A woman’s private bedroom!
“Boudoir” is a French word meaning a lady’s private dressing room or bedroom. In photography, boudoir refers to a style in which women pose for photographs partially clothed or in lingerie. The photos are tasteful and nudity is typically implied rather than explicit.
I was reading an article at some wedding magazine and I really enjoyed learning a little bit more of the experience from other photographers that have the willing to share their knowledge and art.
Five Questions to Ask
Here are a few helpful questions to ask your subject before the day of the boudoir shoot:
-What images inspire you the most?
-Are there any potential insecurities or “trouble spots” that you’d like to avoid in your boudoir photos?
-Are there any physical limitations that may prevent you from accomplishing certain boudoir poses?
-What about yourself do you LOVE?
-What is the ideal image of you that we could create?
Generally I do this work way ahead of the shoot, I share a pinterest board with the subject in a private way and i ask her to post pictures that inspire her, that will help me calibrate the images that she is expecting to get, color or black and white, film or whatever the format she decides.
Locations are not easy to find, usually hotel rooms will increase the cost of the photoshoot unless you have a well prepared studio with access to windows and natural light, make sure the temperature is warm, easy to get cold with few clothes.
Styles of Boudoir
There are probably as many styles of boudoir as there are photographers. Classic looks for boudoir include dramatic (low-key), luminous (high-key), playful, and vogue. New boudoir photography ideas include vintage, pin-up, maternity, and fine-art nude.
Since there are so many styles of boudoir, having an idea book and some set packages might help you communicate better with your clients. This is a great way to organize your portfolio and website too since it can help show clients the differences between styles and the way you tackle each one. The key to success is to have a clear vision of not only what clients want but also of what you can offer. Don’t try to sell clients a high-key vogue setup when you don’t own the equipment to pull it off.
Communication is the key
At its core, a boudoir is simply a specialized form of portrait photography. But before you go making preparations for a high-key fashion shoot, be sure to have a sit-down consultation with your subject. What are they looking for? Don’t assume they want beauty dishes and a glamor magazine look. Many people prefer the low-key look of natural light for boudoir images.
Perhaps more than any other form of photography, boudoir is a personal choice on the part of the subject. Your subject has probably thought long and hard about the decision to do a boudoir shoot. There was something that inspired them to do it, maybe a particular photograph or photographer. You need to ask them, “what is boudoir photography to you?”
Phone calls and emails are easy, but they aren’t enough when prepping for a boudoir shoot. You need a face-to-face meeting. This allows you to build a comfortable relationship with your subject, to help them be at ease with you and your style, and to help you fully understand what they are hoping to get out of their boudoir session.
Don’t rely solely on verbal communications. A Pinterest page or other idea board is invaluable. Give your subject homework and make them show you examples of what they like and what they hate.
For a successful shoot, excellent communication before the shoot sets the stage for success. But communicating consistently during the shoot, and helping your subject achieve the look they are going for, it equally important. Remember, they are most likely not a professional model, and they have probably never done this before.
It’s up to the photographer to direct their pose with helpful, clear instructions. Always avoid unhelpful and useless phrases like “work the camera” and “be relaxed.” Keeping your subject at ease is one of your most important jobs because any unease will show in the final photos.
While thinking about making your subjects at ease, try to think of any other things you can do to set the mood and make them comfortable. Ask them what their favorite music is, and then play that in the studio. You can even offer snacks, water, or champagne as part of the shoot.