Have you ever looked at a boudoir image and thought to yourself, “Wow, awesome shot!” … then viewed another one and thought, “Hmm… not crazy about it.”
Of course, we all have.
There are many factors that go into making a boudoir image have impact and one big one is the pose.
But what exactly is the purpose of posing in boudoir?
Have you ever thought about it?
Unless you’re shooting a boudoir portrait, where your focus is on capturing a woman’s face, the purpose of posing in boudoir is to show off the female form.
Of course there are exceptions, like when you’re just capturing a casual candid type shot, but other than that, the reason posing is such a huge part of boudoir is because we want to showcase the female form to its fullest potential.
So, how do we do that?
It’s evident that the female form looks best when it creates triangles and S-curves.
And just to be clear, I define an S-curve as any undulating line made by the body. In other words, it doesn’t have to form a perfect “S” shape. In fact, S could stand for “sinewy”.
The more triangles and S-curves there are in a pose, the more impact it will have.
(There are so many triangles formed in the image above, I had to show the S-curve in a separate shot.)
When there’s a lack of or complete absence of triangles and S-curves, the pose will fall flat.
You may not have known why you didn’t care for an image before, but chances are it had something to do with it lacking triangles and S-curves.
Whenever I come across a new pose I really like, I check to see how many triangles and S-curves it has… usually a lot.
The Reason It’s Harder To Pose Plus-Size Women
This is why it’s harder to pose plus-size women.
It’s because their bodies can’t form triangles and S-curves as effectively as women who are thinner.
Now, you can still get some great shots with plus-size women, but there will be limitations and it’s important for a boudoir photographer to understand that.
Developing New Poses
If you’re someone who likes to come up with new poses of your own, take whatever pose you’re working on and see if you can incorporate or accentuate areas with more triangles and S-curves.
This will instantly boost its impact.
Poses That Lack S-Curves
Poses that have no S-curves at all, but only feature triangles and straight lines will come off as cold and clinical… emotionless.
(Although there are slight S-curves in her legs, they’re not enough to overcome all the straight lines and triangles that dominate this image.)
This is the effect of very symmetrical posing, so if your image falls flat or feels emotionally void, you’ll know why.
Have them pop a hip, arch their back, or tilt their head to break up any straight lines.
Triangles are formed with arms and legs and the bending of joints such as knees, elbows, wrists, and ankles (and sometimes waists).
Triangles can also be formed by the entire body, like in a kneeling squat pose but make sure there are curves and asymmetry within the pose.
S-curves are formed with asymmetry, along with capturing the natural curves of a woman’s body.
A simple example of turning symmetry into asymmetry would be a woman standing with her weight equally on both feet.
Having her place her weight on one foot and popping that hip out on that same side while turning the head will break up her vertical straight line.
The Classic S Stance
If you want to form the most sensual sinewy S curve with your subject standing, then mimic this simple yet elegant classic S-stance like in the example below.
Notice how the S line starts with the direction of her chin, continues down to her right elbow, takes a turn down her arm which continues down her thigh, then curves back at the knee down her leg to form an elongated vertical S curve.
This is by far my favorite standing pose, and the addition of the sheer robe and sheer curtains in the background makes this image sensual, elegant, and feminine.
The next time you see a striking boudoir image, count the number of triangles and S-curves it has… and then, do the same for an image you’re not that crazy about.
Odds are the one you found striking will have more triangles and S-curves than the one you found uninspiring.
Thanks for you time!
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