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Boudoir Shoot Checklist for Photographers

I think we can all agree that we get a tad nervous before a photo shoot.  It’s a mixture of being excited, making sure you’re ready and getting anxious waiting for your client to arrive!  If you’re 100% prepared though,
you shouldn’t feel too nervous.
 Just make sure you have all your ducks in a row and plan, plan, plan.  Over the years I’v learned there are many things people come to need once they arrive. Most I never thought of until they needed it.

So, I decided to create this list. It’s a Boudoir Shoot Checklist for Photographers.

*Feel free to print it out or reference it before your next boudoir shoot!


  • A Makeup Artist, Makeup & Hair Products:  This, of course, only applies if you’re offering hair/makeup services for your client’s upon their arrival.  It’s so important that you have a makeup/hair artist all booked and ready to go ahead of time.  It doesn’t hurt to call or text her a day or two before the shoot to remind her of it as well.
  • Music:  Ask your client before the shoot what her favorite artist of genre of music is.  That way you can play her favorite music for her when she arrives! She’ll love it and it will calm any nerves she might have. I have an ipod doc at my studio with Pandora Radio set up on it so I can choose any station that my client likes.
  • Lint Roller:  This thing has come in handy, let me tell you!  Many times people will show up with black outfits and they own cats, dogs, hamsters, bears etc.  Nobody EVER remembers to bring a lint roller! So, when you tell them you have one they will love you forever!
  • Backdrop Clamps:  I bought an assortment of backdrop clamps off of Amazon to hang backdrops with. I never thought I would use the small ones but they come in handy for wardrobe malfunctions! I’v had zippers break, clothes not fit, clothing rips, etc.  Instead of worrying about it I just clamp it in the back.  Clamp it yo! This Also comes in handy when I do shoots with lots of draping. I can clamp the draping to a light stand etc.
  • Lotion:  In our studio changing room I have an assortment of lotions. Especially here in the winter people don’t notice how dry their legs are until they go to change into their lingerie. This is another item everyone over looks so if you have it you’re the hero!
  • Makeup Remover:  I find most women are doing a boudoir shoot so they can surprise their significant other. Being that it’s a surprise many of them want to take the makeup off after their photo shoot so nobody gets suspicious! Make sure you have makeup remover or it will be very hard for them to hide the makeover!
  • Tights:  Put these over your head… lol jk. I’v had people forget their tights, snag them or they don’t fit. I like to keep S, M & L black tights around “just in case.”  They’re so cheap, so why not?
  • Black Heels:  You wouldn’t believe how many women forget their heels or simply don’t own heels! I keep a size 9 closed toe heel at my studio but I honestly think a 7 1/2 would be a good size to have around as well.  I also have a lot of women bring open toed heels and personally I don’t think they look or photograph as nice as closed toe.
  • Toiletries:  Give your clients one less thing to worry about. Have tampons, spray deodorant and mouth wash in your studio bathroom.
  • Questionnaire: I  have my clients fill out a questionnaire prior to their photo shoot and then I make sure to print that out and bring it to the shoot.  I ask them if they have a specific look they’re going for, what (if any) images they liked best from off of my website, what music they like, how much skin they want to show etc.
  • Camera (main body): Silly thing to have to remind you of but obviously you’re going to need a camera 😉
  • Camera (back up body): Yes, you do need a backup even for a portrait session.  What if your client drives an hour to your shoot and then your camera dies? Or what if she needs her boudoir photos as a gift by next week and your camera malfunctions? Back up, back up, back up!
  • Lenses: Don’t forget your lenses 😉
  • Camera/Equipment “Accessories:” Batteries, cords for lights, light stands, camera bag, etc.
  • Lighting Equipment: Boudoir is mostly done inside. If you’re shooting in a home, studio or hotel you will need to remember to bring your lights! If you’re shooting outside, remember your reflector!
  • Modifier: Don’t forget a modifier for your light(s)! I always bring a soft box, brolly box or umbrella.
  • Bobby Pins/Safety Pins: You never know when these will come in handy!
  • Props: Pearl Necklace, Vintage Phone, Bird Cage Veil, etc.
  • Socks: Ever have a client who lacks a bit in the bust department? Ever have a client bring in a bra that is too large for her?  To remedy the bra gap have her roll up a sock and put it to the corner under each breast. Crazy but it works!!
  • Double Sided Tape: This comes in so handy! This helps remedy straps falling, bra gaps or ill fitting clothing.
  • Sewing Kit: You might have to fix those last minute wardrobe malfunctions!
  • Nail Polish/Nail Polish Remover: Women tend to overlook their nails! Nothing is worse then a close up with chipped nail polish though! Have nail polish remover or (red) nail polish ready to remedy this common “oops!”
  • Bottled Water: Water is a must! Clients will get thirsty during their photo shoot, especially with lights on them! A hydrated client is a happy client!
  • Snacks: Snacks are great to have for after the shoot while she’s waiting for you to process her images. I have granola bars, fruit, etc. I also let them know they can leave to gran dinner or order it to the studio as well.
  • Business Cards/Promo Materials: If you have a studio you will (should) already have these things readily available. However, if you’re shooting in home or at a hotel, be sure not to forget these!
  • Step Stool: Get good angles with this step stool. Be able to get a good angle on a 6 foot client if you’re 5’5″ and short like me! 😉
  • Backdrops: Again, if you’re in studio you’ll already have these available.  However, if you’re shooting in home or hotel don’t forget any backdrops you might want to use!
  • Robe: I have a few silk robes that I keep at the studio. Not only are they great as props but also if they ladies aren’t comfortable coming out in their skimpy lingerie. This acts as a cover up until they are ready for their close up.

What MUST HAVE items do you have on your Boudoir Shoot Checklist? Comment below and share in the industry wisdom. 🙂


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Molly Keyser

Boudoir photographer and business coach, I am dedicated to changing the world with the power of a camera. Originally from Wisconsin, I'm now in Texas, but I help photographers around the world learn how to go full-time with boudoir photography.