Maybe you are a couple who have taken boudoir images before or perhaps you are a professional who has only been shooting singular clients and you are interested in offering couples sessions to your list of services.
No matter what your reasoning, a couples boudoir shoot can be an amazing experience if you pull it off correctly, either for you or your clients. To that end, here are some of the things you should keep in mind when doing a couples boudoir session.
Start With the Basics of Boudoir
When writing this article, I am assuming you have some experience shooting boudoir already. Either as a professional photographer or as a couple who like to take photos together. If you don't, I highly suggest you begin by learning the basics of boudoir and shoot with a singular subject first rather than working with multiple models at once. To start off, you should study lighting, composition, and outfits,.
For Self-Shooting Couples
If you and your partner want to have a couple’s boudoir shoot by yourselves, without a photographer, I have a few tips to help you. At the very least you will want a tripod and in some instances a remote can help make things easier as well. The best setup I can recommend is a camera with a flip screen and the ability to use your phone as a remote. This will give you a couple of options to use when composing your shots. If you want to see my camera recommendations click here.
Tell a Story
In general you want to tell a story with your photos and the great thing about taking multiple images is that you can fine tune that story as you progress through the shoot. Three of my favorite stories for couples boudoir are the everyday encounter, a walk out in nature, and date night.
The Everyday Encounter: The couple is lying on the couch or cooking dinner and it evolves into an intimate everyday encounter, hence the name.
A Walk in Nature: Similar to The Everyday Encounter but outside. It might be a picnic, a hike, or an afternoon at the lake.
Date Night: A couple has just walked in the door from having a nice date and things progress from there.
There are many options out there, mind, these are just my favorites. Another thing you can do is combine one or more stories together. For example, you can start with a picnic and then have the images progress into The Everyday Encounter at home.
Keep the Outfits Simple
My suggestion is to keep the outfits simple and let the story do the work. There are a couple of outfits I think tend to go great with couples boudoir, especially if you are telling a story like I suggested earlier. The first is a casual everyday outfit and the second is a dressier date night outfit. These aren’t the only ones that work, but they are the ones that appeal to me most. Feel free to experiment a little to discover what outfit works best with the story you are working to tell.
A trick you can employ is to have the girl put on the guy's shirt after he takes it off and have her “pose” for him in the photo. This can make for a fun little mini series inside the larger photo shoot.
Watch Your Lighting
While you can use a lot of the same lighting setups for couples boudoir that you do with normal boudoir there is one thing you need to be aware of and work around. Shadows falling on one partner’s face while shooting can ruin an otherwise great shot. While it’s easy to get caught up in the moment and not notice this, paying attention to the details will set your photos apart.
Posing is often a difficult aspect of boudoir photography and adding in another subject gets even more complicated. To that end here are some of my tips for pulling off a great session.
Learn the Basics
It’s OK to be Handsy
Keep the Focus on each Other
1. Learn the Basics
To start with you should know some of the basics of posing for boudoir.
Create Shape and Curves (Arch the Back)
Ladies, Point the Feet
Do Something with Your Hands
Move the Hair to Highlight the Face or Provide Mystery
You can find my main article on posing here.
2. It’s OK to be Handsy
Human beings are creatures of touch. Especially when it comes to the people we love. As such, don’t be afraid to get a little handsy with each other during the shoot. My suggestion is to play with each other's clothing and hair as these make for great shots. Just try to keep it from going too far in the photos.
Unlike with traditional boudoir photography where you want to keep your hands soft on the skin to avoid breaking up your body's natural lines, in couple’s boudoir you don’t need to worry about that as much. Here a grabbing hand is a sign of passion that should be embraced.
3. Get Creative
Thanks to there being two of you, you can get more creative than when doing a solo shoot. Another thing that will help with your creativity is using different areas of your shooting space. And of course more brains to add to the idea pool never hurts either.
4. Keep the Focus on Each Other
Avoid looking at the camera as much as possible. There may be a few shots that one or even both of you might break this rule but for the most part your focus should be on each other and your connection. After all, that is what couples boudoir is all about.
The Elephant in the Room
This chapter is for the professionals. Let’s be honest, if you get a couple in a room, get them comfortable, and have them start taking each other's clothes off, things are going to heat up. Understand this going in and let the couple know it’s OK and where your line is that they shouldn’t cross. You can say something like:
“Don’t be afraid to really get into it, but remember to hold back. This isn’t erotic photography, this is boudoir photography and while it can get steamy I draw the line at anything actually happening.”
One more thing to be aware of is guys getting uncomfortable because they get an erection during the shoot. Do the same thing as above here too. Let him know that it might happen and that's OK. If it does happen just ignore it, finish the shoot, and watch as they beat feet out of there like the place is on fire!
My final thought when it comes to couples boudoir is that, as always, it should be a fun experience. That goes for both self-shot couples and boudoir photographers. Keep that in mind when or if you have your own couples boudoir shoot.
P.S. If you want to see a quick behind the scenes video of a couples shoot, check out this excellent video by Misty Moss.