Mirrorless Boudoir Photography

Today’s Post by Joe Farace

I’ve always preferred the term “intimate portraiture” instead of boudoir photography but since that’s what most photographers call this genre, I don’t want a semantic disagreement get in the way of today’s post.

Boudoir photography is practiced by many photographers and includes the kind of photographs wives and girlfriends give as gifts their significant others for Christmas, Valentines Day or other gift giving occasions. There are many ways to portray sensuality, sometimes with nudity, partial nudity, or no nudity. Much depends on the subject and pose, including the use of “implied nudity” where the model is actually nude but because of the pose is not fully uncovered in the photograph.

Deciphering the nuances sometimes means that you’re dancing on the razor edge between portrait or figure photography genres but any successful boudoir photography includes most of the following elements.

  • Sexiness: Boudoir photography focuses on the depiction of a subject with a strong emphasis on sensuality with today’s trends leaning toward a more natural look at the same time.
  • Technique: In pursuit of the ultimate boudoir image, photographers use make-up, camera and soft lighting to produce an appealing and sometimes romanticized, idealized vision of the subject. While some photographers prefer realism, put me in the idealized camp.
  • Sharp focus or not: Some photographers preferred crisply rendered images. Others, like me, like to add touch of softness and retouching to the image in the digital darkroom. It’s up to you because ultimately it all comes down to the…
  • Subject: Having rapport with the subject helps create the uniquely collaborative effort involved in intimate portraiture. She must be comfortable being photographed unclothed or nearly so it’s the photographer’s job to make sure the subject is relaxed. It will make the session go smoothly and let both of you create the best possible photographs.

For more photographic-oriented details on this subject, please read my post: Boudoir & Glamour Photography with Mirrorless Cameras.

How I made this shot: Pam Simpson was photographed on a love seat in my family room. Camera was a Panasonic Lumix GH4 with Olympus 45mm f/1.8 lens and an exposure of 1/30 sec at f/7.1 and ISO 400. Lighting was a Paul C Buff DigiBee DB800 with 18-inch Omni reflector with diffusion sock placed close by at camera right.

If you’re interested in learning how I shoot portraits and use cameras, lenses and lighting in my in-home studio and on location, please pick up a copy of Studio Lighting Anywhere which is available new from Amazon.com for $22.78 and for $13.75 used, as I write this. If you’re interested in learning how to shoot better portraits and would like some hands-on training, check out my one-on-one workshops