Back in October I attended a Boudoir Photography workshop run by Andrew Appleton and hosted at Saracen House Studio in Milton Keynes.
It was a full day workshop and I found it to be very informative on a photography theme I had attempted before but not really having an idea of what it exactly was.
Like most styles of photography there are often grey areas where one style can be contrued as a different style and this can be the case with Boudoir photography and this was very well explained by Andrew during the morning session which involved an explanation of Boudoir photography and a discussion involving looking at photos and deciding if they were classed as Boudoir or not.
This is the web definition of Boudoir Photography
A boudoir is a lady's private bedroom, sitting room or dressing room. The term derives from the French verb bouder, meaning "to be sulky" or boudeur, meaning "sulky".
This was pretty much how I imagined it before attending the course, mean and moody lighting in a bedroom or in a studio set out to look like a bedroom.
This was a reasonable assumption but during the morning session it was also pointed out that Boudoir Photography can also be done in a well lit (normally daylight or at least daylight effect) setting which opened up my preconceptions to the style.
Two other aspects that generally, but not exclusively, define Boudoir Photography is that it is shot with continuous lighting, normally one light source such as Arri lighting and is shot at a wide aperture (shallow depth of field)
Towards the end of the morning session we were introduced to the lovely Gemma Bortolozzo who was to be our model after lunch. She spent some time with us discussing the finer points of Boudoir Photography from the models point of few, she is a very experienced model so had a fantastic understanding of what was required and how to provide the very best for the photographer (Note: This is why it's good to work with experienced models and why we should pay, sometimes something photographers forget)
After a spot of lunch we then used the bedroom set where Andrew explained how to pose the model and also demonstrated a few shots that he did to 'dial in' the settings. Then we each took it in turns to get some shots ourselves with Andrews guidance.
Here is one of the shots I got using an Arri continuous light set up. One of the main advantages of using continuous lighting is that you can open the aperture very wide without blowing out the shot although you will have to increase your iso settings but as you can see it give the shallow depth of field style shot that Boudoir Photography is known for.
Shot at F4.0 @1/250s ISO800
After a few shoots and noticing our pictures improving at each shot we went to the studio downstairs to try a shoot using some relatively new lights could ice lights.
This is a strip of led lights which are daylight balanced and, although expensive, are very versatile as they are batter powered and can be hand held or tripod mounted so ideal for location based shoots.
The shot below was taken using the ice lights with one to the left of Gemma and one handheld above her.
Shot at F8 @1/125s at ISO100
We also tried a similar setup using strip soft boxes (Long narrow soft boxes with a built in grid to restrict the spread of light)
Finally we went back upstairs to try some higher key lighting as the sun had decided to come out at just the right time.
Gemma was stood in front of a window and the camera had a flash mounted on top and bounced off the far wall to add a little 'fill' light to the back of her
Shot at F2.8 @1/125 ISO 800
I have to say I throughly enjoyed the workshop and learnt a lot which I hope to put into practice very soon.
I highly recommend Andrew Appletons workshops and if you wish to book yourself onto any of them you can do so using the link below
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I also cannot recommend Saracen House enough so please check them out on the link below
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A big thank you to Andrew Appleton, Andrew Griffiths (Saracen House), Gemma Bortolozzo and Ricky 'Super Ginge' Brown for making the day so successful and informative.
Finally check out the rest of the pictures on my website