Hair and makeup for boudoir shoots...
This was something I struggled with.. whether or not to make getting hair and make up a requirement. I kind of felt like it was what people were wanting from a more luxury experience when having a shoot like this done. I polled clients asking what they would expect as part of a luxury experience and that was one of the top things.
The problem is though that I don't feel like a woman needs to have those things to feel gorgeous in her skin. It's about the experience I'm providing and how comfortable they feel while in the studio and then having that feeling linger long after they leave.
Also since I shoot men having hair/makeup built into my base price seemed kind of shitty. So instead I ask the client if it's something they would like to have added on.
How have you felt when you've seen the Before/After's if you follow other photographers?
Do you think 'ohhh look how much of a transformation?'
or maybe you think 'I never wear makeup and I'm not sure how I feel about having a shoot that doesn't really show me for me'
or even perhaps 'I'm getting this done for my partner and they won't like all that stuff on my face'
here are two examples of friends who've I've done the makeup as a test for myself. I realized after that I chose green for both of them LOL but it's because their eyes had green that I wanted to bring out.
There are many things I think people think and all of them of course are valid. At the end of the day I want you to feel amazing in your skin. If you come in bare faced, hair in a messy bun (or sticking straight up like mine does when it's crazy) and that makes you feel sexy and amazing, then I say fuck everyone else! Lets rock this shoot!
HOWEVER if you like to do your own hair and makeup here are some key things to note:
You can do a more natural look which is completely ok but know that the camera will not show you've done much. Meaning if you want to make your makeup seem more vibrant or bold then you need to go WAY BOLDER than you think. Honestly I realize that most people would think they look like an escort on the side of a shady street.. but it won't look like that in images.
Here are some tips for basic makeup
- use a bit of concealer or powder mineral base to balance out skin tone redness
- mascara with 2 layers of coverage (my fav is Covergirl in the orange tube black/brown)
- have some kind of lip tint. I personally use a lip liner to cover my entire lips. it's easier to apply than lipstick and lasts longer. I do not put a gloss over it for shoots because gloss can make it smear more easily
If you'd like more bold
- do a dark base eyeshadow at the outer corners and work it towards the middle of the lid then add your more vibrant pop of color in the middle and blend. add a third color above those two in the crease, blend and then a lighter 'highlight' at your brow and the inner eye
- use false lashes.. I say this.. and yet I can't do them myself.. it takes practice from what I've heard LOL
- use a bold and darker lip color
here's the thing with hair.. we are gonna mess it up.. like A LOT! so don't worry about it too much. You can do your normal thing or if you'd like to add some curl that works too. I tend to go for a more tousled look. So nothing tucked behind your ears and all polished.. yeah no.. we are going for 'you've just been kissed, touched, maybe fucked' look. so hands in hair and disheveled most times. we tend to start off more put together of course.. but it soon devolves LOL
short haired people like me have even less to mess with.. but we can still make stuff happen look wise. Same with men with whatever hair style you might have. So I tend to say not too much product unless you really don't want hands in hair (which is ok, just let me know from the get go)
I might add some makeup tutorials at some point so you all can see how I do my makeup for a shoot. How does that sound?
I also offer wigs.. and they are AMAZING! take a look at this video that shows off the ones I have. It's about 15 min long
people may not know the difference between Boudoir, kink and erotica so I wanted to discuss the nuances of them.
Boudoir - the images captured for boudoir can vary in the level of sexiness and nudity. The level of these is always based on the client's preference. Some people want to be in some kind of clothing the whole session with a portion of their body covered at all times, either with lingerie, shirt, dress, blanket/sheets etc.. and some people want to get fully nude and of course there is the mix. Most people will be a mix and will do an implied or partial nude with blanket/sheet.
Bouidoir even for couples shoots have no sex involoved and rarely is there even kissing if women are in the shoot because of makeup getting messed up. With couples sometimes if there is a woman/man set up the woman may be nude but the man will still have his undies on because there is no penetration of digits of any kind. It’s all an implied sexual feel.
The shoot can for sure still be steamy and can tell a story in the body language.
I tend to shoot more in a voyeuristic fashion to allude to the feel of the viewer of the images having come across the person as they passed by the room. Some people can flirt with the camera very well and if they do then I will have them look at the camera more often. However many people have a challenge with it so we find other ways for them to look coy, sexy, vulnerable.
Kink - shoots for kink will tend to flow from a variety of BDSM areas. There are SSSOOO many kinks out there that I can not list them all. Many people however are not necessarily into the BDSM lifestyle but like the idea of things like:
Kink shoots can be a bit more risque and depending on what the client wants done additional waivers may need to be signed as consent to what will be taking place either by themselves or with a partner. There is a level of trust with many of these kinks which I respect and observe.
Erotica - My erotica shoots start off doing normal boudoir that leads to a more serious flirty nature and then to sex. This can be with a single person self pleasuring in whatever fashion they want, to a couple doing various forms of sex (oral, penetration with toys, fingers/hands, genitals) and of course groups doing all the things above.
Erotica shoots can have a range of shots being done from focusing on up close and personal detail shots of body parts, to wide shots that showcase all that is happening. When the erotica portion starts I will have an idea already (from discussing with the client/s in advance and the day of) of what they are wanting to achieve from the shoot. The boudoir portion has likely led them to a point of high desire and they are ready to make things happen. So when I say ‘go for it’ I let them do what they want and am that fly on the wall and move around them to get the shots. It can happen that I may ask them to pause or slightly shift, but it’s rare. I want them to feel like they are in their bubble as much as possible.
I have found that a lot of photographers in my industry won’t shoot erotica. It’s something they don’t feel comfortable with for many reasons, which I can respect. I love being open about sex and am very body and sex positive. Being able to capture moments for cleint/s that allow them to see themselves in a sexy new light is inspiring. I want them to yearn for the other person when they see the images and get that feeling in their gut that makes them want to rush over and devour their partner all over again.
want to see more? warning it is more explicit
My goal personally is to be shooting boudoir kink and erotica in luxury destinations all over the world. Working with sex and couples thereapists who to retreats, swinger resorts, clubs and hotels and anyone else who may be interested in having me be an add on to their event.
Shooting erotica in Colorado Springs is a great location because it’s central to the state and an easy drive for many people even if they fly into Denver.
So what are you waiting for? Reach out and book your preferred session today!
Jennifer is the owner and photographer behind RGA Photography.