Beginner Boudoir - looking for CC


TPF Noob!
Sep 2, 2015
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Los Angeles, CA
Can others edit my Photos
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Hey all - new to the community here. I've dabbled in photography for some time now but think I finally found something that I truly enjoy - boudoir. I've done two shoots and have two more scheduled for this weekend, was hoping to share my first attempts, lessons learned, and then hopefully apply some of your feedback this weekend.

My shots are located here: 500px / MICKBEN / Best Of

My equipment was as follows:
  • Canon 6D
  • 50mm 1.4
  • No flash was used
Now, after these, I went and bought a whole bunch of other stuff:
  • White/black background + stand
  • White/black sheets
  • Speedlight
  • Gels
  • Softbox
  • Speedlight stand
  • Speedlight remote setup
  • Blacklight
  • Barn door lights with gels
  • Lots of accessories for the subjects
Lessons that I've learned so far:
  • Lighting is SO important. Many of my images came in out of focus or extremely grainy because of low lighting. I think shooting with more light, lower exposure, and a higher aperture will help with focus and clarity, and then I can darken / emphasize shadows in post. But I'm not sure if this is true - thoughts?
  • Backgrounds! I need to pay more attention to the background so I spend less time in post and so attention is drawn to the right thing with no distractions.
Looking for any sort of criticism / feedback you have - this is really fun stuff.
More practice....much more. Keep at it, it will get there. And between practice sessions read everything you can on lighting. Speedlights-Syl Arenas. General Lighting- Scott Kelby is OK. Also Lindsay Adler is a pretty respectable 'lighter'. Lots of others.

You are shooting a completely controlled shot....there should be no need for post other than minor skin, tan line, stray hair removals and such. Make it perfect in the camera. Look at the WHOLE scene, not just the model....and take lots of different shots, slightly moving lights, and the camera. SMALL movements.
You should also post the photos (about four per thread) themselves on the thread, and don't put on a link instead of photos. Trust me some of the guys on here will chaw you up for it. ;)
As for lighting check out this thread Dan posted a short while ago Portrait Lighting | Photography Forum, he is one of the best photographers on the forum. He explains good lighting very well.

Welcome to TPF!:bouncingsmileys:
There is a ton to learn on here, just stick around, and you will not regret it!!!:)
You did a pretty good job for just one camera and a 50mm lens. One suggestion would be to watch the cutting off of feet in poses, like the two with her on the bed with feet drawn has the right hand side of the frame fairly empty, but the lft side has the shoes and feet cropped of awkwardly; there's a second on that has her hands in the space on the right, but the feet are still cut off...that's a thing to watch. Half shoes are not good. The square shot of her looking camera right is nice; maybe needs a stop more exposure.

You did well using just the desk lamps! I do not mind the low-light, grainy look, but you need to do it with longer, slower exposures. You're right, a generous exposure is better for pulling the highlights "down" in post--that is much preferrable to a dim, dark shot straight out of camera.

The Linsey set has a minimalist background--a very nice, clean, simple bed set + room with mirror. Simple is good. Uncluttered is good. Watch out for blown highlights on the white walls or sheets; those tend to go yellow when over-exposed, so move the lights back, farther away, so the transition from bright to normally-lighted is more gradual, or simply do not include the area closest to the lights being used as flood-lights; crop out that area, but include the "tail of the comet"...not the comet itself.
Wow! Thank you all so much for the feedback - noted and looking forward to posting up another CC request with the results from this weekend. I'll also make sure to include pics in the body of my post for future threads. Thanks again all.
here are a couple of really well done vids on using the 50mm lens. It is a fine lens, it's rep as boring comes from camera/lens makers 50 years ago trying to sell their other sizes....and the sheeple just keep repeating it. It had a use back then, it still has a use today.
'50mm Natural Light Portrait Photography Session'
Jessica Kobeissi

pt 1

pt 2
The videos didereaux posted give some good ideas on using a 50mm lens to photograph a single person. There's just one caveat, not mentioned in the video. In video one, look at the huge nose the model has on the shot done from about 3.5 feet distant, shown on-screen at the 2:03 mark; that is the one thing about using a 50mm lens to make a tighter headshot; being that close to a person will greatly distort the apparent size of the nose, and makes the facial features like the chin, and ears, and nose, all look oddly sized. As long as you're about seven feet or more away, there's hardly any noticeable distorting of the nose size.

One of erotic/boudoir/bedroom master-level shooters, Earl Miller (of Penthouse fame) used to use the Nikkor 55mm macro lens on every shoot. It's a good lens length, and like Jessica K's second video showed, he often used front-of-lens diffusion on his lenses. The 55mm has a deeply-recessed front lens element, so the effects of diffusion/softening/haze/fog filters are more pronounced on a short focal length lens like that when the filter is "far out in front" of the lens; on long lenses, like 80-300mm lenses, diffusion and netting materials show their effect pretty strongly. Indoors, when shooting boudoir photos, too long a lens is a handicap much of the time--so the 50mm lens is, really, pretty handy!

The biggest issue is subject movement/exposure/depth of field. Indoors, you might need to shoot tripod-mounted, and use exposure times of 1/4 to 1/15 second, at f/stops like f/2.8 to f/5.6 to get enough depth of field. The thing about a 50mm lens is is can function to make telephoto-like images, or normal images, and from very FAR away, it can look a bit wide-angle-ish. But indoors, a 50mm lens is mostly either a normal lens, from 40 to 15 feet, but inside of 15 feet, it becomes almost a telephoto lens, with a fairly narrow angle of view.

You mentioned exposure issues: in such situations, if you go with all-ambient light, you almost must use a tripod and slowish exposures, and have the model hold fairly still, and shoot only once the pose is locked down...or you'll get blurry images. Shooting three-shot sequences on Continuous motor advance is a good strategy; when shooting at slow speeds like 1/6 second, four of every five shots have a good chance of being slightly soft.

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