Boudoir Light

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A lot of boudoir photography is short as quite dark, low-key setups, a sort of re-imagining of the old 1040's Hollywood style of lighting.

But I also like really high key, very light boudoir setups too.

The reason this is avoided is that it can show a lot of flaws and, depending on your subject, is to a certain extent more or less usable. However you can use light to hide flaws as well. Combine that with some careful posing and you can go a long way.

In this case Carla is a model with no flaws, so to be honest there's nothing that needs hiding.

The basic principle is a contre-jour light setup, a French phrase literally meaning "against daylight". You may well have seen advice that shooting outside you should always be shooting into the sun - so your subject has their back to the sun. This is basically a very similar principle.

We have a brighter light source behind the subject and a main light for the front of the subject. The front facing part of the image is correctly exposed. The rear light in the image will be over-exposed. It is this which creates the "glow" in these images.

In all these images I am retaining just a hint of the background and environment in the image - that makes it look different than being shot in a straight white high key cove. Although in technical light terms it is the same thing, the final look of the image is completely different.

The first image is a reasonably straightforward portrait, but look at how the lighting from behind really lifts the image.

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You have to be careful about positioning the main light in front of the model to make sure the lighting on the face in particular is still correct and exposed properly, even if the edges facing the over-exposed back light are over lit.

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With just a simple lean on the wall we have created this terrifically sexy pose and image.


key points

With outdoor shooting you nearly always want to position the subject with their back to the sun. This creates a nicer light and stops the subject having to squint into the sun.

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You can learn how to develop your own lighting, posing and directing skills with our extensive and intensive range of video programs available on DVD or download.

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