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Boudoir images show a model apparently in her most personal and private environment and circumstances, and perhaps wearing a minimum of clothing. One would normally expect a woman to relax in a situation such as this only when on her own or with someone she trusts. Boudoir images should therefore reflect this natural atmosphere if they are to appear unposed and real.

Some models have a natural ability to face a camera without appearing tense or intimidated in any way. They fall easily in to elegant and flowing body positions without even being prompted. This ability is related, at least in part, to trust, confidence and being comfortable with their own bodies and their environment. Other models are less comfortable in front of a camera and appear tense and rather stiff. Playing soft music, perhaps of the model's choosing, may help to relax the atmosphere but the photographer also has a vital role in establishing trust through good communication and an open and friendly manner.

Natural beauty
Image by kind permission of Barrie Spence of Entropic Tendencies

The location and circumstances of the shoot have a considerable bearing upon how the model is likely to feel. In many cases the women have not previously posed in front of a camera wearing little clothing and will feel somewhat vulnerable. This is part of the reason that trust is so important. Unfortunately, photographic studios tend to have a rather bland or sterile feeling. The model may see only a large open space equipped with a few lights and backgrounds, and perhaps a door that opens in to a nearby office or reception area. In the worst cases, the model is expected to walk in, take off most of her clothes in front of a photographer she hardly knows, and perform in front of powerful lights. She may also be concerned that other people could walk in on the session. These are all issues that a photographer should address before a session begins.

Given the number of studio-related problems, it may well be better to use a hotel room to shoot boudoir sessions. Although this involves additional expense, the rooms are comfortably furnished, well maintained and incorporate all the props required for a typical boudoir shoot. Hotel bedrooms also have a more familiar atmosphere that may help the model to relax. If a model is uneasy about meeting a photographer in an hotel bedroom she should consider taking a friend who can wait outside, or just find another photographer.

All this forms the basis on which natural images can be built. Without a comfortable atmosphere, somewhere for the model to change, and a trusting relationship with the photographer, it is likely to be more difficult to get the model to relax and hence achieve good results.

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