5 Beginner Boudoir Posing and Lighting Tips Every New Photographer Should Know
Wondering how photographers snap those photos with perfect lighting and gorgeous poses to match? Well, it’s not hard once you know what to look out for. Just like any other career, skill is more about practicing and honing your craft than it is about talent.
Which means if you’re a new photographer, you can breathe easy. Because over time, you’ll learn everything you need to know ( even long-time pros are still learning, so don’t be so hard on yourself!).
With that being said, we can start off that journey to elevate your skills, right here, right now. Because in this post, I’m going to share with you my best beginner boudoir photography tips on posing and lighting.
These tips will show you how to capture photos your clients will DROOL over — so let’s dig in!
P.S. — Want to know my #1 best-selling pose almost every single client asks for each session…and how to do it? Watch until the end of the video above to catch the breakdown!
Beginner Boudoir Photography Tip #1: Know Thy Lighting
There are SO many different classifications of lighting in photography, but I want to focus on just three for now. These three types of lighting are the most useful to know because they’re the most flattering for ANY boudoir photography shoot.
That’s right, we’re talking broad light, short light, and flat light.
Flat light happens when the light source is facing directly to the front of your subject. It lights up your subject (aka, your client) evenly and everything throughout the picture is pretty well-lit. There usually aren’t any shadows present here either.
It’s not something I use very often, but it’s still helpful to know in case you find yourself booking more and more outdoor gigs.
Broad light happens when the shadow side of the face is the furthest away from you. This is another popular lighting in the boudoir photography space, but keep in mind that not every type of lighting works for every client.
Broad light tends to make faces look fuller, so if someone is wanting to bring out the narrowness or sharpness of their features, it would be harder to do that with broad lighting.
And now we’re at my favorite light! I personally think that short light makes for the best photos because it’s not too harsh, not too soft, and tends to look good on everyone!
Short light happens when the shadow side of the face is closest to you, and it can really help sculpt the face and body.
However, keep in mind that short light can sometimes show off more imperfections, like bags under the eyes or wrinkles the client may not want to see. You can retouch, but being mindful of this can help save you time during the editing process.
Beginner Boudoir Photography Tip #2: Work Those Shadows
Say it with me — shadows are NOT a bad thing!
In boudoir photography especially, shadows can really help you sculpt the body and help accentuate the clients’ natural curves. When you know how to work the shadows, it can create SUCH a flattering image that both you and your clients walk away happy with.
Be sure to know where the lighting is in your studio (or wherever you’re shooting) ahead of time. That way, when the client arrives you’ll have a head start on where and how to pose her to best use those shadows.
Beginner Boudoir Photography Tip #3: ALWAYS Face the Light
Yes, shadows can do a great job of accentuating curves and making certain places look fuller, but when it comes to the face, you ALWAYS want to keep it in the light as much as you possibly can.
One of my favorite photographers, Jerry Ghionis, once said, “Face towards the light, body away from the light.” And honestly? This has been one of the BEST pieces of advice I’ve ever heard.
It gives you the chance to show your clients’ bodies in the most flattering way, and then show off the face that way too. Bringing the face to the light can also help the shadows go where you want them to go across the body.
Beginner Boudoir Photography Tip #4: Pose From Head to Toe
Make sure you always pose your clients from head to toe! It’s not enough to just tilt the chin or arch the back, you also need to bend what bends, or make sure that places like the wrists and feet look good too.
This will also help you use light and shadows to sculpt the face and body!
And bonus pro tip — make sure you pose your clients before hitting shutter. It will make the session run MUCH smoother.
Beginner Boudoir Photography Tip #5: If You Don’t Love the Pose, Don’t Use It
If you don’t like a pose, why would you expect your clients to like it too? Part of your job as a boudoir photographer is to make your clients feel confident and comfortable, but they won’t be able to feel that way if you aren’t either.
Sometimes I think as photographers we feel like our clients won’t think we know what we’re doing if we aren’t photographing everything/doing things super fast. But that’s not the case at all!
Your clients will actually respect you more if you’re being super intentional with what you photograph. They don’t want to see unflattering photos of themselves just like you wouldn’t want to.
Trust me — they WANT to see you do your best work because it means they get their best photos!
Want More Beginner Tips and Tricks?
If you want to take your newfound knowledge to the next level, I’ve got some more great photography tips for new boudoir photographers! In the video below, I’m walking through a few of my best-kept pricing secrets.
With these hacks, you’ll be able to find a price that makes you happy, keeps the business running, AND keeps your clients happy.