In this article we’re going to explore the most popular boudoir chaise lounge poses and for those photographers who haven’t had the opportunity to shoot with one then perhaps this article will inspire you to do so.
Having shot with one myself, it’s become one of my favorite pieces of furniture to shoot on. I love the sensual line and multi-functional design. For those not familiar with a chaise lounge, I’ve included a picture of one for you to really get an idea of what we’re talking about here.
What Is A Chaise Lounge?
Before we start talking about the most popular boudoir poses for a chaise lounge, I think it’s important to explain the benefits of using such a unique piece of furniture in your sessions.
There’s nothing quite like a chaise lounge when it comes to its unique design. Half chair, half sofa, it’s a hybrid of the two, or as I like to think of it, the love-child of a sofa and a chair.
If you’re looking to make a distinctive statement with your boudoir photography, you can’t go wrong by using a chaise lounge as part of your composition.
Although there are many variations to its design, I prefer the more Victorian influenced style with its asymmetrical sloping half-back, ornate wooden legs, and tufted velvet cushioning.
From “Longue” To “Lounge”
Originally spelled “chaise longue” meaning long chair in French, it has since been Westernized as “chaise lounge”.
The furnishing gained popularity in France during the Rococo period (roughly 1730—1770) as a status symbol and was mostly used by the wealthy elite to rest during the day without heading off to the bedroom.
It seems most fitting that a piece originating in France, be used in boudoir photography that has its roots there as well.
Today a chaise lounge is viewed more as an oddity in western households, found mostly in upper class living rooms, dens, and bedrooms.
Those with an undulating base, asymmetrical back, and rounded scrolling headrest mimic the distinctive characteristics of a woman — sensual, feminine, and unpredictable.
Most Popular Poses
Okay, now that we know exactly what we’re dealing with, let’s move on to the most popular boudoir poses for a chaise lounge, or as the French say, “chaise longue“.
This is a pretty simple pose but because it’s shot on a chaise lounge, it’s given a healthy dose of elegance and sophistication.
Have your subject reclined on her back with her leg closest to camera fully extended while the one in back is bent. This adds a nice triangle to the one leg and looks better than having both legs extended flat… or have both legs bent but staggered.
Her arms can be in a variety of positions:
— arm furthest from camera can be extended behind her resting on the rolling headrest while the hand of her other arm is placed delicately on her upper chest
— both hands can be running through her hair so the triangle formed with the arm closest to camera frames her face
—the hand closest to camera can be tugging on her bra strap while her other hand runs through her hair
— hand closest to camera can be pulling down on her bottoms while the other hand is tugging on her bra strap
Her head position can vary too depending on what her arms are doing, anything from full profile to looking right at camera and everything in between.
Similar to the Reclined Profile, the Reverse Recline is just that. It’s the woman reclined in the opposite direction so her feet are propped up on the headrest with knees bent, while her back and head rest flat on the base.
Her hands can be engaged in starting to pull down her bottoms, tugging on a bra strap, or resting flat above her head.
For more interesting lines, stagger her legs so the one furthest from camera is extended longer than the one closer to camera.
If your chaise lounge has a raised footrest, just have her rest her hair on the edge.
Reverse On Her Side
With her head at the foot end, feet at the headrest end, direct your subject to lay on her side with knees staggered.
Her gaze can be angled up, into camera, or with eyes closed.
Of course there are many different ways you can pose seated on a chaise lounge but I like this one in particular because it integrates the lounger into the pose.
Have your subject sit on the front edge facing the headrest, legs staggered, with the arm furthest from camera resting on the headrest. The other hand can be tugging on a bra strap, placed on the seat next to her, or resting on a thigh.
Another option would be to have her grip the front edge of the lounger with that free hand closest to camera. That works too. You’ll want to experiment, but at least this will give you a place to start if you’re totally stumped with what to do with her hands.
On Her Stomach in Reverse
Have your model lie on her stomach with her head at the foot end, upper body resting on top of the seat. Her legs can be bent, staggered in mid-air or with one resting on the headrest.
This is also a sofa-type pose but the asymmetrical design of the lounger makes it more interesting than your standard symmetrical looking sofa.
I call this the Lady Godiva.
According to legend (and Wikipedia), Lady Godiva was an Anglo-Saxon noblewoman married to the Earl of Mercia, a man named Leofric.
After pleading with her husband to relieve the citizens of his heavy taxation, Leofric agreed to do so only if his wife rode naked through the town on horseback.
She accepted his outrageous offer and the rest is history.
This pose reminds me of a woman selflessly offering up her beauty for display, so that’s the connection it has for me with Lady Godiva.
Have your subject lie on her side but with her upper body twisted towards the ceiling at about 45 degrees.
Her hand furthest from camera can be running through her hair or tracing the curve of her waist and hip while the other can be bent sort of resting above her on the headrest.
Her gaze can be into camera, with eyes closed, or looking off as if daydreaming of a romantic tryst.
Sometimes a rounded tubular pillow can be used to fill the gap between the base of the headrest and the seat to make it more comfortable for your subject.
When kneeling on a chaise lounge (much like the seated pose), I like to incorporate the headrest into the shot. Since it rises up so much higher than the arm of a sofa, you can get the body into unique positions that you wouldn’t normally see if using just a chair or a sofa.
That gradual slope from the top of her head, down the back, and down her legs creates a nice counterpoint to the other lines of the lounger, namely the horizontal line of the base.
This causes your subject to “stick out” even more, drawing your eye right to her.
As you can see, you can get some truly unique images using a chaise lounge, especially one with a sloping headrest.
If you look into it, you’ll discover many different varieties with some looking more like a bed to others resembling a bench, so choose wisely.
I recommend the Victorian style with the asymmetrical back and sloping headrest if you can find one to really get the full effect.
Thanks for your time!
Founder / Lounge Boudoir
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