Practice makes progress. Photography is no different, and we all know that from how much we’ve grown and changed over the weeks, months and even years. When it comes to your boudoir photography, things are no different… although it may feel a little weirder asking your friends to come over and let you take their picture in their skivvies while you up your photography game and get in some practice!

I am sharing my top five tips for practicing your boudoir photography. These tips will help you grow, will challenge your autopilot settings and will even help you unlock your full creative potential as you explore new styles to find what really draws you in.

Tip 1 – Find a Friend.

We can all find that ONE friend who is ALWAYS up for photos. Find that friend and work with them often as you’re practicing the tips. What’s nice about asking the same person is that you get to know them well enough that you have the freedom to play with things like lighting and locations without worrying about giving them enough directions, etc. They’ll get used to you, your directives and will feel comfortable heading out into the forest or heading to the beach for your latest creative whim.

Tip 2 – Head Outdoors.

If you’re more comfortable in a studio, head outside. Start by browsing Pinterest for some creative and unique ideas that actually get you excited about exploring the wilderness for your boudoir session. Maybe you’re drawn to moody beaches, whimsical forests or rocky terrain. Whatever it is that calls you, head there and explore what it’s like to work with your model in nature. There will be unique poses, natural props and real lighting to work with so this will require you to get creative in your adventure. Have fun and embrace how you aren’t able to control every aspect of your surroundings.

Tip 3 – Get Inside.

If you’re already drawn to the outdoors rent a studio and get inside. Make the most of your time by playing around with studio lighting, different backdrops and props and really explore all of your options. The same as Tip 2, head to Pinterest and explore things that catch your eye as a reference point and to get your own creative juices flowing. You’ll be surprised how inspiration can strike.

Tip 4 – Texture

Velvet, lace, silk and tulle are all gorgeous fabric options that can create beautiful textures, add a unique vibe to your shoot and can be fun just to play with. Have your model hide beneath silk sheets that cling to outline her frame, use lace in front of your lens for a hazy effect or drape velvet as a backdrop for an era feel. Fabrics can be cost effective and fun to play with so head to a local fabric store and add them to your trunk of outfits and props.

Tip 5 – Strike a Pose

If you’ve been shooting boudoir for a while you may feel like your work is becoming stagnant. Same pose, different subject. This is another perfect time to grab your up-for-anything friend to work on creative posing. Try new poses and allow your model to give you honest feedback if the pose feels weird or uncomfortable. Let the model be creative and try posing on her own and see what kind of magic she creates that you can then recreate with additional models. With paying clients, we are committed to results but with a friend, exploration is a perk of the relationship you already have. Show the photos to your model as you are going through them so they can also see or perhaps offer suggestions.

These seem pretty basic for a reason– exploring to unleash your creative side is something that is often lost once we transition to full-time photography. Our clients now pay our bills so the freedom of expression when we were first experimenting with our camera and friends feels like a thing of the past. Try to give yourself at least one shoot a month with no other purpose than to let your creativity run wild. See what happens. Your clients will thank you for it.