Adding candlelight to boudoir sessions and maternity photoshoots has been an absolute favorite of mine.
Unlike the bright, quick studio strobe lights I use, candlelight is a living, breathing entity. It gently dances across a woman’s silhouette, kindly highlighting her natural curves, and creates a quietness as it fades off into the darkness. It’s simply beautiful on anyone. The natural warm glow that the light paints on a woman’s face or body is perfect for any shape, size or age.
I love being outdoors with my clients during photo shoots, but that is not always possible in the Midwest or if you want an intimate boudoir or maternity photo shoot. Opening my studio space in the basement of an office building doesn’t allow for the typical natural light settings other photographer studios have. But, that’s perfectly ok. It allows me to be creative, experiment and think outside of the box when I set up an indoor photoshoot.
Telling a story with light.
“As we work to create light for others, we naturally light our own way.” -Mary Anne Radmacher
Candlelight has been used for hundreds of years out of necessity, celebration or to simply set the mood. When have you used candlelight last? Perhaps when the power went out during a storm. Stories are told when people gather together. Laughs are shared and the light dances shadows of your loved ones across the walls and ceiling. Candles on your birthday cake. Every year, we add a candle. We each make the same or different wish as we get older. And many of us have had those darned trick candles you can’t blow out. How about when you made a romantic dinner for two? There was a question popped or you were trying to rekindle a fire that has almost gone out over the years.
When setting up this type of shoot, you have to think of the safety of your client and space, the intimacy of the setting and the mood of your final product.
Client needs to be close enough to the light in order to be seen, but also we have to be aware of the dangers open flames can have. I keep in mind clothing, hair, and skin. Soft sheer robes are gorgeous in these shots, but not if they catch on fire. One flick of your hair can quickly become a serious situation. A lot of skin is exposed, so making sure movements are calculated so flames and hot wax will not burn anyone or anything is always on my mind. Having a Be Prepared motto from my Girl Scout days and having Eagle scouts in the house, I am probably more paranoid than others. But, safety is important to think about no matter what environment or setting you find yourself shooting in.
Through the darkness, there is an invitation to peek in on a truly intimate scene. Almost like you are being allowed in on a secret. The darkness naturally forces you to look closer at the scene to make out the silhouettes and allow the light to reveal the shapes before you.
“I am imperfect and yet my imperfections, like any great work of art, are what make me a masterpiece.” – Kelsey Silver
This type of setting is perfect for those who are self-conscious and new to intimacy in photography. We turn off all the lights, get quiet and we allow the light to dictate the perfect positions to be in. Candlelight is kind and loving to whatever it falls on. It’s warm and simple. You don’t have to be extravagant or worry about the details as it will find them for you. It doesn’t even matter what you wear, as the light will reveal the natural highlights and contours of your body.
Setting the mood.
The story can be sensual, it can be strong or it can be soft and sweet. It all depends on my client’s wishes and what they will do with the photographs.
“In order for the light to shine so brightly, the darkness must be present.”
-Sir Francis Bacon
I set up a photograph like I would set up a scene in a play. There has to be a reason behind it and a feeling that you want to give to your audience. My client’s gaze or what their hand touches will also help dictate where the focus will be on in the final photo. What their eyes gaze upon or where their hands fall, are naturally where your eyes will look at within a photograph. You have been given permission to look there, so look.
With candlelight, the light naturally tells the story of where to look within the photograph. You see the brightest light first and then realize it is taking you along the shape of the neckline, up the lines of staggered legs or over the round shape of a baby bump. How we set up an angle in the scene will tell a different story. The possibilities are endless in this type of setting and there are always more ways to explore. I think this would also be beautiful for couples too.
Contact me to set up your consultation or your very own candlelight session. Join the Inspirational Women & Boudoir – Motion Inspired Photography to join in on the conversation of boudoir photography and being brave.