Things You Shouldn't Say During a Boudoir Shoot

It is totally natural for your subjects to feel vulnerable or insecure during a shoot, but a boudoir session requires an extra level of professionalism and sensitivity from the photographer. This excellent video discusses many things you should avoid saying to your client during a boudoir session. 

Coming to you from Michael Sasser, this helpful video discusses a range of things you should not say during a boudoir photoshoot and what you can say instead. A boudoir shoot is all about making your subject feel safe and confident, and it is important to carefully consider the way you interact with your client to ensure successful sessions. While the most important reason for this is making your subject feel safe and free to be vulnerable in front of the camera, it is also important because making them comfortable translates to better photographs. If your subject is comfortable, you will be able to get more natural poses and expressions, and as such, the final images will be much stronger by virtue of their better connections. Being proficient with your camera is just the beginning of what's needed to be successful. Check out the video above for lots of helpful tips from Sasser. 

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9 Comments

So I take it "Hey baby, shake your moneymaker." is on the "things you shouldn't say" list?

Simon Patterson's picture

I haven't watched the video either (and I don't shoot boudoir) but first thing that came to my mind was dodgy stuff that should never be said but unfortunately probably is.

Without even watching this video I can agree big time that what you say while shooting...especially if the model is wearing little or nothing...can and will make or break you. The work matters...but word of mouth between models and agents will absolutely also center around whether they are comfortable with you. If they arent...its all over.

Richard Mills's picture

Agreed, I had my first boudoir shoot recently with a good friend/ model. We're comfortable around each other I still made very sure to choose my words carefully, but I was nervous about saying the wrong thing.

But the upside is this shoot went way better than I thought it would, I can't believe how well some of the photos came out!

Robert Nurse's picture

Seeking permission to touch is an absolute MUST! Over time, once you've worked together for a while, she'll know you aren't a perv and permission to touch won't be necessary. But, especially on that introductory shoot, I even ask if I can approach. Trust is key.

Daniel Medley's picture

True. Also, depending on the what kind of shoot it may be and what state of undress they may be in, if I'm not tethered and want to show them the back of the camera, I approach them and turn around as I close in so that I'm not towering over them in their partially dressed state.

I've shot a lot of boudoir, and I can say this: You have to be respectful, and also have a smooth talk (not to be misinterpreted). Before I ask her to sign the model release, I show here plenty of examples of the type of shots I want to take. Then, I start off with signing the model release. As we chat, I start taking photos of her with clothes on. Little by little, I suggest to remove parts, or change into lingerie. Perhaps from there, I ask her to get fully unclothed, but explain I only want to take shots that do not expose her privates ("implied nude"). It works for me, and I get lots of great shoots this way. Most (if not all) of them, they become totally relaxed and you can shoot whatever you want.

Daniel Medley's picture

A lot--all?--of this is applicable to non boudoir shoots with professional models too. I know he hit a little on the challenges of working with non professional models vis a vis direction and communication, but I think that can apply to "professional" models as well. One of the biggest challenges with "pros" is to get them to take it down a notch. Some of them are so hyperactive, changing it up every click, bouncing all over, throwing out weird expressions, etc. I wonder if comes from working with photographers who practice throwing enough stuff against the wall and some of it's bound to stick thinking. I get them to just slooooow down a bit. Let's POSE a shot.

This should also apply to assistants. I've had dodgy experiences with assistants before. "Oh, maaaan ... That looks so HOT!" That kind of thing. That's where I ask them to go get snacks from a far away place and the shoot is done when they get back, and they don't assist again.

Another thing I would add to never do or say would be, "I'm a natural light photographer only," or, "I'm an artificial light photographer only, " though the latter is pretty rare to hear.