I received an email this week from a beginner photographer asking for advice on how to set about a glamour / boudoir photoshoot with his girlfriend.  He was worried that his bedrooms may not be large enough to capture good images.  Other questions were around how to light the shoot, how to ‘dress’ the set, how to direct his girlfriend, etc.  All the usual questions that most photographers embarking on a glamour or boudoir shoot ask.

Now, I don’t claim to be an expert in glamour / boudoir photography, but here are a few tips for beginners to consider:

1. Make the most of your working space

If you only have a small room to work in, don’t be put off.  Work within its limitations and make the most of it by incorporating tighter framing and some close-ups.  The photographs below were taken in a tiny back bedroom with very little space to move around.

2.  Avoid elaborate backdrops

Try not to have distracting colours or competing patterns in the background to take your eye off the model / subject of the photo.  You may find that using simple plain colours such as whites or creams can focus all attention onto the model.  If you’re using a bed consider stripping off the duvet and just using plain white or cream sheets and pillows, as I did below when photographing Laura.

3.  Use simple lighting

If you’re new to lighting keep it simple to begin with, perhaps by using the natural light coming through a bedroom window, or by using a single speedlight / studio flash unit with an umbrella or bounced off a wall.  Don’t feel that you have to go all ‘arty’ with the lighting on your first few shoots.  You’ll build up your lighting skills as you carry on practising.  The photos of Laura below were taken with a single studio flash unit fitted with a large shoot-through umbrella.

4.  Use reference material

Don’t be afraid to use photos from magazines or websites as ideas for poses.  Once a shoot starts you may find that your brain runs dry of ideas on how to direct the model, so having a collection of images in a scrapbook or on your Ipad / tablet can act as a useful reference.  Also, give the model some freedom to come up with her own poses.

5.  Involve the model

Talk about your ideas for the shoot with your model / wife / girlfriend and make her feel involved in the whole process.  Show her some of your favourite photos.  Ask her what ideas does she have for the shoot?  What outfits would she feel comfortable wearing?

Understand that wearing revealing lingerie, or getting topless or nude for the camera can be very daunting for a model / wife / girlfriend.  So it’s a good idea to talk openly about what level she feels comfortable posing to.  During the shoot make sure that you respect her levels and help her to feel comfortable throughout the whole process.

6.  Have fun!

While she’s getting made-up and ready you can be dressing the set and sorting out your camera / lighting gear so that you’re ready to start when she is.

Put on some of her favourite music that will make her feel good.  Take your time with it.  Make her feel like the star of the show.  Have fun and don’t be afraid to make mistakes.  Everyone does.

It’s a learning process, so after the shoot look back on what went well and what things you would do differently next time.

Click on the photos to see them larger.  Thanks for reading and feel free to leave a comment.

Some simple tips for glamour and boudoir photography by Paul Jones

Some simple tips for glamour and boudoir photography by Paul Jones

Some simple tips for glamour and boudoir photography by Paul Jones

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