Boudoir photography is getting increasingly popular, adding fine art, glamour, and fashion to portrait photography. However, boudoir photography stands apart as a niche in photography because it speaks to the intimate lives of ordinary people.
What exactly is boudoir photography?
Boudoir in French refers to a woman’s private dressing room. It is an invitation to share intimacy. Similarly, boudoir photography is intimate photography done for the subject and her purposes. Boudoir photography is similar to fashion or glamour photography in your client’s eyes, but there is a significant difference in the photographer’s perspective.
Fashion models may have done this a million times, but clients interested in boudoir photography haven’t. They’re probably uneasy, and they might not even know how to do the most basic positions. In brief, boudoir photos necessitate a wide range of skills from the photographer, including directing, posing, and communicating.
While most boudoir photographs feature female models, guys can also pose for boudoir. Couples boudoir photography is also growing in popularity.
Boudoir Photography Styles
There are probably as many boudoir styles as there are photographers. Dramatic (low-key), bright (high-key), playful, and vogue are classic boudoir looks. Vintage, pin-up, pregnancy, and fine-art nude photography are some new boudoir photography concepts.
The variety of boudoirs may help you better communicate with your clientele. This is an excellent way to organize your modeling portfolio and website since it may show clients the distinctions between styles and how you approach each one. Pixpa can help you create a fantastic photographic portfolio. Take a peek at some of the most beautiful photographer portfolio websites for ideas. Success is knowing what clients want and what you can give. If you don’t have the equipment, don’t try to market a high-key vogue setup.
Boudoir Photo Shoot Setup & Preparation
When considering what boudoir photography is and how to execute it, it is tempting to dismiss it as just another type of portraiture. However, boudoir is a multi-step procedure that is easy to go incorrectly. There are several stages, and getting even one wrong can result in corny or vulgar images. Boudoir photoshoots, perhaps more than any other type of photography, necessitate a comfortable client-photographer relationship. The customer must be completely comfortable in front of the camera while wearing little or no clothing. They must be at ease revealing an intimate aspect of their lives with you, one that they most likely share with only a few individuals. And you and your customer must have regular two-way contact about what they want and how to get it to show in the images.
A productive boudoir photoshoot involves knowing your clients and understanding their expectations from the photo session and final images.
It’s up to you to design a plan for makeup, hair, outfit, photography backdrops, equipment, and setting.
On session day, you’ll need to guide your client through each pose.
At its essence, boudoir photography is merely a subset of portrait photography. But, before you start planning a high-profile fashion shoot, make sure you have a sit-down conference with your client. What exactly are they looking for? I don’t think they want beauty dishes and a magazine-worthy appearance. For boudoir photographs, many people prefer the low-key effect of natural light.
Boudoir photography, perhaps more than any other type of photography, is a personal choice on the customer’s side. Your client has most likely given a lot of thought to the decision to do a boudoir photo shoot. Something motivated them to do it, perhaps a particular shot or photographer. “What is boudoir photography to you?” you should ask.
Phone conversations and emails are convenient, but they are insufficient for preparing for a boudoir shoot. A face-to-face meeting is required. This allows you to develop a comfortable relationship with your client, putting them at ease with you and your style, and thoroughly understand what they hope to gain from their boudoir session.
Using a Pinterest page or other mood board with boudoir photography ideas might benefit your clients in addition to verbal communication. Make your clients do their study and show you boudoir photo examples of what they like and dislike.
Excellent communication before the session is essential for a successful shoot. However, communicating continuously during the session and assisting your client in achieving the desired aesthetic is crucial. They’re probably not a professional model, and they’ve never done anything like this before.
The photographer’s responsibility is to direct their pose with practical, clear suggestions. Avoid statements like “work the camera” and “be calm” at all costs. Your clients don’t know you, and they are likely nervous about a boudoir-style shoot. Even more important than your photography skill, your primary task is to put them at ease.
While you’re thinking about how to put your clients at ease, consider what else you can do to establish the tone and make them feel at ease. Inquire about their favorite music, and then play it in the studio. You can even provide refreshments, water, or champagne as part of the shoot.
Boudoir Photo Makeup and Hair Styling
As with any fashion or beauty shoot, makeup and hairstyling may make or break the final photographs. The difference is that most people looking for a boudoir shoot may not think about it enough. As a result, the photographer bears the task of delivering it. It would be best to devise a strategy for obtaining your client’s aid.
The most successful boudoir photographers use professional stylists. They have them in their studios, and their expenses are included in the package price. The subject begins the day with hair and cosmetics and then moves on to clothing. This may appear expensive, but it ensures that clients will receive the whole package and that the photographer will be available for advice and assistance along the route. Even if you don’t have the same facilities as a large studio, discuss stylist options with your customer. Will they go to other facilities on the day of the shoot? Is there a plan for the style they want and what they will ask for?
None of this implies that the photographer is in command. The customer owns and controls the boudoir shoot. You must take the images they want, and your guidance on doing it is essential at every stage of the route.
Boudoir Photographer’s Wardrobe
Your client’s clothing choices are entirely up to them. However, replicating appearances they like should be part of the boudoir experience. As a result, the most successful boudoir photographers have an extensive wardrobe from which clients can draw boudoir photo ideas.
Lingerie is the most popular choice for boudoir photos, but it’s far from the only one. Many funny images are created by imitating the retro pin-up style or the golden age of Hollywood look from the 1940s and 1950s. Some clients may want nude (or implied nude) pictures. These selections correspond to the stylistic decisions you make with your client during consultations. They complement the hair and cosmetics choices and the lighting and posing techniques utilized. Finally, keep a needle and thread in your emergency kit when it comes to clothing. Lingerie is intended to enhance curves and make your client seem attractive, but it is not long-lasting.
Your camera and lens selections for the boudoir will likely be the same as for a conventional photo session. A high-quality DSLR or mirrorless system capable of handling a wide range of lens and lighting configurations is a must-have.
Most likely, you’ll be holding the camera in your hand to facilitate posing and movement. This allows the photographer to move about more quickly, allowing the model to be more fluid and move. Because you’re on the go, you’ll need to keep your shutter speeds faster to avoid handshake, and you’ll need a wireless strobe setup for any illumination you have.
Unless you are constantly shooting in a studio, you will most likely need a selection of lenses for your boudoir photography. Many photographers prefer to be mobile and utilize lenses with fixed focal lengths. Fast 35 or 55 mm lenses are popular choices. You’ll notice that these are wider than standard portrait lenses because you’ll be shooting more full-body wide-angle images. Remember that anything less than 35 mm is likely to generate unfavorable perspective distortions. Caution should be exercised while using super-wide focus lengths!
A workhorse zoom lens like a 24-70 mm f/2.8 would do the task beautifully if you’re looking for one all-around lens that can get you through a boudoir session.
Another exciting option for boudoir photography is to experiment with perspective control lenses. Tilt-shift lenses allow you to alter the plane of focus in all directions, resulting in some extremely unusual, one-of-a-kind, and creative photos.
The lighting and setup decisions you make will be influenced by your model’s preferences, not necessarily by your own. But say you’re just getting started and want to establish your web portfolio for future commercial ventures.
Where should you begin?
Using natural lighting and relaxed positions is the best way to start.
Once you’ve mastered interacting with and posing your clients in natural light, you may start experimenting with extra lighting. It’s usually easier to progress naturally. Begin with just the window light, and then add a fill light. Consider including a beauty dish or other diffuser system. Lights can be added as needed, but practice makes perfect.
The truth is that a more intricate arrangement necessitates more work. You don’t want to be distracted from posing the model and capturing the experience, which are the things that will most likely be represented in the final photographs. Boudoir photography is all about capturing the mood, and if the mood is “the photographer’s playing with that light again,” then the pictures will reflect that. Even though the lighting is excellent, it’s not in a positive way.
What does your customer want to demonstrate?
Find poses that highlight your client’s legs and hips if they wish to show off their legs and hips. Focus on delicate curves when posing women. The body’s curves and postures can be highlighted using bent limbs, an arched back, or a twisted torso. Men are unique and should be depicted in unique ways. Make an effort to exhibit a sharp, strong jawline and a vee-shaped body with broad shoulders and a tight waist. Posing couples for boudoir photography takes a bit more effort. Take your time and perfect both stances, but the requirements for men and women are the same.
Less is more
Keep in mind that in boudoir, little is more. Keep everything simple, as this is another variation of the KISS guideline. Aside from a chair, a couch, and sometimes a mirror, props are rarely required.
The clothes should be simple. Keep background and settings simple. A great image has less clutter and less distracting elements.
Maintain your attention on what is essential, the client. As a boudoir photographer, your job is to highlight the areas of their bodies that they adore while concealing those that they despise.