Boudoir Photography Techniques

Sexy Curves: Plus-Size Boudoir Photography Techniques Paperback

Sexy Curves: Plus-Size Boudoir Photography Techniques Paperback

“Boudoir” photographs are intimate images created of a woman in a private (read intimate) space. The term “boudoir,” in translation, means “bedroom,” and images created in the boudoir style—whether they are indeed created in a woman’s boudoir or in a makeshift bedroom within the walls of a photographic studio—are strictly feminine. The subjects may be adorned in fine lingerie, or perhaps may be shown in the act of dressing—or undressing. The images are sensual, flirty, and always beautiful.

Clients book boudoir sessions to celebrate their sensuality and femininity. For some, the goal is to document a special phase in life or simply to find a new way to see herself. Other women seek to book a boudoir session with the goal of providing a significant other with a highly personal and perhaps playful gift. Regardless of her motivation, her expectation is that her photographer will be able to amplify her assets, minimize any perceived figure flaws, and create a beautiful, evocative work of art.

In order to meet—and exceed—her clients’ expectations, photographers must have a wealth of technical knowledge (just which camera angles, exposure settings, lens selections, and lighting patterns will create the desired look?) and a facility with coaxing form-flattering poses that lengthen legs, whittle waistlines, enhance the bust, and somehow look and feel natural, not contrived. The expression that is elicited must suit the mood of the image, too. And, of course, there are fragile egos at play. Yes, working with a scantily clad subject under the scrutiny of a lens is a tall order. Sadly, each of those concerns can seem magnified when working with the plus-sized boudoir subject.

In this book, Tammy Warnock presents a tangible, easy-to-follow recipe for creating va-va-voom images of plus-size clients that celebrate every sexy curve. She introduces readers to 60 real-life subjects and investigates the intricate details of conceptualizing and crafting a sensational plus-size boudoir session. For each session presented for review, readers will learn about the client’s objectives (Why did she book the shoot? What was the mood or feeling or theme she had in mind?). Tammy will share the strategies she used to create rapport with the client, boost her confidence, and ensure a positive, praise- (and referral!) worthy experience. The artistic elements of the shot (backdrops, props, and styling) and corrective posing and lighting strategies are detailed as well, culminating in an inspiring and instructional framework that readers will rely on whenever any boudoir subject calls for services.

Sexy Curves: Plus-Size Boudoir Photography Techniques Paperback

Photography Tips Don’t fall into the megapixel trap -camera

Sexy Curves: Plus-Size Boudoir Photography Techniques Paperback


What is Candid Photography?

Before we get to candid photography tips, we must first define candid photography.

In its simplest form, a candid photo is of an unplanned moment. There are no poses. There is no direction on your part as a photographer.

Instead, assume a "fly on the wall" position and let things unfold naturally, clicking the shutter button along the way.

In this sense, candid photography has a different photojournalistic environment. You are documenting something that is happening instead of directing your subjects to look in a specific way or do something you want.

This type of photography is often full of life and emotion, which is why it has become so popular for portraits of all kinds, from family portraits to newborn photography and even wedding photography.

Sexy Curves: Plus-Size Boudoir Photography Techniques Paperback

If you are wondering "What is candid wedding photography?" The answer is pretty simple.

Couples often hire a photographer to take care of formal portraits, such as wedding party images, and then hire a second photographer to take spontaneous photos during the day.

As noted above, this photographer is documenting the day's events as they unfold, and his images provide a behind-the-scenes look at the day's events.

The question is, how do you prepare to capture the most effective candid photos?

Candid photography tip n. # 1: start with the right equipment

You can take great candid photos with almost any camera, you just need to have it with you at all times.

Instead, the key component of candid photography gear is the lens.

Long lenses (that is, a 70-200mm zoom like this one) allow you to get away from the scene and let things unfold naturally.

Think about it: if you're three feet away with a 35mm lens trying to take candid portrait shots of your kids in your backyard, they won't behave as naturally as they would if you were 10 feet away with your lens. In other words, the longer the lens, the more space there is between you and your subjects, and the more space there is, the more likely your subjects are to be honest with what they are doing.

The other advantage of wearing a long lens is that, even if you are further away, you do not lose the intimacy of the moment.

With the reach of a 70-200mm lens, you can still frame close-up shots to capture the emotions and feelings of the moment, which, as we'll see below, are critical to creating the most compelling candid photos.

Candid photography tip n. # 2: your observation skills are of the utmost importance

Perhaps even more important than having a long lens is having the ability to take note of photo-worthy moments.

This means that you must have an eagle eye with which you can scan large crowds or vast landscapes to find that unique moment when a person (or several people) are enjoying a sincere moment.

Not only must you train your eye to see these moments amid the chaos, but you must also be able to recognize ideal conditions. That is, you should inspect the scene and ask yourself the following:

How does the light interact with the subject?
What is the best angle from which to create a frank shot?
What happens in the background of the scene?
Are there any interesting foreground elements that will enhance the image?

The questions above are just a few considerations to keep in mind when composing your candid photos.

Naturally, good light will allow you to get a better shot, so you need to be strategic about how the light interacts with the subject. On the one hand, a backlit scene can make for beautifully dramatic candid portraits. On the other hand, front lighting can make the emotions on the person's face much more prominent.

As for the angle of view, try to avoid shooting everything from your eye level. There's something to be said for high-angle and low-angle snapshots because they elevate the spontaneous nature of the image.

For example, photographing a portrait of a child from their eye level as opposed to yours invites the viewer to explore the child's world from their point of view.

As with any portrait, it is important to pay attention to what happens in the background of a spontaneous shot.

Are there interesting elements that you would like to focus on? Is the background unattractive and needs to be blurred? Are there distracting features (i.e. tree branches) that need to be framed out of the shot?

When taking candid photos like this, it can be difficult to take into account everything that happens in the scene. However, with practice, you will learn to recognize background elements and use them to your advantage (or remove them) to improve your shot.

Lastly, while watching the scene, keep an eye out for foreground elements that may add visual appeal to the image.

Shooting through something, a plant, or a crowd of people, for example, creates a candid photo that has more depth and dimension. Plus, shooting through something adds to the candid nature of the photo, as if you were capturing the moment as it passed by without the subjects having a clue you were there with your camera.

Candid photography tip n. # 3: keep the camera close

Candid photography is about seizing the moment, and having your camera in your camera bag isn't exactly the way to do it.

Instead, keep the camera out and ready to take in view at any time.

Whether that means carrying it with a shoulder strap or a bandolier, a wrist strap or a camera harness, just make sure the shot isn't hampered by not having the camera ready to shoot.

Candid photography tip n. # 4: suggested camera settings

Since every candid shooting situation is different, there are no hard and fast rules for ideal camera settings.

However, there are some general rules of thumb that you can follow to get the highest quality shots:

Minimize the ISO as much as possible to minimize digital noise in the shot.

If you want to freeze the action, you'll need to use a faster shutter speed. Children playing games, for example, may need a shutter of 1/250 seconds or faster.

To blur the background, open the aperture. As noted above, there will be times when the background will be ugly or distracting, so minimizing depth of field by shooting at a large aperture (i.e. f / 1.8) will be an advantage.

Use aperture priority mode or shutter priority mode instead of manual mode. Manual mode is usually too slow as you have to change all three exposure settings. Use the aperture priority mode in low-light situations and the shutter priority mode in action situations.

Keep your camera on single shot autofocus unless there is a lot of action. In that case, switch to continuous autofocus to allow the camera to continuously follow moving subjects.

Candid photography tip n. 5: DO NOT use flash

Nothing will kill the vibe of a candid photo like a bright, strong flash fired in your subject's face.

Also, that kind of light looks completely unnatural, which is why I previously recommended paying attention to how the light interacts with the subject.

If there's not a ton of light, open the aperture to let in more light, slow the shutter speed to increase the duration of light hitting the sensor, or increase the ISO (or do all three!). Learn how the exposure triangle works so you can get a well-exposed image by manipulating the aperture, shutter speed, and ISO.

Candid photography tip n. # 6: get in position to get a great shot

Previously, I noted the importance of developing a keen eye to see sincere moments.

And while this is necessary, there is another approach you can try to get candid portraits: strategically position yourself.

That is, instead of wandering around trying to spot heartfelt moments, put yourself in a position where heartfelt moments come to you.

Standing at the top of the stairs at Grand Central Station, standing outside the entrance of the wedding venue, or standing in the middle of a busy street market are just a few examples of this strategy.

As street photographers will tell you, it is much easier to find a place with a lot of action and stay there with your camera rather than walking all over town hoping to find yourself with a great candid moment.

Candid photography tip n. 7: take a LOT of photos

If ever there was a situation set up for a "sprinkle and pray" approach, this is it.

I'm kidding, sure, but just a little bit ..

To capture truly authentic moments, one of the best candid photography tips you can use is to shoot a bunch of shots.

Put your camera in burst mode, frame the shot and shoot.

Some photographers will also tell you to shoot from the hip, even in burst mode. It seems to me that I just don't have the spatial awareness to frame a decent shot when the camera is on my hip, but if you can do it and get it right, go for it!

Get more details on how to take candid photos in the Photography TV video above.

Sincere meaning of the photograph

With that, you have seven candid photography tips to follow the next time you're out shooting.

Remember, the meaning of candid photography is to capture authentic moments. It's not about jumping out of the bushes to surprise strangers with your camera, nor is it meant to be something nefarious where you are a voyeur and intrude on people's personal space.

Instead, the meaning of candid photography is to focus on the emotionality of a moment, the feelings that people experience, and translate that into an image that connects with the viewer.

In this sense, sincere photography is perhaps one of the forms of photography most capable of transporting the viewer to a particular moment in time. That's what candid photography is all about!

Photography Tips:

More megapixels listed on a digital camera is not a clear sign of better quality, and manufacturers are beginning to drop out of this megapixel race to put the focus back on quality.

Do megapixels matter though? They matter up to a point if you’re looking to make large prints, banners, or posters, but investigate picture quality before buying, instead of relying heavily on the pixel count.As an extreme example, it’s highly unlikely a 8-megapixel camera phone could produce results as good as a 8-megapixel digital SLR produced in the same year, simply because the phone’s camera will be limited in quality due to its size.

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