Getting Started in Boudoir and Glamour Photography

by | May 31, 2018

Today’s Post by Joe Farace

 I’m happy today because I get to photograph my muse, Erin Valakari. The below glamour image was made during our last shoot. I’m also excited to test the replacement Lumix GH4 to see if it solves all of the problems that I wrote about here.

I wrote in a post, ‘Wrapping Your Mind Around Portrait Lighting,’ “If you’re wondering how someone who was originally an architectural and product photographer came to wander down this path, it will be the subject of a future post.” This is that post.

So how did I get started in boudoir and glamour photography?

It was an indirect route and worth mentioning only because it might also describe you. When Mary and I opened our studio in 1982, we divided the workload based on the kind of photography we were best at: She photographed people and I photographed things, mostly architecture. Because of scheduling sometimes I would shoot a few business portraits but people were really Mary’s forte. When we sold the studio—a saga covered in my (seemingly eternally) forthcoming book, A Life in Photography— things changed.

I’d always admired and respected the work of Peter Gowland and late in his life, we struck up a friendship. In fact, my book Joe Farace’s Glamour Photography, is dedicated to Peter and Alice Gowland, although sadly it was published after he passed away. In the 1980’s, I began avidly reading and collecting his glamour photography books. During the late 1990’s when looking at the new glamour images appearing on the Web, I became interested in working in the genre Because of my health problems, we had sold the studio along with all the lighting equipment  so I had to start from scratch because “I wasn’t ever going to photograph people.”

That’s when I learned you can never say never or “ever” and started learning how to make glamour images with little or no equipment. If you’re interested in that topic, that will be the subject of a post next month.

You may be interested in trying boudoir photography but think that it’s difficult, you need lots of expensive equipment or models are hard to find. It’s going to much less difficult if you’ve been interested in photography for a while and are familiar with the basics including focus, composition and exposure. If that description fits, you’re ready to make your first glamour photograph.

For the above intimate portrait of Erin Valakari, backdrop used was a Photo Gray Savage Infinity vinyl background. Camera was that a Panasonic Lumix GH4 with G Vario 14-45mm f/3.5-5.6 lens at 31mm and an exposure of 1/160 sec and f/6.3 and ISO 200. I like working in black & white when shooting some, but not all, boudoir or intimate portraits and used Silver Efex Pro and Color Efex Pro plug-ins to create this image.

I’m putting together a new presentation about Glamour and Boudoir photography for camera clubs with members who are 18-years old and older. It’s still in the planning stages and if you’re interested in having me present it to your organization, click Contact and let me know. In addition, I also plan to be doing one-on-one boudoir and glamour workshops with Erin as model, priced at $199 for a 180-minute class, $225 with a model release. If you’re interested, click Contact for scheduling availability.



My out-of-print film-based book Part-Time Glamour Photography: Full-Time Income, is available new at collector prices or used for $15.00, as I write this. Yes, it’s about shooting with film cameras but there’s still lots of useful information and that price is hard to beat! The newer, digital oriented Joe Farace’s Glamour Photography, is available new for $21.59 or $3.67 used, cheaper than your next latte at Starbucks.