boudoir isn’t just for “brides to be’s” anymore. It’s for everyone, including you and me, Mademoiselle. “Boudoir Photography” is a beautiful form of photo that enhances a woman’s beauty, the soft lines of personality and confident attitude that are very special when portray in a different light. Also on the other hand, Boudoir Photography can make most women feel uncomfortable and not being themselves very easily in front of a camera . (I know, I get it!) The thought of exposing our body to a microscope camera suddenly reminds us of every single insecurity we might have. Feeling good about ourselves is not just about mentally, but also physically, we want to create and capture that silhouette of our bodies, the lines of our neck and hands, down to the side of our legs in develop that excitement from within ourselves . . . Or perhaps a Boudoir Photo session of a lifetime to remember by . . .! 🙂
But here’s the true beauty of this, we only live once and don’t we want to capture this beautiful vessel we’ve been given? Whether we’re married, engaged, or just want to do this for ourself, just DO IT. If nothing else, it will be really cool when we get to be in our old age and finding our box of photographs to look back and finding ourselves feeling beautiful because we know we were there . . . Once! 🙂
I always hear this from friends, “Oh I would love to do a boudoir session once I lose this last 5 pounds.” The truth is,we are never going to be 100% satisfied our body. Don’t dwell on what we consider are our imperfections. As women we are constantly pressured to look a certain way and be a certain size, the beauty of a session like this is embracing and celebrating our body exactly the way it is! If you go for a professional photo shoot, the photographer will have the experience to pose you in flattering ways that will make you look and feel gorgeous! Just go for it! 🙂
For those of us that are sightly shy, thank God we have our own camera to compose a light session in our own room, with our own decoration and our own confidence to bring along. What have got to lose. So let’s try it!
A great simple way to start establishing ourselves feeling confident and into the fist step is to try to take our own boudoir photos for Valentines Day, doing this is a lot of fun, and its not that hard to do. So, you are going to feel a little weird doing this at first … If you plan to try this, make sure you’ve got an few hours to yourself. Take the time to do your hair and makeup, and while you’re at it have a glass of wine or three to loosen up a bit. Here are some simple tips that will equip and empower you to walk into your own photo session feeling like a seasoned Victoria’s Secret model (and looking like one too)!
Let’s Take A Selfie . . . First on the list is a DSLR or mirrorless system camera & tripod will be needed to take your own boudoir photos for Valentines Day.
Choose a comfortable location that speaks to you. Your bedroom. A hotel room. Choose a place for your session with a lot of natural light and multiple windows.
Set The Scene
First of all, get rid of all background clutter that could potentially be in the photo. Alarm clocks, bedside lamps, everything. You want a flawless clean space. You don’t have to clean the house, just toss everything to the other side of the room so that its not in the photo. Choose your backdrop wisely. You want to make sure your surrounding space is decluttered. Look for something as simple as your bed, a pretty wallpapered area of your home, or even on a gorgeous rug on your floor. Basically, you don’t want anything distracting from you in the photo.
Lighting is everything or nothing in photography. It can make or break a photo. Good lighting shows you at your best, so, we definitely want to find the gorgeous light here. A wall next to a window with soft, natural sunlight filtering in is a really nice option. But , you can look fabulous with artificial lighting too, such as the light from a bathroom vanity. Just be careful to not show anything that screams bathroom in your photo if you choose this location for light.
When judging the lighting, look at the shadows on your face. Ideally you want the light to be evenly spread on your face, with no harsh shadows. Usually the light will be coming from the front in this situation. However for a moodier effect try shooting with the light coming from the side. Make sure you angle your face towards the light source though. If you decide to do your boudoir selfie outdoors, look for open shade for the prettiest lighting.
To keep things super simple, we are going to use natural window light for your boudoir photos. Natural window light is gorgeous and tends to be very flattering. For the window light, we don’t want bright sun. We want either an overcast day, or a window that looks out onto an area that is in the shade. If it is an overcast day, set your camera’s white balance to “Cloudy”. If it is a sunny day, but the window you are going to use for your photos looks out onto an area that is in the shade, set your camera’s white balance to “Shade”.
Have your hair and makeup done professionally. I highly recommend this! Whether it’s a professional in a salon, someone who does it from home, or a friend that’s awesome with an eye shadow palate … have THEM do it. While I am absolutely capable of contouring and applying lashes, it feels like such a luxurious experience to have someone else doing the application, especially for an occasion like this. If you can, spend a nice relaxing morning at the salon and have them do your hair and makeup.
If you decided to do your own makeup, then take some time to prepare. Professional models spend hours having their hair and makeup done. So it pays to spend some time doing your own hair and makeup. As far as makeup goes, wear makeup that is much much heavier than you normally would. Heavy makeup looks far better in photos than it does in real life.
Trust me on this. Apply your makeup, then apply slightly more than you normally would wear.
What To Wear for Your Own Boudoir Photos
If you want to look glamorous, you will have to play the part! Most people think of bra and panties when they think of boudoir photography. In realty, very few people look great in just a bra and panties. Instead, go for a bustier, chemise, a slinky cocktail dress or other forms of lingerie that might suit your body type a bit better than just a bra and panties. You can also wear something fun, like a sports jersey from your significant other’s favorite team, or even just his business dress shirts.
Don’t Forget About Accessories!
Accessories totally turn a good boudoir photo into an unbelievable boudoir photo.
- Start with a killer pair of heels, or boots.
- Nylons of course – but gloves look great too.
- And go for a big chunky necklace and earrings.
- A pair of long gloves, a long luxurious strand of pearls to drape over the small of your back for a dramatic backless shoot
Equipment & Camera Setup
In order to take photos of yourself, you obviously can’t be holding the camera (again, unless you like taking selfies in your bathroom mirror…) It’s good to have a tripod. A tripod will make things a lot easier. If you don’t have a tripod, you will have to improvise a little.
First things first, let’s make sure to have the right equipment to get the job done. You will need a smart phone, a tablet device or a camera with the ability to flip the LCD or to shoot with a remote. I like ability to see my photo as I am taking it from the app on my phone or the flipped lcd screen. I also prefer with it’s wifi options, I can quickly view or send it on my iPad for quick editing. And the self-timer is a great thing, I set my camera to self-timer and to the setting where it takes 4 consecutive shots. That way I could move around into my poses without having to keep running back and forth!
Now set your camera to self timer mode, you might have to check the manual according to your camera mode. Focusing with the self timer setting can be a little tricky. Most cameras focus when you push the shutter release to start the timer, not when the camera actually takes the picture. In other words, the camera focuses when you are not in the frame.
To work around this, you can set up a small pillow, or one of the stuffed animals in the frame so that the camera has something to focus on that is approximately in the same position that you will be in the photo.
Next, turn off your camera’s built in pop up flash. remember we love natural lighting for this session. Next, lets make sure we have the white balance set correctly. We are going to be using natural window light for your boudoir photos, so we need to make sure that the white balance matches the light.
Posing & Expressions
For the actual pose, I favor shots that don’t look too forced. Do this by adding energy to your pose, by fully committing to the pose, using your hands and using your breath.
- Arch like you mean it. Add curves by not only arching, but using your arms and legs. Try tipping one knee towards the other. Pop a shoulder towards your chin or push your hip out to the side and then angle your face in that direction too.
- A relaxed mouth is much prettier than when forcing it into an expression. Definitely do not attempt duck face. Instead try these breathing exercises in your photos for a more pleasing look.
- Exhale – lips parted, sighing loudly, breathing deeply out of your mouth, head tilted upwards and to the side.
- Inhale – eyebrows raised slightly, neck elongated, sharp inhale through parted lips, facing the camera.
- Genuine laughter is sexy too. You can achieve this by turning your head to the side and laughing while facing upwards. Come on, give it a hearty try!
- Spy Eyes – pretend you are a sexy spy with sexy secrets. It not only puts you into character by adopting a confident alter-ego, but it gives you a sexy expression by speaking through your eyes. With spy eyes you are not merely looking at the camera but seeing into it’s very soul.
- Hands – Use your hands to play with your hair, draw attention to your assets (tracing along your collarbone or décolletage with your middle finger, for example), or framing your face. Just remember you want delicate hands here. And, the side of the hand is always more attractive than the palm or backs of hands.
- Always be aware of your posture and where to place your hands or pose your feet, those are the two most awkward scenarios that happenned for all the wrong reasons most of the time when comes to photographs.
Remember to LAUGH!
Boudoir does not mean that we have to be straight-faced and uptight the entire time! If you’re trying too hard it will show in the final product, laugh, be silly, have fun and enjoy yourself! This is your time to shine shine shine Mademoiselle! ?
Create A Story With The Outfits You Choose
This is an especially good idea if you’re creating a “Little Black Boudoir Photo Book” for your honey! Pick a theme and use that idea to plan what your session will look like. Do you want it to look light and flirty? Would you like it to be dark and sexy? Choose an idea and stick with it, so your photos will be consistent enough to create a story when your photographer designs your album. Also, consider what your man likes. Does he think you look sexiest with nothing but his tshirt on? Make sure you take his tastes into consideration.
Wear whatever you feel comfortable in. If you’re wanting to try something new (maybe this is the perfect opportunity to wear that fetish outfit you’ve been dreaming about) go for it! If you find yourself worrying about what to wear, I’d recommend whatever feels comfortable and sexy to you, even if it’s not “traditional boudoir lingerie.” You be YOU, whatever that makes you feel good!
Try on the clothing you’re thinking of wearing and look at yourself in the mirror. If you love the way it looks in the mirror at home, you’ll like the way it looks in photos. If you don’t like the way it looks in the mirror, you won’t like the way it looks in the pictures.
“Pinspiration” & Practice
We all know the phenomenon that is Pinterest. It’s totally changing the world! Pinterest recently added “Secret Boards” that only the pinner themselves can see. So if you’re keeping this shoot a secret, create a private board and pin your favorite poses, hair styles, and boudoir photos to study and help you plan. A few days before your session, start practicing poses and facial expressions from your pinterest board so you’re comfortable with the idea of smoldering for the camera. And no duck lips … Please!
Remember To Leave your insecurities at the door
Have a glass of champagne, turn on your favorite playlist and HAVE SOME FUN! Go into your session with full confidence that you are BEAUTIFUL (flaws and all), and you are totally going to rock this! This is one of the only times in your life where huge hair, thick makeup, and barely any clothing all at the same time is perfectly acceptable. I promise you’ll feel like a million bucks afterward! and remember to make dinner plans after the session because you’ll look and feel amazing and you’ll want to hit the town either on your own or with a friend!
Approach the photo session with a really open mind and a positive attitude. Sometimes even with a positive attitude, no one goes into a session saying, “I look good and I’m ready to do this!” No one feels natural about “looking sexy” at first. Everybody’s a little nervous. If you decided to have this taken by a professional photographer, trust that the photographer you’re working with will make you look the best they can make you look. You’re being transformed into a supermodel for a day, so celebrate that moment.
Simple Post Processing for Your Own Boudoir Photos
Once you know you got your shot, you will want to edit it. Boudoir photos that are taken into the window light will look washed out and dull without post processing. Photos taken with the light to the side should look much better right out of the camera – but all photos need some editing.
If you are using an image editor, such as Adobe Photoshop, Lightoom try these steps:
- First tweak the exposure, using the exposure slider. Bring the picture into a range where your highlights are not too bright and your shadows are not too dark.
- Use the burn tool – choose shadows, select a large brush and a high change in exposure setting. Paint over your picture with the burn tool to add detail and definition back to into the shadows. You might have to do this more than once for areas of your picture that need even more contrast.
- You can also use a white/blacks slider or the contrast slider to do this in more sophisticated editors. The goal is to increase the blacks to darken the shadows and add definition.
- Adjust the white balance. Use the white balance tool to select a white balance that makes the pure white light in your photos look pure white.
- Finally, increase the saturation to accentuate any colorful clothing or lingerie you might be wearing.
- Be careful increasing the saturation too much, because it could have an undesirable effect on your skin color.
And last, but not least, practice makes perfect. Don’t get discouraged if it takes a couple of tries before you get an image you love. In fact, get snap happy and keep firing way! This was actually an interesting challenge for me. I love taking photographs and prefers being behind the camera. However, I learned to see the beauty in myself doing this, and I truly truly hope you will too. 🙂
Remember, if all fails . . . Only you and the camera will know about this, and of course the image files can be toss or deleted, if you don’t want anyone else to see it! 🙂
Bonjour Monday & Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays! 🙂