So you’re getting married and want to find a groom’s gift that’s going to knock his socks off. You’ve searched the stores and nothing has that “wow” factor you are looking for. Well, have you given any thought to a bridal boudoir photo book for him?
You’ve probably heard of other brides giving their grooms a photo book of boudoir images, but you aren’t sure what it’s all about or how to go about doing it. In this article I’d like to discuss a few of the most frequently-asked questions about boudoir photography–and how to select a photographer to shoot these special images with you.
What Exactly is Boudoir Photography?
“Boudoir” is a French word that means a lady’s private dressing room, sitting room, or bedroom. Boudoir photography captures the intimate nature of theses rooms.
Do I Have to be Nude for Boudoir Photographs?
Absolutely not! In fact, most of the time boudoir photographs are not nudes. One of the reasons boudoir photography is so popular is that it allows you to create the illusion of nudity without actually having to be nude.
Many clients elect to do at least one or two shots where they are completely nude during their photoshoot, but that is totally up to you! Even in the completely nude shots it is possible to leave everything to the imagination through posing and lighting/shadowing.
What Type of Outfits Should I Wear for Boudoir Photographs?
The answer to this is simple–wear articles of clothing that feel comfortable. If you buy new lingerie or clothing for your shoot that’s not comfortable, your discomfort will show in your photographs. Also, wear any items that have special meaning to both you and the recipient of the photographs.
Don’t forget accessories such as heels and jewelry that will go with your outfits. Some photographers have lingerie and other types of clothing that you can wear, but I always recommend that you bring items that make you feel comfortable.
Do I Need A Makeup Artist Or Can I Do My Own Makeup?
Unless you are familiar with how to do makeup for photography, I highly recommend using a makeup artist. If you are on a budget, some makeup artists can provide a “paint and go” service, which costs a little less than full service.
Some clients prefer to have their makeup done at one of the larger department store makeup counters prior to the shoot. If you decide this is what you want to do, be sure that they understand that it’s for a photo shoot–not everyday wear.
There is a significant difference in the type of makeup, as well as its application, for photography. Also make sure that they blend your neck so there is not a drastic transition from your face to your body.
I’m Not a Model. How do I Pose for Photography?
Most photographers will guide you with suggestions for posing based on what has worked well for other clients and for your body type. At any time, if you are not comfortable with a particular pose, you can simply let them know and they will help you choose something else.
I recommend that you find images you like in magazines or on the Internet and bring those ideas to the shoot with you. Be careful not to get caught up in the background of the shots – just concentrate on the pose. Many times a background cannot be recreated like it is in the image you have selected.
One other point about poses: you may select a pose that looks great in a magazine, but remember that it may not work for you and your body type. Practice the poses you select at home to be sure you can do the pose and that it looks good.
Is There an Age Limit for Doing Boudoir or Nude Photographs?
Yes. You must be over 18, and less than 145! Seriously, at a boudoir or nude photoshoot you will probably be asked to present at least one form of photo ID (preferably two if there would be any question as to whether you are of legal age) before you begin the process. And remember, beauty is not age dependant. The boudoir photoshoot experience is for women of all ages.
How do You Select a Boudoir Photographer?
As a photographer I encourage all of my clients to ask questions. These questions may seem like simple ones, but it’s amazing what they can reveal. I share these questions so that you can try to weed out the professional photographers from the “not so professional ones” who may not be able to meet your photoshoot expectations. Many of these questions would also apply to selecting a wedding photographer.
1. Do you have a business license? Many municipalities require a business tax license or a license to operate a legitimate business in their area. This is a good indication that the photographer takes their work seriously.
2. Do you have insurance? Insurance is a good sign that the photographer is dedicated to the craft. It also protects you and the photographer.
3. When did you start the business? How long have you been shooting boudoir images? As with any business, it’s a good data point to know how long they have been in business and how much experience they have.
The recent popularity of boudoir photography has resulted in many photographers branching out from their normal photography venues to provide boudoir photography as well. Some photographers are experienced in boudoir photography; some are not.
4. Do you have a website? Most full time businesses will have a website and not just a Facebook page or a page at an image hosting site. Another good thing to look at is the email address of the photographer. Is it a Yahoo or Hotmail address? Not that those addresses are bad, but if an email address is linked to their website it’s just one more way to show how their business is integrated.
5. Do you have a studio? Although not a necessity for boudoir photography, having a studio can open up options for where the shoot is done. Many clients don’t want to use a hotel or their homes for a photoshoot.
6. Are your makeup artists licensed? Some states require makeup artists to be licensed. If your state doesn’t require licensing, you may want to ask where they received their training. Also, look at their past work to see if their style meets your expectations.
7. Can I bring someone to the shoot with me? This is one of those questions that I always recommend asking. If the photographer will not allow you to bring someone with you, you may want to ask why. The photographer may be a great person, but then again, they may not.
8. Can we meet ahead of the shoot to discuss the whole process? This not only gives you the opportunity to see if you “click” with the photographer, but gives you a chance to discuss ideas, possibly see where the shoot will take place, and gives you a general feel for everything.
9. Will my photos be sold or used by you? This question will take some knowledge of copyright laws. Very simplistically, Copyright and Usage are two different things. Copyright is the right to copy an image.
The photographer usually keeps the copyright and you will need to come back to them to get any additional prints made. Otherwise you will need to have a release from the photographer to print any images that you receive on a CD.
Usage determines who can use the images. For boudoir photos you will want to restrict the use of the images to yourself, unless you sign a release with the photographer so that they will be able to use them. I recommend getting the response to this question in writing.
10. Do you offer any guarantee? Many professional photographers offer some type of guarantee on their work. This could range from a partial guarantee to a full, money back guarantee. It’s a good idea to know this before you select a photographer.
11. Do you provide editing of the images and is there an additional cost? Some photography companies provide editing and others don’t unless you want to pay additional for the service. You may want to know what is included in the price.
One other very important point for selecting a boudoir photographer is that you review some of their past work and that you like what you see. Be sure that the work is theirs and that their photographic style is what you are looking for.
I’ve heard of photographers using other people’s images on their site and taking credit for the images. It probably doesn’t happen often, but it has happened.
The editor of Discovery News Journal, and pursuer of relatively interesting information, Simon has a Masters Degree in Creative Writing and Journalism from the University of Wales, and is a photo-journalist and writer whose written and photographic work has been represented by the AFP news agency and appeared in newspapers across Europe and Asia.