Welcome to the Beyond Boudoir Photo blog!
Tales of an adventurous boudoir photographer in Portland, Oregon
Photoshoots with these pro models often produce my best and most creative work, because I'm free to shoot the images I want, not those that a client has requested.
This blog post chronicles an outdoor shoot that I did with St. Merrique last week in the Columbia River Gorge. I love shooting in the Gorge, partly because I know of some secret spots where you can do nude photoshoots.
Shooting outdoors is a big change from my usual studio work and I really enjoy the challenge of working in uncontrolled conditions. I usually bring along one Alien Bees 400 studio light and a Vagabond Mini battery pack to power it. I find it to be a nice combination. You do get a little bit of light fluctuation if you shoot fast, but it's not a problem for me. I like to use a small (24 inch) umbrella outdoors. Anything larger risks being blown over by the wind, even though I have the weight of the Vagabond Mini on the light stand. For this shoot in a windy location, I also put a couple of fist sized rocks into a fabric "sandbag" and hung that on the base of the light stand. That did the trick, no toppled lights on this occasion.
These two images of St. Merrique on the red fabric were created with the Canon EF 100mm F/2 on my 5D3 at ISO 100, 1/200, F/2.5. This lens is not super-sharp wide open, but if you stop it down about 2/3 of a stop, it sharpens up nicely. The lighting on this shot was provided by the blue sky overhead with appropriate color balancing in Lightroom to keep her from looking blue.
For the photo below, I used my Alien Bee as a front light while the model was illuminated by the sun coming from camera left. The lens was my workhorse Canon EF 24-105 F/4 IS L. Exposure data: F/6.3, 1/60, ISO 100. I was able to balance the flash and daylight without using a neutral density filter, which made me happy enough to snap dozens of variations of this scene.
The next two photos show a completely different approach to lighting. Since the model is backlit, I had a choice of using my strobe to balance the light or simply let the background be washed out. I chose the latter, because I wanted to see the backlight coming through the pink fabric. I had to brighten the shadows a bit in Lightroom and adjust the color balance a lot.
I was happy to give up some technical image quality to get the artistic look I wanted. If you would like to see more photos from this shoot, click here to see a gallery of selected shots.
You can find our lovely model, St. Merrique on Model Mayhem. She's great to work with and travels to many areas.
Thanks for reading!
I mentioned the effects of "Fifty Shades of Gray" in a blog post about two and a half years ago. Since then, the demand for BDSM themed photoshoots has dramatically increased. As you can see from my portfolio, a good deal of my work has a BDSM theme. This comes as no surprise to my many friends in the Portland BDSM community, which I've been a part of for over two decades.
It's been interesting to see the changes in what women and couples wish to include in their kinky photoshoots. If you take a look at the 2014 blog post mentioned above, you'll note that it's a pretty soft version of BDSM. As time has passed, I'm getting more frequent requests for what you might call serious BDSM shoots. These often involve rope bondage and some degree of sensation play, which includes things like spanking, clamps and various impact toys.
It's almost always a woman who contacts me seeking a BDSM photoshoot. Sometimes she wants to pose with her man, sometimes she wants to shoot solo and give the images to her man as a gift.
My new studio has overhead hard points which were installed specifically for doing rope suspension play. This is generally known as Shibari or Kinbaku.
My own rope skills are minimal, so when a client requests a rope bondage photoshoot, I rely on a few friends who are talented rope experts or riggers, as I like to call them. They love what they do and will usually help out in exchange for gas money, a microbrew or some fancy Portland coffee.
Sometimes a client will request a BDSM shoot in a real dungeon, complete with crosses, spanking benches and other fine articles of sexy debauchery. In that case, my first option is to rent a sex-positive club in Portland called Catalyst, a Sex Positive Place.
I've organized a number of group photoshoot events at Catalyst, so I have a good understanding of how it can be used photographically. You can see some of my photos of this venue here.
Two of my kinky friends came to my new studio a few days ago to perform a fairly advanced rope suspension scene. It was the first rope shoot in the new studio, which is an auspicious occasion! As I mentioned above, the new studio has special hardpoints installed about 11 feet above the floor specifically for rope suspension.
On a funny side note, there are now rope bondage experts in Portland who specialize in the installation of safe hardpoints for suspension play. A lot more thinking goes into this task than you might expect, so don't try this at home unless you really know what you're doing. But I digress...
This couple had great chemistry and high level rope skills, it was an honor to watch and photograph them at play.
You can see a gallery of their photos here if you like. These 289 images are un-retouched so please excuse any small imperfections and send my friends a mental thank you for allowing me to share their intimate images with you.
I hope to have many more rope shoots in the new studio. If you are involved in Shibari/Kinbaku and would like to have some photos of you and your partner in action, please contact me and we can discuss the details. I believe the gallery mentioned above is a pretty typical representation of what you can expect to receive.
Now if you'll excuse me, I need to get back to the studio!
First Photoshoot In My New Studio
A New Camera
A Lovely Model From Arizona
Three things came together for this photoshoot. I just moved into a new home and since my studio is in my home, that meant getting a new studio set up and learning how to use it to best effect.
Two days before this shoot, I received a new camera that I intend to use a lightweight backup to my trusty Canon 5D Mark 3 and as a travel camera.
Moving is always hectic and I put my photography on hold for a month, so I didn't have any shoots lined up when I was ready to try out the new studio. Luckily, I ran into Tori on Model Mayhem and she agreed to drop in for a studio shoot. I don't think it's fair to do a lot of experimenting when I'm working for paying clients, so I have no problem paying experienced pro models to pose for me while I tinker with new gear or a new concept.
The new studio has several large windows that allow daylight to enter at various angles as the sun moves throughout the day. I've always loved simple window light, so I was looking forward to experimenting with it.
The walls go up about eleven feet to the ceiling and are painted a kind of yellowish tan. I was very curious about how that would effect the color balance of my photos when the daylight bounced off the warm-toned walls. As it turned out, the color balance looked fairly similar to standard daylight. I think the bluish light from the blue sky was warmed up a bit by the warm walls. A handy coincidence!
I was loving the soft window light, but I wasn't thrilled by the yellow/tan walls as a backdrop for portraits. I quickly put up a white backdrop.
I like that background color a lot better! However, you can now see the reflection of a large window in Tori's eyes. These are called "catch lights" and are an important topic of discussion among portrait photographers. I think these catch lights are too large and make her eyes look glassy or something. What do you think?
It was now around 6 PM and a large beam of sunlight offered itself for our artistic pleasure...
Overcome with a burst of artistic creativity, Tori and I moved the white backdrop into a location where it was illuminated from the rear by the strong, direct sunlight. Tori was front-lit by the large window, which gave us the high-key effect that required 5 or 6 strobe lights to create in my old studio. The shot below was done entirely with natural sunlight.
Time to take some "sitting on the hardwood floor" shots that are popular these days. Tori had some fun imitating one of my photos that was propped against the wall.
One of my complaints about the old studio was the low ceiling, so I wanted to try using an overhead strobe. This was a 4 foot strip light, directly above the model, aimed down at her. The strobe mixes with the natural daylight in interesting ways that will require more experiments in the future.
Then of course we had to have some fun with my trusty mirror...
Tori is on Model Mayhem, but the best place to contact her is her Facebook page. Take it from me, she's a delight to work with and very professional. Treat her well and don't try to haggle over her fee, she's worth every penny!
Now about that new camera... I picked up the new Canon EOS 77D to use as a travel camera and as a backup for my trusty 5D3. I wanted a smaller, lighter camera body that would provide image quality close enough to that of my bigger pro camera that nobody would know the difference. The photos above are a mix of shots from the two cameras with various lenses. I can't tell the difference without going back into Lightroom and looking at the data for each shot. I'm betting you can't tell the difference either!
Lots of moms-to-be decide they wish to have some professional photos to record this special stage of life. Just as in boudoir photography, most women and most commercial photographers prefer to de-emphasize the woman's sexuality and concentrate on the "nurturing mom" look. That's fine for most people, but what if you prefer a more sexual look? Something more provocative, that doesn't deny your sexuality.
Obviously, the answer is to get in touch with Beyond Boudoir Photo and schedule a photoshoot. But there's more to it than that. The biggest question is when to do the shoot. For some reason, almost all of the women I've worked with felt that they should wait until the final month of their pregnancy, but I disagree and here are four reasons.
In my opinion, the best idea is to schedule three or four photoshoots to document the various stages of the pregnancy. Each stage is different and beautiful in its own way. If the last shoot gets cancelled by an early arrival, it's not a disaster.
Here is an example of an early pregnancy photo. I think the subtle changes are quite lovely, don't you?
And of course, here is a later stage photo of a different woman:
Sadly, I don't have any examples I can show you that depict one women in the various stages of pregnancy. If you know someone who would like to volunteer to pose in exchange for free images, please send her my way!
Update: I do now have a number of nude maternity images that I can share with you, but out of respect for the lovely moms who posed for trade shoots, I am keeping the gallery protected with a password. If you are pregnant and interested in discussing a sensual photoshoot, please use the contact form to request the password to the maternity gallery.
I like to get out of my studio whenever I can. It's fun to shoot outdoors, in hotel rooms, in private homes and sometimes I rent a commercial studio space. In this case, the location is known as Beast Daylight Studio in Portland, Oregon. I've used it a few times before in order to enjoy the daylight that comes in through the big South facing windows. Here's a shot of the windows from a previous shoot with Adryana:
The model for this shoot is the lovely Christina Bee who can be found on Model Mayhem. I have a lot of admiration for the young women who work as traveling models through MM. Not many people at that age are brave enough to travel to strange cities and connect with photographers. They also have to be smart enough to do it safely. I always treat them with great respect and thank them for working with me.
I usually use only the natural daylight at The Beast, but for this shoot, I brought along a single Alien Bees B400 and a medium size umbrella. I'm glad I did, because it was a very cloudy day and the light was dim for much of the two hour shoot. This shot was done using only the daylight, which worked pretty well if the model was close to a window and facing it. Of course you have to compensate for the blue color cast, but that just takes a quick adjustment of the color balance sliders in Lightroom.
The light was fairly dim, so I put the camera on a tripod and shot at 1/60 sec, F/2, ISO 400 using the Tamron 85mm. Of course the tripod doesn't stop the subject from moving!
Mixing very cool, blue, daylight with strobe light is an interesting challenge that's fun for me. You usually can't get the color perfect on all body parts, since they are illuminated by sources of different colors, but using the local adjustment brush in Lightroom you can come pretty close.
Of course no shoot at this studio is complete without a black and white art nude photo. I added a little grain in honor of the years I spent shooting Tri-X Pan film.
If you would like to see more photos from this shoot, you can view a gallery at this link. Thanks for reading!
A sex-positive photographer serving your private photography needs.
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