What is the Secret to Good Boudoir Photos?

September 29, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

What is the Secret to Good Boudoir Photos?

Answer:  It depends on your goal!

NSFW

 

 

If you are reading this blog, you've probably seen a lot of boudoir photos.  You may be a photographer yourself.  How do you know which images achieve their desired goal and which ones don't?   Unfortunately, you can't really tell until you realize that there are two different goals in boudoir photography and therefore, two quite different styles.  Let's call them types A and B. 

 

 

Oregon, Portland, Vancouver, boudoir, intimate, erotic, engagement, discrete, hotel, kinky, sexy, private, photographer, photographers, photoshoot, photo, studio, photography, portraits, couple, couplTraditional Boudoir portraitA traditional boudoir portrait with lingerie, but no nudity. A lovely brunette model.

 

TYPE A:  Please see the image above for an example of the most commonly seen type of boudoir photos.  Traditionally, the client is posed in a bedroom-like setting, but in recent years, some photographers have taken the brave step of using the living room as well.  They are created to improve the self-confidence and self-image of the subject.  Most women have a poor body image and a skillful photographer can show her how beautiful she really is.  It is the photographer's job to pick out her best features and highlight them.  So basically, the images are his interpretation of her beauty as he thinks she wants to see it. 

 

A good Type A photo will make the subject look as thin as possible and hide her physical flaws.  A great professional makeup artist and a nice collection of expensive lingerie top it off.

 

Eroticism is really not the goal of these photos.  We just want the client to feel good about herself when she views the images and when she shows them to her girlfriends, which generates a lot of referral business for commercial boudoir studios.

 

One way to identify this style of boudoir photo is that the lingerie is the star of the show.  There is nothing that could technically be called nudity and nothing really sexual.  Often the woman has heavy makeup, false eyelashes and is heavily photoshopped to remove most of the texture from her skin.  You have seen similar photos in lingerie catalogs and you may notice some similarities to wedding photos, since many boudoir photographers also shoot weddings.

 

It makes perfect sense that this kind of photo is what you usually see on boudoir photography websites.  They won't scare away potential clients and they appeal to the women who are booking the shoots and paying the fees.  This is standard American-style, commercial, boudoir photography.

 

Unfortunately, lots of women think this is what their husbands and boyfriends want to see.  They think it will remind him of why he is in a relationship with her or why he's planning to marry her.  Sure, he will exclaim how beautiful they are, what else can he say?  But unless he has a fetish for lingerie or false eyelashes, he doesn't really care and may not even understand why his lady has gone to so much trouble. 

 

These photos sometimes end up on the wall where they won't offend Aunt Mildred when she drops in, but mostly they just end up in the closet with the other old photos.  Now, let's talk about Type B.

 

 

 

 

Oregon, Portland, Vancouver, boudoir, intimate, erotic, engagement, discrete, hotel, kinky, sexy, private, photographer, photographers, photoshoot, photo, studio, photography, portraits, couple, couplAn Erotic PortraitA good example of erotic portraiture.

 

 

 

 

TYPE B:  The other type of boudoir photography is what I call erotic portraiture.  It's primarily intended to cause a feeling of sexual desire in the lover of the woman posing.  This is what many photographers have trouble with.   The reason this is so difficult is that you must get into the mind of her man, the intended audience for the photos.  In most cases, he is not present at the shoot and has never spoken to the photographer.

 

Each man has his own unique concept of what he finds sexy in his partner.  It could be certain parts of the body.  It could be a particular look she gives him when she's in the mood or a particular fetish they share.  Since the man is not available to question, you can only try to get this from the woman.  Most women will automatically deny having this knowledge.  Most boudoir photographers don't even ask, because they aren't comfortable discussing intimate sexual issues and because time is money.  The less time spent on a photoshoot the better.

 

It takes an unusually sensitive and committed photographer to elicit this very personal information from a client.  She may have  a lot of puritanical inhibitions or may simply be afraid of rejection if she reveals her sexual secrets.  It's really common for both parties to avoid this conversation entirely and concentrate on which pieces of lingerie the client wants to wear next.  This results in the stereotypical, Type A photos.

 

There are ways to gently breach the barriers and create hot images that will be erotic for her partner.  First, the photographer needs to let the client know that he will not be judgmental about what she reveals.  Second, the client and the photographer need to spend some time talking, even if just by email, about what erotic elements will be most appreciated by the intended audience.  An erotic portraiture photshoot is a team effort.  Once in the studio, the photographer must be respectful, yet complimentary.  A woman who is posing in a sexual manner wants to know that she is attractive.   It is said that there should be a bit of sexual tension between the two collaborators in the studio.  I believe this  leads to the best erotic portrait photos, but it must exist in an atmosphere of trust and safety. 

 

 If the photographer is really good, the client will also receive a nice boost to her self image, even more than she would get from Type A photos.  There will also be a greater sense of liberation.  This is what sets a good erotic portrait artist apart from the typical commercial formula, boudoir shooter.

 

Erotic portraits can be taken almost anywhere that the client and the photographer can find a little privacy.  Get out of the studio if you can.  Use the forest, a hotel room, a friend's cool apartment or whatever venue presents itself.  This will set your photos farther apart from those boring Type A images.  My style is influenced by glamour, pinup, cheesecake and yes, Hugh Hefner's style from fifty years ago.  

 

Oregon, Portland, Vancouver, boudoir, intimate, erotic, engagement, discrete, hotel, kinky, sexy, private, photographer, photographers, photoshoot, photo, studio, photography, portraits, couple, couplAn Erotic PortraitWhich is more erotic, this outdoor nude or the indoor lingerie photo? Model: Pure Rebel

 

These images are rarely printed and hung on the wall.  Often they remain in digital form and are sent to lovers in another state or on the other side of the planet.  The fortunate man who receives these photos knows exactly what the woman is saying.  She wants her man back in her bed as soon as possible!

 

Oregon, Portland, Vancouver, boudoir, intimate, erotic, engagement, discrete, hotel, kinky, sexy, private, photographer, photographers, photoshoot, photo, studio, photography, portraits, couple, couplPortland waterfront benchesWoman resting on a bench along the Willamette River in NW Portland, Oregon

 

 

 

 

 


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