There are times when even and uniform lighting is best for photography, and there are times when creative lighting is best and when dealing with boudoir photography lighting creative lighting is definitely best.
Creative boudoir photography lighting requires off camera lighting as this allows you to walk around the model and find the best location to place the light. With off camera flash you can light specific areas and body parts of the model and put other parts in shadow. This creative boudoir photography lighting allows you to show off and enhance the parts the model considers their best features and hide what they think are their worst features. The model will feel more at ease and comfortable knowing their “worst” features are being put in the shadows and this will instantly lead to better boudoir photos.
Whenever I take boudoir shots I like to capture dark images that are sassy, sensual and seductive and I think the low key boudoir photography lighting achieves this perfectly. Low key lighting techniques requires minimal lighting, which means it is not only simple but also cheap. The lighting I use for all my boudoir photography is a Godox Witstro AD360 (Check out this Godox Witstro AD360 review) for an off camera light source and a Godox Ving 860 on camera to provide some fill in flash. I don’t use continuous lights because they burn too hot and are uncomfortable for the model. I appreciate that using continuous lights is easier (because you can see where the shadows fall before pressing the shutter button) but this is no reason to use continuous lighting over flash lighting.
When I take boudoir shots I like to move around the model and take shots from different angles. I also like to move the light around the models and light them from different locations and positions in order to see what works and what doesn’t. This style of boudoir photography requires a lot of shots, and hence memory so I always make sure I have a large amount of memory cards to hand. This approach also means more time at the computer sifting through the images and sorting the wheat from the chaff, but I think the positives of this style easily outweigh the negatives.
My boudoir photography approach is fluid and manually setting the flash every time I move the light would interrupt the flow and slow down the shoot. Keeping models waiting is not on, and this applies even more when the model is in a state of undress, and probably feeling a little apprehensive and vulnerable.
I set the Godox Witstro AD360 in ETTL mode and tweak the power using flash exposure compensation as I go. Since I constantly move around the subject I also keep the on camera flash in ETTL mode because the flash to model distance is constantly changing and setting the flash power manually would be a real faff.
In the studio most photographers prefer mains powered strobes however I prefer the Witstro AD360. The Witstro AD360 is smaller than a studio strobe, lighter than a studio strobe and also easier to move around than a studio strobe. In addition to this, there are no trailing wires for either me or the model to trip over. An insurance claim against me, or worse still a legal suite because a model sustained an injury because of tripping over a trailing wire is the last thing I need.
I appreciate some boudoir photographers use complex lighting set ups and have a key light, fill light, kickers, hair lights etc. but for the type of boudoir photographs I take I have never had the need or seen the point. My two flash boudoir photography lighting set up works just fine for me and allows me to get the shots I want when I want them. For a review of the Godox Ving 860 check this out
Other Boudoir photography links
If you found this article useful and are thirsty for even more boudoir photography tips and tricks the following links (all open in a new window) may be of interest to you. Please do feel free to take a look and check them out.
“Can you capitalise on boudoir photography?” The demand for boudoir photography services is ever increasing. Is this something you can take advantage of, jump on the bandwagon (before it’s too late) and earn some money?
“So you want to be a boudoir photographer” You have decided that boudoir photography is a service you want to provide. Here’s an article listing some things you need to think about.
“Capturing awesome colour boudoir photos” Capturing colour boudoir photos is a challenge however with these tips and tricks you will avoid the pitfalls and common mistakes and capture classy and seductive full colour boudoir photos.
“Black and white boudoir portraits” Black and white boudoir photos look sassy and sexy but still classy and elegant. For some tips and tricks on capturing awesome black and white boudoir photos this article is something you have to read.
“How to pose boudoir photography models” Being able to pose a model is crucial for boudoir photography and changing the pose can turn a good shot in to a great shot. If you can’t pose a model you are highly unlikely to capture awesome boudoir shots, even if you nail the exposure and the lighting. This article gives some tips and tricks on posing models for boudoir photography.
“Props for boudoir photography” If you want to make a boudoir shot totally unique and personal using a prop or two is a great way to achieve this. Use the right prop and you will get awesome boudoir shots. This article is dedicated to boudoir photography props and provides some tips on what to use for boudoir shoots.
“Mobile boudoir photography services” The good thing about boudoir photography is you don’t need your own studio. In fact, there are times when being mobile has advantages in winning work, as explained in this article.
“Equipment for mobile boudoir photography” To be a successful mobile boudoir photographer you need the right tools of the trade, and all the essential bits and pieces are explored in this article.
“Bridal boudoir photography” Boudoir photography services is something all wedding photographers and bridal photographers should offer. A shot or two of the bride in her bridal lingerie is a photo many happy couples want just as much as the more traditional wedding shots. If you don’t offer bridal boudoir photography services “why not?” Take a look at this for more details.
Keen photographer addicted to cameras, lenses and everything photography related. Feel free to follow me in my photography ramblings, and if you have any thoughts, comments, queries or anything else to add I would love to hear from you.