My shoot was a bit more challenging than the usual shoot though. I wanted my husband's gift to be ..... well, me.....but also my photography skills. ....So, I did my own shoot!
For obvious reasons, I limited the photos that I put in this post. I had trouble deciding which photos to include. I decided to error on the conservative side and keep my panties and other bits off the internet. So, there is one photo. I think these give a good representation of how PG shots can be fun and sexy (The rest of the photos are reserved for the hubby! ;)
LogisticsThe overall project took place over 5 months in about 6 separate shoots! Each shoot included multiple clothing and set changes. I used a tripod and remote for each shoot, using my ol' Nikon D40 with an external shoe-mount flash. I also used additional lighting (like turning on every light in the room since I do not have real lighting). It helped though to do each shoot during the day to maximize the natural light.
The biggest challenge was of course controlling the focus....how to focus on someone who isn't in position yet! One way I did this was to focus on an object like detailed pillow if I was going to be sitting or on a broom pole that I leaned against the wall when I was going to stand. I set the lens on manual focus and focused on the object. Then, I would move the object and get into position. It also helped to position a tall leaning mirror behind the tripod so I could adjust my pose as needed.
What a fly on the wall would have seen...During those shoots, the fly on the wall would see me changing poses several times, several different expressions, different angles, and several clicks. Then, me crawling back the camera to check if the focus was still good, if I was lined up with background well, if my feet or head or hands were in frame correctly, etc. I would make adjustments to the camera or adjust the lighting, then I would crawl back to do it again. And repeat A LOT of times! It's a long process!
After each shoot, I would review the photos, deleting the "yuck" (and there were many!) and ranking the remaining. The group I found to be the best were processed in Photoshop to correct exposure settings, sharpen, and to make color tone adjustments such as black and white or to enhance colors.
Patience is a virtue!As you may be learning about me, I tend to be a perfectionist. The overall project took place over 5 months in about 6 separate shoots. Over 2000 photos were taken, only 19 made it to the final group. There were multiple clothing changes and set changes.
Photos from the first two shoots never made it to the final set, but those shoots were definitely not a waste! They were great for my learning curve with the focus and lighting challenges and helped me to relax and have fun! When a woman gets a boudoir shoot done by a hired photographer, a good photographer will be encouraging and give good energy and direction. While doing your own shoot gives you the control and privacy you may want, you need bring the positive energy, creativity, and direction yourself or it won't be there and that gap will show in the project!
Another reason the project took so long was life gets in the way. I scheduled the shoots when the family would be gone. At one point, I thought I was done with the album, but my husband's birthday was not for another month. I was excited to give him his gift and see his reaction, so asked him if we could celebrate his birthday early. Seriously! He said no, his birthday is May. So, May it is! The voice talking in my head was thinking, "Seriously?! ....Oh, wait, ....it is HIS birthday.....hum...". So I was patient and waited. The extra time gave me more time to over-analyze the work. I found myself saying "This could be better....this should be from a different angle.... Oh! What about this composition instead?!". While I was overcritical, having the delay was actually a good thing! Some of my favorite photos ended up being from that last shoot! I love how playful it came out!
The Gift - Mission Success!We had to go out of town unexpectedly over my husband's birthday weekend. The situation was not what I had planned, so I had to improvise to make it the best. Weirdly enough, I gave him his gift at a bar since it was the first time that day we were alone. I tried to get a seat at the end of the bar, but the seats were taken. So, while we were seated in the middle of the bar, he opened the present. He had a big smile and was very surprised! I had to remind him to keep the album low so we didn't show the whole bar! :) He loved it! He even said he wanted to show some close friends of ours! That is the most awesome compliment he could give me, as a photographer and as a woman!
Pointers for Do-It-YourselfersIf you plan to do a DIY boudoir shoot...
- Research professional boudoir photography websites. There are some awesome ones out there! You can get great ideas on posing and lighting and composition. Let these ideas trigger some of your own ideas to make it more personal.
- Talk with supportive friends. They may have great inspirations to share and may be able to give you encouragement. Awesome energy helps this project to be successful!
- Use a tripod and remote! This will greatly simplify the shoot.
- Attention to the camera focus can not be stressed enough. Place an object were you are going to be and use manual focus. Then, get into position as close as possible to that were that object was.
- Use as much natural light as possible. It will help you to keep the colors true.
- Use props and/or costumes and different locations! Have fun with the shoot! One of my shoots consisted of a sexy shoes, thigh high stockings, a Fedora, and a man's suit jacket and a tie. It was a fun, playful shoot and was my favorite! As for different locations, I shot all over my house. I also picked up a roll of paper from a local craft store and used it to create a backdrop. When I was in editing, I used the Photoshop patch tool to remove the seams in the paper. After editing, it looks like a solid backdrop!
- Shots do not need to be rated R. PG or PG13 shots can be sexy and fun and classy! I think my results came out upscale, sexy, classy, artistic, yet still fun.
- Pay attention to the details. Notice how your hands are placed. Do you have a better side of your face or body? Use it to your advantage and position the shoot to focus on that angle.
- Reduce attention to what you prefer to hide. If you have things you prefer to hide (and what women doesn't after having kids!), pose to hide those things. For example, creative placement of a man's jacket or a shawl or a towel can be a great accent in the photo, but can hide a lot!
- Smile, don't smile. Smile sometimes, then for other shots, do a sultry look (practice in a mirror). Sometimes, look to the side or look up and smile. Vary your expression.
- Do several shots in sequence, then check those shots in the camera. Are you framed in the shot as you planned? Or is only half of your head in the shot? Is your hand cut out of the shot? Notice what adjustments are needed so you can fix them when you get back in position.
- Shoot in raw, if your camera can. It will give you more flexibility in editing.
- Edit to enhance the photo. It may be sharpen or soften or converting to black and white or enhancing colors. You are the artist, so bring out the best of the photo! If you use PhotoShop, there are websites that have free actions to process edits. They are awesome! Check them out!
- Print on a high quality printer using high quality paper. I have one so I didn't need to worry about privacy issues.
- Put your photos in an nice album. I found a good one at a scrapbooking store. I preferred white pages since they do not distract from the photos. I tried black pages, but I personally didn't like the tone of the black when the photo was placed on it. To me, it reduced the quality of the photo. In my opinion, the white page keeps the quality of the print high.
- Be Confident! Confidence makes a much better photo!
- Most importantly, relax and have fun! When you relax, you'll find the results are better! Enjoy the fun of the shoot! Enjoy and celebrate your sensuality and being a woman! Women are beautiful and powerful! Celebrate it!
One of my reasons for starting this blog was for me to experiment and grow. This project was definitely part of this process!
Have you had a boudoir shoot done either a DIY or professionally? I would like to hear more about your experience! Please share your thoughts in the comments section!
Like the idea? I would be honored for you to link back to this post!