In this article we’re going to take a deep dive into what makes this boudoir pose (which I call The Icon) so great. We’ll look at it from both a structural point of view, as well as, what it’s saying under the surface.
The Icon — The Quintessential Boudoir Pose
For me, this pose holds a coveted spot in the pantheon of boudoir poses because if there was one pose to represent all of boudoir photography as a whole, it would be this pose — it has everything.
— Shows off the landscape of the body from head to toe
— Has numerous undulating curves and triangles that flatter the female form
— Features nearly every part of the body
— Is elegant, sensual, and feminine
— Suggests sexual rapture (which adds subtext)
— Contains geometric contrast (which we’ll talk about later)
It’s kind of like the Swiss Army Knife of boudoir poses. Maybe I should call it Swiss Army Knife :p
Where To Shoot The Icon
It’s best to shoot this pose against a hard surface such as a hardwood floor or even a long (and sturdy) coffee table.
Shot on a coffee table, the pose will be more compact because there usually isn’t enough surface area for the subject to extend her legs (or arms) out onto. I almost always shoot this on the floor now, but I started out shooting it on my coffee table in front of a window.
The reason for the hard surface is that you want to create space beneath the arcs and curves of the body so light can come through. That’s something I consider to be vital in maximizing the impact of this pose.
Shot on a bed, a lot of those spaces will be reduced or filled in completely by the bedding.
The Structure of The Pose
I call how all the body parts are arranged the structure of the pose. Let’s take a look at The Icon section by section.
The legs are staggered with the front leg lower than the back leg. Lots of triangles and open spaces are formed here which is what we want.
Toes are pointed… as much as she’s able to. Pointed toes are the finishing touch as it adds a buoyancy to the image. Shot with feet flat on the floor and the pose will look grounded and weighted down.
Back is arched creating space underneath for light to come through, and is the defining characteristic of this pose.
Head is tilted back so her nose is pointed at the ceiling and her face is in profile. Another way to go is to tell her to point her chin at the ceiling. Also, make sure there’s a clean background for that profile to be seen against.
Arms rest above the head. If her front arm is down at her side it will block the arch of her back.
Hands are relaxed, resting on the floor palms up.
Eyes are closed. Once again, this pose suggests sexual rapture as if she’s lost in her own world of pleasure. Shot with eyes open just looks weird (trust me, I’ve done it).
Take A Deep Breath
Before I start clicking away I have my subject take a deep breath through a slightly open mouth. This lifts the chest, arches the back, and moves the head back all at the same time.
Geometric contrast was something I noticed when I was looking at an image of this pose one day.
I saw the sensual undulating curves of her body juxtaposed against the straight horizontal lines of the baseboard, as well as the flat plane surfaces of the wall and floor.
This flat and straight setting serves as stark contrast to the wave-like curves of your subject, making them stand out even more.
Add to that the leading lines of a hardwood floor and you get something I call geometric contrast, which if I had to define, would be something like:
Shooting your subject in a linear flat setting to serve as contrast to the curves of the female form so they stand out even more.
There’s a lot to The Icon so I tell my clients it’s like holding a yoga pose. I guide them into it, have them take a deep breath, then shoot several shots before having them relax.
While they’re resting, I check the back of my camera to make any adjustments for the next go around.
I used to do this shot at the end of my sessions, after my clients were warmed up, but now I do it at the beginning when they’re fresher and stronger.
Clients Buy The Icon
I haven’t had one client not buy this image.
So, if you have the space for it, and a hardwood floor or sturdy coffee table, then definitely consider adding The Icon to your posing repertoire.
Making It Your Own
As with any pose, I encourage you to take risks and experiment and find what works for you. There are endless variations with this pose with regard to leg, arm, and head placement.
I suggest using these boudoir pose breakdowns as a foundation or starting point for your own creativity.
For an even deeper discussion of this pose, check out my video below.
If you found this article helpful, please forward it to someone who may also benefit.
Thanks for your time!
Founder / Lounge Boudoir
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