Where does the term boudoir photography come from and why is it becoming more popular? The meaning of the french word boudoir is bedroom and is seen as having a romantic sensual feel about it more than most words with the same meaning. So too should the photographs. The demand for boudoir photography is growing rapidly for reasons I can’t explain because it’s not new yet its popularity is growing by the day. Do not confuse glamour photography or boudoir photography. Glamour photography is more general while boudoir photography is dedicated to a romantic bedroom theme.
It can be lots of fun because it’s so diverse. Meaning, attire can be altered to suit taste ie. a negligee, a man’s shirt, or perhaps something more elegant. The objective is to highlight the woman’s (models) elegant lines and female sensuality. Various types of lighting can be experimented to great lengths.
1. Nudity – This is a decision the client will make. However, in general, nude shoots in this category are subtle and implied rather than anything blatant. Remember, this is an extremely artful style of photography and can be difficult if not researched carefully. It is a form of fine art photography and your skill (or lack of) will be apparent. More information on successful nude shoots.
2. Don’t overlook the setting. Your set must be highly appropriate and so must the lighting. You will need to invest in bed covers and drapes in most instances if you want to take on this mode of photography.
3. Lighting – The lighting needs to highlight the finer, elegant points on the model and reduce attention to others. Soft lighting is more often used.
4. Make up preparation. Don’t muck around with this. A professional is needed to ensure success with photography makeup. I did try to apply my mode of make-up once and I failed so badly, my subject looked like Spock – I was embarrassed. Since then I’ve learned from other photographers to use a specialist make-up professional.
5. Posing skills. Remember that your client is unlikely to have read or learned any posing techniques. This can be frustrating if you haven’t prepared your self and added extra time to help pose your subject.
It is poor professional behaviour to have an audience in the room during the shoot. In some cases the subject or client may want their husband or partner present. If so, sit them down comfortably somewhere with a glass of water and something to read.
Lastly, it’s important to make this fun for the client. They will in most cases be hesitant and a little nervous about themselves.
In general, use soft lighting with an open aperture. Muted colours are best with some mother earth type tones. You’re allowed to experiment too but not so much that your bore your client and extend the shoot into an exhausting episode. If you think some help might come from nude photography research, try this eBook on nude photography here. I was particularly impressed with the content it covers on the subject. You’ll see the list it covers when you scroll down the page.