Boudoir Photography Tips for Beginners


Boudoir Photography tips for Beginners

While most tips for shooting boudoir are aimed at professionals or those aspiring to be professionals, we do things a little bit different here. Here the focus is on couples and singles wanting to learn how to take their own boudoir photos, who typically don’t have the same level of experience with photography.


This inexperience can be a big hurdle when you are looking to shoot your first photos which is the point of this post. I want to give you tips that will help you get started. Things I wish I had known when I first began.

  • Create a Simple Shot List

  • Set your Camera to JPEG + RAW

  • Shoot in Aperture Priority Mode

  • Understand how to use Natural Light

  • Take your Time

  • Shoot Wide and Crop in Post


Some of these tips are for those who are using a DSLR or mirrorless camera. However, if you are using a cell phone you may still find pieces of this article helpful.


Create a Simple Shot List

While you don’t need a shot list, it will help you immensely. Having something to remind you what to do next helps you keep focused on shooting and less on what pose comes next or worrying about how you or your model should pose. I take screen shots and save them on my phone, organizing them in folders for upcoming shoots. One advantage of this over something like a Pinterest board, is not needing internet access to view it.


For example, my wife and I are planning a trip to Greece for our ten year anniversary. Of course, I would like to take some shots at the beach while we are there. So I have been on the lookout for images to recreate or that give me ideas for my own photos.


shot list

Set your Camera to JPEG + Raw

There is a big debate in the photography community on whether you need to shoot in JPEG or RAW file format. Both have their own pros and cons. But why not do both? Most cameras can shoot in JPEG and Raw at the same time meaning you have the JPEGs for immediate use and can still save the RAW files for when or if you learn how to edit them. Lately I’m finding that JPEGs are more than enough for what I need, but I still like to have the RAW files for later review.


Shoot in Aperture Priority Mode

As a stopover between going full manual or using auto, my recommendation is to use aperture priority mode. This will allow you to get that nice shallow depth of field and lots of bokeh that is characteristic of using a DSLR or mirrorless camera.


Understand how to use Natural Light

As a beginner, natural light is your friend. There is no worrying about complicated lighting setups and best of all, it’s free! Specifically, I am talking about window light. Check out my article on natural lighting here.


Take your Time

One of the great things about doing your own boudoir shoot is you can take your time. If you want to take all morning, go ahead. You don’t have to rush it. I would recommend pausing after a few shots and going over your photos to see if you are missing anything. Some of the things I look for when shooting with my wife are:

  • How is the background?

  • Are there any tags or strings showing from her clothes?

  • Any fly away hairs?

  • Does she need to touch up her makeup?

  • How is my cropping?

  • How is my composition?

  • Do I need to change my settings and shoot the same pose again?

Shoot Wide and Crop in Post

One of my biggest hang ups, is having a tendency to crop hands/fingers out of my images. Clearly, this is a big no-no but it is a common mistake for many beginning photographers. You get super focused on posing or composition that it slips your mind. My solution is to shoot a little wider so that I can crop in later and get the exact framing I am looking for. Putting this into practice, I find the framing I think I want and then take a step or two backwards. I’ve just made this adjustment recently and I have noticed that I cut out hands and feet much less than I used to.


In Closing

These are just a few of the tips I have for beginners. But my number one tip is simply shoot more. It's extremely difficult to improve if you aren’t practicing. Especially with photography.

If you have a tip you would like to share go ahead and leave it in the comments below.

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