15 Boudoir Photography Tips

15 Boudoir Photography Tips

If you think that boudoir photography is something vulgar and not graceful, you are absolutely wrong. This article describes the peculiarities of this photo genre and offers some tips and tricks that will help you choose appropriate props, poses, lighting, and photo retouching techniques.

The first boudoir photos appeared in France at the beginning of the last century. Today, this genre is still very popular. Boudoir images are usually portraits or bridal pics. In case you decided to start taking boudoir photographs (for lingerie advertising or wedding), read the 15 boudoir photography tips below that will make your images look professional.

1. Don’t Make Photos Vulgar

15 boudoir photography tips gabrielle orcutt

Boudoir is a room where a woman may devote several minutes exclusively to herself. Boudoir photography may be described as a harmonious combination of art, erotic photography, fashion, editorial shooting, and glamour. Depicting sensual and intimate sides of the model, these shots usually focus on the body, lingerie, and mood. In general, taking boudoir photos, people want to stop the time and create the photo in which they are young and beautiful.

If you want to spice up your relationships, present your husband or boyfriend with a boudoir shot. Moreover, nowadays not a wedding goes without a photo session. It usually includes boudoir photography. Don’t think that these are nude and vulgar images. Of course, these pictures have a shadow of seduction, but they are always deep and meaningful.

2. Communicate with Your Model

Always say something to your models to get different facial expressions or subtle changes to the pose. Remember several phrases as “give a big smile” or “teeth”, “no teeth, please”, “push your breast out”, etc.

3. Outsource Photo Retouching

15 boudoir photography tips gabrielle orcutt photo editingIf you’re not good in Photoshop, nothing is easier than to address high-end photo editing services. Instead of spending days and nights enhancing images and airbrushing your model’s skin, you may devote this time to additional work or self-improvement. Let the professionals do their job. Experienced image retouchers will make your images look qualitative and professional.

4. Don’t Forget about Comfortable Temperature

Taking boudoir shots, control the temperature in the studio. You are dressed and don’t feel whether it is cold in the room. Constantly ask the model if she is satisfied with the temperature. In order to get successful shots, your model should feel relaxed and comfortable with the situation.


5. Don’t Over-Photoshop the Images
15 boudoir photography tips gabrielle orcutt dont over edit
Sensual photography does not like over photoshopping. The images should be realistic and natural. Try to realize the best boudoir photo ideas in order to give the client what they want. Keep the model’s figure and proportions realistic.

6. Crop to Convey the Message

15 boudoir photography tips gabrielle orcutt cropping your photos

Like in any other genre, erotic photography requires cropping too. Do it professionally in order not to spoil the shot. Taking photographs, mind the Rule of Thirds.

7. Ask the Model to Bring Her Favorite Outfit
15 boudoir photography tips gabrielle orcutt favorite outfit
If your model doesn’t know what to wear for a boudoir photo session, advise her to put on something really comfortable. Let them choose the clothes they like but recommend involving only those that are inside their comfort zone.

For example, there is no need to wear provocative lingerie if you don’t wear it in every-day life. Moreover, the clothes should not restrict your moves. In general, it’s only up to the client what to wear for erotic photography shooting.

8. Shoot from Her Perspective Not from Yours

15 boudoir photography tips gabrielle orcutt perspective in shooting
In sensual photography, it’s very important to depict the best sides of a person. Moreover, the shooter should show the particular features the model likes. So, every experienced photographer usually pays compliments to the model expressing what parts of her body will look great in the frame.

The client, in her turn, tells what she likes about her body and what makes her shy. In such a way, the photo results will satisfy both. Be careful with your boudoir photo ideas.

9. Start with Classic Boudoir Poses
15 boudoir photography tips gabrielle orcutt classic go to poses

Positing arms and legs play an essential role in boudoir photography. As a rule, models create geometric figures and shapes. If you are looking for new boudoir poses, go to any lingerie site and look through the trendy poses as for today.

10. Prepare a “To-Do List” for the Model

In order to get great results, a photographer, as well as, a model must do some arrangements and preparations. First of all, a photographer should create a list of things that the model should prepare. For instance, it’s better not to use spray tans before the shooting. The client should not also use clothes that may leave marks on her skin.

11. Pay Attention to the Eyes

15 boudoir photography tips gabrielle orcutt the eyes

Boudoir photos differ depending on the client’s goals and motivation. For example, if the model wants to get sexual images with a shade of power and domination, her chin should be up and her eyes should look down at the camera.

On the other hand, if she needs to create innocent images, the eyes should look up and the chin should be down. Sometimes, you may try a direct eye contact with the camera. It works great when the model is peeking behind the door or through the window. If you want to create a voyeuristic effect, ask the model to look away from the camera.

12. Apply Various Lighting Setups

15 boudoir photography tips gabrielle orcutt various lighting set ups
Don’t worry if you don’t have a spacious studio in the center of the city full of professional lighting equipment. You may get great results in a small studio too. The thing is that if you use numerous light sources it takes time to adjust them. No one wants to pay for a 3-hour shooting where you will correct the lighting half of the time.

Use only one artificial lighting setup and it will speed up the process. Besides, you may always regulate the light since you clearly see where it falls.

Simple one-light portrait set up. This light set consists of a strobe and a softbox. Locate it five feet away from the model, lift four feet up, and point down at forty-five degrees. This type of lighting is used to create simple and natural portraits.

Rembrandt lighting setup. One more type of lighting used in boudoir photography is called Rembrandt lighting. A shooter should create a light triangle under the model’s eyes (also called chiaroscuro). In other words, a geometric figure made of light appears on the face. The effect is achieved by means of the main light and the combination of shadows.

One light clamshell portrait. This light setup requires a gray paper background. You use only one studio light, a light modifier, and a silver and white reflector. It is used while taking portraits.

14. Use Various Photo Editing Tricks
15 boudoir photography tips gabrielle orcutt various photo editing tricks
Make only minimal changes to your pics. For example, do color correction in Lightroom or use LR presets. Speaking about Photoshop, it is focused on deep image retouching and skin airbrushing. For instance, use it if you need to remove unnecessary objects or improve the skin color. Remember that boudoir photos should be as natural as possible.

15. Draw Up a Contract

When we speak about erotic photography, we think of a nude body and provocative poses. Usually, clients want to be sure that their photos will not appear on the net or somewhere else. So, it’s better to draw up a contract which protects their rights.

If you engaged in commercial photography, take a written permission from the model to distribute the pics. Legal issues are very important for a shooter as well as for a model.

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15 boudoir photography tips gabrielle orcutt