Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Boudoir photography

Boudoir also known as bedroom photography, a soft style of photography where the mood is very important, often the female model will only wear some lingerie. I think this is one of the most difficult forms of model photography because of the need for a mood in the lighting and the danger for a pose to become vulgar or unflattering.

Finding a proper location for boudoir is a PITA* the "problem" with most of them is the cost, i agree on people asking money to let us use their location but in the end it's me who has to sell the entire packet to my client. Most of my clients are models at the start of their career or even people who just want a nice set of pictures for "later", not the kind of people with a big budget.

Luckily some shoots are done at the models home, in their own bedrooms and this is good for their confidence as most of them expose themselves for the first time to a photographer wearing almost nothing or even less than nothing.

However i've planned a lot more in this style at the studio, i simply convert the studio to a bedroom with a inflatable bed (Intex) and some curtains (Ikea) and i will add some more stuff later (bedside lamps, clocks, lamps etc..) 

This is one of the latest attempts made in our small but cosy studio.

How it's done?:
Dropped down the seamless white paper in the back and illuminated it with a standard reflector on a Bowens 500Ws head

Between the bed and the seamless, attached the (semi transparant) curtains to the ceiling, do this in a natural looking wave form so you get a backdrop on your photo that looks realistic. With this you get a nice soft directional fill light.

(The idea is to simulate a window with soft light by bouncing against the white seamless en softening it further trough the extra diffusion layer, if you want harsher light add a second flashead, throwing it's light directly through the curtain aimed at the model)

So in order starting from the back of your photo: White Seamless | flashhead | curtains | bed and model | camera and photographer


The main light was done with 2 white shoot through umbrella at a 1/2 ratio (one at f:5.6 an the other at f:4), these 2 heads move around all the time depending on the pose and the position of the head and are often positioned just slightly out of the frame to have the best effect of the umbrella.

Posing your model and making her feel confident about it is the hardest part, i'll have to work on that even more and as i don't like to work with zoom lenses i used my 85mm fixed focal, this makes searching for a good composition and DOF even harder.

One tip is to talk to the model while choosing your point of view, tell her she's looking great, the pose is perfect and that you're searching for the perfect composition. Set yourself in her place, she's lying on a bed, in a maybe pretty strange position, wearing almost nothing, anything that can set her at ease is welcome, so keep talking and explain what you're doing.

After taking the shot, show it to the model so she also gets en idea of what you're doing!! 

Model: Xira
MUA= Miqel Thiriaux

In the next blogpost I'll show some resultst from an on location boudoir shoot, performed with 95% natural light and a bit of speed-light

(*) PITA = Pain in the ass


  1. Nice Pictures !

  2. This is really nice and beautiful pictures. I am also wondering for the best boudoir photography outlooks. Please recommend me what I have to wear on my boudoir shoot.