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They soon realized from boudoir's popularity that it could be a successful standalone business. An added incentive was the fact that they found boudoir sessions were quicker and easier to do than weddings, and for the most part, they were more fun. Call it the "shades of grey" effect: "There's a lot more freedom in the way people feel about expressing themselves, in being interested in sensuality," Cherie says.
Often Cherie will ask the retouchers for both a color and black-and-white version just to see how an image will look both ways. The Mirror Image Their success with boudoir photography starts with a shrewd appraisal of their clients.
You can tell which woman loves herself, and which woman doesn't, and the best women to shoot are the ones who love themselves.
Because of that, Cherie and Hedley go at the shoot from the positive side.
Dealing with those positive aspects and working around any negative ones dictates how the photographs will be composed and lit. Most often their subject ends a session with not just an image, but an improved self-image. We've given them so much attention that they feel amazing.
It's a whole psychological thing. When we started taking boudoir pictures, we were thinking, okay, we're photographers and we're all about making great pictures; the psychology part of it was something that we didn't think about. Fortunately, very early on we recognized that not only were we doing great photographs, we were also making these women feel great about themselves and their self-esteem.
Their subjects select their own outfits and generally have their hair done before the shoot. We do not want to shoot anybody without makeup. The photographers will take care of the rest with cropping and lighting.
Then there's retouching. We have our own retouching company, and we've trained all the retouchers.
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Our suggestions for retouching are generally very simple, like 'good skin' or sometimes 'a little bit thinner if it looks natural. Often something with meaning to the person adds variety to the shoot. When they leave this studio they feel that they're worth a million dollars. The process of course starts with the woman's desire for boudoir photographs. And then there are events, birthdays, anniversaries and, quite frequently, changes in appearance: a weight loss or cosmetic surgery.
We do interviews to find out why she's doing this, so there's an emotional connection with us when we're photographing her. The style we photograph her in is dependent on what she says to us—it gives us clues to the kind of look she wants. We want to know her perception of her strengths and weaknesses, and any hesitancies about what the pictures may reveal or emphasize.
All this is up to her, not us. Some places online to check for models include OneModelPlace. Some photographers have had success with craigslist. Before you agree to work with a model, especially if you are paying her, it is a good idea to see her online portfolio, if she has one. If she is just beginning, then you may have to be content with seeing snapshots of her.
If you are a professional photographer, then it is no problem to meet her at your studio. If you are not, then encourage her to bring a friend along, or agree to meet at a nearby coffee shop or other public place, rather than your home. It is encouraging to her if you do everything you can to build her trust. A portfolio, a website, and a professional manner will go a long way in that department, even if photography is just a hobby for you.
The Steps 37 Model Releases Any time that you will be showing photographs to someone besides the model, you need to have her written permission just to be safe. The more intimate the photograph, the more likely it is that she will have concerns about where it will end up. This is simple. If you ever want to show anyone the images you create, you need a written model release signed by the model to be safe.
This includes use on your website or in your printed portfolio. This protects you and the model. The form can be as simple as you would like. It needs to state what you plan to do with the photographs and what she receives in return. The more complicated the release, the more difficult it will be to get it signed. Simple is better. Make sure to discuss the model release with the model when you first meet with her.
Also, have her sign the release before you start photographing. That way if she has any questions, you can iron them out in advance. It will also prevent you from forgetting to have her sign it before she leaves.
If you spoke with her about it in advance, then there should not be any question. Since this book is not giving legal advice, and legal documents do change, do an online search if you would like to use an existing release, or contact your attorney.
Frequently bought together
You can also see the end of the book for suggested reading material. Typically, in photography, the model needs to wear more makeup than she does when she goes out in public.
The best thing is to tell the model to wear heavy evening makeup, as if she was getting dressed up for a fancy evening out. In the photographs she will look like she has very little makeup on. You are striving to have smooth skin with the blemishes covered. A nice coating of matte powder over the top will help to reduce shine. You want the eyes to stand out with eyeliner and several coats of mascara, but not be overdone.
A good coat of matching lipstick should be applied evenly and neatly. The nails should be done, both fingernails and toenails. Styles in makeup and hair, just like styles in clothing, change frequently.
It is beyond the scope of this book to go into too much detail here. Makeup and hair is a huge subject that can take up an entire book on its own. Any details given could easily be out of date by the time you read this section. Ten years ago it was a bigger issue. It was difficult and expensive to retouch images, and many women did not know how to do their own makeup and hair. The photographer or a stylist often needed to do her makeup.
That is much rarer today. Many more women seem to know how to do a nice job with their own hair and makeup and often have very particular ideas on what needs to be done. It will save hours of Photoshop retouching work later on. This is an area you learn with experience and practice. If you need more help, get a book on makeup for photography. Hair is pulled back and makeup is applied in a series of steps. The Steps 39 Your model should be sure to shave her legs, under her arms, and around her bikini line if necessary about 12 hours before the photography session.
If she waits until just before the session, she may have red marks on her body or fresh nicks and scratches, which will show in the photographs. Even though they can be retouched if necessary, it is better not to have to. The hair is brushed and styled.
You can use an on-camera electronic flash, studio lighting, hot lights, natural light, a light modifier such as a reflector, or some combination of these.
Consider these questions: Will you be photographing during the day or after dark? If after dark, then you will definitely need supplemental light of some kind. An assistant holds the reflector to provide reflector fill in the studio. Will you be photographing indoors or outdoors?
Indoors it is likely that you will need lighting of some kind.
If outdoors, is there shade? If there is shade, you will most likely need a reflector or on-camera flash; otherwise, you will pick up the color of the shade green if it is from plants and the light may be dull as well. If outdoors, how is the weather?
Bright sun? Bright sun means that you will want a reflector or an on-camera flash. Overcast provides nice, soft, even lighting. You may not need supplemental lighting unless the lighting is too dull. Will you be photographing at the beach or in snow where the background is very bright?
If so, you will need a reflector or on-camera flash to balance the harshness of the light. If indoors, are there windows available for light? With window light, your lighting may be fine as is. Some windows have a film on them that may give an unacceptable color to your photograph. If indoors, do you have plenty of electricity available if you want to use hot lights? If indoors, how much space will you have? Once you know the answers, then select your lighting gear.
It is not a bad idea to take along backup gear so you are prepared for unknown situations or changes in weather. The Steps Indoors with window light. Note how the color is affected by the window coating as compared to the figure below, which uses flash fill. The same location as the above image except that flash fill has been used.
Photographed in shade without flash fill.
Bright sunlight with flash fill. Photographed in shade with flash fill. You have to look closely at her strengths, or areas to emphasize in your photographs, and her weak areas, or areas to deemphasize.
It takes time and practice to learn to do that effectively. You need to be able to make your assessment without staring and making the woman uncomfortable. The Steps 43 The first step is to ask your model about her favorite areas of her body. You may have to press her a bit if she is very modest. You can make suggestions. Be sure to use the proper names of body parts and not slang.
Keep it professional. Here are some favorite areas to consider. These may include legs, tummy, breasts, cleavage, eyes, curves, expression, face, and poses. Next ask her about her least favorite spots.
These are often tummy, legs, thighs, bottom, and upper arms. When she tells you, it is important to take note. It is likely that she will be very critical of herself in those areas. You need to be extra careful and try to make the photos as flattering as possible.
Finally, you need to learn how to feature some areas and deemphasize others. This will involve posing, clothing, propping, lighting, and finally, retouching, if necessary, which will be covered in later lessons. As a photographer, you need to see beyond the obvious and look for the beauty that your trained eye can observe.
With skill and experience, you will be able to show her beauty and sensuality that she was not aware of. That should always be your goal. With boudoir photography this is even more important because women often feel more vulnerable when they are wearing less in the way of clothing.
Dealing with Her Concerns Nearly every woman will have concerns about being photographed. She is worried that she will not look as pretty as she hopes. The more you can reassure her, the higher the level of trust she will have in you and the resulting photographs. Point out that you are only interested in making her look sensual, sexy, and fabulous. Any images that look otherwise will be due to errors on your part, not hers, and you will edit them out ideally before you show them to her.
Listen carefully when she tells you that she does not like her tummy or chin or other part of her body. You need to think about these things as you photograph, as you know that she will look carefully at those areas. She may not want the photographs to be too revealing.
Make sure you both agree as to how sexy the photographs will be even before you pull out your camera. If you want to be able to photograph her again, you need to work extra hard to please her.
If she is not your wife or girlfriend, or even if she is, you need to think about how the photographs will affect your reputation as a photographer. The Steps Developing Rapport If you spend some time dealing with her concerns, then you are well on your way to developing rapport.
Developing rapport means building trust. This will help a great deal when you move to the section on expressions. It is always a good idea to provide a variety of snacks and drinks, and even a complete meal if the session will run more than three to four hours. Light snack foods will be best. Some suggestions would be cheese and crackers, fruit, yogurt, and vegetables.
On cold days, provide hot beverages if she desires, and the opposite on hot days. Bottled or purified water is always popular. Jessica is working her way through some yogurt and carrot sticks as well as a half-sandwich. Amelia is putting on one of the studio robes. In this case, it is a black, terrycloth robe that is very cozy. The studio also has a satin robe and a silk robe to use on warmer days. The nice fabric touching her skin helps maintain the mood of the session. The Steps 47 Think of her physical comfort as well.
Provide a robe for her to wear in between the times that you are photographing her.
This allows a bit of modesty as well as warmth. Unless it is a very warm day, the photographer needs to remember that his model is not dressed as warmly as he is.
The photographer should wear something light such as a t-shirt and shorts to remind him about warmth. While working, try to keep the model as comfortable as the setup will allow. If she will be lying down, which is a great pose to use for many reasons, a few large throw pillows can be tossed down and some fabric put over the top. She will feel more comfortable and it will show in her expressions.
The greatest and sexiest image in the world will be worthless without a great expression on your model. How do you get great expressions? First, of course, you have to build trust and develop rapport. You have to give her permission to act a bit crazy at times. You can do that by acting a bit crazy yourself.
Tell her jokes. Give her scenes to play out.
Avoid being crude, even if she is your wife or girlfriend. Encourage her without trying to sound sexy, which would come off poorly.
Treat her with respect. Talk to her like you would want any other man talking to her. When she feels beautiful and sexy and special, you will see it in her eyes.
Ellie Vayo's Guide to Boudoir Photography
Her expressions will be wonderful and will make your photographs even better. Some women are comfortable in front of a camera from the very beginning.
With others, it takes time and encouragement on your part to bring that out. Stephanie demonstrates a large variety of expressions below and on the following pages.Creating the intimate images of boudoir photography is not for the faint of effort. The number of choices is nearly unlimited, but here are some suggestions. You can also find distributors online. Most often their subject ends a session with not just an image, but an improved self-image. The more complicated the release, the more difficult it will be to get it signed.
She is wearing panties red, naturally! It is a lot easier to get agreement with a more modest approach.
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