Emily - A different approach to boudoir photography

Artistic Portraits
JANUARY 2024 - The MoPho Workshop in Spokane, WA

My mantra going into 2024 is “play and have no expectations.” This mindset has helped me reach creative limits I didn’t know were possible. Here are some techniques I use to level up my artistic approach to boudoir photography.

PHOTOGRAPHY: @rachelveltriphoto / EDUCATIONAL WORKSHOP: @mophoworkshop by @laurkenkendall / MODEL: @emilyjaneerickson

When you think of boudoir sessions, what comes to mind? For me it’s NOT just lingerie, naughty poses, high heels, nude photos. It can definitely have those elements woven into it, but from my own subjective experience with boudoir photoshoots, there are hundreds of ways that you can embody and encapsulate your sexiness and beauty in an artful fashion. Let me tell you about my approach.

Going into this year I have been doing things differently than I ever have before. My word of the year is PLAY and my mantra is “have zero expectations”. This means playing with new techniques, playing with my gear in new ways. Playing with my couples and clients in new ways by coloring outside the lines with posing, lighting, composition, styling, etc. Playing and creating just for the sake of it, with no expectation of the outcome. This has completely changed my approach on how I photograph all things, but especially boudoirs.

Here are some of the new techniques I’ve been applying this year, especially when going into a boudoir session, that helps stretch my creativity to the maximum limit. The outcome- emotional, thought provoking, intimate images that evoke something deeper than your average nude photo:

1). Create a feelings vision board that provides an overall tone and mood for the session. This can be used to guide your client towards what inspires them and actually makes them feel good. Provide colors, tones, poses, outfit ideas, you can even suggest movies to watch or songs to listen to that can evoke whatever vibe or aesthetic you are inspired by. It can serve as a storyboard that is really useful for both photographer and client. You can also suggest different themes or set ideas to tell different stories or encourage different aesthetics for the photos. 

2). Explore new studios spaces and locations to get creative in. I suggest five top studios/ location ideas to my client after our first FaceTime call when I learn more of the direction of our vision. If you don’t know where to start with finding creative studio spaces to rent for sessions, I highly recommend Peerspace (www.peerspace.com) you can find a studio space that is perfect for you in any city or state. 

Your setting can really level up the photos. But also, you can keep it simple and turn ordinary spaces into works of art as well. One time I did a boudoir in a kitchen and we used the refrigerator for the bright LED lighting, we baked a cake and used the oven as a prop, and everything about it was so delicious. For this session, we simply stripped the bedding off the bed in a plain ol bedroom and pinned a sheet over the window to make it dark and a shower tub in the bathroom. You can literally make art anywhere out of anything which is so refreshing.

3). Have some fun and play with lighting. Turn off the lights and use color adjustable LED light to completely change the mood and vibe of your image. The one I use is the Lume Cube RGB Panel Go. It can attach to the hot shoe of your camera or you can use it handheld to get really creative and weird. You can also get really artsy with just a plain old flashlight. Artificial lighting can add a special energy to the photo with sun flares and orbs that can’t be made naturally. You can also play with projectors to create specific scenes or images projected onto the wall or subject. Also, do NOT be afraid to play with flash. I’ve been using direct flash literally every single chance I get; I love the flashy, glamorous vibe a direct flash photographs transcend. 

Whether you’re a photographer who found this blog, or a beautiful woman looking for a reason to do a boudoir photoshoot to celebrate yourself or give as a thoughtful gift; I hope this inspired you. Send this to someone who is preparing for an intimate session like this or your friend who just got engaged! Or if that’s you and you’re looking for someone to turn you into a work of art, head to my contact page now!