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Create a Boudoir Photography Portfolio

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How to Create a Boudoir Photography Portfolio as a Beginner

Are you a new boudoir photographer ready to book out your schedule ASAP? Then you’ll need a stunning portfolio your ideal clients can’t resist. 

But I know what you’re thinking… “How am I supposed to build up my portfolio if I’m new to all this? I don’t have any clients to photograph!”

I totally get that…but as someone who has been at this a while, I can tell you that there are a few trade secrets you’ve probably never even heard of! Secrets (well, really, best practices) that can help you get your biz off the ground, even if you don’t have any clients yet. 

Ready to find out what they are? Let’s dive in! I’m giving you five tips on how to create a boudoir photography portfolio.

Tip #1: Decide on Your Style of Boudoir Photography

The first thing you need to do is decide on your style of boudoir photography (because, no, they aren’t all the same!). 

First, I want you to know that your style can and will change over time. But it’s also important to have a style that clients and potential clients can recognize immediately!   

There are 3 main styles of boudoir photography:

  • Dark and moody
  • Light and airy
  • Correctly lit

Personally, my photography style is correctly lit. This is my style and basically what I mean by this is that your images are lit technically correct regardless if they are light and airy OR dark and moody.

Create a Boudoir Photography Portfolio | Tracy Lynn Coaching | See more at

Whereas light and airy would be…

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This is similar to my coaching client Chelsea.

And dark and moody would be…

Create a Boudoir Photography Portfolio | Tracy Lynn Coaching | See more at

… similar to my coaching client Krysten.

Whatever style you choose, you need to go all in. You can adjust as time goes on, but having a style means you can find your ideal clients — and vice versa — so much easier. 

Tip #2: Find Boudoir Photography Models

The next thing you can do if you don’t yet have a portfolio built out is to find models you can photograph. And when you do, make sure they’re diverse. Yes, you have an ideal client in mind but that doesn’t mean they will all look exactly the same. 

Have people in your portfolio of different body types, hair colors, and skin colors. This way, no matter what your potential clients look like, they can find someone they relate to (and thus picture themselves as) inside your portfolio! 


So…where do you find said models? Your best bet is going to be on Instagram

You can, of course, try a model call on your feed or your story, but I don’t really recommend doing this. Why? Because the ones who are following you close enough to see your feed/story would be the ones who would pay for a session! 

So there are two things I recommend doing instead:

  1. Explore Instagram hashtags! Play around with local hashtags to help find potential models that are local to you. 
  2. And two, check out each potential model’s following to see if there are any other models you’d want to reach out to.

You will likely have to pay your models, but there are some who are willing to work for free in exchange for those photos (and a little cross-promotion, too).

Tip #3: Knock Out All Your Sessions at Once

You want your portfolio ready to go ASAP, right? Then my recommendation is to knock out all of those portfolio sessions at once.

It will save you so much time! Think about it…when you group like-tasks together, you’re already in the zone. You won’t have to spend time shifting your focus back and forth. And you can reduce travel time to and from sessions. 

This is also something I do in my own business, even now. Realistically, I’m only in the studio a handful of days each month, and it’s because I photograph several sessions at once

This means I have more time during the month to do other things (like travel) versus commuting, setting up the studio, and photographing every single day. 

 Tip #4: Find a Professional Studio Space

Booking all your models consecutively means more than just being efficient with your time. It can also help you SAVE money — especially when renting out a studio space, hotel, or Airbnb as your set. 

And trust me…you WILL want to have a professional photography setup. There’s no need to get a studio right off the bat if you don’t have to. And definitely not while you’re trying to get bookings first. It will help save you and make you more money in the long run.


Not sure how to find the prime location? Here are a few tips if you don’t already have a studio space: 


Tip #5: Set Up an Online Boudoir Photography Portfolio

And finally, let’s talk about actually setting up your portfolio online. And where you decide to actually do that all depends on where you’re at in your photography journey. 

Are you only on Instagram and Facebook? Do you have a website yet? Neither? 

You need to have your portfolio where it can be visible to your ideal clients. But the best place to have your portfolio is on your website, of course. 

PRO TIP: Whatever you want to sell more of — whether that’s digital files only, albums, or prints, you need to make sure you’re keeping that front and center!

Psssst… want to build a beautiful website for your boudoir studio but not sure how or where to start? Check out this website template my girls at NR Media created for my coaching clients! 

BONUS TIP: Hire Hair and Makeup Artists

And finally, I want to leave you with a bonus tip that can help you create a BEAUTIFUL boudoir portfolio as a beginner!

You need to require your models to have professional hair and makeup done

It makes a HUGE difference and will help your portfolio stand out from the crowd! You can pay for it yourself, which can be helpful in the long run. Eventually, you’ll want to have a working relationship with a hair and makeup artist you trust. 

But when you’re booking a bunch of models at one time, the cost can really start to add up. 

So it all depends on where you are in business. Can you afford that cost right now? If not, you can consider asking your models to pay for that small expense themselves (in exchange for the photos they’re getting in return!). 

Want to Learn More About Working With Boudoir Photography Models? 

If you’ve never worked with models before, it can be pretty intimidating! But they can be some of the best ways to build up your portfolio as a beginner. 

Want to learn more about finding the right people? And photographing them well (so you can create a BEAUTIFUL boudoir photography portfolio)?

Check out episode 81 of The Sustainable Freedom With Boudoir Photography Podcast!

I’m covering more on how to find those models, book them, and build partnerships with local businesses and influencers for the BEST partnerships.


Tracy Lynn is a boudoir photogapher for brides-to-be in the St. Louis area, and a mentor + coach for photographers looking to level up their businesses with better systems and processes.

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