The Business of Boudoir »

Finding Inspiration in Unexpected Places

When you’ve been in the boudoir business for longer than, ohhh, a year or so, you begin to get bored. We’re artists, we’re entitled to that feeling! I see this more often with studio photographers who get stir-crazy shooting on their same sets over and over again. I’ve known many photographers to take to the boudoir forums or to Pinterest to spark their inspiration…but I’m here to (hopefully) help you look to new places for your inspiration.

The boudoir photography industry is smaller than you think … and it’s getting more difficult to differentiate your work from others’. It’s all starting to look the same. That’s what happens when boudoir photographers are looking at other boudoir photographer’s work as inspiration for their next shoot. There are only so many of us, you know 😉

I challenge you to STOP seeking creative enlightenment in the boudoir forums. That’s a GREAT place to learn and pick up tips, but you shouldn’t live there.

Here are some other ideas:

1. Fashion Magazines.

What I’m about to say may be a little blunt for some. But why in the world would you look at other boudoir photographers with the same capabilities as you for inspiration? Why wouldn’t you be looking at the top photographers in the country…in the WORLD? (This goes hand-in-hand with the “dress for the job you want” theory).

These images are available to us with ease at your local bookstore. Buy a VOGUE (I go for the FRENCH Vogue. I can’t understand a word, but obviously I’m not in it for the articles), buy a Vanity Fair, buy a Maxim if that’s more your speed. Study the lighting. Pay close attention to the retouching and the posing. Look at the model’s facial expressions and determine what you might have to say to your client to elicit that type of emotion.

2. Art Books.


When I’m feeling creatively stumped, I often head to the bookstore and thumb through some art books. You know, the ones that weigh 20lbs? Browsing through world-renowned artists’ portraits and editorial work is so inspiring. It challenges me to think outside of the box a bit and maybe create something with an entirely different style! Repeat after me … “It’s OK to experiment. Experimentation is GOOOOD!” Ok, moving on.

3. Music Videos.

This is MY personal #1. Being that MTV doesn’t really show music videos anymore, you have to dig a little deeper (Try Vevo!)…but music videos are so visually stimulating! They are brilliantly orchestrated, have insane sets, and have a strong overall tone—just like a photo shoot should. When I saw the Taylor Swift “Blank Space” video (don’t laugh. All photographers are nerds. Yes, even you!), I was instantly inspired to do about 3 different photo shoots based on different sets/scenes.

The shot below was actually inspired by a Lana Del Rey video:


4. Personal Projects.

Photo projects are really a must for every photographer. Challenge yourself to create a series of images with a single theme. When you narrow your focus to just one concept, you’ll be amazed at how your creativity blossoms.  I’m currently in the midst of a “30 days of black and white” project in which I’m posting only black and white images to Instagram. Mostly boudoir-related (but I, of course, have to throw a few shots of my kids in there too…or what kind of mother would I be!?).

In the past, I’ve also done projects centered on silhouettes, legs, whimsical tulle skirts, and color schemes. The possibilities are truly endless.

Congratulations! You’ve read to the bottom!  That means there is no excuse for solely creeping on other boudoir photographer’s work for “inspiration”. Inspiration is EVERYWHERE (My yoga instructor would be so proud of me for saying that.)! Go get inspired, y’all!


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