I had been fascinated by the human body and its potential of being a wondrous subject for photoshoots for quite some time. And last summer, I got a handful of opportunities to explore it through boudoir photography. Having no formal training or prior experience, it was quite overwhelming and a tad bit scary at first. But with each photoshoot that I did, I found myself to be more confident and at ease with the craft.
I implemented my style of playing with the intersection of light and shade. I attempted to accentuate the body’s shape in these light and shadow intersection points to uplift the composition’s beauty. Juggling with different natural light conditions, locations and attires, I pushed the boundaries of my artistic and technical comfort zone.
The lush green outdoors, the warm sun and the occasional rain made shooting boudoir this past summer both fun and challenging. Meeting new people and learning from them in the shoots made my first boudoir series genuinely memorable.
My model, NX, was an enthusiastic young and ambitious actress. She was confident and thorough in her interactions with the camera. She displayed an unusual calm and elegance during the shoot and was sure that she would move her body to get the perfect shot.
My work, as the photographer, became relatively easy owed to NX’s expertise. However, a rainy early summer afternoon by the Danube made it harder to shoot. The incessant drizzling and my good for nothing umbrella tested my patience and my shooting skills with practically one hand.
In this photograph, I asked her to lie down on one of the big rocks on the Danube banks and arch backwards while looking directly at the lens. This was one of the perfect shots of the day-I had the right aperture settings; I got the right frame and to top it off , my model had an elegant pose on the rocks in her beautiful reptile print one-piece bikini.
The shoot with TM was long and exhaustive that summer afternoon. After an hour of shooting, as we decided to take some snaps in one-piece lingerie. We tried different shots against the wall, and none seemed to do justice to the lingerie.
We moved on to back shots and ended up with some really artistic ones. The heels gave the lingerie a formal appeal. The moment I asked to keep her hands on the wall and slightly lift one of the heels, the picture took a new dimension. Though the light was quite splattered, I could manage a reasonably good shot, contrasting the skin tone and the lingerie.
My first boudoir photo-shoot began with a lot of nervousness, self-doubt and creative blocks. For the first quarter of an hour I had no clue what I was doing. I was rushing all the theories on monochrome boudoir in my mind that I had ever read; and I was asking my model, LM, to copy poses from photographs I randomly recalled from memory.
Gradually after about a dozen shots, I decided to go back to the basics of composition, light and shade dynamics and the classical techniques of figure drawing. Coupled with selective improvisation to the specific conditions of the location, I applied these very basic understandings of the human body, to create an ample collection of boudoir/noir nude photographs.
I followed the natural reactions of my model to the lens for the rest of the hour and tried to capture her raw expressions with very little guidance and manipulations. By putting extra emphasis on the series of points of interaction between the sunlight and the shadows on my model’s body (including in the post-production), I was able to overcome the technical and conceptual barriers of composition, controlling the light and posing my model to produce the following collection. What started out as a nervous experiment finished as an expressive and confident series of boudoir photographs.