What is boudoir photography? A simple question with a myriad of answers depending on who you ask. To some boudoir is the tasteful side of glamour photography, to others it is a hotel shoot with a bed sheet and if you search through Google images you’ll find a multitude of diverse photos tagged as boudoir.
There is one theme, though, that runs through all boudoir photography and that is the celebration of the female form with more than hint of sensuality. Too much and you move into glamour photography.
All of these themes are plainly obvious when you look at the photos, but what is easily missed is the central ethos of a good boudoir photo; a woman, confident in herself having a photo shoot that defines and celebrates her womanhood and her femininity. Good boudoir accentuates all that is wonderful about the female form and removes anything that does not flatter, hence the artfully placed sheet, the shallow depth of field, the pose that flatters, exposes and conceals.
All of this combined with good lighting creates a photo or a series of photos that celebrate the confidence and beauty of the subject, but this is nothing other than a good portrait if it does not also proclaim that underneath this beauty there is a sensual woman.
Boudoir shoots are often deeply personal events and usually there is a partner/lover for whom this shoot is aimed. As the photographer it is my job to create those photos with poses, props and lighting but in such a way that the recipient is wholly focused on the who not the how.
When I shoot boudoir I like to let the light and the pose sculpt the body, using shadow to hide what I don’t want seen. It would be easy to just use shadow to hide those parts of us that we don’t like, indeed I can do that with a good pose in full light regardless of body shape. Yet I don’t just want to hide things that shouldn’t be seen in the dark, I want to use that same darkness to heighten the sensuality of the shot. I want the light to sculpt the form so that it emphasises that natural curve and shape of the subject whilst also providing a sense of mystery that will push that sensuality and hint at the eroticism that is hidden from sight.
This hidden message is for the viewer, and the viewer alone. Now sometimes these shoots are for the subject, a celebration of her inner self, her youth or beauty or downright sassiness!! On other occasions it is a bride who wants a deeply personal present for her husband to be, one that is hidden from the glare of the wedding day yet is as much a celebration of their commitment as the ceremony itself. It could just as easily be a woman in a stable relationship, reaffirming that bond with her partner in a passionately intimate way.
It matters not why. Or how. The only thing that matters is the message from subject to viewer…and that I’ve managed to convey it in a subtle yet seductive manner.
I’ve added a few shots from a recent studio shoot with the gorgeous Gemma, these will become part of the Image Box sample that is one of the Boudoir Photography products that I offer.