Ten Great Boudoir Posing Tips

As a Boudoir Photographer, this is so important, yet takes the longest to learn.  What is it?  It is the art of Posing Your Client.  Take a deep breath and don’t be afraid, because with these ten essential tips you’ll be on your way to rocking the art of posing your clients like that (I just snapped my fingers.)

Here are Ten Boudoir Posing Tips

1.  Catchlights

When the subject’s eyes are in the frame and in focus, they have a shimmering element known as “catchlights.”  Without this sparkle, a subject’s eyes will look dark or dead, and the image will have a less inspiring quality to it.  Position your subject so that her eyes “catch” the light, and the photo will immediately be insanely better.

2.  Angles

NEVER shoot your subject straight on!  This position is flat, uninspired, and incredibly unflattering to her.   Instead, have her turn just slightly so that she’s off-center, and focus on her more flattering parts.

Just like with her body, give that same attention to angles in your client’s face.  Again, straight on is not the way to go.  Your subject should not always be looking straight into the camera.  Have her look in different directions, into negative space, so that the line of her neck is accentuated.

3.  Don’t Stay in One Spot.  Move!

Variety is the spice of life!  And the same is true for photographs.  It’s remarkable how many different shots you can get when you keep your subject stationary, and you move around her; get closer, then move farther apart.  Capture her like you’re telling a story about a single moment.  Besides, she’d probably welcome the rest for a moment.

4.  Get Closer

This is intimate photography, so get close.  If you feel more comfortable standing further away, use a zoom lens to get in tighter.  These personal detailed shots will add essential variety to the photos you present to your client.  So don’t be afraid to get all up in there!  Your client trusts you, and you’ll have to more to add to the story.

5.  Relaxed and Reposed

Unless your client is a professional model, she is going to be nervous before the shoot.  This trepidation will undoubtedly transfer into stiffness, and the photos will look forced, even painful.  You have to position her so that she looks relaxed.  Bend stiff limbs, and instruct her to shift her weight to her back leg.  Make sure you encourage breathing!  Tell her to shake it off and just let it all out.  Spend the first half hour just helping her gain confidence in this relaxed state of being.  If she feels silly, be silly together!  It will get your client laughing, and laughter is one of the best ways to relax.

6.  Use Good Lighting

This is not a posing tip per se, but if you have posed her, and she isn’t well lit by soft and luxurious light, then you’ve wasted your time on all the other steps.  LIGHTING!

7.  Be Encouraging

This may seem like another big “duh” thing, but you’d be surprised how often a photographer fails to remember this detail.  Talk to your client, encourage her, inspire her to feel comfortable, and most importantly, generate an atmosphere of positivity.  If she’s come to your studio for a Boudoir session, odds are she hasn’t done this before, and will need a great deal of reassurance to get into it.  If you don’t talk to her, or heaven forbid, if you are negative in any way, the shoot will be a failure.  Be positive when instructing her.  Say, “Maybe try it this way,” instead of using, “No, that does not work.”  “Yes, Yes, Yes,” makes us all feel better, right?

Compliment, encourage, and tell her how good she looks until your face hurts; then keep saying it.  It’s so easy to do and it’s the key to success!

8.  Shoot from Above

For guys, shooting them from below makes them look strong and masculine.  But for women, it makes them look harsh and isn’t flattering in the least.  Besides, what girl feels comfortable with you shooting up her nose?   No girl I know.

How do you fix this little problem?  Shoot from above!  This will make her look softer, even out her curves, make her appear slimmer, and remove the possibilities of double chins.  The benefits are endless.  A good rule of thumb is to start with your subject’s eyes just a little below the center line, and position from there.

9.  No Awkward Hands

This is a biggie.  Too often, idle hands end up looking like mitts or claws if you’re not careful.  When you’re positioning your subject, don’t forget about her hands.  If hands are looking tense, walk over and just shake out her hand with a nice soft touch placing it where you want it to be helping her relax.

10.  Pose Yourself

Remember, your client probably hasn’t done this before.  She may have no idea what you’re talking about if you try to explain a pose.  Instead of being frustrated, demonstrate to her what you mean!  Don’t be hesitant because surely she’s nervous enough.  Instead, create a fun judgment-free zone where you both can be silly.

You can waste a perfectly good session not getting the shot because you were afraid of looking ridiculous.  Or, you can simply help your client (and help yourself) by having better photos because you showed her what you wanted and showered her with praise while asking for it!

When it comes down to it, get over your fear and she will get over hers.

Posing is about repetition, subtle changes, and confidence.  The more you do it, the easier it will become.

Happy Shooting!

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