“Help! I’ve got obvious tan lines and my boudoir session is coming up! What do I do??” You are definitely not alone, my friend! This is something a lot of my clients experience and I’m here to help! Together we’ll figure out what to do with tan lines at a boudoir shoot. I’ll start with my best recommendations, and then we’ll talk about last-ditch efforts to help your session (and final images!) go effortlessly.
I know, life happens! BUT to avoid these next few steps to dealing with your sunburn, avoid getting a sunburn in the first place! Stay in the shade, apply a high SPF sunscreen liberally, and apply it often. Wear wide-brimmed hats and long sleeves to help avoid the harsh rays of the sun while you’re outside too! Try to keep in mind when your shoot is coming up and avoid the sun at least two weeks before your session. I know that’s not always possible for everyone, especially if your session is during the height of summer. If you’re a sun-lover and can’t stay away, I recommend booking your boudoir session in the fall, winter or spring to avoid tan lines.
This is the easiest way to cover up your tan lines — find clothes that do it for you! Reconsider your clothing or lingerie choices for your boudoir session. For example, if your tan lines are from a spaghetti strap, consider finding a teddie with thicker straps that cover your shoulders. A bodysuit or a tight-fitting t-shirt would also be cute options for this!
Let’s say it’s too late for avoiding the sun, and you’re now in panic-mode trying to figure out how to get rid of these tan lines. Don’t fret! There are options to try and soften up the lines. I’ve spoken with my hair and makeup artist at length on this topic and the first thing she recommended was trying a natural tanning lotion that is buildable, like this one from Jergens or this one from Neutrogena. This option is best for someone with a few weeks leading up to their boudoir shoot so that it has time to blend with your natural skin tone.
You’ve got your boudoir session coming up in less than a week and your tan lines are beyond blending with a natural lotion at this point – I’ve got another option for you. Try seeing a professional for a spray tan. Normally I do not advise spray tans because they tend to photograph very orange; however, if you’ve got limited time before your shoot it might be the best option. I do not recommend a DIY option. I repeat, do not DIY! A professional will be able to recommend a shade that is similar to your natural skin tone that will help blend your tan lines. Find someone who does it by hand, rather than a machine that you stand in, and do not try to go darker then you already are! This will only add to the orange. If you are getting a spray tan, please take extra caution to block the spray tan from your palms, elbows, knees, ankles, and bottoms of your feet. These tend to really soak up the spray tan!
Our last-ditch effort is to retouch the tan lines. This is our last suggestion because it is a very lengthy process, taking anywhere from 1-3 hours per image. Since my clients typically see anywhere from 60-100 fully edited images at their session, the time starts to add up very quickly! For this reason, I outsource tan line retouching to another professional so there is a fee per image that needs to be retouched. Do you see why this is our last option? There are much better and easier ways to go about it before lengthy retouching is considered.
If you’ve spent too much time outside and your boudoir shoot is upcoming, I hope you know exactly what to do with those tan lines!
Was this post helpful for you as you prep for your next boudoir session? You might also like: what to wear for your boudoir session!
Boudoir photography celebrates all the ways your crazy beautiful body has held you up, moved you forward, and turned you into a woman who can get. it. done. Sis, that is something that should make you proud.
I’m Emma, a Sioux Falls Boudoir Photographer. Helping people feel their best has always been part of who I am. Before focusing on photography, I worked as a nurse, and now I use that same expert care to help women feel like a million bucks. Oh my gosh, it is the best.