top of page

An Introduction to Boudoir Posing

This guide will provide you with an introduction to all of the details needed to pose for your boudoir photography session. This is a detailed list of everything that we are looking at from head to toe. Below each section are examples of images that demonstrate the key points discussed.


Posing is one of the most important aspects of boudoir. In this guide I will be presenting the key details that I look at when posing. While shooting I'm looking at my client from head to toe at all times and tweaking every possible aspect that will make you look your best. Even if I can't see the certain body part in the my frame, I am still instructing you on what to do with it. For example, the effects of a pointed toe, even when not seen, can have an effect on the rest of the body seen in the image from your calf to your back posture. My clients are not models, and you do not need to be. For a lot of them, this is the first time that they have ever been in a studio or in front of a camera. Posing is where I can make you feel beautiful about yourself while still showing you what you looks like.


Boudoir is about empowerment, so using liquify to change a woman from a size 12 to a size 4 does not give her a realistic view of what she looks like. I will not do this. I believe that you should walk away from your shoot saying, “Wow, I can’t believe that’s me!” Not because it looks nothing like you, but because it is you and not an overly photo-shopped version of you that you do not not recognize. This is where posing comes into play. You need to stretch out to make sure you are not seeing any or limited rolls in the skin. We all know (and love) to crunch over and play with our beautiful belly rolls, it's natural right and we are all humans. For our images though we want to longate our bodies. As well as this, I'll get you to lift your tookas, your butt, pull your shoulders back and pop your chest out, and her calves raised, to be able to see the curves and make you look as sexy as possible.


As the photographer, I need to be confident and somewhat assertive in my posing. You do not want your client to feel like you are not certain about what you want or are doing. They are able to see your portfolio and the amazing work you have created. If you struggle while posing a client during a shoot, she may think that the is problem is with her personally. This can make her lose confidence in what she is doing. Instead, giving specific direction in a calm manner provides the client with the confidence she needs. Also providing confidence in you, which will allow you to push clients, providing them with exactly what they need from a boudoir shoot.


Working with a good hair and makeup artist is essential.

This may seem obvious, but this can be the difference between your client loving her photos or picking them apart. As well, a talented and experienced artist will be able to hide hair extensions, giving you more freedom with client hair movement in the shoot. There are many ways you can play with the hair to create a different look or feel.

Don't Tuck

When dealing with hair, never tuck the hair behind her ears. It looks sloppy. A woman who gets her hair done doesn’t want to just tuck it behind her ears, she wants to show it off. Pushing it behind will also make ears stick out more than they naturally do. Avoid the hair beard/necklace that happens when the hair falls across the neck of the client.

Reveal the Neck

You can sweep the hair completely over your client’s head to give her a more wild sex hair look. Just be careful if there are extensions when doing this, as you don’t want to see the track lines. She can also pull her hair up around her head. This is a great way to show a very soft, yet sexy side. It reveals the neck which is a very sensual part of a woman’s body and draws the viewer in. Having the client pull all of her hair to one side not only reveals her neck, but also gives the illusion of fuller hair.


You can also do a more playful/softer pulling of the hair by having her grab a few strands on the end or pulling one piece straight out. Depending on her eye position, it can be a very sultry look or create a very sweet, playful look.


The mouth is another aspect of posing that can be very difficult. Clients do not generally practice their sexy smile in the mirror every day. For most, it is either full teeth or nothing at all when smiling.


The smirk is really your best friend in boudoir. We describe it to our clients as a smile with no teeth or just a little bit of teeth. The smirk conveys so many different emotions. It can be sexy, as though she has a secret, or it can be playful. On a practical note, it takes away the sour look on someone’s face.


If a client can not pull off a smirk, then an open mouth is the way to go. Ask her to breath through her mouth. This relaxes the jaw, which gives a much more natural look. Opening and breathing through the mouth also takes away the tightness of the lips which is sometimes present out of nerves.


Biting the lip is also a great way to denote a feeling of sexiness in an image. You are raising the question of why is she biting her lip?


Avoid Neck Rolls

As you move down the body, start to look at the position of the client’s neck, shoulders and chest. The big thing with the neck is that you do not want to create any rolls. The chin needs to be turtled out and up. However, not too far up as it denotes aggression or attitude. You need to be careful of the feel you are attempting to create. If the client is taller than you, stand on a chair to get a higher advantage, avoiding any unnecessary weight under the chin. As well if she turns her head to the side, keep an eye out for the rolls in the neck.

Head Tilt

When it comes to the neck, the head tilt is the easiest way to soften a woman’s look. It makes her neck look longer and gives her some curves. You want to think about which way she is tilting her head while you shoot. One way will create rolls in the neck and a much stronger glamour shot feel to the pose.

Relaxed Shoulders

Shoulders should always be back and down. While giving this direction, remind your client to try to relax so that her muscles aren’t too tense, making her look uncomfortable. At the same time direct her to push her chest out, trying to bring the bottom of her rib cage up. You want her to keep an upper body arch for the whole shoot. We often make jokes with our clients that they will be very sore the next day from all of the stretching they are doing in our shoots.


This section is arguably the most important aspect of posing in boudoir. This is where you can push a photo from being a nice, pretty photograph to being a sexy one.

Pop the Butt

Popping the butt is not just about pushing the butt back. The client will just end up bending over and it will not provide the look you are going for. It is the opposite of the thrust forward, it is a thrust back, creating an arch in her lower back. So in the end, she should have an arch from the top of the butt crack to the bottom of her neck.


One problem is that a lot of runners or women who work out without stretching will have very tight muscles in their upper legs. This will not allow them to pop their butts. To get around this and create the curve you are looking for when your client can not pop her butt, have her bend over at the waist while holding on to the edge of a counter or couch. You can also have her get on her hands and knees and drop down to her elbows. This will allow for the butt to naturally lift, giving you the curve you are looking for. Another option while your client is standing is to have her lift one knee, pointing her foot behind her. Although you don’t get the curve where you want it (in the lower back), it does provide the illusion of a curve. When standing, ask your client to bend one leg. Ask her to put her feet together, bending the leg further away from you and put all of her weight on the other leg. The result is that the butt is lifted towards the camera, giving it a nice round shape.


Instruct your clients to think tight and up. On a practical level it shortens the leg muscles and brings the butt back in. This way she still has a natural look to her stomach and it doesn’t effect their butt pop. When it comes to the stomach, never tell your client to suck in. This can be very damaging for their self esteem.