How to Achieve Beautiful Boudoir Photos
Ah, bridal boudoir... how we love thee! Bridal boudoir is always breathtakingly and refreshingly intimate and pure, which is why we love that it's becoming more popular. However the biggest challenge remains - how do brides (and photographers!) achieve these emotive while there is an understanding that stripping down into sheer fabrics and lacy wardrobes isn't the most comfortable thing ever? Luckily photographer Shannon Moffit is here with us today to discuss some tips for both you brides and photographers...
It is no secret that boudoir photography is becoming more popular. Two years ago, brides would sit in my office and say, “boud-what?” But as of this year, about 75% of my 2016 brides have already done or have scheduled a boudoir session, making for a 400% increase from 2015. Not only have these sessions are a nice change of scenery and a break from the crowds of people and uncontrollable moments that happen on a wedding day! I have put a considerable amount of time into mastering the art of creating a comfortable and relaxed atmosphere for shooting boudoir sessions and it has certainly paid off. Here are a few of my tried and tested methods of to create timeless, soft, and beautiful boudoir images:
CHOOSING THE SPACE
The wonderful thing about boudoir sessions is that they can be done almost anywhere. There are a few things I look for, since I shoot these sessions on film: (1) privacy, (2) light colored walls, if inside, (3) an uncluttered space, (4) a limited color palette, and (5) at least one window for natural light. The majority of the time I will rent a local studio space, but other options include renting a hotel room or a room at a bed and breakfast, or asking to use a bridal prep room at a wedding venue (these photos were taken in a private and small bridal prep room at Veritas Winery in Virginia).
LISTEN TO KEY ADJECTIVES
The longer I have been a photographer, the more I have realized how powerful and crucial my directions, actions, and vocabulary are to getting a photogenic response from a client in front of a camera. Because most of us aren't models, it is totally natural to feel a bit nervous in front of the camera! This is where picking up on soft directions and key adjectives can help you during your session. Listen for words like “soft,” “gentle,” and “slowly,” from your photographer, which is an attempt to subconsciously put you in a state of relaxation. The more you soften your attitude, like speaking softer and moving gently, the softer your photographs will turn out! Words will greatly influence the end result, so pay close attention and take great care to relax for your photographer.
THE LITTLE DETAILS
Having an eye for detail is an important factor when creating gorgeous end-resulting images. Together with your photographer, be sure to pay attention to the tiniest of details that all together can shape your photos. Did you leave a hair tie on your wrist? Does your dressing gown feel uncomfortable? Is your bra strap twisted? Is a tag hanging out? When I notice something like this, I will always ask if it is okay for me to fix it. As a photographer, more often than not, a bride will give their blessing, so I will move those stray hairs, fix falling sleeves, spin rings to face the camera, etc. That being said, I would never touch a client right in the beginning of a session, since they are the most uncomfortable then.
While all of these things are taking place from your photographer (the direction, soft adjectives, and feedback), he or she will be consciously thinking about adding variety to the overall set of images, while keeping the mood and vibe of the photos cohesive. For example, in this set of photos, I did my best to take full body shots, close-up shots, sitting shots, veil shots, straight on shots, shots from above, over the shoulder shots, by the window shots, shots with a flower, etc. This is a pretty good amount of variety for a small, 10x10 room. Since I make mini boudoir albums for my clients, variety is especially important when I am putting together a design layout. Be aware that the tiny details like the pattern of your gown on your shoulder, the beautiful curtains in the room you're in, or your ring are the details that will make your boudoir session feel like a story rather than simply photos of you in lingerie!
Ultimately, the interaction and relationship you formed between client and photographer will reflect in the photos. For photographers - the more comfortable your clients are with you, the more relaxed the photos will look, even for awkward clients. For brides - the more you try to relax, take the direction from your talented photographer, and understand the big picture of what is happening, the better your photos will turn out! I hope this inspires you to challenge yourself and shoot more boudoir sessions!
Thanks so much to Shannon Moffit for her invaluable advice. We adore boudoir sessions so much as they're impeccably intimate and tell a lovely story of a bride on her journey to meet her groom at the altar ....