Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The No Lookin' Zone -- Where to Look During Your Photoshoot

Today in our continuing series on how to get the most out of your boudoir photosession, we cover the eyes.  Not literally of course as that would be counter-productive, but we will discuss and illustrate what you can and shouldn't do with your eyes so far as where to look.  Many of our clients feel awkward and clueless as to what to do when they first get in front of the camera, and that is completely natural!  They don't know how to stand, what to do with their hands, where to look, whether to smile, etc.  We guide you through all that of course, and even reading this you'll forget.  But this is a good backgrounder on why we tell you to do something and why you should avoid other things.

Normally photographers are peering through the back of their camera when they're about to take a shot.  Usually that is, but for a variety of reasons, not always.  

Clients have a hard enough time trying to figure out where to look when the photographer is behind the camera let alone when they're not.  Do you look at the photographer?  The camera?  Somewhere else?

The No Lookin' Zone

Well, in general its a good idea to vary your gaze to a number of locations.  You can look up, down, to the sides, at the camera, just about anywhere.  But there's a peculiar doughnut shaped "No Lookin' Zone" you should not look towards.  

In general, the No Lookin' Zone is hereby defined as a region somewhere in the vicinity of the camera.  The doughnut hole of the zone is where the camera is, and that's certainly ok to look at.  Keep in mind that the photographer is not doing the actual recording of the scene -- the camera is.  If the photographer steps away from the camera to take the shot, generally you avoid looking at him unless he specifically requests it, because there's a good chance he's in the No Lookin' Zone.  This "exclusion" zone extends a few feet around the camera (but does not include the camera itself).  When you look in the No Lookin' Zone, you look zoned OUT.

What do these individuals have in common?  They were looking at the No Lookin' Zone, resulting in a detached, vaguely disconcerting look.  Like the person is reading a cue card behind you or giving secret signals to someone else in the room to make bunny ears behind your head.  And trust me, it wouldn't be the first time for me.  Its not a particularly attractive look for photographs.  

When looking away, there is a sense of intrigue and mystery.  It is a more artful visual statement because you're not engaging the viewer directly.  Its almost a tease; the viewer gets to enjoy the image surreptitiously.  Plus its a wonderful way to show off your beautiful eyes.

When looking towards the camera, you make it personal.  Now its a direct enticement and challenge to the viewer.  The image becomes more sexually charged.

Looking near the camera into the No Lookin' Zone simply results in a weird, zoned out look.

So remember to either look well away from the camera, or directly toward the camera, but never near the camera.  And no matter what, we at INFINI Boudoir will be there to remind and guide you to get the most flattering shots for you!



  1. I have absolutely fallen in love with your work in all your photographic endeavors! You have amazing vision. I have a tremendous respect for the way you respect your clients & collaborate to bring them ultimate delight.
    Also, I am just dying to know what make & model of camera with which you shoot and your favorite lens.

  2. Hi Tottie, I shoot mostly with a Canon 5DII and a 24-105 F4 lens. The camera itself has remarkably low image noise especially in low light and shadow areas which is most noticeable in those moody, artsy dark shots. The lens has a reasonably wide zoom range while maintaining good image quality and the combination works well for this kind of work.

    Thank you for the thumbs up!