How To Take Boudoir Photos with Dramatic Lighting
The use of dramatic lighting has always made images that stand out in the crowd. Whether it’s with strobe or hot lights, knowing how to take boudoir photos with dramatic lighting will take your images to another level. The images I am going to show below will be with strobe flashes, either mono boxes or off camera strobes like speedlights and the second part will be with hot lights such as Fresnel. Fresnel’s are what the old photographers in Hollywood used to use when doing “Hollywood Glamour”, but it’s still used today by some of the top professionals to make beautiful images that bring back memories of pinups and Hollywood.
How To Take Boudoir Photos with Strobes
How to take boudoir photos with strobe is different than using that on camera flash most cameras have. First off you want to get that strobe away from the center axis of the camera and at least a few feet away from the camera. This first set of images is done with a SINGLE strobe monoblock and a softbox. If you will notice there is some light that falls onto the background which helps to separate the model from the background, otherwise we’d lose her int he darkness of the background. The lighting diagram for this image follows. BTW I am fond of using softboxes with grids to help control the spill of light.
Lighting diagram for the above image.
The next image is basically shot the same way, one strobe with a gridded softbox. Except the model is turned in the opposite direction and the light is also switched from camera right to camera left. One can also do this type of shoot with speedlights as they make softboxes and grid for speedlights available at Amazon.Com.
How To Take Boudoir Photos with Hard Light
This next segment on how to take boudoir photos is done with the use of a single fresnel hot light, also available from Amazon.Com. This type of light is what they used in the old days of Hollywood to do those studio Hollywood glamour shots. I personally love these types of lights as I also like doing old Hollywood glamour. This type of light gives a certain quality to the images, hard lights and shadows with a softness to them and a soft falloff.
This first image has a lamp in the upper right corner, as a prop in a room. It is NOT what lights this image, there is a fresnel light just out of range of the camera lighting the subject. These two lights work well together as they are at the same color temperature and no white balancing is needed to take this shot.
This is the lighting diagram for the above shot.
This next image is basically the same setup with the light, the camera has moved a little and the subject is facing the light and not looking at the camera. There are background lights that are out of focus due to shallow depth of field. As one might see, even in color these images with hot lights or hard lighting give a sort of Hollywood glamour feel to the images. One can also convert these images into Black and White for added effect. These images below have been color corrected or white balanced to strobe temperature.
The next shot is a complete change up. The model is facing the other direction, the light is coming from camera left and coming down at a sharp angle, almost on top of her. you could actually put a fresnel on a boom like George Hurrell did and have the light above her. The lighting diagram follows with how to set up this shot.
This is the lighting diagram for the above image.
This image is similar to the above image, except the light is coming from camera right instead of camera left. The subject is also facing the camera, looking into the lens with a sultry provocative look. Again one can see the dynamic of old Hollywood glamour photography with the single hot lights. If one were to convert it to black and white, it would be no different. This lighting is also above the model and could be placed on a boom instead of a tripod.