Posing

One of the most obvious and unique elements of posing someone on a bed is the bedding itself… the sheets, blankets, and pillows.

It’s probably a good idea to have several different colored sets of sheets you can draw from to coordinate the color palette of your image when shooting someone on a bed.

With regard to bedding, I tend to go for contrast when considering a subject’s skin tone and outfit. I don’t want these elements to be so similar in color that they all just blend together eliminating any distinction between them.

Now, you can certainly do that if that’s the effect you want, but know what it is you’re going for so you can choose accordingly.

In other words, be conscious of your choices.

Your choice of bedding color can also effect if you’re shooting light and airy or dark and moody.

I would not use white sheets when shooting dark and moody because they can act as a bounce reflecting light all underneath your subject, giving you more light than you want.

For dark and moody I would use more earth-toned colors like brown, eggplant, dark or medium gray, maroon, navy blue, forest green, etc.

For light and airy boudoir I would definitely consider white sheets, especially if my subject had darker skin tones. I love that sharp contrast between the two. It makes my model stand out more, giving your image a central focus.

Pillows

I use pillows like props.

Sometimes I have them in the shot, sometimes I don’t. 

If I feel they’re cluttering up the composition I eliminate them. If I need something behind the subject, or need to prop her up, or I want to create different levels to the image, I’ll put them in.

Either way, it’s a conscious choice. 

Shooting Bird’s Eye View

Shooting bird’s eye view (up on a ladder looking down) is another unique element to bed poses.

Of all the different scenarios you could choose from to shoot bird’s eye, I think the bed is the most natural choice for this angle. 

First off, it gives you this rich rumpled canvas (the sheets) that feature highlights and shadows that no other setting can give you. 

I learned quickly that smooth sheets don’t make for good boudoir bed images, for the very reason of them lacking highlights and shadows. 

Compared to doing this same angle with your model lying on the floor is fine, but think about which scenario elevates the pose more. My vote is on the bed.

Another reason shooting bird’s eye on a bed works better is that it’s more comfortable for your subject… and if your subject is more comfortable then she’s not going to be distracted and can focus better on getting the expression you’re after. 

And then there’s the fact that beds are cleaner than floors, and if you’re going to have someone splayed out on your floor — that floor better be clean. 

There’s nothing like a client brushing herself off after getting up off your floor from all the dust and dirt she picked up while down there. 

Okay, so that’s my take on bed posing.

Let’s now look at three very popular boudoir bed poses and how you can efficiently move from one to another.

Three Main Types Of Bed Poses

To break things down in a simple way, let’s organize these bed poses into three main categories.

On the Stomach

On the Side

On the Back

And you’ll see how easy it is for one to flow seamlessly into another regardless of where you start.

On the Stomach

It doesn’t matter which position you start with, so let’s start with on the stomach.

Have your subject lie on the bed with her head at the foot of the bed, feet up towards where the pillows would be. If she’s slightly angled that usually works better, kind of diagonally from corner to corner

Have her prop herself up a bit with her arm closest to camera, and have her pop her hip up by bending that knee, also closest to camera. It should look similar to this.

Boudoir bed pose of young black woman lying on bed in white lace one-piece

What you’re looking for is that smooth S curve from her shoulder, down the side, up over the booty, then down the thigh. 

Now don’t think you have to get her entire body in frame from head to toe. In fact, this pose works best being a 3/4 shot. This allows you to get closer to the face which creates intimacy with the viewer. 

Get variety taking shots with her head propped up, then head down resting on her arms — both 3/4 shots and semi-closeups as you move in closer towards her face and upper body.

Boudoir bed pose with black woman
Boudoir bed pose with young black girl on stomach

Get even more variety by shooting with your lens parallel to her body, then at about 45 degrees so you’re shooting more down the length of her from head to toe. 

With this one simple on the stomach pose you can get eight variations.

  1. 3/4 shot, parallel to body, head propped up
  2. 3/4 shot, parallel to body, head down
  3. semi-closeup, parallel, head propped up
  4. semi-closeup, parallel, head down
  5. 3/4 shot, at 45 degrees to body, head propped up
  6. 3/4 shot, at 45 degrees to body, head down
  7. semi-closeup, at 45 degrees, head propped up
  8. semi-closeup, at 45 degrees, head down

On the Side

Once you’re done with your “on the stomach” shots, have her rotate onto her side.

Have her bend the knee of her top leg, then bring it down so it touches the bed while her bottom leg extends straight beneath her.

Her top arm can come down to frame her chest, or follow the curve of her waist and hip resting on top.

Her bottom arm is bent and used as support to prop her head up or to rest her head onto.

Now, just repeat the same variety of shots from above with 3/4, semi-closeup, head up, head down, camera parallel to body, and camera at 45 degrees.

Bang, a variety of eight more shots.

One More Variation On The Side

One added variation you can do while your model is on her stomach with that hip pop is to move around to the other side of her. So, if you were 45 degrees off her right side, then move over to her left side at about 45 degrees.

“Come on baby, let’s do the twist!”

Boudoir image of young black girl lying on stomach on bed

Now, with her propped up on her arms, have her follow you around with her head. Her upper body will twist around. That’s why I call this variation “The Twist”.

It features the face, booty, and legs from the opposite side. 

On the Back

With that series done, have your model roll onto her back.

This is another pose that works great at capturing the landscape of the body so you’ll want to position yourself at about 45 degrees off from where her head is. 

Have her bend her knees, keeping them together (or apart), while her arms lift up to frame her head as she cheats her face towards camera.

Knock out your 3/4 and semi-closeup shots here at 45 degrees. 

Black and white boudoir image of young black girl lying on her back

Then have her rests her arms down onto the bed, elbows bent, up around her head.

Capture your 3/4 and semi-closeup shots at 45 degrees again, then…

Bird’s Eye Shots

Grab a step stool, chair, or ladder and snap some bird’s eye view shots or whatever looks good from that higher angle both 3/4 and semi-closeup and capture six more variations.

I choose not to shoot parallel on this pose since I’m saving that for when she’s on the floor because I want space and light to illuminate underneath her curves that the bedding fills in.

Classic boudoir pose of young black girl lying on back on floor

On The Side Again From The Back

Okay, we started with our model on her stomach, then she rotated onto her side, then onto her back, now she’s going to continue in the same direction back on her other side so her back is to camera.

This is the bonus pose that everyone will miss if they didn’t get this far in the article… but you did, so here’s your reward — congratulations!

So, with this pose the model is on her side but with her back to camera. This will have a somewhat voyeuristic feel to it and stand out as being unique.

Boudoir bed pose

Like before, have your model bend her top leg then slide it down in front of her until it touches the bed, or just have her stagger her legs somewhat.

Have her drape her top arm to rest following the curve of her waist and hip, then have her head rest on her bottom arm that’s extended. 

A peaceful and serene pose when shot parallel to her body.

The Real Takeaway

Black and white boudoir close-up of young black girl's face lying on back

The real lesson here is that you want to maximize each pose to get the most variety of shots from it. Always be thinking full length (head to toe), 3/4 or 2/3rds of the body, then semi-close up. 

If you can remember that, you’ll get many different looks from just a slight change in body positioning from your client, and that can lead to more images sold.

My Incredibly Mobile Inflatable Bed

I use an inflatable queen-size bed for my bed shots. 

It comes with a self-inflating built-in electric pump and takes just five minutes to fully inflate… and deflate when I’m done with it. It folds up easily and comes with its own canvas carrying bag. 

The reason I got it was because the bed in the studio I’m currently renting has a slotted metal-rod headboard and footboard that obstructs the view. The only angle you can shoot anyone at is from the side. Anything angled and either the bars from the headboard or footboard get in the way. 

It might work if I was doing a women in prison themed boudoir shoot, but that’s not my jam. It’s also in a back room that is not as big as the front room, where I really want to be.


I like shooting in the front room anyway so getting an inflatable bed solved that situation for me. Not only can I shoot in the more spacious front room but I can easily slide the bed wherever I want in relation to the big front windows — “Winner, winner, chicken dinner!”

Throw some sheets on it and you can’t tell it’s not a real bed. 

“I’m An Inflatable Bed, Not An Air Mattress!”

The big difference between an inflatable bed and an air mattress is that an inflatable bed sits higher off the ground. They usually range in height from 18” to 22” high. 

An air mattress is a lot lower and looks like a mattress lying on the floor. 

The inflatable bed gives you the impression that it has a frame underneath supporting it, and if you have wider shots that show the relation between the height of your “bed” and the floor, it won’t look silly and weird. 

Queen For A Day!

If you’re interested in getting an inflatable bed for your shoots, definitely get a queen-size. The twin size will look like you’re shooting boudoir on your 10-year old’s bed… and that’s just wrong.The one I use can be found here. It’s also the tallest one I’ve been able to find at 22” in height from the floor. 

Intex Comfort Plush Elevated Dura-Beam Airbed with Internal Electric Pump, Bed Height 22″, Queen

Also, check out this video I made about the Intex Inflatable Queen Size Bed!

Related Question

Can I still shoot these types of images if I have a bed with an obstructing headboard and footboard?

Yes you can, but realize you’ll be limited with your angles and won’t get as many variations. You won’t have as much flexibility with the shots at 45 degrees but do the best you can with what you’re working with. 

If you have the option to take the box spring and mattress off the frame and set them on the floor, you’d be able to lose those obstructing head and footboards. It would be just like shooting with an inflatable bed, except it’s a real one. 

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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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