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How They Got the Shot: Boudoir Shower Scenes

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Many times clients have asked to have the shower scene added to their boudoir sessions. For many photographers this may seem impossible to accomplish if they lack a shower, or the space is too small to accommodate. So I asked a few fellow photographers to give some examples of their shower scenes and techniques to show how this can be accomplished regardless of space or an actual running shower.

You might be thinking why on earth would a shower scene be requested for a session. Plain and simple it is a more intimate setting even than that of the bed poses. However, the majority of bathrooms with adequate light and space for shooting can be difficult to find.

Real Showers in Small Spaces

Jessica Rae wrote that there is a lot of creative posing on the photographer's part in order to get these shots. Using a Paul C. Buff 400-watt DigiBee with gridded strip box behind the toilet, she did a lot of leaning over the sink to get certain shots (like the mirror reflection).

Image courtesy of Jessica Rae. Canon 5D Mark IV, 35mm Sigma Art lens.
Image courtesy of Jessica Rae.
Image courtesy of Jessica Rae.

One of the biggest keys to the shower images, regardless if in a real shower or studio setup, is making sure that the water is visible on the skin. Sarah Esther Witherington prefers to use a little bit of baby oil on her client's skin prior to the shower itself. She feels it allows the water to bead and stick to the skin.

Image courtesy of Sarah Esther Witherington.

"Some of the pros of having an actual shower to shoot in is that you can let your hands be free while the water is running and you can get the movement of the water," wrote Witherington.

Faux Shower Setups

If you are like me and do not have a real shower in your studio, you can always fake it in order to still give your client what they have requested. Darci Amundson has create an easy setup using a large piece of plexiglass that can be found at Home Depot or Lowes.

Image courtesy of Darci Amundson.

She uses a spray bottle with a mixture of oil and water to cover the plexiglass and her client. One trick to this shot is to wear a long dark shirt so you do not see your own reflection in the glass. “I always choose a small aperture setting to knock out the ambient light in my studio,” Amundson wrote. “I use a one-light strip box setup so it creates a lot of contrast and shadows as well as really make the water droplets stand out.”

Image courtesy of Darci Amundson.

Another way to create a faux shower is a pipe with holes for rain above the model with a small inflatable pool under to catch the water. This was the setup used by Steven Jon Horner in his studio space for this shot below. He used backlight in order to highlight the water drops.

Image courtesy of Steven Jon Horner.

Telling the Story

Another way to capture this idea is to lead into the story itself. Shooting outside the shower with an implied look can help mold your whole session. Emily Scott Pack did just this during the annual AIBP boudoir photographer retreat this past November.

Image courtesy of Emily Scott Pack.
Image courtesy of Emily Scott Pack.
Image courtesy of Emily Scott Pack.

Couples sessions can be a huge hit to previous clients who want to share the experience with their partners in a future session. Brooke Summer shot these inside and out of the shower to capture this storyline.

Image courtesy of Brooke Summer.
Image courtesy of Brooke Summer.

While shower scenes or even boudoir may not be for every photographer, using some or all of these techniques can still create fantastic shot when working with water otherwise. If you have shot some amazing scenes please share in the comments below.

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Pete Whittaker's picture

Nice tips. Shooting in bathrooms can certainly be a challenge between tight spaces and reflective surfaces. It sounds like the real secrets are planning, preparation and imagination.

Darci Amundson's picture

My clients LOVE the shower set up. Here's a pull back of what I mentioned in the article.