I have to admit that whenever I take boudoir photos I tend to lean towards black and white images and stay away from coloured images and the reason for this is simple - I love black and white boudoir photos. I think black and white boudoir photos are sassy, sensual, seductive and mysterious. Black and white boudoir photos are also easier to light and capturing a stunning black and white boudoir image is easier than capturing an awesome colour boudoir photo. Working in black and white is much more forgiving.
Even though I prefer to work in black and white with my boudoir photography I will, of course take coloured photos too. At the end of the day I do what the client/model wants. After all, they are the ones paying me to take the shots and what they say goes.
The problem with all portrait shots, and not just boudoir shots is making the model look their best. Everyone has pimples, spots, blemishes and skin tone variations and concealing these can be a challenge. In an ideal world we would use make up to even out the skin tones however in practice this simply doesn’t happen. Boudoir photography models are typically wearing little clothing and applying makeup so all visible skin is the same tone is exceptionally difficult, and something only professional makeup artists can achieve. Yep, applying makeup before a boudoir photography shoot isn’t viable. Fortunately, there are things we can do to stop any spots, pimples, blemishes and variations in skin tone being too noticeable.
The first thing to look at is the lens used to take the photos. A tack sharp lens that records a lot of detail, like a macro lens, is not ideal because it will clearly show every imperfection. When taking colour boudoir photos a slightly softer lens is ideal. Boudoir photos taken with a slightly softer lens looks more sensual and this is another reason, besides concealing imperfections as far as possible, to use one.
In order to reduce the appearance of spots, blemishes, skin tone variations etc. you should keep the power of the lights as low as possible, and slightly under expose the shot. Holding back the light as much as possible will ensure a flattering photo.
As well as keeping the lights low you also need to soften it up as much as possible. Hard light will accentuate any spots, blemishes, skin tone variations etc. whereas soft light will conceal it. The best way to soften the light for boudoir shots is to use large shoot through brollies or soft boxes. I prefer brollies because they are easier to set up, they are available in huge sizes and they are also cheap. Not only that, I love the soft lighting you get shooting through a brolly.
As well as the above I spend a lot more time in the digital darkroom editing colour boudoir photos. Using decent photo editing software (I use Photoshop Elements 14) I can tweak various settings (hue, saturation, exposure etc.) and use the clone tool to get even skin tones and get rid of any imperfections in the images.
Getting awesome colour boudoir shots is a challenge and there is more to think about and deal with than when taking black and white boudoir shots. Capturing great colour shots is possible, however if I am given the option I go for black and white boudoir images every time because I simply like them more.
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.
“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.
“Boudoir photography lighting” Lighting is important with all types of photography and boudoir photography is no different. You have to master the light to capture flattering boudoir portrait shots, and whilst this may seem daunting with these tips and tricks it isn’t as difficult as it first appears.
“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.