Boudoir photography cost guide

Nude or half-nude sexualized female body has been in the focus of photo cameras since the early 1840s. The tradition of boudoir photography started from the French postcards and gained its peak at the time of pin-up girls. Starting from the mid-1980s women in boudoir shots are characterized by the empowerment of their character subjects. Today every 5th woman in the US has done or considered a boudoir photo session. Most women participating in boudoir sessions do it to make a present for their loved ones but among the most common reasons are also the will to try something unusual and to escalate one's self-confidence.

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Boudoir photographers offer the creation of a unique erotic appearance to capture the most intimate and innermost sexuality of their models. The result of a boudoir photo session can be not only the picture but also a different perspective on yourself and your self-perception. Traditional boudoir photo sessions cost between $200 and $380/hour with the total length of about 1.5-2 hours; as a result, the cost of the photographer’s work will be $600-$1,140 per session. The sessions are usually taken in studios, yet outdoor options are also available. The final price of a boudoir photography session depends on the number of additional factors highlighted below.

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Questions related to the cost of a boudoir photo session

What are the basic packages for boudoir photography?

Boudoir photo sessions are sold in packages. Every photographer has different services included in every package, so the cost can vary significantly. However, here is a list of the most common services that can be included in the packaged boudoir photo sessions:

  • Makeup and hairstyle (MUAH)
  • Props
  • Prints
  • Edited images
  • Albums

Most often, albums, prints, and props (regarding lingerie) are offered as an additional service, while the rest are included in session packages in different combinations. Here are the average costs of different packages:

  • 1 hour: MUAH + 2/3 outfit changes + 5/8 edited images = $400
  • 1.5 hours: MUAH + 5 outfit changes + 10/15 edited images = $680
  • 1.5 hours: MUAH + 5/6 outfit changes + 30 edited images = $830
  • 2 hours: MUAH + 6 outfit changes + 30/50 edited images = $1,050

It is uncommon for a boudoir photography session to last more than two hours; however, plain-air sessions may take longer due to the time required for outfit changes.

How much does MUAH service for boudoir session cost?

Boudoir makeup is usually included in the packages. Yet, if it comes as a separate service, the average cost is $45-$70. MUAH for boudoir usually looks like a daily light makeup and natural hairstyle; this creates the bright and romantic mood for the pictures. In case, you opt for a thematic boudoir session (pin-up or vamp), the MUAH service may cost up to $150.

How much will I pay for the prints?

The average cost for prints is $80; however, this is a national average which includes both prints costing $5 and those reaching $150 price line. Generally, photographers ask between $20 and $60 per print; the per-print cost will go lower if you decide to order multiple prints.

Does plain-air boudoir session cost more than the studio?

Most boudoir sessions are held in studios because it provides more intimacy and the feeling of security to the models. This means that not even all boudoir photographers have the option of plain-air sessions or set 20%-25% higher price for this service. However, those photographers who have been long in business do not differentiate between the studio and plain-air sessions and will ask the same price for both.

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How to find a trustworthy boudoir photographer

The general idea of hiring a photographer is basically the same regardless of the type of photo session you are planning. You need to check the references of a photographer and decide whether you accept the cost of the offered service. But when you look for a boudoir photographer, there are several aspects essential for a fruitful cooperation.

  • Photographer’s care is one of the most basic elements. It should be tangible on their website (easy to navigate and intuitive in everything) as well as in personal communication (smile, clear language, ability to hear your wishes). Boudoir sessions are very intimate and so require a particular set of mind from the photographer’s side.
  • Relaxedness and will to experiment is an indispensable part of boudoir photo sessions. If a photographer is constrained and can’t openly look at your body, then rarely will the session go successfully. These qualities are easy to evaluate even by looking at the photographer's works: if models are relaxed, comfortable, and have shining eyes, then this is a good choice for your experimental session.
  • A non-judgmental approach is essential unless you want to feel bad after the shooting. Everyone has flaws in the appearance and a professional boudoir photographer should be able to help you hide them instead of highlighting all the cons of your shape in the picture.
  • Openness in terms of information sharing should always be present during your negotiation with a photographer. To prepare for the shooting you should know the location, the exact number of people that will be present, all details about the MUAH service, and anything else related to the photo session. Your prospective photographer should be open to sharing any information related to the shooting. Should there be any secrets or minor slips of the tongue, it’s better to consider such cooperation once again.

Other frequently asked questions

Is boudoir photography the same as nude photography?

Nude photography is only one element of boudoir photography. The term “boudoir” encompasses a number of photography styles, such as erotic, nude, sexual, pin-up, sensuality, bridal, tattoo, and many others. Boudoir photography stands on the idea to demonstrate the beauty of a woman’s body with the light erotic inflection, so anything that fits the description is boudoir.

Does the studio provide lingerie and props for the session?

Not all studios and photographers provide lingerie and outfits for their sessions but most of them do. Don’t worry about the hygienic aspect; all the props are professionally cleaned after every client.

Will somebody help me with posing?

Most women coming to boudoir photo sessions are not professional models but rather enthusiasts who decided to make a present for someone or try something new. This aspect of such a photography is understood by the photographers, who got used to dealing with non-professionals. In most cases, photographers help with posing ideas and mood changes. Some larger studios may even offer a posing lesson prior to the session (about $60 per lesson) or a consultant present on set.

Do men ever do boudoir shoots?

Generally, boudoir photo sessions are all about women and depiction of their sexuality. Some photographers, however, offer couple boudoir sets for $200-$250/hour. Single male boudoir sessions are usually qualified as basic erotic or nude male sessions, and the cost of such is about $220/hour.

Will my shots appear on the Internet?

Unless you ask a photographer to do so, the general answer is "no." This part of the deal is always discussed prior to the photo session in terms of author rights to the photos and the possibilities of their usage in the future. The specificity of boudoir photography prohibits the use of your photographs in any aspect without your consent.

Bottom line

Boudoir photography session is a unique experience that can help you uncover the hidden sides of your character and receive admirable images of yourself. The whole pleasure will cost you about $800 per session and with additional expenses like prints or professional MUAH service, the final cost will be about $1,250.

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