Why a Mani/Pedi is Essential for Boudoir Portraits

While your nails may feel like a small detail, trust me, you’ll see them in your photos – like a lot. We want those sexy hands all over you, those wedding ring photos, close ups, and even those cute little toes may make a peek-a-boo depending on the vibe. 

And beyond the aesthetics, getting a manicure and pedicure is just one more way to pamper yourself as a part of your boudoir experience. 

As a professional boudoir photographer in NYC, I can tell you first hand that most photographers will not plan on retouching your nails.

Queer women kissing through a gag. Long beige coffin nails. Boudoir photo by Earthly Venus. Book at EarthlyVenus.com


Head to the salon the week of your session. Fresh nails are best so that your cuticles are clean and your nails don't grow out.

Optionally you can also use hand-cream throughout the week to keep your hands moisturized. (I love this one from Burt's Bees.)

Hand caressing her own chest. Split French tip, arm tattoo, curly blonde hair, and chain. Boudoir Photo by Earthly Venus

The best manicure for a boudoir photo shoot

Instead of regular nail polish, ask your salon for a gel or an acrylic set. It’s a little bit of extra money, but this will prevent your nails from chipping – we don’t want you to panic about touch ups the day of your photo shoot!

Red headed woman in bright red lip laying in black lacy lingerie and short black manicure Boudoir Photo by Earthly Venus

The Best Color for your Photoshoot Mani/Pedi

You don’t necessarily have to go for a neutral/nude color for your boudoir photos to look classy and seamless. Instead I would recommend opting for a color that will suit all of your outfit choices equally. This might be a black, red, metallic etc. Bring images or small portions of your lingerie sets with you to compare the color options against each look. 

You’ll also want your nails and toes to match, so get the same color on both.

louboutin inspired long crystal manicure. Tattooed woman holds hand up to lips. Boudoir Photo by Earthly Venus.

Using Nails to Express YourSELF

While some like a simple nail or a french manicure to express a level of elegance, playing with length, cut, and other aspects of your nail style can be a great way to express your personality in your boudoir photos. Personally, I think a dramatic nail can look fantastic on camera – so long as you hire a technically skilled nail artist. Be sure to find someone who can keep up with your vision, or taper back the idea.

You can also express aspects of your sexuality through your nails. For example, a queer manicure (with two short nails on your dominant hand) can be a sexy and subtle way to express your sexuality in your photos. 

If you’re looking for extra inspiration for a more complicated nail look at your photoshoot, I recommend creating a pinterest board. It will help you come up with ideas, and it will help you communicate your vision to your nail tech. 

Black and white close up boudoir photo. looks down gently, holding natural nails up to her face. Photo by Earthly Venus

Not into Nail Polish?

That’s totally ok! We want you to feel like yourself in your boudoir photos. Get the mani-pedi, but skip the nail polish. The nail technician will still clean up your hands, cuticles, and nail beds to look perfect for your final images.

Alt goth, pink, caressing face and neck with crystal pink nails and gold rings. Boudoir photo by Earthly Venus

Use Press-On Nails To Save Money

Press-on nails are a great option if you’re looking to save a little bit of cash to spend on your photos later. Glamnetic creates some that I love, and they come in a lot of different looks and colors. The only problem here of course is that it’s much harder to find press-ons for your toes.

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