I will talk here mostly about boudoir photography, but majority of these tips you can also apply to any other type of portraits. Hope it help you get the best out of your photos!
1. Be natural = be yourself
The first thing that might come into your mind is: “I’m going to be photographed, I need to work on my look!” and that’s totally understandable, but also please don’t go overboard. Stay true to the way you are everyday, or otherwise you will end up looking not like yourself (unless that’s your goal). Many times boudoir photography is paired with a makeup and hair styling session, and as much as I get it, I like to do things differently. I want women to look naturally beautiful – and you can define what naturally means to you. You feel natural with mascara on? Great, go for it. You never wear any makeup? Why should you change that for the occasion of the photo shoot?
It’s important to me you remain your everyday self. Why? I believe only when you embrace the way you and your body looks without all the extras, you can be fully empowered and liberated. Because you will feel beautiful just the way you are.
I think that when you come to a photo shoot and get all the makeup, hairdo etc. you get transformed into a version of you that normally doesn’t look back at you from the mirror. It can be a wonderful experience, but it’s a form of performance – the moment you get back home and take a shower, you go back to being your everyday you, very different from the “glamour” styling. Looking back at the photos in that situation can, in my opinion, unfortunately make you even more self-conscious: “I looked pretty once for a brief moment and right now I’m back to my regular boring me”. And that’s so untrue! When I take photos of the way you naturally are, you can relate to that every f*ing day, you can replicate the feeling you got during the photo shoot very easily, because you were the stylist, the hairdresser and the makeup artist! And you know that there’s no need for the whole “theater” around your appearance to be beautiful.
I don’t want you to change only for the photo shoot, make you feel and look unlike yourself and only then say “now you’re ready for a portrait”. I want to show you that the way you are every day – you’re great, beautiful and there’s nothing that should change about it.
Generally you should stick with colors you feel good in, but if you got this bright red dress and never found the courage to wear it – now it’s the time to give it a chance. Also remember a few rules:
- a color that’s much lighter than you complexion will always make you look more relaxed and give you that glow. Fair skin tones – consider wearing white. Darker skin tones – white can be in too much contrast with your skin, so consider something neutral but still much lighter than your complexion, because…
- nude color (=the same shade as your skin color) is usually not flattering – always opt for something lighter or darker, not the same shade as your skin.
- warm, muted colors usually work well with portraits – think of curry yellow, brick, earthy shades, dusty pink, peach, muted teal etc.
- strong cold colors don’t usually work – every color you wear is casting shade onto your skin/face, and you don’t want to end up with a strong green hue on your face; avoid: strong green, blue. Also avoid strong red if you have a pinkish complexion.
3. Don’t be a banner for someone else’s promotion
Avoid clothes with big logos, promotional texts or portraits of celebrities on them – you don’t want to be someone’s advertisement for free. The only person you should promote is yourself. Other texts – if meaningful to you – are obviously more than welcome.
Below Adi in a great example of a meaningful wording on a T-shirt, that’s great to use during a photo shoot. Adi brought it to the photo shoot and it prompted me to combine it with a playful pose.
Steer clear of clothing that is too tight. You want to be able to move around and feel good. Since we’re talking about boudoir here – lingerie and all related items are welcome. Anything that makes you sexy but also comfortable: bras & panties, body, night gown, corset, stockings and dress, skirt, sexy sweater (especially oversized ones you can wear on naked body), jacket, shirt/T-shirt, high socks, shoes (not necessary – only if you have ones you really want to show off).
5. If you want naked photos – plan in advance.
If you’re planning any naked photos, please wear a bra/panties that don’t leave marks on your body, or just no bra. The same with outer clothes – if they’re too tight, it will take quite a long time for the seams and creases marks to disappear from your skin.