Laura Leigh, former Swiss Olympic Team athlete has been calling Johannesburg, South Africa, home for the past eight years. She majored in psychology at Florida State University, but always knew that she wanted to become a photographer.

Boudoir photography defined

The brilliantly talented wedding photographer, Laura Leigh first became interested in boudoir photography when she though it’d be a great addition to her wedding packages. She defines boudoir photography as soft, romantic and classy yet sexy images of women. “The main focus of boudoir photography is to capture the client in the most flattering way.”

Black and white boudoir photograph of model with white underwear
Boudoir photograph of model with pink underwear looking into a mirror

What about boudoir photographs appeals to women?

Laura says that her boudoir clients are often brides-to-be who give the photographs to their husbands as an intimate gift. Other times a woman might want to have some boudoir photographs taken before having kids or afterwards when she’s back in shape.

Boudoir model sitting on a chair
Boudoir model spraying some perfume on her wrist

Drawing the line between tasteful and tacky

Laura feels that there is a really fine line between beautiful boudoir images and tacky ones, warning that “it can go wrong really quickly!” To ensure your boudoir photographs are done tastefully, follow these guidelines:

Lighting – You want soft lighting, whether natural window light or an added soft light.
Posing – This is a big one! A natural and realistic pose, which might be a little less sexy, tends to works better. A forced “sexy” pose will most likely look “tacky”.
Styling – Hair, make-up and clothing plays a big role in creating a tasteful look.

Photographic gear list for boudoir photography:

  • Nikon D4 DSLR Camera
  • Nikon 58mm f/1.4 (she shoots mainly with an aperture of f/2.2)
  • Nikon 35mm f/1.4 (she sometimes shoots with a 35mm to get some wider shots)
Boudoir shoot of a bride before her big day
Boudoir photograph

How to gain your clients’ trust:

It is a very intimate genre of photography so it is crucial that your client feels comfortable around you.

Laura says that it’s a good idea to book a model for your first boudoir shoot. Models know how to pose, so not only do you gain experience and get good shots for your portfolio but you also learn how to pose your client.
When shooting with your client it is important to constantly engage and direct your client. Do research on different poses before the shoot, create an inspiration board and refer to it should you get stuck.
Then lastly, interact with your client as this will boost their confidence and allow them to feel relaxed.

Boudoir shoot of a bride before her big day
Boudoir shoot of a bride before het big day

Things to keep in mind when doing your next boudoir shoot:

Make sure your have good lighting. A good lens with a wide aperture is important to get a soft, romantic look. Posing the client is important and getting comfortable with this is a MUST. Work with a good hair and make-up artist to create the intended style.

Her work is idyllic, graceful and stays true to every person she captures.

For more inspiration you can look through Laura Leigh’s website or follow her on Instagram and Twitter to keep up with what she’s doing.

Boudoir model working on the road in her underwear
Boudoir photograph of a model in a field
Boudoir shoot of a bride before her big day
Boudoir shoot of a bride before het big day
Black and white photograph of girl on a bed