Boudoir Photography | The Power of Posing

tasteful boudoir photography of Vanessa near a fireplace.

Posing is my secret weapon

Of all of the elements that go into boudoir photography, posing women might be the single most important element of a successful boudoir photo shoot. Simply put, posing is my secret weapon and the corner stone of how I approach not just boudoir photography, but all of my portraiture.

Boudoir photography is my favorite genre of photography. If you would have told me when I first started taking pictures that I would be doing boudoir photography professionally I'd have rolled my eyes and laughed at you. Back then I thought that guys that did that kind of photography just wanted to see girls with their clothes off. I'll fully admit that, although that is a side benefit of what I do, it's truthfully not the reason I started doing it.

The real reason I started shooting boudoir photography

I began my boudoir career quite on accident if you can believe that. I knew very early on in my photographic endeavors that I wanted to photograph people for a living. I started playing with lighting and gear but felt very intimidated to photograph people I didn't know. Quite honestly I didn't know what to tell them to do to make them look appealing in a photograph. So I decided to begin studying my craft in search of the answer to my problem. I studied hard and absorbed everything I could. Quite soon after, it became very clear to me that to be a good portrait photographer, I needed to know how to pose people.

suicide girl hopeful Angela posed into natural light near a doorway.

POSING IS CHEESY

Now I know posing is a bad word amongst people that have never seen it done effectively. I think most people out there who aren't portrait photographers (and even some that are) think of posing as cheesy, staged portraits done at the mall or something. The truth is that when posing is done well, not only does it make your subject look good, but it has the power of making your client look the best that they possibly can and it can be done over and over on command. In my opinion, having the ability to pose people well is a hell of a super power when creating a portrait.

How boudoir photography supercharged my posing

So you might be asking yourself what does all of this have to do with boudoir photography? The answer is EVERYTHING. Once I came to the realization that I needed to learn to pose people to make a compelling portrait, I decided I wanted to super charge my learning curve. What better way to do that than to choose the most unforgiving of all portraiture. In my opinion boudoir photography is the most unforgiving form of portraiture when it comes to posing and lighting a person. Think about it, if a person is wearing little or no clothing, they have nothing to hide the flaws in my lighting and posing technique to make them look their best. This was why I began shooting boudoir photography. I wanted to practice my posing and lighting on an unforgivable canvas, hone that skill and pick apart my flaws in an honest way and without any of the concealment that clothing provides. 

Natural window light boudoir photo

TWO BENEFITS FOR THE PRICE OF ONE

Something I didn't realize when I started down the road of trying to improve my posing is how much better it would make me at lighting my subjects. What ended up happening was once I got better at posing I could now find natural light around me and pose my clients into that light. My lighting became more precise all while making my clients body shape appear more appealing at the same time. Without even realizing it at first I was honing my lighting skills and my posing skills all at the same time. That was a very happy accident, and one of my most important discoveries as a portrait photographer to date.

About the author

Jason Guy is a Northern California boudoir photographer based out of Sonoma county. I serve clients in Sonoma, Marin and San Francsisco Counties and specialize in tasteful, sensual, boudoir photography.