Easy Lighting Setups for Boudoir Photography

My first ever studio is something that I love the most. I feel very safe and private in there because of its huge factory windows. To become a professional, you have to deliver a consistent product. I used to use natural lights only and it was so beautiful. You should know which time of day and what quality of light you need to make your clients pick out your products as favorites. But what if you have a dark and dreary day and your client needs that hard-light look? Well, no fear when I’m here. You need to have these options:


Though I hardly use speedlights in my studio for some reasons. I don’t have a lot of large modifiers for them and they are generally are for my wedding reception lighting. But you should use them when it’s a dark day outside.

Constant lights

You should take Ice Light 2 by Westcott into consideration. It’s really good. You can just screw it onto a light stand and add a little backlight or fill light if you need to.

Studio Strobes

I saved up for two Elinchrom lights when I started in photography right out of college. You can use them all the time if you don’t have a studio with natural light. Then I hardly used them except for business headshots only. Then I came to know about Profoto lights and I purchased them back then. As I do a lot of on-location shoots, I don’t depend on electricity. So the high-speed sync and the versatility of the B1’s won me over. I also had a Flexible LED Light Panel. I only used them for my weddings and location shoots when I first got them. Then I got much busier shooting into the evening and on days that didn’t have the type of lighting my client wanted.

Studio lighting has a consistent look. You can keep it very easy and simple. Here is a go-to lighting setup for you:
Two Profoto B1’s
Profoto 5-foot octa (if you love the soft quality of light)
Mola beauty dish with sock and grid
Two 2×4 PhotoFlex softboxes (you can use it for fill)
Impact parabolic umbrella with diffusion panel
Insulation board
White seamless paper
You can shoot every image you see here with an 85mm 1.2 lens and two images with a 50mm 1.2.

Your Setup for Boudoir Lighting

  1. Brides nowadays like to do a boudoir shoot as a gift for their future hubbies. They even want silhouette shots in front of a window. You can have a veil in your studio so that you don’t have to deal with the wrinkled veil clients shoved into a bag. Some clients bring their own veils. In that case, you have to be careful of the wrinkles and warn her to steam or hang it up. If the wrinkles show up in the photos, it doesn’t look good.

  2. Do some beauty headshots while your boudoir clients are in the studio. They are beautiful and classic but not revealing. They are doing the photo shoot because of some great social media posts and add-ons to give as desktop prints.

3. Your clients would love big, soft, flattening window light. You can always bring out your strobes and create it when you are out of big windows or the pretty lights from the windows. Aim your light into a 9-foot white seamless roll. You can also bring another one if you need extra light.

4. It’s very important to shoot the full body in Boudoir Photography. You have to choose your lighting modifiers, whether you are using strobe or window light. It magnifies what you want the eye to be traced to. You can use the window light to illuminate her whole body against the gray colored background. It will make her legs too bright. Either you can use a flag on the bottom half of the window so that cut down the light or burn down the bottom half of the photo. You can also use a beauty dish as the key light and the octa for fill. It keeps the viewers’ eyes focused on her face.

You can go for a tighter shot once you are done with full-body shots. I’m 100% sure that you won’t be disappointed. It’s crisp and clean and everybody loves a good catchlight.

For a beauty dish as the key light and octa as a fill, you can place the octa farther away and a little behind her to remove the shadows that the beauty dish created on the wall. You can create the same image with brighter window light but you may not have it always.

In a nutshell, no matter what setup you use, you just have to experiment with your lights. You have to be creative, it doesn’t matter if you use strobes to replicate window light or produce an original look. You have to try out your new camera gear, new lighting or a new idea by doing test shoots. Don’t test on your clients ever because it can be disastrous. Be confident and get on with these lighting setups for Boudoir Photography.

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About Christian Tudor

professional photographer, main editor at Academy of Photography and owner and principal photographer of Tudor Photography