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B&W vs Color Boudoir Photography

There’s no right or wrong way to do boudoir photography. In fact, there is no shortage of ways to capture the right facial expression, the right pose, the right angle, or the right shot. There isn’t even a shortage of settings to shoot a boudoir photography session from. Whether you live in Richmond, Newport News, Jamestown, Williamsburg, Annapolis, Washington DC, or even Baltimore in Maryland, wherever you go, there is bound to be a perfect setting for the perfect boudoir session. 

While all of this sounds pretty easy, there’s just one more pressing question: how do we know whether to go with color or black and white photography? Is it a matter of personal preference or stylistic choice? Are there other things to consider for a successful boudoir session? While personal preference and stylistic choice do factor, there are other aspects of boudoir photography that inform whether color or black and white works best for a session. Here, we look at the Top 3!

What mood do we want to create?

Boudoir, Virginia, Washington DC

As the saying goes, “a picture paints a thousand words.” A good starting point for many boudoir photographers in determining whether to go with color or black and white is to decide on a mood to invoke from a viewer. Here are some questions to consider: Do we want to convey a certain emotion? If so, what kind of emotion? Do we want to convey a sense of playfulness or an air of mystery? Are we aiming for sexy or erotic?

Let’s say, for a photo session, we want to convey an erotic mood with an air of mystery. To emphasize both, black and white is the better option since it allows the eye to focus on specific details, leading the viewer to think about what’s happening in the photo and develop a story in their mind. For a photo session that seeks to convey “sexy playfulness,” color photography works best. In this particular case, color works to invoke specific emotions depending on the colors used and the vibrance of those colors.

How much lighting and contrast do we want to use?

Boudoir, Virginia, Washington DC

Just as important as establishing a mood is deciding how much lighting and contrast to use. In fact, more often than not, lighting and contrast play a huge role in creating the right mood. In the case of a boudoir photo session that’s meant to feel erotic with an air of mystery, there is no shortage of ways to use lighting to create the right contrast. Same is true for creating other moods like “sexy playfulness.”

In a black and white boudoir photo where the model is presented as a black silhouette against a white background, the light source comes in from the background. In both color and black and white photos in which the model is the focal point and everything else in the room is obscured, the lighting source will fall directly on the model. In the case of closeup shots and shots from specific angles, placement of the light source will vary to focus on different details.

Are there interesting colors, angles, and textures to capture?

Boudoir, Virginia, Washington DC

One last thing to consider when deciding whether to go with color or black and white photography for a boudoir session is what colors, angles, and textures there are to capture. In boudoir photos where the textures of certain items like hair, feathers or certain fabrics add to the mood being created, color makes those items stand out more. In the case of closeup shots, however, black and white photos are better for accenting different textures.

In boudoir photos that rely on the presence of specific colors to convey a specific mood, color photography is often the way to go. Certain color elements, however, can also be added to black and white photos to convey the mood they’re meant to convey. This is equally true of angles as well. In most cases, color is excellent for capturing different moods for various angles, but black and white excels at zoning in on specific moods for specific angles.

At Black Lace Boudoir, we’re all about capturing both your inner and outer beauty. We’re about using the artistic power of photography to tell your story as you see fit and showcase your strength, power and humanity. We believe in you owning your narrative and we are strong proponents of you defining your own worth. To learn more about Black Lace or book a session with us, feel free to contact us at 540-369-4088 or drop us a line at our contact page.


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