High key boudoir at home ~ Pictures and inspiration

Feb 11, 2011 | Continuous Lighting, Location | 46 comments

Into the light, always into the light. On the limit, always on the limit. Magic happens.

1. Into the light, always into the light. On the limit, always on the limit. Magic happens.

This post is the result of four hours of test shooting in a 1970’s house near Milton Keynes with Agata as my model. Chloe – Jasmine Whichello first mentioned that I should shoot with Agata back in the summer of 2010. I remembered this a few weeks back when I went searching Model Mayhem for an East of England model. I had a creative day in the diary following a training day with one of my main clients in Cambridge so I decided to further research a product that I have been working on for some time. Here are my pictures

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I want to take boudoir out of the studio and into the clients home. To shoot images that have ‘nothing of the night about them’ to mis quote Ann Widdecombe. I want to shoot beauty and celebrate the female form. I had one of my long term training clients with me as an assistant, observer and second shooter. The rooms we were shooting in are not opulent or indeed spacious. They were clean by design and fairly minimalist.

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This set of pictures was fairly straightforward to shoot and similar results could have been shot in most homes. The look I have captured so prolifically forms the basis of a new album product I’m designing. A shoot package that can be offered to bridal clients, young mums or pregnant clients equally well. I selected 99 shots that I would have shown a client and from these Blaise my PA selected the 36 you see here.

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I used just natural lights either on it’s own or in conjunction with one Lupo 1200 HMI Fresnel spot continuous light, no reflectors, no soft boxes, no flash and all the looks seen here were shot in camera including the flare shots.

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29. I shot most of the images with my camera set to monochrome in the picture styles menu. I later chose to show them in colour. That's one advantage of shooting raw.

29. I shot most of the images with my camera set to monochrome in the picture styles menu. I later chose to show the majority of them here in colour. That's one advantage of shooting raw.

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35. Agata is siting on the work surface in front of the kitchen window. A car is in the drive outside and the neighbours garage is in the background. I use a careful set of strategies to isolate the subject from the clutter of everyday life.

Join me on my boudoir art portraits workshops in May if you want to learn how to get these looks in camera with the minimum of kit. These shots can be recreated in your clients homes.  Details of my workshops are being finalised by my team and will be published within a week. You can also book me to shoot 1:1 or 1:2 (bring a friend) at a Bristol penthouse flat. We will share picture ideas and create mood boards together prior to booking the right model for the shoot. Almost anything is possible. For advanced notice of my art portrait workshops or to enquire about a 1:1 type shoot please contact Blaise.

You can also browse our range of upcoming photography training courses here.

Please feel free to comment below.

46 Comments

  1. Jourdan

    I stumbled across this post googling “boudoir at home” and I must say I am in awe! You really captured the effortless beauty boudoir should be. I hope to venture into boudoir myself and this is exactly what I was picturing when emailing a potential client about a shoot right before I saw this post. Excellent work. I you have a new YouTube subscriber. :]

    Reply
    • Damien

      Thanks Jourdan :) Stay inspired, Damien.

      Reply
  2. tatum

    Love love love love love! Very inspirational! thank you for sharing!

    Reply
    • damien

      Thank you Tatum :)

      Reply
  3. Mark

    Fantastic: All boudoir (including mine) seems to be the same but this is fresh and, I thnk, easier to sell to most clients. “Nothing of the night” is a great sum-up: Fresh and sexy without being at all sleazy

    Reply
    • damien

      Thanks Mark,

      Sometimes we need to reinvent a style, and as you say the switch from predominantly low key to high key did it here for me.

      Cheers, Damien.

      Reply
  4. Michael

    Great set of images once again. Agate is great I had the pleasure of shooting with her in January.

    Reply
    • damien

      Thanks Michael, I’ll be shooting with Agata again next week, but this time in a workshop environment.

      Cheers, Damien.

      Reply
  5. Serena

    These images are gorgeous! You are a true master of light and a genius, and make it all look so easy and beautiful. You are a true inspiration! lol Serena

    Reply
    • damien

      Hi Serena,

      Thank you for your kind words. I fondly remember the time we shot together and I hope we can shoot together again soon :)

      Kindest regards,

      Damien.

      Reply
  6. Lesley Pattinson

    These pictures are beautiful, love this style of boudoir shots subtly sexy… fab!

    Reply
    • damien

      Thank you Lesley. Your kind words mean a lot to me.

      Damien.

      Reply
  7. Bartek Witek

    Fantastic model and really impressive imagery Damien. Well done :)

    Reply
    • damien

      Thanks Bartek :)

      Reply
  8. Steven Brooks

    I have fallen in love with these images Damien! Beautiful, Stunnng, Sensual, Sexy … How I would love to have such images in my portfolio!

    Well Done Damien!

    Reply
    • damien

      Hi Steven,

      Thanks once again for your kind words. I’m shooting these high key boudoir pictures of Agata on this workshop in May. It would be great to have you there ;)

      Cheers,

      Damien.

      Reply
  9. Dennis Stanley

    I will definitely be raiding the piggy bank for the May course… stunning images..

    Reply
    • damien

      Hi Dennis,

      Thank you Dennis:) The May workshop will be with the amazing Agata as in these shots. Details are here.

      Kindest regards,

      Damien.

      Reply
  10. Steve Ashton

    Hi Damien, I love the way this new style of yours is developing, So very opposite to what others are doing in this field.

    Also interesting how the prime lenses have changed your shooting style or at least helped change it.

    Good Luck with “Floppy Chicken”

    Reply
    • damien

      Thank you Steve,

      This image style excites me and I know it is very marketable. I’m shooting it again on Tuesday just to make sure.

      Regards, Damien.

      Reply
  11. Abby Wilkes

    This is what it’s all about; a wonderful natural way of celebrating the beauty of women. You are a genius Mr Lovegrove.

    Reply
    • damien

      Hi Abby,

      I owe you dinner for a comment like that. Thank you.

      Damien.

      Reply
  12. Tony Bayliss

    Stunning – Milton Keynes never looked so good!

    Reply
    • damien

      Thank you Will and Tony for the compliments.

      Reply
  13. Dave Jones

    WoW! This is amazing Just stumbled upon your work, it is truly inspiring, I may just need to fork out the pennies to come to one of your training events. I feel like such a second class hack after seeing this.

    Reply
  14. Jan Taylor

    Whoopee! Natural light stuff I love! Oh boy I want to get as creative as this with it! My other half is into speedlight and pocket wizards…but ever since I came to one of your very first workshops natural light has been my photography passion! Just hope you have a workshop date when I haven’t got a booking!!! Thank you so much for sharing all this…totally brilliant!

    Reply
  15. Will Polley

    These are really great images. I would love to be able to offer and create such a session. So your workshops in may look very appealing.

    Reply
    • damien

      Thank you Will, Jan and Dave for your compliments. I will be shooting a workshop to create these images in Dillington house with Agata in May. The details are here. You can book any one or a combination of workshops.

      Reply
  16. Evan Noble

    Hi damien,

    Great shots, avid reader of this site for some time now. Good post which shows what can be done with natural light. I have a question though – do you ever have problems with the camera hunting for focus when shooting into brightly lit backgrounds such as this? Maybe it’s not a problem with higher end cameras but I have this problem when shooting with a good sun backlight (though not directly in to the sun)

    Reply
    • damien

      Hi Evan,

      Thanks for your compliments. Yes is the answer to your focus hunting question. The 100 mm lens is better than most but the 5D mk2 focus engine was not improved from the Mk1 and is not great by any standards. Take any filters off your lenses and the increased contrast will certainly help with focus. I often use manual focus with the focus aid light. I can then shoot many frames without having to start from scratch with each one.

      Kind regards,

      Damien.

      Reply
  17. Chris Hanley

    Top drawer buddy, its all coming together nicely :)

    Reply
  18. Thorsten

    Awesome images Damien! I’m a big fan of the KISS principle which you have employed here, so I thoroughly enjoyed this latest update.

    Reply
  19. Mandy L  Meadows

    Wow these are stunning!!!

    Reply
    • damien

      Thank you Mandy, Chris and Thorsten for your kind words.
      And for those of you wondering what the kiss principle is. It stands for Keep It Simple Stupid or similar. One light magic.

      Best regards, Damien.

      Reply
  20. david cooke

    Well Agata was certainly a good recomendation by Chloe, and Blaise has done a great job of selecting 36 images, they are all brilliant and very tastefully done, love the blown out highlights, I have only ever done one boudoir shoot and I got some lovely images but seeing these has reminded me I have a lot to learn.
    thanks Damien for sharing your photos and tips.

    Reply
    • damien

      Thanks for your kind words David,

      It certainly was a team effort.

      Best regards,

      Damien.

      Reply
    • damien

      Hi Steven,

      Thanks for your compliments. I’ve seen Gabriel’s work before. Chris Hanley showed me his work a while back but his images are not in my inspiration folders at the moment.

      Cheers, Damien.

      Reply
  21. Kevin Cull

    This is fantastic as it shows what you can do with the simplest lighting set ups!. I think I need a Marko course as my photos never have that polished “Magazine finish’ even though the exposure is spot on. You certainly know how to get the best out of a model as well!! So much to learn……!

    Reply
  22. Daren King

    Damien, great images as ever…. sometimes images like this raise the question.. is a studio needed?? I would say not for a lot of cases….great images..well done.

    Reply
  23. Barney Walters

    Pure Inspiration !

    Absolutely stunning Damien, images of quality I hope to be able to create one day.

    I look forward to the Workshop in May.

    Reply
  24. Kim Layzell

    Love these. So beautiful.

    Your boudoir art workshops have just been added to this year’s wish list!

    Reply
  25. Shaun Taylor

    Really sexy images.

    Great lighting and the poses are excellent.

    Great work.

    Reply
  26. Tara Taylor

    Great images Damien. Just shows what can be achieved anywhere, when you know what you are doing! :-)

    Reply
    • damien

      Thank you Tara, Shaun, Kim, Barney, Darren and Kevin for your kind words of encouragement. I feel like I am getting there now. I’ll be teaching how to shoot these pictures this year, so please do join me on a workshop. It would be lovely to shoot alongside you.

      Kindest regards,

      Damien.

      Reply

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