If you’re going to do a boudoir photography shoot, then you need some killer poses up your sleeve.
Showing up to your shoot armed with a set of tried and tested boudoir poses (or reference images!) will make you a better boudoir photographer. After all, this is a genre where you’re often working with inexperienced clients, and you need to make sure they feel as comfortable as possible.
In fact, you want more than that – you want them to feel sexy and empowered!
Sure, it could be that your subject or client is an experienced model; one that will naturally work the camera with minimal direction.
But even if that’s the case, preplanning some poses is still a good idea. It’ll help in moments where things stall or if the model gets stuck.
Also, it’ll help you stay in control of the shoot and achieve your creative vision as well – particularly important if the shoot is for your own portfolio and not for a client.
So all that said, what are the best boudoir poses? That’s what we’re here to find out.
As a female, I hope I can give you a helpful perspective on some tasteful and sexy poses to include in your next boudoir session.
You may even learn some general tips on how to pose for pictures that you can use everyday.
Let’s dive in!
Table of Contents
31 Sexy & Stylish Poses for Boudoir Photography
The following boudoir poses can all be replicated as-is, or used as a starting point for you to experiment and come up with your own boudoir photography ideas.
Just remember that the most important thing of all is making the shoot a positive and empowering experience for your client.
You want them to leave with a spring in their step and a set of photos they’ll cherish for years to come! Always communicate with them and never pressure them into any poses they’re not comfortable with.
Even if your subject is a paid model on a photoshoot – the same holds true.
So let’s take a look. Note that, in this post, we’re focusing only on boudoir poses for women – see here for male boudoir photo ideas.
1. Hands up fixing hair
This pose works well shot from either the front or the back. Get your model to lift up both arms, as if they’re fixing their hair.
Or even better, get them to actually do a hairstyle – you can position them in front of a mirror if that helps. By doing the activity, they’ll be engaged in something natural.
As a boudoir shot, this pose works great when paired with a loose top or sweater. When the model lifts their arms, you’ll get a cheeky reveal of their stomach or backside and hips. It also works great on a beach or outside when incorporating bikini poses.
2. Lying down playing peek-a-boo
This is a beautiful boudoir pose that adds an element of mystery to your image.
Get your model to lie on her back with one arm held up so as to directly cover one side of her face. You may guide her to use her other arm to pull the first one into place – this way it can create a straight line down the middle of her face.
This boudoir pose works well shot from above (as pictured) but you can also experiment with capturing it in side profile.
3. Lying on back with one leg crossed over
Add this client-pleaser to your list of boudoir poses – you won’t regret it. The model lies on their back, one leg bent and the other crossed over on top of it. A slight arch in the back gives a nice curve to the body.
If you have a prop like a hat you can incorporate it; otherwise try a hand running through the hair or softly touching the face.
4. Lying on front with upper body elevated
If your boudoir photography set happens to include a sofa or couch, give this position a try. Use the arm of the furniture as a support for your subject’s upper body, creating a curve along the hips and back.
As you’ll learn with most boudoir poses, adding curves to the female body is flattering and aesthetically pleasing.
5. Side-lying with hair splayed
This boudoir photography pose works beautifully when your model or client has long hair.
Get them to lie on their side – they can lie with their head on their arm to make the pose more natural-looking – and arrange their hair so that it’s splayed out all around.
6. On all fours with one leg kicked up
Done right, this pose can really heat up your boudoir photo shoot.
Make sure your subject is comfortable with getting into a crawling position. Standing over them could make them feel subjugated; shooting from below or level to the model creates a far more empowering shot.
The sensuality of the pose is in the arch of the back, the kick of a foot. Direct your model to imagine herself as a cat prowling to get the best shape and movement into the pose.
7. Lying on back with face to the side
Sometimes the best boudoir photos come from the most simple of poses combined with the right styling and props.
For this pose, get your client or model to lie on their back. Rather than looking directly at the camera (though, of course, you can try that too), get them to turn their head to the side.
Positioning the legs slightly to the opposite direction as the face will create a nice S-curve in the model’s body. You can also try this one with milk bath photography (see guide).
8. Sitting on stairs with head resting on hand
A simple staircase opens up a whole new range of boudoir poses. One option is to shoot from the top of the stairs downwards, with your model looking up.
Get your subject to recline with their head resting on their hand for a simple yet effective addition to your boudoir photo shoot.
9. Lying on side and hugging torso
Is there anything more artfully sensual than the gentle curve of a women’s back? This is one of the boudoir poses to try if you really want to capture that!
Anything shot from the back is a safe pose to use with clients who don’t have experience as boudoir models. It’s not too imposing and doesn’t demand too much from them, since the face is not visible.
Plus, when it comes to selecting which photos from their boudoir shoot to buy, they’ll appreciate having a range of options including some that capture the beauty of their body in a subtle and artistic way.
This is a popular pose for plus-size boudoir photo shoots, since all the wonderful curves of the hip, shoulders and neck can be highlighted in an artistic way.
10. Simple kneeling pose
You don’t always need your boudoir poses to be exaggerated or powerful to be effective – simple poses can work as well.
A good place to start is to get your client or model to kneel on a bed and look slightly away from the camera. This pose can help your client to ease into a boudoir photography shoot.
Remember to pay attention to subtle details like how they’re holding their fingers. This will make a big difference to the final shot as the hands convey whether the subject is tense or relaxed.
11. Sitting on sofa with legs stretched out
Some boudoir poses benefit from the photographer getting an elevated view with their camera. This is one of them, as a top-down perspective allows you to capture the full pose in the frame as well as get a flattering angle of the model’s body.
Pro tip – make sure you’re high enough so that you can use a lens with a focal length greater than 50mm, while still fitting in your model’s body to the frame. Unless you’re high enough, you’ll be forced to use a wide-angle lens, which can distort features and produce unflattering results.
12. Perching on the edge of a bench
Despite the name, boudoir photography sessions don’t have to happen in a boudoir or bedroom. Poses like this one can work anywhere there’s something to lean or perch on, whether it’s a kitchen bench or bathroom sink.
To make this work as a boudoir pose, get your model to lean back onto her hands and find an angle that accentuates and elongates her legs.
13. Sitting forwards with leg crossed over
This is a slightly more advanced pose, but one that looks incredible when done right.
It’s also one of the best boudoir poses for cleverly keeping the modesty of the model or client intact – even without any clothing or props.
Direct the subject to bend one leg up and fold the other leg underneath their body. Then, they need to lean forward, resting their arm on the leg closest to the camera. Fingers and toes should be softly pointed.
A key to this pose is to make sure the model is feeling relaxed and confident: you want it to create soft, almost balletic shapes in the body.
14. Sitting with torso obscured
This is one of the most popular boudoir photography poses for obscuring the model’s body in a tasteful way. Your subject doesn’t have to go nude – it’s still a great boudoir pose for lingerie shots.
You can also experiment with a butterfly lighting setup with this pose, which can help to bring some highlights into the model’s eyes.
Pro tip – make sure the lower knee isn’t pointed directly at the camera – off to the side or at an angle is most flattering.
15. Sitting on bed, back view
Don’t forget to experiment with boudoir poses where your model or client is turned away from the camera as well – they can be a great addition to your boudoir photoshoots.
For this one, position your subject in the middle of a bed with arms extended slightly out to the sides.
Some eye-catching wardrobe pieces or props will help ensure you get an interesting shot. Paying attention to symmetry in your composition will also help.
Another variation is getting the model to look slightly to the side so part of their face is revealed – you may need to ask her to tuck some hair behind an ear so her face isn’t obscured.
16. Sitting on furniture with one leg up
This pose works really well with a tall piece of furniture or stringed instrument like a piano – but if you don’t have one of those lying around a chest of drawers or table will work just as well.
Position your client or model on top of a flat surface, with one leg extended down and the other bent to around knee level.
If you’re using a chest of drawers, you can pull out one of the drawers slightly to give the model a place to rest the foot of her bent leg.
If using a table, she can rest her foot on the knee of the other leg or, alternatively, place her foot on the table top. The latter works better if she leans back more since the bent leg will be at hip height.
Getting her to put one hand in her hair will amp it up into an extra sexy boudoir photo.
17. Lying with hand grasping wrist
There are a lot of boudoir poses for lying down, and this is another variation that’s simple yet effective.
Get your client or model to lie with their arms above their head, one hand grasping the wrist of the other. She can then look away or directly at the camera, or even have her eyes closed altogether.
Try capturing this pose from different angles to make sure you get the best framing.
18. Sitting on heels and looking over shoulder
This is one of those great boudoir poses for accentuating the model’s back or bottom (or both – depending on the outfit).
Direct your client or model to kneel, sitting back on their heels, then ask them to look at the camera from over their shoulder.
A prop can make your boudoir image more interesting and keep the hands of your subject occupied. A lollipop (as pictured above) gives a Lolita-esque vibe, but you could also try a flower to give your boudoir photos a softer feel.
19. Crouching and looking over shoulder
This boudoir pose is similar to above, except this time the model or client crouches on their feet rather than kneeling all the way on the ground.
When posing your subject, you can get her to rest her hands on her legs or run them through her hair.
20. Sitting on bed with hands on knees
If you get stuck for boudoir photo ideas, it can help to just go back to the basics. Get your client to warm into the shoot by sitting or kneeling casually on a bed, hands resting softly on their knees.
You can make this a highly polished shot with bright light and clean surroundings, or just embrace the crumpling of the sheets and some artful ‘bed-hair’ for a more relaxed Sunday morning vibe.
21. Sitting on a stool, leaning forwards
Many boudoir photographers love posing their clients on plush chaise lounges or regal armchairs (and don’t get me wrong, those are boudoir photography staples for a reason!). But the good news is that you don’t need sexy furniture to create a sexy boudoir shoot.
A simple metal or wooden stool is an awesome prop that allows you to play around with a bunch of extra boudoir poses.
Here’s one to try: direct your client or model to straddle the stool, leaning forwards onto their hands. The forward lean is one of the best positions for accentuating the shoulders and chest of the subject.
22. Arms up and resting on head
As any fashion or portrait photographer knows, one of the biggest problems with posing models is finding something for them to do with their hands. Enter this pose, which you should definitely keep on your list of boudoir photo ideas.
Direct your client to raise both arms up and rest them on their head. For a sensual boudoir photo, it’s important to relax the arms so they fall softly and the hands aren’t tensed up or balled into fists.
If you’re shooting for powerful and strong boudoir photos, you can ask her to interlock her arms above her head, keeping both arms straight. Just be clear about what style of photo you want and give directions to pose her accordingly.
This pose works well regardless of whether the subject is standing (if taking a full-length shot, try getting her to stand with one foot crossed just in front of the other for a softer pose, or legs straight and shoulder-width apart for a power pose) or sitting.
23. Knees up and lying back supported by arms
Depending on the client and the styling of the session, you might want boudoir poses that are hard-hitting, sexy and strong. In which case… here’s one for you!
For this pose, you want knees bent, feet pointed, arms bent to 90-degree angles, back arched, head tilted back.
Getting the right angles and lines in the body will make all the difference to the final image, so take your time with it until you get it right.
24. Lying with back arched
This is another excellent pose to incorporate into any boudoir photography shoot. The client should be lying down with arms stretched above their head and legs bent up, feet pointed.
Make sure the arch in their back is exaggerated to bring out the curves of the body.
The end result will be a boudoir photo they’ll love and cherish forever.
25. Body side-on, face to the camera
This boudoir pose has it all: the curves of the model’s backside and chest, a sexy hint of shoulder, and a smouldering look at the camera.
Posing your model with her hair over one eye adds an extra level of drama to the final boudoir photo, and is a technique used by fashion photographers when posing models too.
26. Lying with legs turned to one side
We’ve already covered a number of boudoir poses for lying down, and here’s another variation to keep up your sleeve.
Rather than having legs stretched out or bent up, have your client or model twist them to one side.
Instead of keepin this a static pose, keep your camera clicking as the subject moves and stretches her body.
This is a great pose for couples boudoir photography, since the legs/knees can be pointed towards the significant other.
27. Sitting with one leg bent in and the other bent back
Ever done a pigeon pose in yoga? It’s not only great for opening up your hips – it works as a boudoir pose as well!
Try a softer variation of it by getting your subject to bend their front leg in and lean forward.
28. Leaning back
Now for a few poses you can use to add detail shots to your boudoir photography session.
Get the client or model to lie down and lean back so that their neck is elongated and head is tilted back.
This is one of the best boudoir poses for accentuating the décolletage and capturing close-ups of the subject’s chest, lingerie and jewellery.
29. Leaning back with stretched neck
Similar to above, you can also use the leaning-back-neck-stretched pose from a side angle. Use dramatic lighting to add depth to the image and highlight the curves of the chest.
30. Lying with knees up
This is a simple boudoir pose to try if you want to get some detail shots of the legs. If you have some beautiful hosiery pieces in the styling of your boudoir shoot, even better.
Position your camera over the shoulder of your model and shoot down along the body to keep the framing close and intimate.
31. Lying with legs up on wall
Another classic pose to add to your boudoir photography repertoire: legs against the wall. See what shapes and forms you can create simply by positioning the legs in different ways.
Positioning the client with legs straight up and one crossed over the other can make for a powerful shot – especially with some high heels added into the mix.
Bare feet and relaxed legs make for a softer legs-on-wall boudoir photo.
How to Pose your Clients for Boudoir: 5 Tips
Now that you’ve seen some killer boudoir poses to copy, experiment with and build upon at your next shoot, it’s time to take a look at a few general posing tips that can help make life easier:
1. Relax the model
If you’re shooting with a client who has limited experience as a model, the first thing you need to do is help them relax.
If you’ve done portrait photography posing in the past, you might already have some tricks up your sleeve on building rapport with clients – like putting on music or saying something to make them laugh.
For boudoir photography specifically, you can also start by taking some shots clothed and stripping down to reveal more of their body as they relax into the session.
2. Start simple
Similarly, if you have complex or highly detailed poses in mind, it’s best to leave those until later in the shoot when the client has warmed into it.
Start with simple poses – like kneeling on a bed – and go from there.
3. Use props
Props are super important to boudoir photography – not just because they make your photos more interesting, but because they give the subject something to do.
The props you use will depend on the mood you want for your shoot. Is your boudoir photoshoot all about making the client feel powerful and dominating? Or soft and sensual? That’s the difference between a riding crop and a scattering of flowers!
For a casual vibe, you might have your model clasping a mug of hot coffee or lying on the bed flipping through a magazine.
For playful boudoir photography, they might be digging into some candy or licking the icing off a cupcake.
Always talk to your clients first and find out what props they’re comfortable using.
4. Pay attention to styling
In boudoir photography, you also want to use styling to create the mood of the shoot and bring out the beauty of the subject.
It may be that you’re doing the styling yourself, working with an experienced stylist, or letting the client lead the way and dress themselves. Regardless, as the photographer, you’ll need to pay attention to styling elements to make sure they work within the composition.
Also, remember to capture any important styling pieces throughout the course of the boudoir photography session. For example, if the client is a bride-to-be, they may want you to highlight their engagement ring or wedding garter belt in your images. Be sure to work these elements into your posing.
5. Keep it dynamic
While we’ve just given you 31 boudoir photography poses to work with, that doesn’t mean you should keep them all static.
Perfectly posing your model is a great way to nail a vision you have in mind for a shot. At other times, however, your boudoir photography can benefit from some movement.
Use these poses as a springing-off point, getting the model to move and flow – this will create some more dynamic and natural images where they’re not too stiff.
The end result? Boudoir photographs you’ll be proud of, and your client will love.
I hope this post got your boudoir photography ideas flowing and that you found some great poses to take with you to your next shoot!
If you have any questions or favourite boudoir poses of your own to share, please add them in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you.
Tania Braukamper is an Australian-born writer who also loves to take pictures on her banged-up (yet surprisingly resilient) Canon 5D Mark III. She currently lives in Portugal.