I Know I'm Naked, but... What Do I Do With my Hands?

I think, as humans, we are conditioned to always be doing or holding SOMETHING with our hands… especially as mothers. If I’m walking around without my phone, keys, wallet, purse, kid’s hand, or something else in my hand it just feels weird. So, it’s really no surprise that during photo sessions I often get asked for direction on what subjects should do with their hands… particularly with a boudoir photography client who is already wearing very little!

I address this in my client prep guide that I send out to my boudoir clients coming into my Vancouver, Washington studio, but here’s a little idea of some of the direction that you may get from me to help your hands feel a little more comfortable!


1) Do SOMETHING with them

Ok, so I’m not usually this vague, but sometimes I’ll look to you to see what you might be naturally inclined to do in a given pose/situation… and then go from there. Maybe, while lying on the bed, you would naturally put your hand under your head. Great! That’s YOU, and the idea is that we are documenting and celebrating YOU. If it doesn’t look “right”, I’ll adjust as needed, but I like to start with where ever you’re comfortable!

2) Fiddle with a piece of your wardrobe or accessory

This could mean wrapping your pearl necklace around your finger, or using your thumb to tug on your bra strap. Maybe you’re wearing dangling earrings that you could touch on your ear lobe, or have some lace on the waistband of your underwear that you could ruffle. If you’re wearing some kick-ass shoes, you could grab onto the heel! The possibilities are endless!


3) Touch your face/body

Particularly for boudoir images, I may ask a client to pretend use their index finger and pretend that they are putting on lip gloss. Or pretend to rub lotion all of their body or particular body part (usually legs). Or, simply, to rest their hand on their thigh/knee/hip/shoulder. Making contact is the visual representation of making a connection… and I want you to look, feel, and BE connected with your body during these sessions.

4) Play with your hair

I’m going to be the first to admit that I fall back on this one too often. It’s definitely something that I’m working on, but it’s also one that women tend to understand… and have their own personal way of doing it. I may ask you to tuck your hair behind your ear, fling it over your shoulder, or just tousle it around. Every now and then I catch a really awesome hair movement shot!


5) Hold on to the studio props/decor

Depending on the set up, some common things to do with your hands in my studio are to hold on to curtains, grab on to the back of chairs, or cuddle up with some blankets! Don’t be afraid to interact with your surrounds. It helps the “story” of the photo to make more sense!

In the end, a good photographer will help you feel comfortable in front of the camera, and will provide you with the direction that you need to enjoy your session and love your photos. These are just a few tips to think about to help ease your mind going in to it!

If you are in the Vancouver, Washington or Portland, Oregon area and are looking for a boudoir photographer, reach out! I’d love to work with you!