by • April 5, 2019 • Color, Glamour, Modeling, Photography, Portraits, Studio Comments165

Rebecca Lawrence

I met Rebecca a few years ago at a work-shop in West Virginia, specifically at 3MI photography.
Jim Michaels was preparing a photo shoot with 4 models and I signed for it, my first model was Miss Lawrence.
First thing that impressed me the most was her beautiful blue eyes, deep dark blue eyes and a very clean skin with beautiful red lips,

I was shy to start but she delivered an amazing performance of posing that my camera could not resist, the scope of our work was Glamour and Boudoir photography and I will take a moment to explain Glamour in better terms, for this I will use the teachings from photojournalist and reporter Chris Nelson who wrote a book that I still keep reading and understanding better the nature of glamour and the big difference with boudoir.

This book helped me define my style of glamour photography:

I describe my style as elegant, fashionable, alluring, sexy, glamorous, sensual, attractive, playful, or just plain fun.
All adjectives as individual as women’s personalities.

You’ll need to develop three basic skills: a photographic style that flatters feminine faces and figures, interpersonal skills to sensitively and perceptively work with a female clientele, and a marketing plan that creates a positive image of your work and your studio.


“We all want to look sexy and beautiful,”, “but not trashy.” There it is; if your goal is to add glamour portraiture to your studio’s offerings, you need to understand this critical principal.
As a glamour photographer, your goal is not to stroke male fantasies (although you’ll undoubtedly do that indirectly) but to help create your female clients’ vision of what it means to her to be attractive and sexy—and that vision is almost never tawdry or pornographic.

That’s why I call my images glamour portraits rather than boudoir images. That decision was made after discovering that many
clients find the word “boudoir” kind of scary, and the connotation . . . well, on the pornographic side.

In actuality there may be no difference between a glamour and a boudoir image, but clients perceive boudoir images to be about sex for the sake of sex. If an image is considered glamorous, however, its goal is perceived as the depiction of the subject’s beauty, not her sexuality. It makes a big difference.

As a photographic genre, glamour is also more open. It can include images that go far beyond what falls into the boudoir category. Depending on your client, glamour might include fashion-inspired head shots like you see in magazines, curvaceous poses with the subject in a tight black dress, seductive images with lacy lingerie, etc. And if, to another woman, “glamour” means lying naked under a waterfall with water splashing over her, that works too.

My goal is to understand my subject’s unique perception of herself and turn it into a look for her portraits. In my mind, I’ve categorized these looks into six styles. Most of the time there’s some overlap between styles, but the mental framework is really useful for you and your client—especially when it comes to determining what kind of look she wants.

Classic Beauty. If the reaction to your image is, “Wow, she’s beautiful,” this image fits into the classic beauty style. Classic beauty images can be anything from head-shots to full-length portraits and will be unmistakably feminine with a degree of elegance, as well. First and foremost, the image is beautiful; any sexuality is subtly implied.

Keep in mind that the choice of clothing doesn’t determine this. The subject could be fully clothed or nude. If it’s a full-length image, a beauty shot could be posed and lit to show off an hourglass figure (usually short lit to emphasize the roundness of the subject’s breasts and hips with the head tipped toward her high shoulder). If the image is a head-and-shoulders shot, the head is usually tipped to the high shoulder, emphasizing the eyes, lips, facial structure, and hair.

Fashion. Think magazines here—anything you might see in a cosmetics, jewelry, or clothing advertisement or editorial feature. This is one our clients’ most popular looks because it’s what they see all around them in the media.
Often, women even bring in magazine clippings and ask us to create something similar.
Regardless of cropping (from headshots to full-length portraits), these images are usually fashion lit, meaning you will use a large main light with butterfly or broad lighting. Since the models seen in magazines and catalogs are usually clothed, so are your subjects when they pose for this look.

Artistic. Think “abstract” when describing this look. These are images like you might see in an art gallery—and a lot of women would like to see
themselves there. Unlike any other style, form—not faces—usually dominates in this style (in fact, you’ll notice that none of these portraits even include eye contact). As a result, you can leave traditional portrait-lighting techniques behind and feel free to experiment. Look to famous painters, sculptors, and graphic designers for inspiration. If a client is willing, I usually try to include at least a couple images of this style in each session.

Pin-up. When you think of a pin-up girl, you think of sexy and cute. The goal of a pin-up image is to tease and titillate. With these images, the subject’s expression and body language make the image. Your photographic technique will also be used to support and accentuate the usually playful, fun, and sexy message. Because body language is so important, pin-up poses are almost always full- or three-quarter-length.

Sensual. What is sensual? Applied to an image, it is overwhelming the senses (in this case, the eyes) with a vision of a desirable body. It is a voluptuousness of the mind, taking pleasure from the body and, at the same time, freeing the spirit from its bounds. There you have it: amateur psychology and metaphysical postulation from the author.

But if you look at several examples, the description fits the images pretty well. Brooke’s mind is in a peaceful, pleasurable place with her body following its lead (facing page, bottom). Morgan’s dreamy longing is instantly understood by anyone viewing this image (facing page, top).
Sensual images need to impart a dreamy, veiled lustfulness—a kind of blissful surrender. For this reason, subjects are often posed reclining with their eyes closed or not making direct eye contact with the camera. This conveys a blissful, carefree, disconnectedness from the everyday world; the subject is absorbed in the pleasure of escape. It’s a place we’d all like to be.

Creating an image that helps us get there, if only for a while, can have tremendous value.

Provocative. This category almost doesn’t need an explanation. These images may look assertive or playful, but they virtually demand to be looked at. For this reason, the subjects make direct eye contact with the camera—
and not demurely, but with confidence. While there are no clear-cut lines—many images could correctly be placed in more than one style—the structure these categories create is helpful in several ways. First, categorizing images helps you develop a mental framework for your work and, therefore, helps you create images. Second, dividing the images into these categories helps each client decide which style she prefers. Third, it will help you talk to your client clearly about the kind of images she wants. If you prepare a slide show or portfolio of images and categorize them according to these styles, it will give you a common language for discussing images, planning her session, and ultimately giving her exactly what she wants.

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