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The Evolution of Boudoir Photography - part 2 of 1 2 3 4

by Sue Altenburg Published 01/12/2008

Our fireplace set is our most popular. The red brick wall is inset with a 24' X30' Duratrans of a fire that is backlit by a studio flash.

Retouching is essential on boudoir portraits

That night after I finished a few more hours of photographing their reception and I was finally able to put my aching feet up on my desk, I pulled out the boudoir photographer's price list.

I nearly cried when I realised that he had got more money for that one canvas portrait and frame than my whole wedding package! He probably spent a total of two hours with her and I had spent eight hours at the wedding already and the bulk of my production work hadn't even started.

That was the night I decided that uncomfortable or not I was going to learn to do boudoir photography!

I launched into a learning phase on posing, lighting and how to build sets in my studio to help create a mood. As an all-female studio I learned that we had the upper hand in getting women to be more comfortable in front of the camera. Our brides loved the idea of a romantic, personal gift they could give to their groom for the wedding. The grooms loved the fact that it wasn't a male photographer who was looking at their woman in lingerie!


We set up some guidelines for our boudoir photography that have served us well through the years. We decided that above all our boudoir photography would be soft, sensual and flattering to the women that we photographed. Essentially, we would do photography that was pretty enough the women would like it, yet sexy enough their men would appreciate it too.

We would stay with poses that were classic and not trashy. We always tried to remember that 99 per cent of the time we would be selling to the woman, therefore pleasing her was the most important thing. My motto became 'if it looks good, show it and if it doesn't hide it.' I learned many little tricks to make women look thinner and to disguise problem areas with posing, lighting or the addition of a strategically placed prop.

I also learned that the right style of lingerie can make a woman look 20 pounds thinner, so doing clothing consultations with the client prior to the photo sessions became a necessity.

My goal was to sell wall portraits so I opted for a little more conservative approach to clothing and suggested that the women wear lingerie that covered 'at least as much as a two-piece swimsuit' would. That suggestion helped sooth their nerves about displaying a portrait of themselves in lingerie on the wall and increased our wall portrait sales.

Contact Sue Altenburg

1st Published 01/12/2008
last update 12/11/2019 13:27:12



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