The Business of Boudoir »

Posing for Problem Areas Part I : Tummies

“I’m a mom. So … yeah … I hate my stomach.”

90 percent of my clients say that they hate their stomachs. Yes, I kept track last year. 90 percent. Being a mom, myself, and … well, just a WOMAN in general, I can completely identify with the tummy woes.

I don’t care how good of a photographer you are, if you don’t listen to your clients when they tell you that they hate their ______ , they will not be as happy with the finished product as they would be if you listened and address the issue head on.

So let’s talk TUMMY taming, shall we?

First things first: Reassure your client

She could have the worst case of stretch marks you’ve ever seen, but don’t draw attention to the issue.

When she brings it up (and believe me, she will), acknowledge that she is insecure with her problem area, assure her that you know exactly what you’re doing and will pose her strategically, and then make her feel warm and fuzzy throughout the entire shoot. ESPECIALLY when you are sensing her insecurity.

Say things like “I know that I’ve got your tummy exposed at the moment and you hate that, but I’m actually focusing on your face in this shot, so just BREATHE and keep looking fabulous!”

Also, I cannot stress this enough: Even if you are looking at a perfectly in-shape woman with a rocking stomach, if she says that she hates her stomach, you absolutely must do everything you can to make her stomach either look 10x more fabulous than it already does without letting her catch on to it, or camouflage it at all costs … without letting her catch on to it.

Being successful in this line of work means putting yourself in your client’s shoes and understanding that she is entitled to her insecurities, however “crazy” they may be to you.

Second: Set yourself and your client up for success with thorough communication about dressing for your body type

If you don’t already have a prep guide for your clients, you must go create one!

Within that guide, you should give specific wardrobe tips. Making statements in your communications like: “Don’t worry! I will make you look AMAZING, no matter what!”, might encourage your client with tummy insecurities to show up with ONLY two-piece outfits. You can see how that might really limit the variety of poses you can get away with.  Encourage your clients to bring body suits, proper-fitting corsets, and other tummy-concealing wardrobe options.

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 Now, the nitty gritty: Posing

Check out these pose ideas that will take the tummy out of the spotlight and make your client happy!

1. Stomach-lying.

The oh-so-obvious “I hate my stomach” pose. It works for a reason! If the stomach is not in the shot, then your client cannot nit-pick the photo because of that insecurity.


I’m willing to bet that this is your go-to pose for women who claim their tummy is their trouble. Remember, though, that you still need to create variety. Play around with different angles. Don’t forget to make sure there isn’t a leg or a heel coming out of your client’s head! That’s an easy mistake to make in this pose.

On to the next pose!

 2. From the back, yo.

Another semi-obvious option, but I like this one even better because you can often show off almost EVERYTHING but the stomach.  Have your client face away from you completely, then direct her to turn her head towards you and push out her booty.  Then, if she rotates her torso ever-so-slightly towards you, you’ll get a good side-boob shot…and, really, what’s a boudoir shoot without a little side boob?


3. Hanging off the bed, all stretched-out like.

Let’s just say that you want to prove to your client that her stomach isn’t awful.  I make it my challenge to take ONE absolutely rocking image of the one body part that she claims to hate. Enter the “Hanging off the bed, all stretched-out like” pose.

To the ladies reading this blog, you know you are doing this at home. When your legs are dangling off the bed it makes your hip bones stick out just a little bit more, and distributes midsection weight much more evenly. The further your client stretches out her legs, the tighter her tummy will look. Kick it up a notch and a half by having her reach her arms up overhead, elbows and chin to the ceiling. BOOM. Instant tummy tuck. If you haven’t already, try it yourself!


 4. The hip-thruster.

This one can get a little tricky, especially if you are shooting on a slick floor and your client is in heels. But after a quick demonstration to my client, showing her how big of a difference it makes in my own stomach when I thrust my hips way up into the air, they are eager to give it their all!


A side note about this shot: It’s a natural inclination to draw your chin in to your chest when doing this pose. Be sure to remind your clients to lengthen their neck and lift their chin to the ceiling to avoid adding another problem area unnecessarily.

5. The kimono/cardigan/oversized shirt/sheets cover-up.

The key to rocking this shot out is making sure that it’s not completely obvious you are trying to cover the tummy with the clothing. Strategically placing the clothing so that it looks effortless is crucial.  Take the below shot, for example. The kimono is just draped ever-so-freaking-perfectly in front of my client’s stomach.


6. Use what she’s got (other body parts!).

Lying down on your back with your hands plopped on your belly screams “I’m not confident!” So, beware of that! However, using strategically placed arms and legs can produce really natural results.



“But, Kara Marie!” you say. “None of those girls have ‘tummy troubles’.”   In my eyes, no, you’re right … they do not.  I used these examples purposely.

These gorgeous women all mentioned to me that they were insecure about their stomach. And they all ended up loving their images—tummy and all! That is why it’s so important to acknowledge their insecurity instead of writing them off as “crazy” and pull out all the stops to ensure you are doing everything to give them a taut tummy.

There are obviously so many more creative ways to avoid tummy troubles than just those listed here. What your YOUR favorite tummy-posing techniques?  Leave them in the comments! We’d love to hear from you!


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