Boudoir Photography Tips

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There seems to be a lot of discussion about what boudoir photography is, what it is not, and the intentions by ladies of submitting to a photo shoot with this style of photography.

It seems in order to give you some general definitions and a little historical information regarding the term itself and as you may find, its original definition appears to have been "corrupted" by its modern counterpart's usage.

"Historically, the boudoir formed part of the private suite of rooms of a lady, for bathing and dressing, adjacent to her bedchamber, being the female equivalent of the male cabinet. In later periods, the boudoir was used as a private drawing room, and was used for other activities, such as embroidery or spending time with one's romantic partner.

English language usage varies between countries, and is now largely historical. In the United Kingdom, in the period when the term was most often used (Victorian era and early 20th century), a boudoir was a lady's evening sitting room, and was separate from her morning room, and her dressing room. As this multiplicity of rooms with overlapping functions suggests, boudoirs were generally only found in grand houses. In the United States, in the same era, boudoir was an alternative term for dressing room, favored by those who felt that French terms conferred more prestige.

In Caribbean English, a boudoir is the front room of the house where women entertain family and friends".Wikipedia

If you understand the French meaning of the word itself, it is clear that it is nothing more than a lady's private chambers(room) and that it was mostly used by high class , fashionable ladies.

In recent times photographers have been using the term to describe a style of photography preferred by ladies wanting to give their partners, future husbands, boyfriends and so on a personal gift that showcase her physical beauty and mostly meant to be privately viewed by such recipients.

The style may present several variations which include full nudity of the models or subject, partial nudity, use of lingerie and so on. With this style nudity is hinted at, not clearly shown. This is usually what gives the image's viewer a sense of exhilaration and perhaps a sense of arousal.

The intent is to suggest by revealing poses and the use of sensuality. Full erotic or pornographic styles is not a part of the genre and most professional photographers stay clear of images which appear to be any of the latter two terms or styles.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. | Source

When conducting a boudoir photo shoot, the photographers uses muted light to highlight the subject and mostly keep other elements within the since partially dark. This is mostly to bring the full attention of the viewer upon the main subject; the lady, or in some more recent times, a man, and couples.

A good photographer will also us some props such as pieces of lingerie to give the image a more seductive or sensual "atmosphere" and feel. Most boudoir photographers are very good at insinuating sensuality by cleverly hiding the more private parts of the human body with hands, props, light or its lack off and other techniques.

Today a lot of photographers also use digital editing programs to slightly "blur" certain aspects and they can also give some areas of the image a "softer" touch by again , using the same digital techniques.

Although this style is better suited for a studio set up for just this purpose, often a nice bedroom will do. You may have to rearrange some furniture and use the appropriate bed coverings and maybe add some cushions but it works just as well.

Try to use at least one good flash unit mounted on the camera and a reflector with a photo umbrella being the best. Aim your flash at the ceiling so that the light is diffused by being bounced back. Make sure that the ceiling or wall that you use to bounce the light is white or close to it.

Some of the more used props are lingerie items, jewelry, cushions, pillows, satin cloth, flowers, fine fashion gloves, usually white or black in color, highly decorative furniture and some others.

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Above all, if boudoir photography is to keep its distance from other photographic styles, the care and clever use of all available aspects must be used. There are many who contuse this style with others.

But if done right this style is leans more towards fine art photography than to any other photography theme and it is suitable to be shown much as fine art is, including fine art magazine, fine art galleries and other similar commercial enterprises.

However, the most prevalent and perhaps suitable application is for those wanting to present a private gift to others.

If you were to apply the same ratings as the ones used by the motion picture industry, boudoir photography would probably be classified as having an R rating. This is a good approach to take when doing boudoir shoots; show some, insinuate, tantalize but keep everything in good taste.

Many more photography articles!

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© 2012 Luis E Gonzalez

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