There is a misconception that boudoir photography is just pictures of a woman in the nude. In actually, boudoir photography does not necessarily have to have nude poses at all. The purpose of boudoir photography is to capture the intimate moments of a woman’s bedroom. It’s the one place that denotes safety, comfort, confidence, and empowerment. This imagery could include nude poses, but the poses are not necessary in order to capture those intimate moments.

Establish a Goal for Your Photoshoot

Boudoir nudity can be powerful

Do not go into a boudoir photo session without a purpose in mind. This may feel vulnerable at times, but the photographer’s main focus should be to deliver your desires through their camera lens. Boudoir can be used to overcome hurt situations; to strengthen the belief in yourself; as a gift to strengthen relationships; and much more. However you decide, your goal and comfort level will determine whether nude poses should be introduced. Nudity can be a powerful tool. However, you can still have an amazing and empowering boudoir session without nude poses.

What is the Purpose of Nude Poses?

Using nudity can be a key factor for insinuating a certain feeling or imagination. It’s extremely suggestive to revealing the story of an image, and can be very tasteful when used properly. One key factor that we use is:

  1. Foreground elements in focus are used for highlighting.
  2. Background elements out of focus are key for suggesting.

Meaning, when you have elements in the background or out of your depth-of-field (focus range), they will be helpful in suggesting emotion in an image. Whereas, elements that are clearly in focus will be key in highlighting emotion or ideas in an image.


…you can still have an amazing and empowering boudoir session without nude poses.

Nudity Examples and Failures

As you can see below, the image with nudity in focus does not have as much imagination and emotion as the one with the clothing in focus. The background and foreground suggestion are similar, but the highlighting completely overpowers the background elements that they don’t seem to fit well. However, the image next to it properly highlights while insinuating a background emotion or idea.

Another example is highlighting key body art. The nudity is used as suggestive background, and sets the emotion of the environment. It is clear that nude poses are used, but they are not the highlight or key factor.

Although nudity was used above to show body art, the same highlighting and storytelling can be used without nude poses. It creates a different suggestion and environment, but a tasteful, empowering image can still be produced without nudity.

So Should I Use Nude Poses for My Session?

The answer is yes and no. As a photographer, the goal is to best represent your desires through epic imagery. If you want to display a bold confidence that is attributed to nude photography, then yes. And be sure to do whatever you need to do to be absolutely comfortable. That can be in the form of a special robe, a comfort buddy in the studio, or even a separate changing area. However, if you are reluctant about nude poses, then no. The purpose of boudoir photography is to reflect the intimate moments in a woman’s bedroom. Those moments should not be invasive, but welcoming. Do not shoot nude poses if you are not comfortable with your environment. It will show in camera and on the results.

After many sessions with various client types, one thing has been apparent: no two sessions are the same. Be sure to book a photographer that understands what you want, and what your goals are. Without knowing you as a person, it will be difficult for any photographer to capture those intimate moments of true beauty.

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