A majority of my female clients hire me for my outdoor boudoir photography so I thought I would give you guys some tips on shooting nude in nature without a flash or reflector. These tips will mainly be focused on photography but I plan on writing another article on how to prepare for an outdoor boudoir photo shoot for clients & models. In this article I'll discuss 6 outdoor boudoir photography tips on using natural light, choosing a location, evaluating the location, timing, making your clients comfortable, and what to bring.
6 Tips for Boudoir Photography, Outdoors.
Tip #1 Location
Okay so you know you're shooting outside but where? You will want a beautiful location to use as a backdrop. For outdoor boudoir I consider the location as the 2nd subject. It's just as important as the posing of your subject. I will admit I am spoiled living in the Pacific North West as we have the greenest most lush forests in America, waterfalls, rivers, beaches, and mountains but no mater where you're located I promise you have nature somewhere near by. Look for a location that will also be secluded. Find my tips on Location Scouting HERE
Tip #2 Evaluate the Location
Now that you've decided on a location do your best to evaluate and prepare. It's always a good idea to visit the area before meeting a client there. Be aware of any obstacles or poison Ivy. Be aware of the weather and temperature. A desert location, mountain location, or beach location will all have different weather and temps. Is your subject posing in water? How cold is the water? Could be a hot day but the water might be freezing. Prepare for that. What will the lighting be like at the time of day you're shooting? This will make a huge difference. Where will the sun be rising, where will the sun be setting. I use an app called PhotoPills to know ahead of time the direction of the sun at a specific location.
How popular is the location? Know the up and down times. Maybe you're shooting at or near a popular landmark or in a national park. For an intimate shoot like this you will want somewhere as secluded as possible. If it's a popular trail sometimes off trail is best. How long is the hike from the car to destination? You should always know this and prepare accordingly and make sure your client knows what to expect. Of course the closer to the car the better in most cases. Be aware of parking fees and road conditions. Will the parking require a parking pass?
Check out more Free Resources HERE
Is the location on private property? This is a big one I run into all the time. When it comes to trespassing I can't tell you it's a good idea. That being said I do it all the time. However my caveat is this: I would never trespass on property that is currently occupied. That's just dangerous and extremely rude. But if I come across somewhere that's clearly abandoned I'll usually take my chances. Just don't forget it is against the law and I've been caught trespassing more than once. It's never fun. Any chance you get to ask for permission you should.
Tip #3 Timing is everything
In most cases sunset wont be an option as most trails will be too busy at that time so know when sunrise is and try to be at the location and ready to shoot around an hour after sunrise if in the forest. If out in the open be there at sunrise. GPS the location from you and your client to location so everyone knows when to get up with enough time to get ready and drive to location. Sometimes a location will be an hour and 30 out so you will both have to get up by 3 or 4 AM to make it in time. Sure it sucks but it's worth it. Offer to buy your client coffee if you carpool. If shooting in the forest know how thick the canopy is. This will make a massive difference in how much lighting you'll have. If the canopy is too thick it may be too dark without a flash. More tips on shooting in low light without a flash HERE
Tip #4 Make your client comfortable
This one is the most important, you need to not only make sure your subject is comfortable temperature wise but also being completely naked or semi naked in front of the camera. If you act inappropriate or creepy your subject won’t be comfortable and it will show in your photos and more importantly it makes you an awful photographer and even worse human being. Always be professional and accommodating. Your client is putting all their trust in you, don't let them down. If a client expresses to you that bringing someone with them would make them more comfortable your answer should ALWAYS BE YES.
Tip #5 What to Bring:
Make sure you bring all your standard gear. Make sure your client brings sandals or shoes they can slip on and off with ease. Offer to bring a warm robe or blanket for your client if they don't have one. A warm robe or blanket is a must because you'll want something they can slip on and off really fast in case anyone walks by. Just because your client is okay being nude or semi nude in front of people doesn't mean passerby's want to see that. It's just best to respect everyone. Bring bug spray, if you're in nature there will be bugs without a doubt. I even carry a lighter incase my client or I get a tick.
Water and snacks are also good to have on hand. Find out if your client is wanting to shoot nude or in lingerie before the shoot. This way you can make sure they know if wearing lingerie (in the forest) it should be a bright color like white, pink, or red. This way they will stand out and you'll get alot more contrast between them and the greenery. The forest tends to be dark so dark colors can get lost in the background.
Tip #6 Know your lighting
Odds are whether you are out in the open or shooting in the forest your lighting will be all overhead lighting unless you have a flash. I don't use a flash or reflector for my outdoor photography. You'll need to direct your subject so that the light is hitting all the right places. With overhead lighting it’s easy to get unflattering harsh shadows. Use the shadows to your advantage. If the light is coming from above and you're getting harsh shadows make sure you position your subjects face and body up towards the light. I'll show you some examples of how I pose my subjects for this very occasion below. For more tips on using natural light click HERE
In closing: Just make sure your client knows what to expect beforehand so there's no surprises. Make sure your client knows anytime you're shooting in nature with little to no clothes bug bites and rashes are always a risk but you will do everything in your power to avoid them. Check out the Free Resources tab for more free photography tips and connect with me on Instagram HERE
Author Lance A Reis
Most Popular Articles
27 Posing ideas for women
27 Posing Ideas for Men
How to grow your Instagram
Low Light Photography Tips
Photography for Beginners
Take Better Cosplay Photos