What Boudoir is and isn’t

When I relocated my studio from Europe to the States I noticed a difference in the way many view boudoir photography.  Recently I read a Facebook post about a husband’s reaction to his wife’s boudoir photos.  While I’m certain whether or not this viral post was indeed true, it did elicit many comments.  So I decided to write about what boudoir is and isn’t.

When many people think of “boudoir photography” they often think of heavily edited pictures.  I believe one reason for this association is because so many so-called boudoir photographers focus primarily on the editing phase.  This is unfortunate.  A true photographer is an artist and a good boudoir photographer understands that suggestive images are much more alluring than outright exposure.  Any successful photographer must first develop a solid basis in the fundamentals. These fundamentals aren’t just about using the camera, they include many other aspects that together influence the outcome of the final image.  A picture that hasn’t been properly photographed cannot be made to look good with editing.

Boudoir photography is essentially portrait photography with an element of desire.  Each person being photographed is different and has something unique to offer, it’s crucial for the photographer to identify this.  One fundamental way of showcasing a persons natural features is with lighting.  Light cast shadows and shadows help draw attention naturally.  Light is everywhere, it’s what a camera sees.  Light is used to a photographers advantage; whether in the studio, outside, or at home.

Posing is also very important.  Used properly along with lighting the combination of the two will get much greater results than just editing alone could ever achieve.  Small adjustments such as the pointing of the toes to elongate the legs and accentuating the butt can be used in certain poses.

For me that’s what real boudoir photography is about keeping things natural.  Of course I can change some things in Photoshop, it is a very powerful program, one that takes years to develop proper skills in.  But changes need to take on the nature of the subject.  A photo with a higher level of sexual energy may use stronger colors and a different contrast level than a soft and sexy lingerie shot.  This is what I really like about shooting boudoir, the creativity of it all.  That’s what boudoir photography is to me.