Behind the Boudoir- What Happens at a Boudoir Photo Shoot

Have you ever wondered what happens behind the scenes at a boudoir shoot? 

A boudoir photography shoot isn’t porn. It is truly art and the human form is, in my opinion, the most beautiful subject there is. A few years ago after I had my first child, I booked a boudoir shoot with a professional photographer in the ‘burbs. I finally regained my figure after housing another human for 9+ months and honestly…I just wanted to feel beautiful again. It wasn’t even meant for my husband- it was meant to celebrate the new me. A few more curves, some new scars, but those physical details all tell a story about what I had been through in life. And I wanted to capture that.

I came armed with my trousseau- all of the lacy, frilly pieces that my girlfriends gave me for my wedding years ago. I also brought my husband’s baseball jersey, my favorite tie of his, and a basic white tank top. 

After the first ten minutes or so, I warmed up to the camera and the idea of someone looking at me, lights on, camera focused. I had a few ideas of shots that I wanted to capture- the Jennifer Aniston pose where she is wearing only a tie (um…it is a LOT more difficult than it looks to contort your body so your goodies aren’t showing with just a tie to cover them…I laughed through those poses). I also wanted something basic- just a white tank top and boy shorts. 

Overall, I loved my photo shoot and am incredibly proud of the final product. I wanted to give you a little more behind the scenes info of what goes into a boudoir photo shoot, and what the photographer thinks on her end. (And just to be clear…the following photos are not of me…although I wish I had that bootie!).

Emily Gualdoni- Boudoir Photographer
Emily Gualdoni

I had the incredible privilege to interview Emily Gualdoni, who is a Chicago Wedding, Fashion and Boudoir Photographer. My friend Vanessa Valliant is an incredible Makeup Artist who has worked with Emily many times in the past- I have admired their collaborations for years and am honored to bring insider information about a boudoir shoot to you. I can’t wait to schedule a session with Emily now that I live close to the city!

Here is my Q&A with Emily- buckle up, it is a sexy ride!

How should a woman select a boudoir photographer? What should they look for?

review the photographers website, look for good lighting and flattering
posing. Envision yourself in the photo and if you would want to be
photographed in that way. Some photographers over retouch skin while
some don’t edit at all. Make sure the photographer’s editing style fits
what you’re looking for. If you want all your flaws smoothed away, make
sure you go with a photographer that knows how to retouch images without
overdoing it. If you like idea of a “raw” unedited image, go with
someone that doesn’t edit the images. Lastly, it’s very important to
make sure you have a connection and feel comfortable with the
photographer. You want to make sure you are comfortable with them
because the more comfortable you are at the shoot, the better the images
will turn out. I love being super involved with the planning process.
My clients and I exchange inspiration photos on Pinterest as well as
having my client fill out a questionnaire so I know exactly how they
would like to be photographed. 

if someone had never done a photo shoot before and is extremely
uncomfortable about how to pose? Or uncomfortable with their body? 

am expert at making women feel comfortable in front of my camera (even
when half naked) and I’ve coaxed genuine expressions from even the most
nervous clients, so there is no need to worry. 
show my clients what poses and angles that flatter them the most and
will coach every step of the way. I will physically do the pose myself
and then have them copy it.  There is no experience required,
whatsoever, to look and feel amazing. All they have to do is trust me
long enough to give it a go:)

Black and White Boudoir Photographs
Emily Gualdoni Photography

most of your clients pose totally nude? In lingerie? Are there any
clothing items that are still sexy yet provide more coverage for someone
who is a little more shy? 

clients wear lingerie, go nude, wear dresses, playful t-shirts and
shorts, etc.  Pretty much wear whatever you feel sexy and confident in.
Showcasing confidence is sexier than any skimpy piece of lingerie that
you can wear. An oversized sweater can even look sexy, you just have to
own it and let you confidence shine through. 

Subtle Boudoir Photograph
Emily Gualdoni Photography

Who do your clients usually do the shoot for? Significant others? Themselves? 

majority of my clients are doing it for wedding gifts for their
significant other. I offer high-end albums in most of my packages. A
“little black book” of your sexy images is a great gift. Surprise your
fiancé the night before or the morning of the wedding. Have your wedding
photographer capture their reaction when they open the gift. The
reaction is priceless 🙂  This is a win win situation because your
fiancé will love it and you will also feel a boost of confidence with
the whole process. 

How should someone prep for a shoot?

boudoir photography, the combinations of things you can wear are
endless. The shoot can include several styles and outfits. Make your
look your own, and you’ll own your photos. Here are a few suggestions on
how to choose your clothing, shoes, and jewelry.

Clothing and Garments:
Classic Boudoir Photography normally requires lingerie. There are so
many different items out there that you can use to express yourself,
don’t hesitate to bring several styles and types of garments. Remember,
this is your shoot, so it can be as revealing or demure as you wish.
Some of the most classic and popular looks include black seamed
stockings, thigh highs, garter belts, and stilettos. 

Classic Boudoir Photographs
Emily Gualdoni Photography

There are several
timeless outfits that are very easy to recreate such as looks based off
of a teddy, an elegant peignoir and coat set, or the forever sexy black
lace bra and panty set. Browsing websites such as Victoria’s Secret can
help you get an idea of what a complete look includes. Many of my
clients have enjoyed stepping outside of the “classic boudoir box” as
well by posing in their guy’s work shirt, his favorite team’s apparel,
something representing his favorite car or motorcycle, or even
tastefully neglecting select garments.

Boudoir Photograph with Classic,Sexy and Tasteful Lingerie
Emily Gualdoni Photography

You can wear your old favorites,
his favorites, anything you’re comfortable wearing, or go shopping for
something you’ve never even tried on before. Be daring, be sultry, be
shy, but most importantly pick items you love. Have fun with it, let
your inner goddess shine through and run with it! Lover’s Lane sells
many of the same items as Victoria’s Secret for much less, they have
several locations in and around Chicago to browse. You can find fun and
exciting pieces to wear all over, make shopping for your shoot as much
fun as the shoot itself.

A girl can never have too many shoes, and that has never been more true
as when taking part in a boudoir shoot. Bring as many shoes as you
desire in several colors and styles. A well matched shoe completes an
outfit more than you think. High heels accentuate the natural curve of
the calf, correct your posture to make your back and shoulders look
their best, and even elongate your silhouette. Heels also prop your feet
into a very aesthetic pose, and overall look very feminine. Again,
don’t hesitate to be daring and have fun with your shoe selection.

Boudoir Pose with High Heels
Emily Gualdoni Photography

Never underestimate the subtle addition of jewelry to accent you and
your look. A large, gaudy necklace or earrings distract from you. While
sparkle may be fabulous, don’t over do it. Instead, choose pieces that
lightly adorn you in a flattering way. Choosing simple, smaller jewels
for a hint of frost or items that compliment your outfit will be best.

Hair/Makeup: I
strongly recommend getting your hair and makeup professionally done. It
makes a world of difference in your photos to have a trained
professional highlight your natural features and bring your best look
forward. I work with some of the top stylists in the city and can
arrange for one of them to work their magic on-location for your shoot.
All of the Hair and Makeup artists that I use are licensed professionals
with agency representation. This service is already included in some of
the packages but not all. If you choose a package without hair and
makeup included, it is always available upon request. I
with all agency represented makeup and hair artists to ensure you the
best end result. Inquire for more details about these artists.

you choose to do your own hair and makeup, its not a problem. However,
please plan ahead and have both your makeup and hair done before you
arrive. Without this service included in your package, any time you take
to do your makeup on location will cut into your shooting time. I will
always have curling irons, extra makeup, etc on hand if you want to do
any touch-ups. Bringing what you used to get ready with in the first
place will be helpful.

you touch up the photos after? 

I Photoshop my images to a magazine
quality standard without altering what the person looks like. I smooth
skin, fix flaws, fix stray hairs and make the overall image pop! 

If you would like to book a session with Emily, please get in touch! I am certain that you won’t be disappointed by the results- she is the consummate professional and genuinely loves working with women of all shapes and sizes. Want to hear more? Check out the testimonials on her Boudoir Page!

How to get in touch with Emily:



Phone: 815.719.0351

She works with you to find a package that meets your budget. In February, she is hosting mini sessions that are 30 minutes long, and you receive 1 professionally retouched image for $150. This is ideal for those who want to dip their toe in, or you can go for the full experience and chat with her about a custom package that will fit what you have in mind. Either way, you will love the way you look. 

Cheers to celebrating ourselves!   



    • January 23, 2017 / 2:32 am

      Oh, they are hanging in our bathroom 🙂 I am sure now that people know I might catch them sneaking upstairs during our parties!!