Tip Tuesday: Creating Award Winning Boudoir Portraits

June 24, 2019 Tip Tuesday

Our Tip Tuesday blog post is tidbits of advice from accomplished colleagues, mentors, and instructors.

Johanna Julia Portraits - Artist, Tip Tuesday: Creating Award Winning Boudoir Portraits, Sue Bryce Education

Johanna received the award for Boudoir portraits in the last round of Portrait Masters Awards and Accreditation. The submission period for the upcoming round starts on July 1st.

Here are her tips for taking beautiful images and keeping your photography (and life) always evolving and interesting:

Award Winning Boudoir Portrait Tip #1: Create a Safe Space

Your clients are not professional models, and taking off their clothes around other people is not something they do every day.

Have a changing room or a private space, where they can change and have a robe so they can wrap around themselves when they’re walking on the set.

Many people start to be quite liberated after they feel safe, but you have to have your practices for the shyest ones. When your own energy is relaxed and easy going, it can be very liberating for your client and many times by the end of the session they’re just as freely with their clothes off, as they would be with clothes on.

Just remember to respect each one’s boundaries around how much they feel comfortable showing.

Black and white boudoir photo, Johanna Julia Portraits - Artist, Tip Tuesday: Creating Award Winning Boudoir Portraits, Sue Bryce Education

Award Winning Portrait Tip #2: Think About What You Want to Portray

Do you want your images to be soft and sensuous, sexy and powerful, flirty, or what?

For example, I want my objects to be subjects. That means instead of just being an object of desire, they are owning themselves and their sexuality.

I want women in my images to be confident, beautiful and sexy. The combination of strength and vulnerability is something that makes an image interesting to me. I think that even if you have lots of skin in your image, it should still have some other message or feeling it tells.

So think about the undertone in your images, is it just a pretty picture, or is there something more? And what is that more you want there to be?

boudoir poses, Johanna Julia Portraits - Artist, Tip Tuesday: Creating Award Winning Boudoir Portraits, Sue Bryce Education

Award Winning Boudoir Portrait Tip #3: Keep it Simple

Keep your methods simple, so that when you have a client, you don’t have to think about how to set your lights or your camera settings.

If you shoot with natural light or if you’re using strobes, use methods that you know. This way you can confidently concentrate on your client, making them feel good and posing them in the best way possible.

After you have gotten your shots, and your client is at ease, you can always experiment little something, but mostly it’s good to work in a way that is familiar to you. This creates a good atmosphere where it’s easy to make those beautiful and meaningful images.

boudoir photo, Johanna Julia Portraits - Artist, Tip Tuesday: Creating Award Winning Boudoir Portraits, Sue Bryce Education

Award Winning Boudoir Portrait Tip #4: Practice

There are many ways of skinning a cat and even if you have your ways of doing things, it’s always good to learn new. So always practice new light setups, posing different body types, shooting on location, whatever it is, practice.

You can ask someone to model for you who is very confident in front of a camera, so you can concentrate on learning the new. It’s wonderful how the internet is full of education, where you can easily find new things to challenge your self with.

You can also ask your photographer friends and you can try something new together. Not all that you practice you integrate into your workflow, but it’s always good to challenge your thinking and try different things!

nude woman and lace - bouldoir photo, Johanna Julia Portraits - Artist, Tip Tuesday: Creating Award Winning Boudoir Portraits, Sue Bryce Education

Award Winning Boudoir Portrait Tip #5: Play!

Do something that inspires you! Look for photographers and other artists that are somehow moving to you.

Look for movies, museums, fashion magazines, poetry. Inspiration can come from nature, music or any form of art. Attend workshops and befriend other photographers.

Final Thoughts

Do things in a different way that you are used to, have fun and accept that you are not perfect. Do things that bring you joy, appreciate the things you have, and what you already know.

As creatives, we can have immense doubts about our selves and our abilities, there are so many wonderful artists in the world. Don’t compare yourself—have fun, get inspired, create, and play!

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10 Comments

  1. Oh, my, this was such great advice. I’ve been thinking about doing some boudoir sessions and, even though I’m comfortable with my lighting, I just feel this advice will help me not feel like I’m such a novice at it. Thanks Johanna. Your images are so beautiful.