Saturday, 26 January 2013

Boudoir Photography Tutorial

So, you want to try boudoir photography?

You have probably looked on sites like and have seen all those images are on every page! All those beautiful women in very seductive poses... how hard could it be right? Well... take it from me, its not as easy as it looks... but with some help and lots of practice... the images can be very rewarding.
If you made the decision to try Boudoir Photography you have probably searched images to your heart’s content and started thinking about the setup and who you can get to model for you. You then put your feelers out for people interested in modeling and you may even have gone to Model Mayhem to register and search. If you have, you probably reached out to a few, if you haven't, you should take a look. But if you found a model… great… but where are you going to shoot it?

Studio time can run hundreds of dollars per hour, add up the model costs to get that professional model and you are facing upwards of $200 per hour just to get the model and studio space.  Not to mention $500 for a decent speed light set up, $400+ for the flash gear and another $200 in back drops… and that’s just the bare minimum. Take a look at the price of a strobe set-up. There are options, and I will get into that in future blogs. has some very economical solutions that you should be aware of.

What about props, wardrobe, make-up and hair stylists? Before you know it you are looking at $1000 to $1500 before you clicked the shutter once.

But let’s say you invested the time and money and you get to the studio, the model is there, your ready… Your repore with the model and knowledge of angles, lead lines, balance and how the human skin reflects light become a real issue you never thought you were going to have a problem with…  you could take hundreds of photos and only come away with a few images that you consider keepers.

So how do you make these ladies feel so good? How do you handle lighting? In this tutorial we will tackle those subjects.

Boudoir is not just about getting full body shots of your client in her sexy lingerie; it’s all about the subtle sensuality that your photos can exude! Its not about sex, it’s about the setting, the emotion a photo evokes adn the connection you create between the subject and the people looking at your images. It’s also about what the photo does not show that separates a good boudoir photo from porn.

Natural light or proper lighting is going to be your very best friend! Natural light and proper lights are not harsh on uneven skin or cellulite and it makes your post processing a whole lot easier. Use natural light or a dedicated realistic, soft, light source as your optimal source of light… flash gear is more for light fill, special effects and eliminating shadows and for creating a bright atmosphere. I rarely use speedlites in boudoir to light a model. I use constant lighting, natural lighting or strobes... But we will save that for another tutorial.

Your subject… if you have employed a professional model your shoot will be that much easier. If you are using an amateur, she, or he, may need to be prompted and may have some body insecurities that will create a situation that is not optimal for getting your best photographs.  My advice is to hire a professional lingerie model that is used to being in front of the camera in beautiful attire and half naked.

The mood of the studio… this is often over looked. How you set the mood for the studio is important. Music, privacy, environment all play a part in a successful shoot.

Privacy is important so that the model knows there will not be strangers walking in and out of the studio. They need to know that they can get comfortable and not have distractions.

The environment should be light and airy, make them feel welcome and comfortable. As for the temperature… remember, they will be wearing next to little clothing… warm the room up so they are comfortable.

And play some music… and no, not “Marvin Gaye, Lets get it on” or some “boom-chick-a-wow wow” tune. Play upbeat modern music of todays hits… get them singing and relaxing to music that they know.

Setting the tone for the shoot determines the quality of your images…

The following are some examples of poses that you can try at home in real situations, using props that anyone can get their hands on… Here you will see how to take photos of your spouse for posterity and private collections… or how to take photos for clients to ensure the photos are the most flattering.

Just by having the model get on the hardwood floor you can catch reflections and add some more interest in the photo.

Black and white is a classic look. For this photo, the simple props added an element that tells a story.

Eye contact... the eyes are the window to the soul... find a model with expressive eyes...
I hope you all give boudoir photography a shot, it is a lot of fun and rewarding when you get that one perfect shot. 

If you do want to save some money and come out and shoot professional models in a studio space with professional photographers like Jay Terry helping you get the best shots; check out our workshops in 2013. We will be holding 4 boudoir workshops in 2013… a valentine’s workshop, a summer workshop, a Halloween costume edition and a Christmas edition.

Check out these workshops at the Photographer’s Lounge here....

Check out your instructor, Jay Terry's work here