Lights, Camera, Anxiety! 5 Ways to Banish Self Doubt In Front of a Professional’s Camera

Intimate photography, or boudoir photography as it is known, is an ever-growing industry, leaving you, the consumer, a million and one options when looking for a professional photo shoot. Don’t know where to begin? Start by building confidence and setting yourself up for success with these 5 ways to banish self doubt in front of a professional’s camera.

image copyright Lightfox Studios

We all have memories of picture day at school, sitting on that awkward stool, holding a toothy (or toothless) grin, saying “Cheese!” and being momentarily blinded by the flash. As life progresses, there are birthdays and graduations and other occasions that call for a confident pose and a winning smile — but how nervous and self conscious does that make you? Being camera shy is a common social discomfort and one that many people, even the most confident people, identify with. So what happens to that shaky confidence when you’re in front of a camera and a photographer in little more than lingerie, or even your birthday suit? If you’ve always wanted to do a sexy, professional photo shoot but don’t know where to begin, this post is for you. 

Choose the right photographer
Specialty and boudoir photography can be a beautiful way to celebrate yourself or mark a milestone in your life, giving you keepsake images to enjoy forever. Whether you have photos taken for a partner, or for yourself, choosing a photographer you connect with and feel good with will make all the difference. You don’t want to arrive on the day of your photo shoot feeling unsure or uncomfortable with the person behind the camera. Ideally, you feel safe and comfortable with them and they are open to all your questions and concerns. Ensuring that your values and boundaries will be respected is essential, so have a conversation with them prior to booking. Get to know a bit about how they work, beyond just the basic info on session times and prices and always read testimonials and reviews. Look for professionals who provide helpful resources that ensure your comfort, like this handy Client Guide by Lightfox Studios.  

image copyright Lightfox Studios

Look good, feel good
How you feel on the day of your photoshoot will surely come across in your photos, so do what you can to prepare yourself for a great experience. Make sure you’re well hydrated, you’ve eaten something light before hand and you are wearing something that makes you feel how you want to feel, be it beautiful, powerful, sexy or sweet. Lingerie is a great option, but don’t discount the allure of oversized button down shirts, sports jerseys, robes, or playful costumes. Consider the option of professional hair and makeup to complete your look – they will know how to make you look great for the camera – and never underestimate the power of a sky-high pair of heels. 

Music and laughter always help
Most pros will encourage you to bring music to your shoot because songs that you like or that will get you in a lighthearted (or sexy or dramatic, etc.) mood will make the time slip by and help keep you in the moment. Choose a variety of tempos from upbeat and fun to sultry and slow, depending on what you want to achieve, and don’t forget to have fun! Laughter lights up your face, so having some fun, being silly and pushing yourself to just go with it will elicit the best images.

Be brave! Take one small risk
For many people, this is a once in a lifetime experience, so why not make the very most of it? Your photographer will take many, many photos so give yourself license to do one thing that you’re unsure of or nervous about. This might mean featuring a part of your body you’re not fully comfortable with, or revealing a little bit more skin. Talk with your photographer about your nerves and see if they have any tips on how to feel ready to rock those more challenging shots. Imagine taking that small risk and pushing yourself, only to get the pictures back and absolutely love the results? 

image copyright Lightfox Studios

What you see is not always what others see
Self criticism can be a big factor in holding back from experiences like boudoir photoshoots, so it’s essential to remember that how we see ourselves is often inaccurate. While you may feel obsessed about your back rolls or how short your legs are or how you look when you’re sitting down (three of my personal photo fears!) someone looking at you might see nothing more than your shining smile, your confidence or the look in your eye. Remember: a professional photographer will work with you to get the best out of you and help you look and feel your best. Try to let go of negative self-effacing thoughts, if just for that session, and lean into the experience. 

No matter what sort of intimate photos you are looking for, there is a photographer out there who will be a good match and putting in the effort to find them is worth the time it takes. Preparing yourself mentally and physically for a professional photoshoot will make the day-of go more smoothly and allow you to be more present and engaged. It’s your time, and your experience, so give it all you’ve got and don’t forget to have fun! 

5 Ways to Banish Self Doubt In Front of a Professional’s Camera is sponsored by Lightfox Studios, a queer owned and operated Boston-area photo studio that specializes in “boudoir” style photos for the LGBTQ+ community. Photographer Jacob Bouvier (they/them) strives to make every session with Lightfox Studios an inclusive, anti-racist, body positive (or body neutral), gender-affirming, and accessible experience.

To learn more about Jacob’s team and the scope of services available, check out their website.   


Violet Fawkes

Violet Fawkes (she/her) is a freelance writer and sex blogger focusing on pleasure education, erotic fiction, and the intersection of identity, kink and mental health.