Outdoor Glamour & Boudoir Photography. Why Not?

by | Jun 28, 2018

Today’s Post by Joe Farace

Boudoir photography, or Intimate Portraiture as I prefer to call the genre, is typically shot using a moody interior or studio setting but there’s no reason you can’t shoot outdoors.

One of my favorite outdoor lighting techniques is backlighting, which can produce highlights on the subject’s hair and blow out the background to create a pseudo high-key effect and perhaps minimize the effect of a less than exciting background. Want to try it? Here’s all you have to do:

The next time you plan to photograph a model outdoors, place her in a pose that you might normally use but with the sun on her face and then—turn her around in the opposite direction! Right away the subject is more relaxed because the sun is behind her and she won’t be squinting.

Next turn on your speedlight. Be sure to use flash, otherwise she‘ll be a silhouette. In order to get a final image you can live with, you may have to open the lens a stop or two over the metered exposure just as you might with any backlit subject but this method should produce and attractive glow around all or part of your model.

If you plan to shoot full length portraits instead of close-ups, a more powerful speedlight, like the Canon 550EX (or the newer 600EX II-RT) that I used for the portrait at right, will be more effective than the weaker pop-up flashes found on most entry-level digital SLRs or mirrorless cameras.

I photographed Tomiko in Phoenix, Arizona using my basic flash technique for backlighting, although the effect here is more subtle. Exposure with a Canon EOS 60D and EF 28-105mm f/3.5-4.5 lens with 550EX speedlight used for fill.

If you enjoyed today’s blog post and would like to buy Joe a cup of Earl Grey tea ($2.50), click here. And if you do, thank so very much.


Several photographs of Tomiko appear in my book Available Light Glamour Photography that’s available from Amazon with new copies of the book for just $24.53 and used copies for the bargain price of $18.98, as I write this. The Kindle version is $23.30 for those preferring a digital format.