A Few Posing Tips for Boudoir Photography

Today’s Post by Joe Farace

Nowadays, I have an in-home studio but in the not-so-distant past, I shot all my portraits on location around my home, working mostly with window light in a small area between my living and dining rooms, where this portrait of Ashley Rae was made. Another favorite spot was a loft outside my home office.

When shooting boudoir photographs on location, my best advice is not to get fussy about posing. What I do is watch what the subject does naturally and have them interact with the background in some way that’s physically comfortable for them.

One technique that I use to show a subject how and where I want her to stand (or sit) is by putting myself in a pose but let her give me her interpretation of it. What I have discovered is that what the subject almost always comes up with something that’s better than my original idea. Once she’s in a pose, I select camera angles and change focal lengths, when shooting with a zoom, to accent their good features and minimize anything she may be  self-conscious about—even if she may be wrong about that assessment.

One of the best way that I’ve found to stimulate communications during a boudoir shoot is by showing the subject some of the images we’re shooting on your camera’s LCD screen. I don’t show them every shot, just ones I like the most. Most  people positively respond to this but for some subjects it breaks their concentration and you have to start all over again. If this happens, don’t show them any more photos until your finished with a specific pose or clothing change. When this technique does work, and that’s most of the time, seeing how great she looks gives her confidence in your abilities and makes the session progress smoother, producing better portraits.

How I made this shot: This window light portrait features the wonderfully dynamic Ashley Rae, who might just have been my first muse*, although I didn’t realize it at the time. The window was located in the back door of my former home at camera right. I moved her slightly away from the window to avoid blown out highlights, although deep shadows remain; the wall behind her is white. We explored various versions of this pose, closer or farther away from the window but when she leaned on one of the dining room’s chairs I know this was it. Camera used was a Canon EOS 50D with the ubiquitous, for me at the time, EF 28-105mm 3.5-4.5 II lens (at 65mm) and an exposure of 1/80 sec at f/4.5 and ISO 400.

*If you have a friend or maybe yourself who would like to be a muse and have questions or want to schedule an interview, please click the Contact button or send me an e-mail at joefarace at gmail dot com.


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You can learn more about my posing techniques in Posing for Portrait & Glamour Photography and brand new books are available from Amazon.com for just $18.95 with used copies selling for $17.90 as I write this. Kindle versions are $11.99 for those preferring to have the book in digital form.