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Boudoir photography is the art of making sensually seductive photos, typically of a woman, intended to be a personal gift for the woman's husband, significant other or just for themselves. Boudoir photo shoots involving male clients do happen, but are far less frequent. The objective of any boudoir photography shoot is to create photos that are sexy and artful and to never cross the line where photos start looking trashy or like they belong in an adult magazine. To a photographer who is inexperienced in boudoir photography, that line can easily be unintentionally crossed. There are certain tips that will help make your boudoir shoots a success!
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A Boudoir Photo Shoot
I am going to start off by giving tips for a regular boudoir photo shoot before moving into wedding boudoir photography tips. These tips can be incorporated into any type of boudoir shoot.
As I have mentioned, the biggest challenge for photographers shooting boudoir is to ensure that their photography results in classy, yet sexy, photos. There are many ways to help make sure that you get the desired results. The first and most important thing a photographer can do is to treat their model with respect in the photos. By this I mean that the photos focus on who the model is as a whole, not specific body parts. Ninety-nine percent of photos should show the model's face. Focus on the model's smile and facial expressions.
Photographers should also try to not show too much in the photos. If your model wants to have shots where they are wearing little or no clothes then make sure they are covered in other ways, perhaps with sheets and blankets, using their hands or even by using angles and shadows. These types of pictures are made sexy by what they don't show off, not by exposing to much.
Using shadows, low light and natural light are some tried and true methods of making classy boudoir photos. Introducing a lot of light on a scene set up for a boudoir photo shoot, unless doing so very deliberately, typically makes the photos look too commercial and impersonal. Playing with shadows to only show off the eyes or smile and leaving the rest to the imagination is a great way to create beautiful and personal photographs. Natural light coming through windows or using reflectors are great methods of lighting boudoir photos. If you are going to use studio lighting then I would highly recommend employing only a single light. If you are unfamiliar with one light photography styles then I would also recommend checking out a workshop put on by a great Atlanta photographer named Zack Arias called the One Light Workshop. He also has a DVD about his workshops. A single light will make playing with shadows and light much easier.
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Boudoir Wedding Photography
In essence, shooting boudoir wedding photography is the same as a regular boudoir shoot but there are some things that can be done to make the shoot more successful.
The first thing to keep in mind when shooting a bride-to-be is that the boudoir shoot may not have been her idea. Boudoir photo shoots are often given as a wedding shower gift and are typically totally separate from a regular wedding photography contract. When this happens, your model may have a hard time getting comfortable and that needs to be taken into consideration while shooting. On rare occasions these types of shoots are also sometimes not only intended for soon-to-be married couple but might be shown off to others. If this is the case then the shots may need to be a more conservative than normal.
Apart from the social aspect of the boudoir wedding photography shoot, there are some things that be done to really make the shoot more cohesive with everything else surrounding the wedding. Some of the props, colors and wardrobes should be things that can be associated to the wedding. As an example, if the wedding dress has red in it then maybe have the model wear a matching red outfit for the photo shoot, or be wrapped in a matching red sheet.
The last tip, and perhaps the most important tip in regard to shooting boudoir for weddings, is to ensure that the shoot is planned with the model in advance. Often these shoots are happening very close to the wedding date. Make sure the location is chosen and all the props and outfits are available.
You should be able to create tastefully sensual photos for your clients by using all these tips for boudoir wedding photography.