What is glamour photography?
Glamour photos are a form of portraiture that include elements of fashion photography and boudoir photography. “I think the word glamour keeps evolving. When I first started with photography, it was all about old Hollywood glamour, with that high-contrast, black-and-white look,” explains photographer Martha Galvan. “But ultimately, it’s photography that glamorizes your subject.” From classic, fine art portraits to avant-garde fashion photos, it’s a glamour photographer’s job to showcase the inner personality of their subject or client and highlight their unique beauty.
Plan your shoot.
Consult with your client and find out what they want out of the photography session. Depending on whether they want to display their new fashion line, get an editorial portrait for a magazine, or capture an intimate boudoir photo, you’ll approach the shoot differently.. Ask questions to better understand what their goals for the shoot are. From there you can build a list of shots you want to capture. If there are multiple outfits or locations to consider, be sure to factor extra time into your schedule.
Pack your gear.
Whether you conduct your photo session in a studio or on location, you’ll need the right gear. Lighting is important in any kind of portrait photography but is especially key in glamour shoots. “Natural light and reflectors are always good. Reflectors help bring the light in to open up shadows and highlight the face,” notes Galvan. Bring extra lights, reflectors, and light modifiers. It’s always better to be prepared if your natural light at the shoot is acting fickle.
Your client will probably want to use props for their shoot. Be thoughtful about how you use them. “Simple is better. Your focus is to make your subjects look beautiful and glamorize them. So you don’t want to get caught up in all the props,” notes Galvan.
Prepare your client.
Unless you work with professional models, people typically aren’t used to being in front of the camera. “People don’t think about their facial expressions. Have you seen how you smile? Have you seen how you look when you are sad, mad, or when you’re feeling something deep inside of you? Many people don’t know their own expressions,” explains photographer Carlos Chinchilla.
Give your client some homework before the photoshoot. Have them stand in front of the mirror at home and examine their own facial expressions. “Have them pay attention to every single detail,” notes Chinchilla. If your subject discovers angles and poses that make them feel glamorous during their homework, when they are comfortable in their body, they’ll be more comfortable in front of the camera. Don’t focus on the imperfections. Instead, focus on what makes them special and beautiful.
1. Put your subject at ease.
Like any genre of photography, it’s important to connect with your subject before you start. Catch up with them and break the ice to help make them feel at ease with you. The first photos are always a little stiff, so use them as a warm-up to help your client relax into the setting.
2. Guide your client.
Research and plan poses beforehand. You can even try them out yourself to learn how to better direct your client. Give direction clearly and patiently, and walk them through the poses and facial expressions. If they still appear stiff and uncomfortable, take a quick break, lighten the mood, play some music, and try again.
3. Play with different angles.
Experiment with the position of your camera and the composition of your photos. Get shots of your client from above and then take low-angle shots. Follow the rule of thirds for a few photos and then consciously break the rule and snap pics of your client straight on. Create a range of photos, and you’ll have more to work with when retouching them later in apps like Adobe Photoshop Lightroom.
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