Did you know that every boudoir pose has a sweet spot?
It’s that’s perfect combination of capturing the pose at just the right angle, and the subject doing everything right holding the pose.
Her arms are in just the right position, her legs at just the right angle, her hands, feet, and head poised just so, and her expression is spot on.
It’s hard to keep track of so many variables when you’re shooting, and sometimes your subject is just not capable of completely following your instruction even if you do remember everything.
If you can get the shot to within 80 or 90% of its full potential, that’s pretty good. These are, after all, everyday women and not professional models. Most have never been in front of a camera in this fashion ever.
So, they’re doing the best they can.
It’s our job, however, to try and get them as close to 100% as possible, simply because their images will look that much better.
But how do you, the professional photographer, even know what the “sweet spot” of a pose is?
This article is going to answer that question and explain the three phases of learning boudoir posing so by the end you’ll be speaking the language of boudoir posing fluently.
The Three Phases of Learning Boudoir Posing
Looking back at how I came up with the concept of a “sweet spot” for every pose, I realized that my own experience in learning how to pose clients came in three different phases.
In Phase I, you know little to nothing about boudoir posing. You may have even experienced knowing nothing when your very first subject showed up, standing in front of you scantily clad, waiting for you to tell her what to do.
Yeah… that’s an awkward moment.
So, what do you do?
In all likelihood you’ll get yourself a posing guide or start collecting poses on your own that you want to start using in your sessions.
In any event, no matter how you get your first collection of poses, Phase I is just about getting your subject into the basic pose.
That might consist of you guiding them into the pose, or showing them a picture and them getting themselves into it with a little help on your part.
“There… hold that. Great!”
She’s in the pose and you take the shot.
All done… that wasn’t so hard.
It’s not, until after the shoot when you take a closer look at what you’ve shot on your computer, that you realize you forgot a few things.
That’s easy to do because this is, after all, a photo shoot and not a drawing class in still life. You have to keep things moving at a certain pace so you don’t spend thirty minutes on one pose and your subject starts to get bored or annoyed.
It’s only when you have time alone with the images that you start to notice things you missed.
Perhaps her legs were in the right position but not staggered enough to allow space between them.
Or her toes weren’t pointed, a subtle but noticeable improvement.
Or she’s doing everything right but her expression is lacking… but her expression in this other shot is great, but her pose is not as good as in this other shot.
At the end of Phase I, you realize you’re missing some key elements in the posing that really need to be there.
Phase II is where you’re aware that you can easily forget things with your posing, and you’re making a conscious effort to try and remember everything next time.
Perhaps you make some notes to remind yourself of certain things, like…
“make sure her eyes are closed in this pose because eyes open looks weird”.
(By the way, that was an actual note of mine. No need shooting a variation with eyes open because it’s just wasting time on a shot that’s inferior to the one with eyes closed.)
“Make sure you tell her to take a deep breath so her chest rises, her back arches, and it lifts the entire pose up giving it buoyancy.”
In Phase II you’re remembering most everything you need the subject to do but it’s a conscious effort.
You may be referring to notes or pictures to remind yourself, but it’s still not a natural part of your guidance because you haven’t internalized all the subtle nuances yet.
You, in fact, are still learning the pose too.
It’s only after repetition of doing a pose a certain number of times that it becomes “fluent” for you.
It’s like learning a new language.
The Language of Boudoir Posing
When you first starting learning a new language you’re in Phase I, you don’t know anything and your speech is awkward, disjointed, and missing things.
In Phase II, you’re able to speak the language to some degree, but there are still things you need to remind yourself to do and there’s still conscious thought and effort when speaking the language.
In Phase III you become fluent. All the hard learning and note-taking has become internalized where it’s a natural part of you now. You speak the language fluently with little to no conscious effort at all.
Which brings us to Phase III in the language of boudoir posing.
It’s really only in Phase III where you find the “sweet spot” of a pose.
What you’ve learned has been internalized and you’re now at the point where you can perfect your poses.
Like a musician who’s learning a new song. Once the learning of the song is over, it’s only then that they can truly play “music” with it.
The same is true in boudoir… or any endeavor really. You’re taking it out of its construction phase and into its playful mastery phase.
You have such mastery over it, you’re like a cat toying with a mouse. At any time the cat can kill the mouse, but it has such complete mastery over it that it instead chooses to play with it for its own amusement. It’s at a completely different level than when it was first learning how to hunt.
Once you’ve internalized a pose to where you don’t need to refer to notes anymore, you’re able to guide your subject into the pose effortlessly, and include all its subtle nuances that you’ve discovered having done the pose so many times… are you able to find the pose’s “sweet spot”.
This is when the “music” of boudoir posing starts to be played and show up on your computer screen afterwards.
Thanks for your time!
Founder / Lounge Boudoir
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