Well, thanks so much for booking with us first of all - you are in good hands! I have over 9 years experience now with shooting boudoir and I have finely tuned this guide to help you get the very best out of your shoot.
Although this guide is very specific please don't let it worry you - if you have a special piece of lingerie that you'd like to wear then just bring it along. Most girls bring more than they need anyway and I help with sorting through it while you're here. Also, we do have an extensive wardrobe here already - so at the very least just bring a nice black bra and pants set and pair or heels (although we have plenty of shoes here too!). Lots of you choose to make your shoot more of a treat by buying new lingerie, this is great and I hope the guide below helps!
Lets start with a word about corsets. I used to shoot a lot of these when I first started out - most girls want to accentuate their waist with a nipped-in corset but the sad truth is that unless you're spending upwards of £100 then you're not going to get the structure needed to support your boobs and rib cage while pulling at the waist and flaring at the hips. Cheap corsets online are just that, cheap, and they look and feel cheap too. Save them for fancy dress. The very best corsets are bespoke, handmade to your exact measurements and an investment. I have some lovely ones and they are comfortable to wear and give a neat line under my clothes. A slightly cheaper option is to buy a very good quality off-the-rack corset - What Katie Did are my very favourites. Always buy a bit smaller than you need. As you can see below underbust corsets are the best for really nipping in your waist and you can also wear a lovely bra to support you on top!
Which leads me on to bras. Due to the vast array of sizes and styles these are not something I tend to have many of here to borrow for your shoot. You will need to bring your own. The most important point about bras is that they MUST support you while you are lying down. A lot of your shots will be taken in this position - if your bra doesnt support from the sides then your boobs will disappear under your arms! The best ones to wear are padded or formed cups. If you have small boobs then there are some beautiful soft cup frilly ones out there - try Fleur of England - I love them! For a touch of the exotic I do like a harness style bra - the cage cups do wonders for your cleavage!
If you do not want to hide your middle in a basque or corset then try and make your lingerie set as exotic as possible - a lot of stores now sell sets that include a waspie or suspender belt - these instantly take your bra and knickers into a whole new sexy territory!
Plain T-shirt style bras dont look great on a fancy boudoir shoot and also try and avoid floral patterns or girly colours - they just look a bit 'every-day' under our lights. For larger boobs I love a good long-line bra - they have a vintage twist whilst still being supportive - Gossard do some great ones.
My absolute favourite item for any boudoir shoot is the basque - or corselette, or even a lacy body. They provide coverage for your middle area (most girls least favourite part) whilst still giving valuable cup support - they can even have suspender attachments for added va va voom. Again, no soft cups and try and avoid basques that are too short in the body - your tum will stick out underneath and also go for wider suspender straps if possible - the thin ones look a bit cheap.
Most good lingerie brands will do a basque, again I love Gossard for these as they look so vintage! What Katie Did do true-to-vintage corselettes and girdles for all you die-hard pin-up girls out there!
A great alternative to lingerie and one which I find myself using more and more on vintage style shoots is swimwear - there are some great repro vintage styles on the market at the moment, these are also perfect for fuller figured ladies as they often have control panels in the centre and good bust support. If you don't fancy the vintage style then a slinky bikini or cut-away swimsuit looks model-perfect, and they are mostly very cheap too!
Another possible alternative is the body-stocking - but to be honest these are hard to make classy but we can do it with the plainer ones - the main image below is an example! You really do need a cracking figure though to pull them off! For plus-size girls maybe consider a baby-doll? These are perfect as they accentuate boobs whilst hiding your middle area in a non-clingy fabric. Don't pick ones with no cup support - they wont do you any favours when lying on your back!
We have a large supply of stockings and hold-ups here in all sizes - this is the item that most girls get wrong so I have built up a good collection just in case! Plain stockings and hold-ups are always classier and more elegant - a simple plain top or a lace top is perfect. Fully fashioned seamed stockings are the absolute in glamour but can be pricey! Firstly make sure you buy the right ones - stockings have no grip and are for use with suspender clips, hold-ups have a silicone grip and are for wearing without suspender clips - please don't bring hold-ups to wear with clips - they are too thick for the suspender clip attachments to catch hold. The most common mistake is buying the wrong size - they are always marked larger than they are. Open a packet and stretch the tops - do they look like they'd fit your thighs at the top? If not get a bigger size. My faves are from the Big Tights Company - large sizes with deep tops and always great quality. Go for a fine denier as opaque ones can look a bit odd against a dark background. Do avoid what I call 'gadget' stockings - ones with bows, ribbons, weird colours, corset tops and stripes - they just draw the eye down and look a bit cheap. If bringing bridal lingerie then a plain nude stocking looks best rather than white ones - they can make your legs look like sausages!
One of the things most girls fuss over is their shoes - we all love shoes! I've had girls turning up with literally just a thong and 7 pairs of killer heels! Funnily enough they are the item that I least worry about. Most of my shots do not include feet and even then they are taken from a distance. For this reason i'd avoid anything fancy, clumpy (like shoe boots) coloured statement shoes, lacy, low heeled or overly strappy. Your shoes need to finish of an elegant leg but not distract from the main focus of your image - your face, hair and boobs! I'd usually say bring a pair of simple black patent high heels - I also have pairs here if you haven't got anything suitable!
Lots of girls worry about their nails - i'm glad you do because a dirty unkempt nail really spoils the effect of your images - your hands are visible in most shots, sometimes close up near your face so it really matters that they are clean, elegant and in good condition. No chipped polish! A simple French manicure or a red / burgandy polish works very well on our shoots. Again, as with shoes, they are to finish off the image, not to be the main focus of it so avoid nail art and bright modern colours.
If you have your ears pierced then do bring earrings to wear - as you may be lying flat its best to avoid dangly earrings or large hoops - studs are best, maybe diamante or pearl. Id usually advise you to steer clear of other jewellery too - bracelets and necklaces often date your images really quickly - I have lots of pearls though if you fancy a vintage shot!
I used to get a lot of girls bringing personal items that meant something to them and their chaps - not so much anymore but I have had fishing waders, hard-hats, football shirts and school uniforms! These can be fun but always end up being the least liked image in their set - we tend to do dark and mysterious rather than fun and playful with our boudoir shoots but we'd never say never!
I hope this post has been helpful but do contact me if you have any queries about what you want to bring with you!!!
Love Nicola x x xx