There’s no denying boudoir photography is a form of intimate photography. After all, every woman who participates in a boudoir photoshoot is either wearing minimal clothing or is partially nude. She is also being photophraphed in intimate poses from different angles by a photographer.
It makes sense that some women would be reluctant to participate in an intimate photography session that exposes a more vulnerable aspect of themselves than a normal photoshoot. At the same time, intimate photography can be one of the most liberating experiences in a woman’s life. Not only can a woman fully explore her sexuality and discover other aspects of herself she never new existed, but she could even decide to do it for a living!
What exactly goes into an intimate photography session? Let us count the ways!
Before preparations for an intimate photoshoot can begin, a boudoir photographer needs to communicate expectations to a potential client. The best boudoir photographers will build trust with clients prior to the session. Not only is this important for building trust, but it’s also an important stepping stone towards making a client feel comfortable in doing an intimate photography session with the photographer. This entails more than telling the client what to expect during her session, but also about communicating boundaries and getting to know what she wants to get out of her session.
One of the first items a client will be given is a questionnaire to help her develop ideas for her session. In many cases, she’ll be asked how she visualizes her finalized photos, what features she would like to show off, and which ones she’d like to see less emphasis on in order to get the best possible outcome.
In addition to the questionnaire, a boudoir photographer would then discuss clothing, props, accessories, poses and help the client decide on what she wants for her session. This often entails helping her decide what she wants to wear, what props or accessories she wants to bring. This is also the time for the client to ask the photographer any lingering questions she might have about the session.
Preparing for the intimate photography session
The day prior to the intimate photoshoot, the boudoir photographer will call the client to confirm her scheduled session and use this opportunity to answer any lingering questions she has to help ease her anxiety. The photographer will also verify the location of the shoot, complete with the location address, and how early to arrive for her scheduled session.
On the day of the intimate photography session, clients will either bring their own outfits or choose one that they like out of the studio closet, as long as it fits her style. Even if the client does bring her own wardrobe, if it’s not a garment she’s particular comfortable with or sees something in the studio closet she likes better, she still has the option to use an outfit provided by the studio. In every boudoir session, respecting a client’s personal boundaries is always top priority and would never be asked nor pressured to wear anything outside of her comfort zone.
Another aspect of guaranteeing the client’s comfort during her intimate photography photo session is ensuring the clothes fit the client’s body properly. Not only is it crucial to prevent discomfort and bodily injuries, but it’s equally important to avoid wardrobe malfuntion. Similarly, all clothes used during a photoshoot must be clean or new.
In addition to choosing the right clothes, the client will also be paired off with a professional hairstylist and makeup artist. Not only will the hairstylist and makeup artist help ensure a client looks her absolute best during her photoshoot, but the hairstylist and makeup artist can also help the client achieve her desired look.
The Intimate Photography Session
During the session, the boudoir photographer will continue to prioritize the client’s comfort as well as direct the client throughout her entire session. In many cases, the client will be nervous in front of the camera and the photographer will often start with relaxation exercises to help the client feel at ease.
Since the client won’t know what to do in front of the camera, the photographer will often suggest ideas and even demonstrate intimate photography poses for the client. The photographer will also provide positive feedback and even show the client the photos throughout the session to keep the client feeling at ease.
There are also different rooms with varying spacing and lighting used in boudoir sessions. Which room gets used will not only be determined by the client, but the room will also determine which articles of clothing the client will wear to stay comfortable. The room will also determine which cameras and lenses are used during the session as well.
During the shoot, the client will be photographed in various poses and from different angles. Some of these poses include, front, back, and lying poses. Some of the angles used include eye-level, aerial view, high and low levels. Since boudoir photography places emphasis on curves, this also informs which poses and angles are used.
After the Photo Session
Once a boudoir session is complete, the last thing that takes place is photo retouching, in which the raw photographs are visually enhanced. This is where many boudoir photographers tend to vary in their methods. Some boudoir photographers edit their photos to acquire a professional magazine-style look while others do very little to no editing at all while still aiming for professional quality.
During the editing process, temporary blemishes may be removed and skin may be softened. Lighting can also be enhanced and colors can be made to pop out more. One thing that is avoided in boudoir photography is excessive editing to the point where the client looks less her authentic self. Since the goal of boudoir photography is female empowerment, the photographer has a responsibility to the client to utilize editing practices that are not contradictory to that message or damaging to the client’s self-esteem.
Intimate photography or Boudoir photography, is all about challenging societal standards of beauty and elevating women’s self-esteem by showing them they are as beautiful as the women they see depicted in other media. Since boudoir thrives on celebrating diverse female beauty, the focus of post-session edits is visually impressive portraits, not “correcting” the client’s bodily appearance.