Hair, Makeup, Wardrobe and Props
So you've booked your boudoir photo session... errr, Sensual Portrait session, and now you're wondering what to wear, what to do with your hair, how to do your makeup, and whether or not it would be silly to bring your trombone along as a prop.
I say, do it.
I normally tell people not to get too creative with their hair styling just before a photo session. Why not? Because too many people have come back to me to say "I just wish I hadn't tried something new with my hair that day!" I don't want you to feel like you don't love your photos because of a hair style that you weren't used to yet.
This is sometimes in direct conflict with what many hair stylists tell their clients as they prepare for a photo session. Think hard about it if they try to steer you toward something you have never tried before.
While I stand by that strong suggestion for most kinds of portrait sessions, I'm a bit more flexible when it comes to boudoir photography. If you want to try something new—and if this "something new" makes you feel sexy and engaged—give it a try with this one caveat...
Test it out some time before the actual day of our session. It's okay if you try something and decide you hate it later. We just don't want your photo session to take place between trying it and deciding you don't like it anymore. Test a new style a week or two before the session.
I would only like to add that you should avoid too much hairspray. A little is okay. We want your hair to be moveable and somewhat soft...not stiff and unmoving. Being able to mess up your hair or blow it around may be important to one of the looks we decide to go for.
If you love how you do your own hair, don't feel like you have to use a professional!
Speaking of which...
This is really a matter of preference. I've done sessions after someone's had two-hours pro makeup applied, and I've done sessions where they put on just a touch of eyeliner and lip gloss.
Going All the Way
If you do want pro makeup, I find that the MAC stores/counters are usually staffed by well trained people...and the makeup itself is outstanding for photography. Be sure to let your makeup artist know that you will be having professional photos taken, and that you want makeup for "on-camera."
Do you want your images to reflect glamour? A sophisticated evening look? Or do you want your images to portray naturalness and a "I just woke up and I look amazing" look? Maybe you want both, in which case we can start with a morning look and slowly add makeup as the session progresses.
If you're going glamorous, I really do suggest going all the way, utilizing fake lashes, contouring around the cheekbones, and dramatic lips. The camera actually normalizes heavier makeup (when it's applied professionally) so don't be alarmed if your makeup artist puts it on heavier than you would and adds some fake lashes. It should definitely be heavier than what you would wear on the street if you are going for a glamorous look.
Going au naturale with your makeup does not necessarily mean not wearing any makeup at all (though you can stick to foundation, eyeliner, and lip gloss if you like.) Your makeup artist can achieve a natural look even while applying a fair amount of makeup to even the skin tones and brighten the eyes.
Remember, the focus is eyes, cheeks, and lips.
Important Notes on Makeup
Be sure that whatever makeup is done on your face is blended nicely into your neck, as you may be wearing outfits (or a revealing outfit) that could expose what might normally be a hidden makeup line when wearing street clothes.
Likewise, take care that your hands are roughly the same color and tone as your face. Sensual photography may require your hands being close to your face, and if you have very white hands and very dark makeup, the contrast may be distracting. I mean, it WILL be distracting.
(While we're on the subject of hands, please take the time to get a manicure before your session.)
This may seem obvious, but bring outfits that makes you feel sexy! This could be anything from a tiny piece of lingerie to a ball gown or even a suit. If a burlap sack makes you feel sexy, bring it. Bring more than you could possibly wear, just make sure everything is clean and as wrinkle-free as you can manage. Old and worn out items will appear old and worn out, which can sometimes work (if it's a favorite pair of jeans, for example.)
Here is a list of fun, creative attire for your session. Feel free to add to it and modify. Not all of these (perhaps none of these) will resonate with you. These are not rules. They are ideas to get you started.
- Men's shirt and tie
- Silk robe
- Satin sheet
- Sheer top
- Netted top
- Vintage night gown or camisole
- Ball gown
- Clingy dress
- Torn jeans
- Cropped tee shirt
- Knee/thigh high socks
If you get a costume, buy or rent the best quality you can afford, as cheap costumes usually end up not fitting and looking awkward.
Props & Accessories
We need to get creative during your session in order to create one of a kind images, so there really are no bad ideas when it comes to the session. This is playtime! I say, it's impossible to bring too much stuff, and even if we decide not to use something, it may generate a parallel idea that works even better.
- Chunky Jewelry
- Elegant Jewelry
- Shoes and more shoes and heels and boots
- Hats (mens and ladies)
- Long gloves
- Fishnet Stockings
- Martini/wine glasses
- Feather boas
- Food (fruit/lollipops)
- Eyewear (nerdy glasses or sunglasses)
- Fetish (whip, riding crop)
You can even work your hobbies into the session.
- Musical instruments
- Sports equipment
And if our location has a water feature such as a tub...
- Spongebob Bubble Bath (the BEST)
- REAL rose petals (they float)
- FAKE rose petals (don't float, but last longer)
- Rubber duck/bath toys
I love those seasonal Halloween shops for finding unique pieces, especially masks.
This is not a comprehensive list. It's literally whatever turns you on! Bring it all and we'll decide what to use when we're on-set.
I hope this has been helpful. Just make this yours.
What resonates with you?