Boudoir Photoshoot with Brittany – My Lighting Experiment

So far in 2013 I’ve had the opportunity to do a few Boudoir shoots for clients.  Out of the areas I specialize in, Boudoir is probably one of my favorites…and not for the reasons some of you may think.  I use the term “Rockstar” a lot when communicating with clients about boudoir photoshoots.  I think that word help sums up what I like about the style. I get the opportunity to really make someone look like a rockstar or magazine model.  One of my favorite parts about the photography process when it comes to Boudoir is the feedback I get from clients about the resulting photos.  I always have people coming to me, worried about some part of their physical appearance prior to the shoot.  This person could be flawless to some, but human nature tends to cause self-consciousness among even the best of us.  I always reassure the client that I will make them look amazing and I have yet to receive disappointing feedback from anyone.  Usually I hear things like “OMG, I look hot”, or “Wow, I can’t believe that is me.”  Their excitement and satisfaction is very rewarding and continues to fuel my desire to really expand upon my Boudoir work.

Experiments w/ Lighting

Natural Lighting

Traditionally with Boudoir Photoshoots, I relied on natural lighting.  Natural light often has a nice effect on a subject and can help bring a real or dramatic feel to boudoir photos.  However, natural light can be limiting.  Most people aren’t comfortable rocking out in their lingerie outside.  In addition to that, Illinois weather doesn’t always allow for that type of attire outdoors.  Shooting inside limits poses, usually to the area of a window, and can often dictate angles and positions that will work for any particular shoot.  Even more limiting is the appointment window.  Some clients aren’t available at the best time of day to get the really awesome natural light.  If its near dusk or dark and the room is poorly lit to beging with, any photographer is going to have a difficult time with the shoot if they are relying solely on natural light.


Boudoir Photography with Natural Lighting Peoria IL

An example photo from a past Boudoir Shoot utilizing natural light.


Studio Lighting

With my latest boudoir shoots, I decided to experiment with a portable mini-studio set up that I acquired.  Brittany was a great client to work with and very open to my ideas and wishes to experiment.  I decided instead of going for the natural looking shot, I was going to opt for the magazine-like shoot. I wanted to throw as much light on Brittany as possible to really give her that rockstar/model look.  The resulting photos were quite different from my previous work, but in a good way.  I wouldn’t describe them as anything less than awesome.  I was really impressed with the results, and so was Brittany.


Boudoir Photo - Studio Lighting - Peoria IL

A shot from my recent Boudoir Session with Brittany using Studio Lighting.


To obtain this vivid shot, I used 2 umbrella lights, A smaller fill light, and my Canon 430ex II external flash bounced off the ceiling.  In addition to this, I used a white backdrop to not only hide any distractions in the background, but also help reflect light onto Brittany.  Much like natural light, studio light can have its pros and cons.  The shots can look more staged, and not as real as when shot with natural light.  This is especially so when a backdrop is added into the mix.  On the positive side, I have much more control over the shoot.  I am not limited as much in my angles or poses, as I can move the lights around as I see fit.  The lack of shadows really help show all the detail and color, while enhancing the clients natural beauty.  Sometimes a shadow caught the wrong way can be unflattering to someone in a photo if not dealt with properly.

The Verdict

I am not sure if I am set on either style of lighting for my shoots.  If anything, I have a desire to experiment more in the future.  Photographers usually don’t want all of their shoots to look the same, so mixing it up is always beneficial to the clients in order to give them something fresh in comparison to the rest of their work.  I look forward to not only experimenting more with both natural and studio lighting in the future, but also to combine the two forms.  There is definitely more to come on this subject.

Working with Brittany

Brittany was extremely awesome to work with.  She was very easy going, and open to suggestions.  She was great at changing up her poses and faces, which ultimately made my job easier.  Boudoir sessions are usually around an hour or so depending on what the client wants.  The less feedback and direction I have the give, the more photos the client will ultimately get out of that shoot.  Brittany’s abilities to change her poses and faces without much direction from me resulted in the shoot going very smoothly.

A Fresh Face

Brittany definitely has a unique look, and I was excited to work with her.  I have long been wanting to do a boudoir style shoot with a Suicide Girls type of feel.  Having a few piercings myself, and as a former guitarist in a metal band, I somewhat feel a connection to the tattooed and pierced.  Beauty is not limited to the images you see in mainstream advertising.  I really wanted to create images that reflect that, and Brittany helped me achieve that goal.  She brought a level of edginess to the photos that I have not been able to obtain before.  I am thankful for that and hope to have the opportunity to work with more clients like Brittany in the future.

Want to See More?

The see all the photos from my shoot with Brittany, check out the gallery here.  For the rest of my Boudoir work, check out my Boudoir Portfolio.  Stay tuned, there will be more Boudoir related photos and posts to come.

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