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Natural Light Boudoir Photography

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The BEST Natural Light Portrait Photography Tips for Boudoir

Ever wonder whether boudoir photographers get lucky with natural light photography — or whether their portrait lighting is Photoshopped? Want to get better boudoir lighting in camera without tons of editing? 

Of course, you do! Natural light is your friend. Learning how to use it in your boudoir photography is an ongoing skill.

In this post, we’ll talk about three unique natural light boudoir photography styles you often see in portrait photography, and how you can get it perfect in camera from the beginning.

Use windows to let in natural light

Windows are your friend. Let’s repeat that: windows are your friend. If you’re hoping to get tons of natural light in your shots, window light is really your only option. (Unless you’re shooting outside!) A studio with lots of windows will help you get all the natural light you need.

It’s not just studio windows that make a difference, though. I want you to think about the paint on your interior walls, too! Light, white walls will bounce light and brighten up your space. Dark walls absorb light. That also means natural light will fall on your clients differently, too.

Take your windows and wall colors into consideration when figuring out your lighting setup for your clients.

Natural Light #1: Control the light for dark, moody boudoir

Once you have your windows letting in natural light, you’ll be able to see how you can create dark and moody boudoir. Lots of shadows, contrast, and drama. To get this lighting, you’ll need dark walls, dark sheets, and preferably windows that let you control the light.

Also, use a light source on the opposite side you’re shooting from. It’ll include more detail in your shots. And don’t underexpose, which will leave out details like texture and shape.

Natural Light #2: Soak up all the light for pretty, airy boudoir

Do your clients want that minimalistic, airy look full of light? Then pick a room in your studio with lots of big windows, white walls, and white sheets. Get light from as many directions as possible. Brightness is key here.

But don’t overexpose your images! You still want details in your highlights and shadows. Just like you can go too far with a dark and moody vibe, you can take light and airy over the top as well.

Natural Light #3: Always get it right with timeless, traditional light

This is the Goldilocks lighting of the three styles here. You can’t go wrong with timeless, correctly lit shots. Highlights aren’t too light, shadows aren’t too dark, and everything is just right.

With this type of lighting, you can lean toward dark and moody or light and airy, but it’s correctly exposed — which means it’ll fall somewhere in the middle of the two styles. Proper exposure is key here because it’ll help you achieve this timeless look.

Looking for more boudoir photography and lighting tips?

There you have it! Three distinct natural light boudoir photography styles that you can offer to your clients. It all depends on your studio setup, sheets, and manipulating the light that you’re working with.

Lighting is just one part of the equation, though. Clients who feel confident in how to pose are the other half of that equation. It makes your sessions so much easier and more enjoyable. To get perfect, jaw-dropping shots your clients will love, make sure you check out my video on posing and lighting tips


Tracy Lynn is a boudoir photogapher for brides-to-be in the St. Louis area, and a mentor + coach for photographers looking to level up their businesses with better systems and processes.

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