Boudoir lighting - Flash, Natural & Continuous

The other day I got approached to do some boudoir type work. Typical for this type of work I use a rental space that has a fabulously grungy yet intimate appeal with many different textures and lighting scenes. After going through the models expectations, hair, makeup & outfits a week before the shoot, we had our game plan.
Something that I noted that might be something for everyone to remember is that when I was contacted by this client she mentioned some images that she especially like from my portfolio. Remember that. They liked your images, not someone elses. So when reviewing other 3rd party image ideas, remember to be true to your client and be confident in yourself in your own unique artistic view. 
There is a lot of info out there about client boudoir preparation so I'll just mention the things that I feel are especially important. 
- the models comfort level is the most important. If she is uncomfortable, it will directly translate to bad or awkward imagery. If she is unconfident, do your very best to bolster that lacking.
- find out right away what problem areas that the model thinks she might have. That way you can be more aware of how the shoot should flow and how certain posing would compliment her the best.
As with most shoots I want to try something a little new to expand my skillset. Since I shoot quite a bit of video I thought this was a great time to try some continuous lighting for one of the outfits. 

The Window - Natural Light

Our first area that we shot at was what I call 'the window'. Using the available window light only I knew I would be pushing my ISO  a bit here as well as close to wide open apertures on my 85mm prime lens hovering around f/2.0-2.2. I had the model back off from the brick wall a bit to give a little depth to the shot, facing the window along with my assistant picking up some bounce light pretty close with a 50" reflector, silver side. After a series of poses we had our shots. 
In this rental space there is also a remarkably grungy upper floor that has nothing but one lone small window and a king sized bed. After my assistant got the sheets and pillow cases on were ready to try this extremely low lit scene. I alternated between using an 85mm f/1.8 prime and the 24-70L f/2.8 for some of the closer shots. I really had to push everything to get the light where it needed to be. ISO settings from 800 to +1600 and shutter speeds anywhere from 100 to 50. We ran through a variety of poses and subtle outfit changes and came up with a few good shots.  

The Wall - Flash Lighting 

After a slight outfit change we moved right up against the brick wall, grabbed up the 47" octobox placed shoulder high and right of center with the inner & outer diffusion fabric attached and went through a series of poses. Essentially elimiating all the natural light and just using the flash gear. I believe I was at f/8, ISO 100 with the Canon 24-70L. Solid stuff and we rolled through this pretty quickly. 

Sofa - Continuous Light

Next I wanted to try a scene with some continous lighting. An single sourced LED head with a bowens type connector rated at around 800 equivalent tungsten watts. Runs cool as a cucumber. We decided on a couch setting facing the windows. I used a super soft, big umbrella modifier with white fabric diffusion and placed the fixture about 8' feet away at 5' from the floor. This was my first time using a continuous light source in this type of application and was pleasantly suprised at how fast you can work when you don't have to think about strobes resetting and camera shutter speed sync. Truly a what you see is what you get type thing. Fixture heat wasn't an issue all since this was a LED head. 
Overall I was very pleased with the results of this shoot and became an appreciator of continuous lighting for photography. The speed that you gain from this type of lighting is really impressive and will certainly be using it in the future. 
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