This month I’m going to showcase one of my amazing ladies, Dannii. Turning 30 at the end of the month, experiencing a boudoir session was on her bucket list. Like so many of us, Dannii has struggled with her self-image throughout her life, doing that terrible thing that we all we do when we compare ourselves to others and feel like we aren’t measuring up. But now Dannii has decided to start taking control of her own self worth. I absolutely adore this woman and the way that she has empowered herself. She is utterly beautiful, kind and inspirational and I’m so happy that she chose me. Happy 30th Birthday, Dannii...you are incredible xx
“I’ve been thinking hard about what I’d like to say about my photoshoot at Ruby Light Boudoir, it’s hard to summarise such a wonderful experience, but I will try.
Throughout my whole life I have struggled with body image and comparing myself to others. I would put myself down and get upset over not being a certain size and being ‘the fat one’ amongst my groups of friends. At the beginning of my 29th year I decided to make a list of 30 things to do before 30, and a boudoir photoshoot was a must. To be captured in a different light, pushing myself well out of my comfort zone, and loving the skin I’m in - lumps, bumps and bulges. I had decided to say NO to the criticism & self doubt, and say YES to loving myself and my body. So I did some research, and was thrilled when I came across Rachel’s page and her body of work. It was inspiring and tasteful. I immediately knew Rachel was who I wanted to shoot me, and capture me at my most vulnerable.
When I arrived at Rachel’s studio on the Thursday morning, the ambiance was calm and welcoming!! I was offered tea, coffee, biscuits whilst I had my hair and makeup perfectly applied by Sasha. Meanwhile, Rachel prepared my outfits and wrote up a detailed plan about what content we wanted to capture today and what we wanted to achieve from the shoot. After what seemed like the quickest hour in hair & makeup, lots of girl talk, and a copious amount of compliments, Rachel and Sasha helped me feel so beautiful and confident - I was ready for my shoot.
Putting yourself out there and dressing ‘sexy’ in front of someone you barely know sounds super intimidating, but Rachel made me feel like we had always been friends which made me feel more relaxed and confident. The shoot itself lasted for around two hours, which absolutely flew by. Rachel directed me with ease, my poses, facial expressions, even moving all of the furniture around in the short time it took me to change into the next outfit. Clearly her proper preparation paid off, the shoot flowed seamlessly.
After lots of poses, a couple of outfit changes, a bit of dancing between shots (her playlist was FULL of bangers) and plenty of laughs, that was it, that was a wrap!! A short weeks wait until I could see the images that Rachel had so sympathetically captured. I left the studio feeling a great sense of achievement, I felt fulfilled. I felt happy.
I returned to the studio to see my photographs on the following Wednesday. I was very nervous to see my images, after all, What if I hated them? What if they didn’t come out as well as I hoped? Did I really look as sensuous as I felt?
When I first saw the pictures, I was in shock. That was me! I ADORED them!!! I felt a huge sense of pride, I was proud of the confident women I have learned to love and celebrate. The photographs turned out far, far better than I had hoped for. Rachel really is a very talented lady, who clearly knows her art and loves what she does!!
I think every women should have an experience like this. I want every women to see how beautiful they are inside and out. I would have to say it was one of the best experiences of my life. It empowered me. I would 100% do it again tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day! Thank you so, so much Rachel xxx
Please see below for information about the fabulous dresses that are available for shoots.
A look back on 2020
As we enter 2021 and things are unfortunately still very challenging, it’s so important to try and stay positive and keep hopes up for the future.
In this post I’m being positive about 2020 and looking back on some of my favourite sessions. Whenever I do these, it reminds me of how diverse my sessions can be. I absolutely love the variety!
2020 was difficult for me professionally. I lost my first studio and juggled shoots between being open and closed. On the plus side, I opened a gorgeous new studio that I love even more than the first one and I can’t wait to get back there!
I welcomed my very worthy competition winners for their session at the beginning of the year. Emily (2nd from left) had recently been diagnosed with cancer at only 18 years old. Emily’s Mum Karen entered as she wanted to capture Emily’s stunning red hair in a photoshoot before she lost it through chemotherapy. Emily is so gorgeous and has the most beautiful hair I’ve ever seen. This session was emotional but I absolutely loved it. The whole family are incredibly lovely, the girls giggled and laughed all the way through so we were all smiling! It was honestly a pleasure and a joy to work with this amazing family.
Chloe came for a Beauty and Boudoir Session as a confidence boost following a break-up from a long term relationship. Chloe was struggling to move on but fast forward almost a year and she’s in a lovely new relationship and in the summer I’ll be welcoming her back for a newborn session!
Louise was my very last maternity session before the first lockdown, and the very last session in my first studio before I left it in May. Louise brought along her little boy Matthew, who is simply adorable! And Louise is pretty special. As a breastfeeding peer, she’s helped many, many mums with their breastfeeding journeys. Something we celebrate and promote at every shoot that she’s booked so far!
Oh dear...things go a bit downhill here! The first month of lockdown and I decide to do a silly boudoir shoot at home with a Bratz doll (no us photographers were not OK haha) It amused the ladies in my boudoir group so that’s the main thing!
Right at the end of May, once restrictions allowed, I met Jo at Shaugh Prior Bridge to do this distanced outdoor maternity session with her and her amazing daughter, Willow. It was quite an honour to do this with Jo, I really look up to her as another lady who empowers women and encourages self-love at her pole and aerial fitness studio in Plympton.
I couldn’t possibly just pick one! The first month of being properly back at it for outdoor shoots. I feel like I came back with a bang!
Katie & Kitty - Feeding Portrait in the woods. Katie had previously been for a maternity session so it was so nice to see her and meet little Kitty.
Jourden - Maternity Session on Wembury Beach. I’ve never seen someone enjoy and embrace their shoot as much as this incredible lady did!
Rose & Merlin. We’d been talking about a shoot with her horse for a long time and finally got around to it.
Sienna was born during lockdown almost 3 months premature. She was around 5 months old for her session and a rainbow baby. Her Mum Kim was super keen to get the newborn poses that I would normally do with babies that are between 5-14 days old. Mum particularly liked the froggy pose. I told her I couldn’t make any promises but said I would try my best. Little Sienna was a superstar from the word go! Thankfully we managed to get froggy! I’ve since welcomed Sienna back when she started sitting up and Kim is booking an outdoor shoot in the Spring as well. Sienna has the most incredible blue eyes so we are planning a shoot among the bluebells in a blue dress. I can’t wait!
Ava was another very special lockdown baby, as well as another older baby who did amazingly well at her session. I love the smiles!
Eden and Indie were my first ever newborn twins! I had to ask my friend Leanne to help me...she isn’t a photographer but is most definitely a baby whisperer! I couldn’t have done it without her, so thank you Leanne! Another person I need to thank is Tamsyn from TC Photography, who was kind enough to let me use her studio and store all my equipment, props and dresses in her studio for a few months. It was because of this that I found my new studio and it’s so lovely being in a building with other fellow photographers!
Anyway, back to the twins...aren’t they adorable?! Mum, Natasha was over the moon and I have to thank her for trusting me to do this even though it was my first time.
Mollie didn’t consider herself girly enough for my maternity gowns so wanted to keep her session more simple and classic. Mollie also braved a nude shot even though she didn’t feel entirely confident. I loved this session because the results were still gorgeous even though we kept it simple.
This was the first week in my new studio and I can’t tell you how incredible it felt to have my own space again.
I managed to squeeze in a few sessions before the 2nd lockdown working at the studio until 10pm. A lot of these were maternity sessions as I didn’t want them to miss out! My final one being a shoot at Foggintor Quarry on Dartmoor with Marie. She was amazing! Carefully clambering over boulders to get to the perfect place and getting changed in front of a group of climbers! It was certainly worth the 3 day arm ache after carrying all the dresses around!
December was catch-up time after being closed for a month so there were lots of Boudoir Sessions! My dad is a retired electrician and I had previously asked him to fit some LED panels above the windows in the studio to give the natural light a bit of a boost. I can’t just keep things simple so I asked for them to be dimmable so that I could control the brightness. Unfortunately this wasn’t very straight forward and took poor Dad several attempts before it finally worked! I absolutely love them though and it’s a godsend on gloomy days when I used to worry so much about the quality of light. Beautiful Laura below had a mix of natural and LED light washing over her...perfect!
As crazy as this year has been, it’s absolutely flown by. I can’t believe it’s almost been a year since Covid hit us and changed everything. I’d like to thank you for sticking with me when we had to reschedule, for booking me despite this year being difficult for so many of us, for trusting me, and for all the love and support on Social Media. Every time I’m forced to close it makes me look forward to opening even more. I really can’t wait!
Sending you all so much love, stay safe and I hope to see you soon.
Sadly, the first lockdown and complications with Government funding meant I had to say goodbye to my first studio. This was a bitter pill to swallow as I’d spent a considerable time renovating and decorating it. I had to make other arrangements for the shoots that I had booked after lockdown and was lucky to have Tamsyn at TC Photography look after me at her lovely studio for a few months.
I always had a plan to get a new studio but I wasn’t sure when. Then the unit next to Tamsyn’s became available so I snuck in there to have a peek and could immediately see the potential, imagining what I’d use each area for.
I’m not sure if it was brave or stupid (or both!) but I decided to go for it, and within a week or so I set to work with family, friends and my wonderful handyman Pete to get it ready.
3 weeks later and was over the moon and in love with my new space!
I have a dedicated newborn area where all my props and outfits are neatly displayed, including a baby changing area. Another area dedicated to my boudoir and lifestyle sessions, a huge portrait area where I have two backdrops, all my lights and props, and also a large Beauty Room where the magical makeovers happen. I also use this room for my viewing sessions.
I was sad when I had to close it for a month after only a few weeks of shoots but I am so happy to have it to go back to!
I am really looking forward to welcoming all the lovely ladies and families to my new space and seeing what we can create together!
After recent events I thought I’d share some of the very kind words that I’ve received from others, I’m so proud of each and every one of them and sometimes they have come when I’ve needed them the most. Some of them have made me smile from ear to ear and others have made me cry happy tears, mostly I just feel extremely grateful when someone takes the time to write such kind and meaningful words about their session and images. Here are just a few…
"I’d thought I’d treat myself to another boudoir session as I enjoyed my first one so much! I have all of my photos on my bedroom wall as I’m so proud of them! Rachel is a total professional and so talented at what she does. She made me feel welcome from the second I stepped in the door and throughout the whole shoot. She made me feel totally relaxed and at ease and was fantastic at directing me into the different poses...got to love those Barbie feet! With a lot going on in my life at the moment this boudoir shoot gave me a much needed boost and I’d recommend it to anyone, even if you do not feel ‘comfortable’ with your body at the moment, as I don’t, but I took the plunge and I’m so glad I did. I look at the photos and can’t quite believe it’s me!! Rachel has the natural ability and talent to bring out the confidence and self esteem in everyone she ‘shoots’! I now have something to look back on when I’m older and think ‘hey, look at me, I look DAMN good!’ Thank you so much Rachel"
"I have followed this page since day 1, and I always told myself I’d do it when I next got paid, when I lost more weight, when I felt ‘pretty’ and I just found myself coming up with excuse after excuse.
I saw rachel posted about Valentine’s Day mini’s and i thought to myself, I’m super nervous about getting married which was ( February 20th ) and everyone looking at me In a wedding dress and being out of my Comfort zone why not test my nerves and book a boudoir shoot!
Well I never looked back. From the moment I walked in rachel made me laugh and felt at ease! Adele worked complete wonders on my hair and make up and then away we went!
Rachel showed me exactly what to do and made me feel unstoppable, beautiful, gorgeous, empowered, hot and confident.
Made walking down the aisle a breeze!
The pictures are incredible and not in a million years did I expect to see myself like that!
Highly recommend anyone who’s debating it and putting it off to seize the moment and do it, I promise, you won’t look back! 📷📷"
“Wow, what can I say but Rachel is a true professional!! My Daughter and I had the most wonderful afternoon during our recent Mother’s Day shoot, we laughed, we all had fun together in a relaxed environment and were made to feel extra special by Rachel. The cherry on the top is now we have THE most beautiful lasting images to treasure forever!”
“Rachel is so lovely and absolutely amazing at what she does. We had a newborn photoshoot for our little girl and the photos are incredible, we love them so much! We would 100% recommend Rachel, Ruby Light Protraits, to anyone that wants a newborn photoshoot! We can't thank you enough for the beautiful photos of our baby girl. We would definitely go back to Rachel for a family photoshoot at a later date :) x”
“I was lucky enough to win a family Photo shoot with Rache. My goodness, what an experience. From walking in the door my nerves disappeared. Rache is so welcoming. I then had my hair and makeup done with Sacha. I've never felt so amazing! I couldn't believe it was me looking back at myself in the mirror. I was dressed in the most beautiful dress. All of this was done without my children there. I felt I had an hour of proper ME time. (difficult when have 3 children) Rache was amazing at finding us All dresses that co-ordinated.
When my family arrived Rache was fab with my children. They too were dressed in beautiful dresses and suit. Rache really did put everyone at ease. We all had a really lovely time. I can't wait to see the photo's.
Thankyou again Rache (see you soon) xxx”
I cannot recommend you highly enough Rachel.
The maternity and newborn shoots you did for my wife and I were amazing, and you've done us so proud. Thank you for capturing our special moments so beautifully.
Fran adored her makeover and wearing your beautiful gowns. We are surrounded by your beautiful pictures all through the house.
I know Fran keeps in touch with you, and we both look forward to more shoots with you as the girls grow up.
Thank you again, and we will be spreading your name 🙂
Best wishes, Paul x
“In January I met with Rachel for a photo shoot. My reasons for wanting to do that were encompassed within a personal journey that I have been on for some time and it turned a new path that had me feeling like I wanted an end product, of myself, to feel good about. One of my gorgeous friends had a photo shoot with Rachel and I then joined this group and having seen how beautiful and empowered these women were looking it gave me a feeling of excitement. My lovely partner offered to gift me the experience, because that’s what it was for me- an experience; and I loved every minute of it. Rachel made me feel so comfortable and so relaxed that I naturally found my flow and had the end result that I had hoped for. The MUA Laura was fabulous, the studio was lovely and Rachel was the perfect combination of professional and friendly/ caring. I would highly recommend the experience. Thank you Rache xx"
"Before booking my photoshoot with Ruby Light Boudoir, I was scared, nervous and the idea of getting undressed in a room with someone taking photos was something that I wasn't sure was possible. I loved the idea of having a Boudoir photoshoot but didn't just want anyone to do it. I spent almost 2 months looking for the right photographer, right prices, best products. Calls, emails and texts were exchanged between many businesses. Many of them didn't make me feel comfortable and only ever had the same 5 poses they offered everybody. When I found Ruby Light Portraits, Me and my husband both agreed she was everything we were looking for. She spoke to me over email, phone, WhatsApp and even though I had about 1000 crazy questions she always made time to reply to everything. I asked about bringing my Pole for some photos and not only did she accept but she made time and arrangements for me to come and test the pole in the room. When I first got to see everything she offered, I was blown away by how relaxed I was. When the day came I was ready. I sat in the chair with a cup of tea and enjoyed the hair and makeup. When I saw myself I was holding back tears. I didn't recognise myself. I never thought I could look so glamorous and beautiful. While I was doing the photos I was so relaxed I was basically walking around naked without a care. Today I saw my photos for the first time and I cant believe these are me. Photos to prove I am strong and I am beautiful. I will never forget this and can't wait to get more done with Rachel in the future. Thank you Ruby Light Portraits"
Beautiful photographs from a Boudoir Session can be a perfect gift for your groom on the morning of your wedding day. It can also give you a nice little confidence boost before your big day. Or perhaps you have post wedding blues and want to make the most of that gorgeous wedding lingerie and your beautiful dress!
With a Bridal Boudoir Session, you can showcase your wedding lingerie in beautiful images that will last a lifetime. Part of your Boudoir Session can be bridal themed, we can include your veil, a garter and a bouquet. I also have a handmade bridal robe made from luxurious Italian lace by a local Bridalwear designer that goes beautifully with bridal lingerie. The rest of your session can be totally different, with different outfits in a different setting.
You can also choose to make part of your session a bridal portrait where you wear your dress and look like something from the cover of a wedding magazine!
Feeling nervous at the thought? Don’t worry, everyone does. After all, wearing next to nothing in front of a stranger isn’t an everyday occurrence! I have photographed hundreds of nervous ladies who have stepped out of their comfort zones, either to do it for a loved one or to do it for themselves. Every single one has been surprised at how relaxed they felt.
I like to finish off the images with beautiful products that really showcase the images and make an amazing gift. The printed photographs are mounted inside a ribbon tied box which comes in black or white. The digital images are stored on an adorable sparkly heart shaped USB.
If you’d like to give your groom a truly unique gift (because there really is only one you!) pop me an email at email@example.com and we can explore your session.
I can’t quite believe how quickly this year has gone by, it’s crazy, isn’t it?!
I started the year having only been in business for just over 12 months. I had a lot of training booked in already, and I started thinking about whether it was time to start looking at studios. I was really in two minds because I hadn’t been going very long, I worried about the financial commitment of a studio but also knew I was ready for the next step and to get my house back to a home again.
The first training day that I went on this year was in Manchester in February. It was all about Fine Art Lighting with one of the best Portrait Photographers in the UK. I stayed overnight the night before and then hopped on a train home straight after. My friends were all having a gathering in Cornwall and I’d already said I couldn’t make it...but then during the train journey home I decided to make a late appearance! We were dancing in my friend’s kitchen until 3am...oops! That was a long day! Anyway, it was this training that really spurred me on to start looking for a studio. The training was held in a lovely large studio with plenty of space and I really wanted a bit of that! I’d been shooting at home since 2017 and while I was lucky enough to be able to fit a large backdrop in my kitchen / diner, space was still often an issue and I knew that having a bigger environment would be so much better. I was also using my bedrooms for Boudoir Shoots and my cellar to store everything, so whilst my partner was very understanding and supportive, I pretty much took over the entire house with my business!
The following week I started making enquiries, it was quite disheartening to start with as everything that was available was just a big rectangular room for a significant amount of money each month. Then the estate agent showed me two rooms in a roof of an old school at The Millfields, it was perfect! I waited impatiently while he liaised with the owner, who was (inconveniently) on holiday at the time, only to be told in the end that another school wanted to take over the whole building. So back to square one we went. He said ‘I’ve got a shop, you need to see it’ I thought it was going to be too small but I went along to view it anyway. It was even more perfect! A large area for the studio portraits, two bedrooms for the boudoir sessions and a room just for makeovers! It needed A LOT of work. And I mean A LOT. I finally got the keys in March and then spent the next 7 weeks clearing and painting every inch of the place. I had a builder with me for a month and lots of help from friends and family that I am so very grateful for! I started shooting there in May and it was absolutely wonderful! The light in the bedrooms is spot on and there is plenty of space for everything else, including my large collection of dresses & lingerie. It was amazing to put the finishing touches to all the rooms and when my sign went up on the outside I almost cried! I couldn’t believe what a transformation had taken place after feeling so overwhelmed on day 1 when I realised just how much work was needed.
During this crazy time I also went back up to the Midlands for some refresher training in Maternity & Newborn Photography. I hadn’t been for almost 18 months so it was great to update my knowledge. I also attended an outdoor photography workshop on Dartmoor with one of the best photographers in the world. I couldn’t believe she was coming to Devon all the way from Canada! So despite the £1k price tag, it was too good to miss out on! In August I had a training day with a different newborn photographer, she taught me how to do the ‘froggy’ pose, a pose I’d never attempted before but felt confident to afterwards once I knew how to safely. It’s now my favourite pose and parents adore it!
This year, I’ve photographed 20 babies, 20 bumps, 30 families and over 100 boudoir sessions. There are so many favourites for lots of different reasons but here are a few…
January - Chloe is my cousin and suffers with anxiety, this shoot gave her such a confidence boost and it was amazing for me to be able to do that for her.
February - Charlotte is one of my beautiful Make Up Artists and it was just so lovely to photograph her with her gorgeous little boy, Levi.
March - Emilia had already had a maternity & newborn shoot with me, and was very conscious of how her gorgeous tummy had stretched during her 2nd pregnancy. She was working hard to try and firm it up in the lead up to her shoot but in the end decided instead to embrace it. She is the most adorable person I’ve ever met and I felt so privileged to do this with her.
April - Claire had already had a maternity & newborn shoot with me and booked a family shoot on Good Friday as that was the only time all her family were together. I was in the middle of decorating the new studio at this point so it was such a welcome change for me to head out in to the lovely sunshine for this shoot. And I just love this natural image with all the bluebells!
May - Ashleigh arrived in a fluster, worrying about whether my dresses would fit and partially regretting her decision to book a maternity session. I’ve fallen in love with this wonderful girl who has since had a newborn and boudoir shoot with me. She is raising two beautiful children with her amazing partner and also studying for a degree. Ashleigh, I’m one of your biggest fans!
June - Agniezca had planned her session for a long time. She wanted a boudoir shoot but also really wanted to wear this maternity dress. ‘Of course’ I said! She’s also one of my favourite ladies, she is still so kind with her words about me and my work and I am so very fond of her!
July - Jo and her family were just so beautiful to photograph together, she is raising three amazing little people!
August - Oh Hannah :) She won’t mind me saying that she was one of the most demanding ladies I’ve ever worked with. She knew exactly what she wanted and was over the moon with her images and so kind about my work. Hannah, you know you’re one of my favourites!
September - Sophie wanted a bridal themed boudoir session as a gift for her soon to be groom. She also wanted to create an image that showed her disability didn’t limit her. I absolutely love this image! Sophie, you are beautiful!
October - Carla’s little lady Orla. This was one of my first attempts at froggy and I was so pleased with it. But other than that, Carla and Nick are just two of the loveliest people I’ve ever met and were so grateful for their images that it brought me to tears. Thank you so much you two, for your kind words when I needed it the most!
November - Tamsyn & Jorjia. These two best friends had a maternity shoot together, it was so special! Tamsyn is also a photographer so I felt so flattered that she chose me to do this with her. These girls were like oil paintings!
December - A little Christmas bundle just for me to celebrate how much I’ve come on this year with my newborn work. Also little Theo’s parents were so very lovely, another family that I feel very lucky to have met.
As I come to the end of this blog post, after reflecting on my year, I must admit that I feel pretty warm and fuzzy inside. I left behind a full on job in a completely different sector and this lovely year that I’ve had has made me know even more than ever that it was entirely the right decision to make. I have amazing support from friends & family, I work with the most wonderful team of Make-Up Artists and have been extremely lucky to have welcomed the most loveliest people to my studio. I can’t wait to see what 2020 brings! THANK YOU ALL
Merry Christmas everyone...and a Happy New Year, with lots of Ruby Light Love from me!
Take a look around. Research other photographers in the area, and I don’t just mean their prices. Look at the quality of their images. Look at their posing, the styling, the lighting, the composition, the environment and the finish on the image.
I find it very hard to blow my own trumpet, I’m not perfect but here goes...
Some photographers don’t take the time to learn how to get all the aspects right. It’s so easy to pick up a camera and off you go. I made this mistake myself about 7 years ago. I was a hobbyist and had a decent-ish camera. I did an online Diploma. Then I thought all I needed was to get a backdrop and a couple of studio lights and a few cheap props from ebay and off I went. I was so naive. I bought cheap equipment and didn’t take the time to learn where my lights should be positioned or how to pose people. And editing was a whole other ball game...I used to spend hours editing one image just to get the backdrop looking passable. The hours I spent on one gallery was absurd.
When I decided to explore a career in Photography this time around I knew that the very first thing I needed to do was to train. So in my first couple of years I’ve attended 7 in person courses and spent hundreds of hours watching training online, all with the best photographers from the UK, Australia and Canada. I’ve learnt how to pose and light for maternity, newborn, family and boudoir sessions as well as learnt about fine art lighting and editing techniques. I still have so much to learn and I’ve learned that that attitude is key. There will always be something more to learn and improve upon. Photographers who don’t invest in themselves to raise their standard will stay at that same standard forever.
Let’s talk about posing. If I look back to my early work I will now be able to spot all sorts of errors. I’ve trained my eye to spot minor details that add up to what makes or breaks an image. With boudoir sessions, the eyebrows must be relaxed. The hands must be relaxed and angled a certain way. The feet must be pointed and dainty. Any parts of the body that can be bent should be bent. Shoulders should be relaxed. Faces should be pointed towards the light. Catchlights in the eyes are everything. Getting any of these factors wrong can create an uncomfortable distraction to the eye meaning the image doesn’t flow and isn’t enjoyed by the viewer. It’s not easy to make a pose look natural!
The hands...When we look at a photograph, we automatically look at the eyes first, and then the hands. If the hands are looking weird it’s hard for us to move on from them and look at the rest of the image. As time has gone on, I’ve become more confident in posing hands or giving them something to do. It’s often what I focus on the most.
The face...We often hear about people having ‘good sides’ and it’s true. During shoots I always explore faces positioned to the left, centre and right to find their ‘best side’. I try hair being pulled around to each side and up & over. I have learnt that you can’t break the outline of the side of a face with the nose. There is certainly a fine line where the face position is at its best. I can see it easily now, that’s what comes with plenty of shoots under my belt. Because quite a lot of my poses are taken from behind the head, it’s crucial for me to direct ladies to raise their chins rather than their eyebrows so that they can comfortably look at my camera without straining their foreheads. Because strained foreheads create tense looking images. I’ve also learned how to accentuate the jawline because it’s so easy to make someone look as though they have a horrendous double chin when they don’t really.
The body...During my sessions I demonstrate posture. Chest forward, shoulders relaxed, back arched, legs elongated. I push my ladies to give me the best possible posture that they can manage. I can spot when someone is holding back and can give me a little more. I position arms to create flattering triangles and position the legs in a flattering way.
When my ladies arrive for their boudoir shoots, I explore with them what they’d like to accentuate and what they’d like to flatter the most. I then look at their chosen lingerie and create a bespoke plan for their session based on what style suits each of the rooms and which poses are best for the style of lingerie. I don’t have any expectation on my ladies to pose themselves and I go in to the shoots entirely prepared so that all my lady has to do is follow my lead and direction, hopefully leaving no space for any nerves!
The camera...I’ve learnt how to use it properly. Some photographers shoot in Automatic mode because they haven’t taken the time to learn how to use it in Manual mode. I know how to expose for the best light in the room, capturing flattering shadows and highlights. I’ve seen so many errors being made elsewhere where the photographer hasn’t paid attention to where the light is falling or posed their subject in the right place according to the light. In order for an image to look appealing, the light has to fall on the face from a certain angle. This is why they use a torch at the bottom of the face when telling scary stories in the dark, it looks bad! I use a shallow depth of field to create the blurry backgrounds and put the focus on the subject. This means I have to be very careful with focusing as there is only a small area in focus. I always aim to get the eyes nice and sharp so I take multiple photos to make sure I do. I get my camera and lenses calibrated regularly to make sure I get the best focus.
The lighting...For all my boudoir sessions, I shoot with natural light. One room is dark and moody, while the other is light and airy. Both have very different looks but create a beautiful contrast between the two. One room is perfect for silhouette shots and contrasty shots while the other is perfect for light and dreamy shots. I absolutely couldn’t pick one over the other! In the large dark and moody room, there are two windows so I can cut the light down on one to create a certain look. All windows are diffused so the light comes through softly. I pay attention to the way the light falls on the face and body. I have a decent enough camera to be able to handle low light even on gloomy days.
Editing...After the shoot, it’s time to edit the images. When I first started, I had very limited knowledge on this crucial part of the process. With Boudoir images I edit responsibly. My aim is to enhance it rather than change it too much. I aim to get it right in camera as best as possible, so that with the general image there are only minor tweaks to make with cropping, exposure, contrast etc. My aim is to make the subject stand out as best as possible. I bring out the eyes and make the skin look flawless. I smooth skin because often the camera can show up too much detail, often more than the eye can see. I will remove blemishes and get rid of stretch marks if the lady wants me to. I’ve been asked to cover up tattoos before as well. I spend hours perfecting each gallery and then create black & white conversions for each image.
The environment...After spending the first 18 months shooting at home (luckily I had a very supportive partner who didn’t mind me taking over the house) I opened my very own studio in May 2019. It’s quite a big building and there’s a large room for my Portrait Sessions, a dedicated makeover room and two rooms that I use for Boudoir Sessions. Each room is fairly simplistic as I like the focus to be on my subject. After shooting at home it’s amazing to have a professional purpose built space.
Styling & what to wear...After all the shoots I’ve learnt so much about what to advise my ladies to wear. My advice focuses more on what I think flatters the best rather than what we may have learned is ‘sexy’. I don’t like the stockings, suspenders and heels combo. I don’t like teddies. I don’t like a man’s shirt. Stockings & suspenders don’t flatter most body types and personally I find them really dated. I find that with teddies, you lose the curves on every body type. A lot of ladies tend to choose them because they accentuate the chest and loosely cover the tummy area, but I like to find the curves on every body, and a teddy just doesn’t help me with that. I find that a man’s shirt is also often chosen to cover up. Yes we see Pinterest images of 6ft slim ladies looking gorgeous in a man’s shirt but for the majority of us, it doesn’t translate well. Men’s shirts can make us look boxy, wide and stocky. I much prefer a long, light lady’s shirt or even better...a kimono. My absolute favourite is a bodysuit. These gorgeous garments cover the tummy area smoothly and come in so many different styles and colours. I have a whole clothes rail full of them in all sizes and colours and team them with kimonos. I really can’t get enough of them. I also have a selection of heels and other accessories that are always growing.
I suppose what I’m trying to explain is that you are in good hands with me. I understand how much a bad photo can affect your self-esteem so profoundly. It’s happened to me a lot. I want to do the opposite of that. I want to give you images of yourself that you’ll feel proud of. That you’ll look and think ‘Wow, that’s me!’ It isn’t just a case of snapping away, I hope I’ve showed you that there is so much more to it than that, and every piece of the puzzle has to be in place in order to get it right. Boudoir Photography is considered to be one of the most challenging, I see it being done wrong A LOT. It makes me sad, I feel sorry for the poor woman in them and wonder how they made her feel. It’s so important for me to get it right. Yes I earn a living from it but I also feel a huge responsibility and a passion towards building women’s confidence through my work...because the world needs more confident women!
If you’re interested in a shoot, head over to my ‘Prices’ section to see my packages. I’d love to have a chat with you about your reasons for wanting a shoot and welcome you to the studio.