5 tips for boudoir photography sessions
Boudoir sessions can be nerve-racking for the subject. “Sometimes they’re women who have been married for 20 years and nobody has seen them in lingerie for 20 years except for their husband,” says Las Vegas-based photographer Stacie Frazier of Haute Shots. “A lot of them are really nervous.” But Frazier has worked hard not only to deliver the kind of images her subjects and their spouses will enjoy but also to design a session that calms nerves and is fun. She offers posing tips for boudoir sessions, which she'll also share at her Imaging USA program:
Develop a routine. “I learned early on that you don’t need to reinvent the wheel each time for each client,” she says. Certain poses work well for all body types. For example, she uses a series of poses on a bed that each client moves through in about 30 minutes. The predictability of a posing routine eases clients’ nerves because they get specific instructions on how to move and they know exactly what’s next.
Prepare the client with a video. Frazier sends clients a video before their session that shows her coaching clients through posing routines. That way nothing is a surprise at the session.
Keep the subject moving. Poses look more believable when the client is moving through them rather than freezing in them. Active arching, exhaling, laughing, smiling all bring energy to the poses and life to the portraits. For example, if she wants the subject’s hands in her hair, she tells the client to use her fingers to play with her hair rather than asking her to simply touch her hair.
Coach “spy eyes.” To bring a bit of flirt to the images, Frazier tells the client to “pretend they are a spy with sexy secrets they are hiding from the camera,” she says. This usually triggers a laugh, which makes for a great photo, “but then they bring it,” she says. “It adds just this unbelievable sparkle to their expression.”
Keep the audience in mind. In general, her clients want to feel beautiful, tender, warm, touchable, confident, sexy, happy. They also want to share these photos with their husbands. To find out what men find appealing in boudoir photography, Frazier and her staff went to the Las Vegas Strip to conduct an informal survey of 30 men on the street. A knowing smile, a seductive gaze (“spy eyes”), direct eye contact, a strong laugh, a sense of adventure and mystery, and physical contact—touching their neck, wrist, lips—were mentioned as enticing. Frazier keeps those things in mind as she develops posing routines and works clients through them.
Amanda Arnold is associate editor of Professional Photographer.