5 tips to getting better boudoir photos
Boudoir taking on a life of its own
Sometimes a photo shoot can take on its own life. It can be planned or it can be something that happens off the cuff. What is really interesting is that no matter how well planned, you sometimes end up with lackluster results and no matter how off the cuff it is, it can end up giving you great results. Today I want to talk about the latter.
It is all about the subject
Remember that a photo shoot is nothing without a great subject and great subjects are sometimes in great demand. So when one contacts you with a possibility to shoot, you have to sometimes get up and go. If this is the case, careful planning can sometimes go out the window. Case in point is the photo shoot I did with Bendnotbreak. It was something that had been planned for a while but, because my subject lives out-of-town, the actual location was not scouted, seen, or even shot in at any time before. Now the old inexperienced me would have not been able to handle the improvised nature of this shoot. But the more experience relaxed me was able to evaluate the situation and get some nice shots. How? You might ask. Well by relying on a couple of attitude principles that I think all photographers should think about when shooting boudoir. Following these tips and tricks can help in making your improvised shoot a lot easier.
1) Have the right attitude
I think that it is so important to understand that due to the fact that the shoot is so improvised and out of the blue, not only must you forgive yourself for making mistakes but also understand that things might go wrong the whole way during the shoot. Because you have not necessarily had a ton of time to prepare, you might take a whole bunch of shots without the right shutter speed or a crazy high ISO even though there is a ton of light. Embrace those mistakes and realize that 1) even mistakes can bring out some cool artistic options and 2) Forgiving yourself will allow you to move on and get the shots you need
2) Decide quickly indecision is your worst enemy
First and foremost, if you get the call to go shoot, do not worry about the fact that your batteries are not charged or that you have a lens with a weird focal length. Do what you have to do with what you got and get out there. “A”photo shoot is way better than no photo shoot at all. Yes you might have the wrong equipment but that is a small problem compared to the fact of not even having a subject.
3) You might have to sacrifice the craft and go auto
For all us technical photographers who are oh so proud to be using manual settings, you might want to give that up for a more “set and forget” type attitude. It is not always terrible to go for auto. I believe that being in manual actually involves a preparation of mindset that is actually pretty long. For instance: Shooting a show involves mental prep that the images you want are going to be taken at an open aperture and that there must be some adjustments to the way you approach your shoot. Set and forget allows you to push setting concerns away for the time being. For instance you might put all on auto and use the exposure compensation dial to be a bit more manual. There is no shame in being in auto. As cliché as it is. The moment is THE most important thing. No one will look at your photo and say; hmm, this shot was taken in auto.
4) Trust your model
I strongly advise people to give in to the expertise of the model. Ask her or him to offer you some ideas and go with the flow. You can ask for certain poses but you might want to let yourself be more open. Especially to a person who spends many days trying to get the right pose for the photographer. An improvised boudoir pose is a great deal about letting go.
bendnotbreak42 was excellent at finding the greatest poses. I did not even have to worry about what she would do
5) The window is your best friend
A lot of photography is about light. Light is so important when taking photos. What kind of light? Where does the light come from? How does it interact? No matter what shoot you are on, you cannot escape the fact that your photography is only as good as the light source that you have. This is why, within the context of a quick and unplanned photo shoot, the window becomes your best friend. Gravitate toward a window. It, not only, is a source of the best light around (natural light), it also is a perfect quick fix. Initially, you might be afraid of the fact that backlight might be a concern but you would be surprised to what extent light can creep in on a subject. Depending on how the model is placed many options exist.
Follow these 5 tips and I guarantee you that your boudoir photography will soar in the end.
Technical details of this photoshoot
These images were taken with the Fujifilm X-T2 and Fujifilm X-T3
I used the Fujinon 16mm f/1.4, The Fujinon 56mm f/1.2 and the Fujinon 35mm f/2 exclusively.