Boudoir photography is an increasingly popular genre of portraiture, particularly among those who shoot people pictures with available light outdoors, or others with a home “studio” that doesn’t rely upon complicated artificial illumination—like when using light streaming through a widow to brighten the scene.
Many subjects aren’t professional models, but rather individuals (mostly women) of all shapes and sizes who commission a boudoir shoot to celebrate and embrace their bodies. As such it’s important to make your subject feel safe, comfortable and calm, while directing them through a series of simple poses.
The beginners guide below from the Photos by Girard YouTube channel is designed to help first-timers proceed in a tasteful, professional manner, with simple tips and techniques to make your first shoot a success. By following the straightforward advice you’ll be able to capture flattering photos that make you and your model proud.
This episode begins with a brief history of the craft, dating back to the 1920’s, when subjects dressed in corsets or elegant clothing. Back then; photos were often given as gifts to a spouse or significant other. Over the years styles sure have changed.
These days boudoir photography is more widely accepted, with women openly celebrating their sexuality—posing in revealing lingerie, swimwear, and even in the nude. And while images are still presented as gifts, they’re also shared on social media—another reason to proceed in good taste without revealing too much.
With the history lesson out of the way, the unnamed instructor turns to simple technical matters and techniques. There’s a discussion of lighting that demonstrates how soft, diffused illumination usually works the best. You’ll also pick up important advice on directing and posing the subject in a way that keeps her at ease, emphasizes her best features, and conveys the desired emotion.
The instructor encourages the use of a few common props to enhance the mood, add a bit of interest, and help tell a story. Picking a proper location is another key consideration, with privacy being essential whether you’re discreetly photographing the model outside or in a bedroom at home.
Other topics include communicating with a model in a manner that builds trust, and suggestions for wardrobe options. There are also helpful tips on editing images to remove skin imperfections and make other subtle adjustments that don’t detract from the subject’s natural beauty.
On a related note, we suggest that you take a look at the tutorial we posted recently, explaining how to fix hot spots and highlight blowouts in portrait photos.