Boudoir Photography: The Gift You Should Give Yourself

Maggie Zemanek of The Delicate Studio Photography breaks down boudoir photography.
Red lacy lingerie garment

What is the best gift to give yourself in 2023? 

After our Indy Maven February Meetup, we are absolutely convinced it’s a boudoir photoshoot. 

Our “Spicy” themed event at Maven Space included a presentation from one of Indy’s best boudoir photographers, Maggie Zemanek of The Delicate Studio Photography. Maggie covered everything you need to know about boudoir photography, from what it is (and isn’t) to how to prepare for a shoot. 

If you missed the event, don’t worry—she was kind enough to share all her tips, tricks, and pointers with us. Below is an abridged version of her presentation, which will lift the lid on some common boudoir misconceptions and reveal what it’s like to be front and center during a shoot.

What is boudoir photography?

First off, a little background and history. “Boudoir” is a French word that means a woman’s bedroom, dressing room, or private room. These spaces were intimate and only shared with a select few. 

Women posing on a brick wall in lingerieBoudoir photography first became popular in the 1920s, and has varied in style across generations, from pin ups to glamor shots. Although boudoir photography has been around more than 100 years, there are still many misconceptions and misunderstandings about boudoir. So what exactly is boudoir photography? 

  • A form of phototherapy for the photographer and subject alike 
  • A confidence boost and way to celebrate yourself 
  • A way to tap into your sexuality and sensual side
  • A powerful self-love tool accessible to anyone 

During Maggie’s presentation, she also made clear what boudoir photography isn’t. She shared boudoir photography: 

  • Is not pornography, obscene, or dirty 
  • Is not just about nudity or lingerie 
  • Is not just a gift for a partner or future spouse 
  • Is not only for those who are already confident

In short, boudoir photography is about celebrating you: Your beauty, confidence, sexuality, and self.

Who is boudoir photography for?

Boudoir is an art form meant for everyone. Yes, everyone! And don’t think it’s only meant to act as a gift to a partner, significant other, or spouse. In fact, more than half of Maggie’s clients are single women doing the photoshoot for themselves. 

Boudoir can also be used to celebrate a new phase in life or capture a recent change through art. Some reasons Maggie shared for getting a boudoir photoshoot include:

  • Weight loss
  • Weight gain
  • Pregnancy
  • Post-partum
  • Engagement
  • Marriage 
  • Divorce 

Your photos could be used as a gift to someone special or simply a gift to yourself. Maybe you’re just needing a pick-me-up or want to feel sexy. No matter what the reason, boudoir is meant to empower you and make you feel confident, sexy, and free. 

And you don’t have to do your shoot alone. Couples are more than welcome!

What’s included in a boudoir shoot?

Women in lingerie posing

Each photographer is a bit different, but generally speaking you can expect a photoshoot of one to two hours in a private and comfortable studio. Many offer professional hair and makeup, along with plenty of outfit selections and different backdrops. 

A boudoir photographer will coach you on posing, facial expression, and help you with outfit selection. Photography packages can run anywhere from hundreds of dollars to thousands depending on how many hours you book, the amount of photos you select, and if you decide to order any prints.

How do I select a boudoir photographer and prepare for the shoot? 

Maggie’s best advice for selecting a boudoir photographer is to make sure you vibe with and are comfortable with the photographer. She offers phone consultations for prospective clients to  help them get to know her, better understand her offerings, and ask any questions about pricing and packages. It’s also important to review portfolios to get an understanding of the photographer’s look and style before booking. 

Once you’ve selected a photographer, it’s time to prepare! Here are some of Maggie’s night-before prep list suggestions:

  • Exfoliate and moisturize
  • Drink lots of water and avoid alcohol 
  • Avoid spray tanning; it can show up orange and streaky
  • Remove any body hair if that is what you normally do
  • Get a good night’s sleep 

Her most important day-of tip is to wear comfortable, loose clothing to avoid marks in your skin.  

Boudoir Shoot Tips

Women laying down posing in lingerieWhether you’re heading into your first boudoir photoshoot or fiftieth, these posing tips will help you look confident, sexy, and fierce in front of the camera: 

Point your toes. Whether standing up or laying down, this will help lengthen your legs and make your muscles pop.

Arch your back. This not only makes you look longer and taller, but helps highlight your assets and brings more dimension to your pose. 

Use props. If there’s something you don’t absolutely love about your body, use a sweater, sheet, or blanket to cover it while still looking smoldering. 

Keep your fingers relaxed. Your face may look super sexy, but rigid hands can ruin the vibe. Use them in various ways: Pull up on your bottoms, put your hand in your hair, grab your bra strap, or play with the sheets.

Get Your Sexy On

Maggie shared an important reminder during her session, which is the perfect closing to this article: You are enough exactly as you are. You are sexy. You are worthy. You are deserving of self-love.

If you’re ready to try out boudoir photography, see Maggie’s work and book a photoshoot at

Lindsay McGuire is a freelance writer, marketer, and podcast host who is passionate about volunteerism and community. You can find her on LinkedIn.

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