A derivative of the French word “bouder”—which means to pout—boudoir photography today is more like fashion-forward art than pinup-style puff. But one thing remains the same: when viewing a truly great boudoir session, one might feel like they are peering through a looking glass at an intimate portrait of a woman.

The reality is though, that most women who decide to express their sensuality through this style of photography don’t have modeling experience and may have reservations in front of the camera. When you decide to book your shoot, there are three guidelines: plan, practice and the right photographer.

Plan what you want to wear, how you want your hair and makeup styled and what accessories you want to use. Remember, too many options are better than too few. Practice different poses; search inspiration boards, look at your photographer’s website, even try flipping through lingerie catalogues and see what will highlight your assets. Think about what makes you feel most comfortable and bring plenty of examples.

Trust that your photographer will capture what you have envisioned; that is why you hired them. Although they will guide you through the process, it is always helpful to have another set of eyes. If possible, bring someone with you or check to see if your photographer has an assistant that can help with the little details, while they concentrate on the bigger picture. If you still find yourself feeling a bit guarded, try playing your favorite music, light some candles and have a glass of wine to help you relax. Remember, sexy can be so cliché, when it is really all about confidence.