Boudoir photography – intimate, romantic and sometimes erotic images of the human form – has been around since the advent of the first photographs the Victorian Era, but it was only in the 1980s that it had a resurgence in its modern form. Before, they were early mass-market glimpses of erotica – now, they are made for the private collections of the subject and their romantic partners. Now, boudoir photography is characterized by empowerment, a celebration of the subject-as-client and their sexuality.

The focus is on suggestive sensuality over explicit sexuality…

It was around 2010 when I was working as a professional photographer in the UK that I noticed the rebirth of the boudoir photo. Returning to South Africa, I saw potential for the growing trend as both locally and worldwide people – and women in particular – were becoming more expressive with their bodies as they grew less inhibited and more confident, helped by changing notions of body image and acceptance. People are, thankfully, and if even slightly, more open to accepting their bodies, regardless if not conforming to traditional body images, as age, size and colour slowly become irrelevant to depictions of beauty. Boudoir photos have become a both celebration and reappropriation of one’s sexuality, often at a key point in their life – a record of sorts before embarking on a marriage or children, perhaps as a gift to a lover, or just themselves.

Boudoir photos are usually taken wearing either very little, or, nothing at all – implied nudes – but the focus is on suggestive sensuality over explicit sexuality; the illusion of being nude is more often provocative than actually seeing someone naked. You can dress up in whatever you feel most comfortable in, or whatever your partner would like to see you in. These photos should portray the subject in a light not usually seen, while still remaining true to their personality – these are meant to remain between couples, love and acceptance are already there.

As an accomplished boudoir photographer, often shooting from private homes or DLPHOTO Studio in Cape Town, here are some of my tips for a photo shoot with stunning results:

  • Boudoir photography should be a collaboration between the client-subject and the photographer, so comfort and communication is key. A quick meeting before the shoot is a good idea to get to know the photographer, and most importantly, know what you’re hoping to get out of the shoot.
  • Prepare by getting inspiration from fashion and lifestyle magazines for interesting setups, poses, makeup and outfits. And, it goes without saying, choose outfits that make you feel sexy and accentuate your best features.
  • A stylist is always a good idea. For all of our boudoir shoots, we source a professional stylist to help you find the right look and pose for each scene.
  • Location is not only important for the shoot but to put you at ease. People often use their own bedroom to shoot in, rent a posh hotel room, or shoot in studio for a private setting.
  • Most boudoir shoots last about two hours, including setup time for hair, makeup and lighting. It may also take you a little time to relax, and your first few shots will likely look a bit stiff. If you are nervous, it’s a good idea to bring a friend to help put you at ease and make a day of it. During the shoot, a little music and champagne really does help people feel more vibrant, relaxed and uninhibited. You’ll be posing like a pro in no time.
  • And remember, all photographs taken are and remain the sole property of the client, and cannot be displayed in anyway whatsoever to outside parties by the photographer.

All DPHOTO shoots include full retouching and editing services on all boudoir and glamour photographs before ever leaving the studio. One of the advantages of digital photography is that it allows us to retouch images, removing any skin blemishes or imperfections while retaining soft, beautiful and natural. Thereafter, we offer you a Special Premier Showing, for your eyes only, where you have a private slide show and choose the your most perfect looks.

Discover a new side to yourself with Boudoir Photography from DLPHOTO Studio. Photographers wanting to develop their skills in this field can also sign up for our Fashion Workshop.