Boudoir photography tips for during the shoot
Professionally-done make-up and hair are key elements to getting high-quality boudoir portraits. For a client, this celebrity treatment is all part of the experience of the shoot.
Choosing the lingerie
One of the first tasks of the morning was for Kate to look through the selection of lingerie that model Rachel had brought with her – looking for ensembles that would work.
When to use a zoom lens
Kate uses fast prime lenses, so you can use really wide apertures. Clive used his 50mm f/1.4 wherever he could, but used his fast 24-70mm f/2.8 when he needed wider focal lengths.
The subtlety of posing models
“I soon learned that shooting boudoir means paying attention to the minutest detail of the poses,” says Clive. “Kate showed exactly how Rachel should lie on the bed. It wasn’t a case of just getting comfortable – it was more like a Pilates workout, Kate explained.
“Even for this shot, taken using just the side light from the window, there was an art to standing. Rachel had to put all her weight on her back foot, so she could swing her front foot. With these poses, it was important to have a story, to have the subject doing something. We tried shots with Rachel holding a scent bottle, but I love this shot.”
Love dull days!
The light from a window is all that Kate and Clive used for their pictures. Despite a grey day, Kate used the curtains in the hotel bedroom to restrict the amount of light even further. As well as doing make-up Cat stepped in to hold the drapes exactly as Kate directed.
Testing out the furniture
The poses for boudoir are often like a Pilates session and it pays to demonstrate yourself what you want so that the subject understands. Here, Kate demonstrates her unusual idea for getting the chest of drawers into the shoot!
Gold reflector to the rescue
The trouble with using the drawer unit is that it was that it was on the other side of the room to the window – so there was less light than before. Increasing the ISO helped to ensure that sharp shots were still possible, whilst a large gold reflector was laid on the bed to bounce more light into Rachel’s face.
How to position your subject’s eyes
“With the second lingerie outfit, Kate showed Rachel the next pose – sitting on the chest of drawers!” Clive says. “As we were a long way from the window, a reflector was laid on the bed to throw light into Rachel’s face, and I upped the ISO to 1600.
“Kate said it’s important to play close attention to the position of the eyes, as you mustn’t showing too much of the whites of the eyes. Getting the model to follow your hand with their eyes proved an excellent way of getting the angle just right. Another great tip for natural-looking eyes is asking the subject to close them, then cueing them to open them slowly when ready to shoot.”
The beauty of sidelight
Kate explained that a slit in the curtains would create a more dramatic sidelit look, which would accentuate the shadows on the body.
Use strong shadows as slimming tricks
“Kate explained that strong shadows are a bonus with boudoir photography,” Clive says. “As with side lighting they can be used effectively to make arms and legs look thinner – something Kate assured me that all women will love your pictures for.
“Although we were shooting in a fairly standard hotel room, Kate had brought one piece of furniture with her – the chair that we used for this shot. I love the shapes of her body as Rachel pretends to adjust and fasten her bracelet in the window light.”
Time for reflection
Sitting on the bed was the perfect place to shoot reflections of Rachel in the dressing room mirror. Kate and Clive check to see what the resulting shots look like.
Try an abstract composition
“At the start of the day, Kate and Rachel had picked out three different outfits for the shoot – with the final being this black basque with stockings and suspenders,” Clive says. “Again we used Kate’s chair, but this time Rachel was asked to perch on its arm
“We tried to pose this shot as a reflection in the dressing room mirror, but the shape of the mirror didn’t quite work. Instead we went for this alternative abstract approach – using a Lensbaby to create an image where the face was perfectly in focus, but the legs and arms were distorted by the blur created by this add-on optic. This effect seemed absolutely perfect for boudoir. ‘
PAGE 1: Meet our professional photographer and apprentice
PAGE 2: Boudoir photography tips for during the shoot
PAGE 3: Final tips from our professional photographer
PAGE 4: Our professional photographer’s recommended gear
PAGE 5: Shot of the Day
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