Finding Beauty in the Female Form Through Boudoir Photos

It’s not difficult finding beauty and meaning in the female form. In my last post I provided a few differences between male and female boudoir photography. As I recently had two sessions, each with a woman, it got me to thinking about how a good boudoir photographer captures a female subject:

1. Show off the things that make her body different from a man’s – namely curves. Think of the classic hourglass shape. Create dynamic poses by having the model twist her shoulders off-axis from her hips to highlight these curves. This is a more dramatic version of the classical contrapposto pose used by artists for over 2000 years.

2. If you’re after a provocative pose, ask the model to keep her back straight pull her shoulder blades together a little. This will accentuate her breasts and bottom.

3. The number of ways to light the female nude is without limit, but in general you want to use very soft light to accent the softness of her curves. You can light high-key, where everything is evenly lit, or you can light low-key, where the light comes from one side and is more dramatic. If you want to be very dramatic, use the backlight as the only light source.

As with all photography, female boudoir photography is an art form; there are no fixed rules or boundaries. Curious what your boudoir photos might look like? Contact me to schedule a session!

Men vs. Women Boudoir Photography

I recently had the opportunity to photograph one of my favorite clients (let’s call him “Frank”) for the third time. When he initially contacted me last year to find out if I do male boudoir shoots, he told me he wanted to feel like a GQ model; he wanted to feel highly desirable, be directed into poses and get the compliments he imagines female models get. Of course, I was happy to oblige.

What brought Frank to Mistress J? Growing up, Frank never felt very sexy. He had recently lost a lot of weight and wanted to shed his vanilla engineer exterior to release his inner Fabio.

Why Mistress J? Unlike other photographers that do male nude photography, the Mistress J studio was tastefully lit with attention to set design, lighting, colors and ambiance. In this most recent session, Frank was lean and fit. He wanted photos that would show off his toned arms and torso, so we did a lot of nudes and semi-nudes. The tasteful lighting of the Mistress J studio really helped emphasize the body parts he wanted to highlight.

I handle every single photo shoot the same way. We start with an in-depth discussion about the types of photos the client wants, what they’re planning to wear (or not wear), and the furniture and props they want to use. We also discuss perceived trouble spots, what they want to hide and areas they want to play up.

Are men and women really that different? There are a few major differences I tend to see between men and women boudoir shoots:

  • Men crave interaction more than women. Many men want Mistress J to be part of the scene. Although this is extra, having her in the scene means more talking, directing, obeying commands, posing, touching and encouragement.
  • Men and women have different lighting preferences. In every session I’ve had with a male subject, they want the lights on. Women, on the other hand, generally want the lights off, with the exception of the studio lights. They want that intimate space – a shell or bubble where they can slowly unwind and, like an onion, peel the layers off and expose their beauty.

No matter who the subject is, during each session, I start to notice things. I see the beauty of the hair, a curve in the body, or the way the light falls across the torso or defines the arms. When I see their beauty, I tell them. It helps them feel more comfortable and confident, so they can leave feeling good about themselves.

Although the execution may be slightly different, the final goal is the same: To leave each client feeling sexy and special, and to get some kick ass photos.

5 Boudoir Photo Tips for Beginners

Do you have a boudoir photo shoot coming up but aren’t quite sure how to pose or what expression to make? Of course, as a photographer I always offer suggestions and tips along the way, but here are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Before the session, look at other boudoir photos to get ideas of poses that you like, such as the top 5 from Better Boudoir Photography that might give you some inspiration.
  2. Try as many angles as you can. It might take a while to figure out which ones you like the best; the larger the variety the more options you have later. You can even create variety by raising your arms above your head or playing with your hair, which will frame your face and lift your breasts.
  3. Don’t always look at the camera, especially at the beginning of the shoot. Sometimes it takes a few minutes to start to feel comfortable and sexy, so don’t look directly at the lens. Instead look off to the side or even close your eyes.
  4. Make different expressions. Again, this is giving yourself a greater variety of photos after the shoot. Try sexy, sultry and seductive.
  5. Relax and have fun! The whole idea of boudoir photos is to take sexy photos of yourself (whether for you or that someone special), so try not to be self-conscious and have fun with the experience!

Have you done a boudoir shoot before? What additional advice would you give someone taking sexy shots for the first time?