Thursday, August 11, 2011

Boudoir Styles -- Which is Right for You?

Part of the INFINI process of getting clients photos that are the right fit for them is to understand what kind of style they are interested in. Style in this context refers to a blend of "look and feel", and modesty level. Boudoir photography encompasses a wide range of styles, a continuous spectrum if you will. These are four of the more popular ones, though by no means the only ones:

Pin up

This is one of the classic, enduring styles in boudoir. Best epitomized by the nose art found on the sides of WWII bombers, they capture an almost cartoonish, whimsical look with a nostalgic flair. Make up is bold, with lavish eyelashes and deep luscious lipstick while hairstyles carry the retro rolls, pompadours, and beehives. With Marilyn Monroe style satin wraps and full body swimsuits and corsets, this look can be delightful and campy. They also tend to leave more to the imagination which can be an appealing option to some full figured clients.

Victoria's Secret

This is the title we give to the most common contemporary look -- beautiful, dramatic lighting highlighting facial features like cheekbones, glamorous smokey eyes, and provocative lips. Makeup is more subtle than pin up, but also richer in a more natural way. Hair is fluffed for a lush, beautifully messy just rolled out of bed look. Very sexy! Wardrobe usually involves some form of lacy lingerie but can also be implied nude, that is, nude or topless, but posed in such a way that nothing, or little is actually showing in the photo. Provocative and sexy without being too revealing.


Most people are familiar with what Playboy photos look like, but to describe them for our purposes -- lighting is definitely dramatic and carefully controlled for a high intensity look. Specifically, the body is lit to reveal, but additional lighting is used to provide enticing highlights on different parts of the body *especially* the hair which is fluffed full and lush. Location and setting is also a big part of the Playboy look; it is usually not shot against a simple white or black background, instead opting for an interesting environment. Maxim is generally shot in a similar way; the main difference between the two being the level of modesty.


The prior three styles are an "intimate" form of photography. They are intended to be enticing and engaging to the viewer. It is essentially a "come hither" visual appeal. The woman frequently looks at the camera, or more accurately *through* the camera, to the intended viewer, attempting to communicate emotion and desire.

With a more artistic approach, the woman becomes more an objective form of beauty. That is, *anyone* can observe the resulting images and admire the transcendant beauty of the female form. It is not a personal appeal to an individual, but a more abstract and primal statement of art, like a Venus DeMilo, or a Birth of Venus. The images may focus on parts of the body and perhaps not even include the face, resulting in anonymous and stunning works of art worthy of a museum wall.

A typical INFINI Boudoir shoot can often wander through a variety of related styles but we find it helpful to understand what the client is visualizing when they come to us for a photosession. Having a sense of visual style and modesty limits allows us to hit the client's target and maintain our 100% customer satisfaction record.

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