While more and more women in enlightened health conscious settings, like Phoenix and Scottsdale where we live and work, are daring to sit for fine boudoir portraits with their professional photographers, or perhaps even being photographed by a friend, one is often curious to know, who exactly will be on my boudoir photography set, what exactly are they doing on my set, and who all will be seeing my boudoir photos?


The answer to this question is varied and could include any of the following, depending on who exactly you have commissioned to photograph your boudoir photography sessions.

  • You will be there
  • Your photographer will be there
  • A photographic assistant may be there
  • Photographic grips may be there
  • Your stylists should be available
  • Your friends or loved ones may be present

Now this list is perhaps a bit longer than you considered…

Why are theses people on my boudoir photography set?

The Photographer

Obviously, you and your photographer will be present.  Depending on how many other helping hands are available, and how close your relationship to the photographer, for example, many have photos taken by a close girlfriend, the photographer may or may not be present while you are undergoing wardrobe changes.  The photographer will be on the set at most times.

The photographer is responsible for the overall shoot outcomes.  This includes safety, foremost.

The photographer will be on set at most times to insure an overall harmonious, professional and creative environment and to direct the other team members during most aspects of your boudoir experience.

Photographic Assistants & Grips

For this portrait, the stylist, photographer and talent were present during shooting. The stylist also aided as a grip.

For this boudoir portrait, the stylist, photographer and talent were present during shooting. The stylist also aided as a grip.

Boudoir photography is very gear and prop intensive.

The best outcomes are often arrived at with collaborations of teams directed by your boudoir photographer.

The assistants move gear, hold lighting modifiers, adjust garments or arrange sets, and so on.

The magazine quality look requires large teams to craft quickly, safely and repeatably as professionals artists and photographers are required to do.

The difference between grips and assistants is largely in the degree of skill or the particular job being performed.

Depending on your set, the number of these could be few, one or zero, or could be several for something that includes a big set, with lots of props and complex elements.

For most private professional boudoir shoots, expect zero to two.

Stylists:  Makeup, Hair, Prop, Wardrobe

Again depending on the professionalism of your boudoir photoshoot sitting, you may have stylists for Hair, Makeup, Props, and or Wardrobe.

This could be one stylist, who does the whole shebang, or could be a couple or even more than 4 stylists, for a complex set, for example, in a couples boudoir photoshoot, with several stylists working on the talent (the person or persons being photographed are their talent, so you are ‘The Talent’).

For smaller shoots, there may be no stylist, not recommended for best outcomes see How important is professional styling for the best boudoir photography session outcomes?, and/or the stylist may do double duty as a photographic assistant or grip.

Where the lighting is fairly simple, your stylist is perfectly capable of acting as the photographic assistant or grip.

On larger sets, each professional has their own job and stays fairly focused to their areas of particular expertise.

The Talent and Friends

Okay, snuck one in on you here.  You are the talent.  In couples boudoir, or if you are doing a theme with more than one person in the photo, there will be more than one ‘talent’ in the shot.  Expect them to be present.

Depending your location, the other talent may be sharing a dressing room or area with you as well.

Friends may be present.

Friends can either be a help or a hindrance.

On my sets for example, my general rule is, if your friends will be there, I will put them to work as an assistant or grip.

This keeps the flow working better for me.

If friends are just sitting, they tend to get in the way of your flow, or catch your eye, or in other ways tend to distract you from the very important work of being the talent.

Also, some sets are just too small for friends to be comfortably present.

Usually it is best if friends take a break during your shooting.

Though even in these cases, if you have brought them along, they make be peeking their heads in now and then.

As long as they don’t distract, it’s fine having them along, though do think of this a bit like being on stage, sometimes, your friends just need to belong in the wings or in the audience, out of sight and out of mind for you to give your best to the camera.

That is, you must play to the camera, as what the camera sees, is ultimately what you and the world will see.

Anyone near the set may view bits and pieces of you and or your boudoir images while your sitting is in progress.

What happens after your sitting to your boudoir photos?

With established professional boudoir photographers, you have certain professional courtesies and trade practices in place regarding privacies designed to keep your images confidential, except generally of course for those artists and professionals integral to the boudoir portrait creation process.


For more on who all may view your boudoir photos after your boudoir sitting, that is beyond what is viewed as part of being on set, see also Who will see my professional boudoir photos?


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