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Beyond Boudoir: An Introduction to Swimwear Photography

Swimwear Photography

Welcome to another installment of our Beyond Boudoir series. Today we will be tackling Swimwear Photography. There are many similarities between boudoir and swimwear and as such the knowledge you have shooting boudoir transfers rather well to shooting swimwear. Specifically I’m talking about lighting, posing, and composition.

What’s your Subject?

Swimwear Photography

Now this probably won’t make a big difference for most of you but for some it might. Are you shooting the model or the swimwear? If you decide to go pro and get hired by a company to show off their product, then you need to keep this question in mind during the shoot.

Location, Location, Location

We’ve all seen photos of models in swimwear spread out on the beach or standing in the waves. I even shared a few of them in this article, but you have more options than just the beach when it comes to shooting swimwear. You can shoot at the lake, on a boat, or by the pool to add a little variety to your locations. One thing you need to consider is crowds, especially at popular beaches. So knowing how to shoot around multitudes of people is a good skill to learn. The video below is also by Anita who gives some great tips for shooting at a crowded beach.

Golden Hour is Your Friend

Swimwear Photography

When shooting swimwear golden hour, the hour after sunrise or before sunset, will be your friend. Yes, you can shoot during the day but thanks to harsh lighting it can make it much more difficult, especially if you are shooting at a beach where the sand reflects a lot of light. This is why the vast majority of Swimwear photos you see were shot at golden hour or close to it. 


Swimwear Photography

A lot of the tips I recommend for posing for boudoir will work for swimwear too. If you haven’t seen those articles you can find them here, here, and here. One additional tip I can offer that isn’t related to boudoir is to have your subject play with and in the water. Don’t be afraid to have them  splash around a little and have fun.


Swimwear Photography

Alright we’ve hit the points I think are most important. Now I’ll lay out some tips and tricks to further help prepare you for diving into this genre of photography.

  • Take plenty of water and sunscreen.

  • Stick to one lens at the beach to keep sand out of your equipment.

  • Think about, and maybe even test, the makeup that will be used for the shoot beforehand to avoid any surprises.

  • Be aware of extreme weather conditions and plan appropriately. Most of the time this will be high temperatures which is another reason to shoot earlier in the day.

  • Consider adding a prop or two every now and then. The ones that immediately come to mind are sunglasses, a sun hat, and a beach wrap.

  • If you are going for the oiled up look coconut spray oil will be your friend.

  • Go follow Anita Sadowska on YouTube. I've already posted two of her videos above and she has dozens more that are just as helpful. But here is a bonus video for good measure.

Final Thoughts

Swimwear like all genres of photography, you get out of it what you put in. So do a little research then go out and give it a shot. You might not walk away with every photo being a keeper, but over time you will improve if you approach it intentionally.

One last thing. If you are enjoying this blog and wish to support the work I do here, consider using the Buy me a Coffee button at the bottom of the page to make a one time donation to show your appreciation.

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