As boudoir photographers we were used to have almost no competition, but in the last 2 years things have been changing a lot in London and cannot be considered a niche market anymore.
To stay ahead of the game you have to be different from everybody else. And a lot of boudoir photographers use props to create their style.
So the big question. Props or no props?
Carlo and I have unanimously decided that “less is more” and we made this our philosophy in life, so our rule is quite simple.
The subject has to be the center of attention and anything that detracts from her is a no-no for us.
On the other had, any objects or colours that enhance her presence and her beauty, are absolutely welcome.
But how to decide what is ok and what is not? Here is our very personal list of yes yes yes.
Our residential studio is almost completely white. From furniture to walls.
One good reason is to make the most of natural light. As London weather is pretty dull, it is imperative to learn how to bounce the light and shape it around our subject in the most flattering way.
The other reason is to have less distraction possible from the subject. There is only her and nothing else. Her curves, eyes, hair, lingerie, high heels, stockings and nothing else.
It gives a nice, soft and dreamy feel that is timeless and stylish. She can be anywhere, but it is only about her.
The choice we suggest in terms of garments are simple: black, white (or cream, ivory or gold) and red. Some blues may be ok, but all the other colours are either a no-no or need to have a subtle nuance.
If the client comes with something extremely bright to the point of becoming painfully flashy, it does not look good in camera and takes attention away form her, which is something neither we or our clients really want.
Colours are important to deliver your style to your clients, so plan in advance how you want your brand to be perceived and educate your clients on what to wear. They love to be in the know and to be advised. They will feel well looked after.
How people react in front of the camera
To me a picture needs to be believable to be great. This means that has to portray the actual person in the most natural pose and not in a contrived and awkward looking way.
To achieve this you need to observe your subject and understand if she looks more comfortable standing in a stationary position or while she is moving. Bear in mind that very few people love and can stay in a position for a long time without looking bored or distracted. Once you put the subject in a pose, allow them to relax and move back into position. In this way that they can fall into the pose more naturally and only then you can look after their expression.
Especially with subjects that feel the pressure of the camera a bit more, giving them something to do is often a good way of making them momentarily forget about the shoot.
Accessories. What we allow (and suggest) to use
The key word here is jewellery. They can range from errings to necklaces, from rings to bracelets. They are great, they are personal, they mean something to your clients and they can play with them.
They complete the look, and if your are careful to the usual rule less is more – and you need to be – they add onto the subject without cluttering the frame.
Other important accessories are stockings and shoes.
The act of taking off or putting on the stockings is a timeless, and forever sensual moment to be captured. The subject will do it naturally after a couple of attempts and it will look great.
High heels are just a must if you photograph women. They love them, they spend on them and they are fabulous in them. They give a nice posture and they lengthen and flatter any legs.
Accessories give you the advantage of taking close-ups of some particular details of the subject without looking weird (especially for men!).
Not to mention that they are also a very useful tool to strengthen your rapport with the client by asking to tell the story of a particular piece if it looks vintage or very refined.
Props can be very useful to release the tension off the shoot, but we would advise to be careful not to make them the real subject of the shoot.
What props do you use if any? Let us know by leaving a comment below.
And Thank you for caring.