There are many variations of niches when it comes to taking photos of people. There are standard portrait photography, wedding photography, action photography, celebrity photography, and much more.
Naturally, in the world of portraiture, there are various skill levels and tools needed to be able to capture impressive photos.
However, when it comes to the art of portraiture, boudoir photography is arguably one of the most complex and intricate styles that requires a little bit more thought.
If you’re interested in getting started with a boudoir photography or want to get better at your craft, keep on reading.
If you don’t already know, boudoir photography is a unique style of portraiture photography that focuses on the more intimate experiences and settings in life, such as the bedroom, for instance.
Also known as sensual photography, it’s a photographic style that features sensual, intimate, and sometimes even erotic photos.
As mentioned earlier, these photos are usually taken in a bedroom or private environment, although studios are used for shooting as well.
As you can see, it’s boudoir photography, an extraordinary style of photography that naturally requires specialized skills, excellent communication with models, and a vast arsenal of quality equipment.
Since models (mostly women) are usually exposed and a little “out of their natural element,” it can be especially challenging to capture amazing boudoir photos of them if you can’t make the model feel at ease and comfortable in her skin.
This point is perhaps the most crucial aspect of boudoir photography by far, but you need to have great lenses for the job. After all, you can’t snap those picture-perfect moments correctly without lenses.
The thing is, for your boudoir photography to be of high-quality and sought after by your clients, you have to have the proper gear for the job.
While lighting, props, and other accessories are indeed important, one of the essential things to have is a good set of lenses for the job.
To help you as you strive to get started in or improve upon your boudoir photography, we’re here to help. Let’s take a look at three of the best full-frame lenses for top-quality boudoir photography.
1. 50mm lens (the Nifty Fifty)
When it comes to taking photos of people (also known as portraiture), arguably, no other lens performs better than the 50mm, which has been affectionately given the nickname “The Nifty Fifty.”
The reason why the 50mm is such a great lens to choose as your go-to is because it is the closest to capturing what you would see with the naked eye. This effect makes it very easy to capture accurate photos with, especially if you’re new to boudoir.
On top of being close to what the natural eye sees, the Nifty Fifty also offers a shallow depth of field, which is excellent for getting those super-focused shots.
You know, the photos where the background is blurred and has bokeh effects. Since a genuine 50mm (not a kit lens) offers a lower f-stop, you can achieve this effect while also capturing all the fantastic details of your model.
Yet another great reason why the 50mm is a great option is that it is incredibly versatile. It is excellent for taking almost all types of boudoir photos, whether you want to get up close and personal or capture more of the environment that your model is in at that time.
As you run your photoshoots, you’ll find that the Nifty Fifty can serve you well in just about all scenarios and concepts you try.
2. 35mm lens
As mentioned above, the 50mm is a great middle-of-the-road lens that can serve you well in just about all scenarios.
However, some situations may call for a more specialized lens, such as when you’re wanting to capture the detail and ambiance of the environment while still maintaining pristine details of your model. For this type of scenario, the 35mm lens works like a charm.
As a wide-angle lens, the 35mm is great for allowing you to capture more of the environment you’re shooting without losing out on quality.
Furthermore, since the wider angle lens like the 35mm tends to have larger maximum apertures, they usually allow you to capture more light in your photos.
This extra light is awesome for boudoir photography because it will enable you to capture finer details in the usually darker settings where boudoir photography is taken.
This advantage also allows you to shoot without sacrificing much in terms of shutter speed, which results in even sharper photos.
3. 85mm lens
On the other end of the scale, the 85mm lens is the lens of choice if you’re aiming to get up close and personal with your boudoir photography model.
Many boudoir photographers consider the 85mm lens to be the perfect length because it allows you to maintain closeness to your subject without losing out on quality or sharpness.
Furthermore, it’s vital for your lens not to show any distortion, which is basically when your model’s body appears to be out of balance, such as the nose appearing longer or the body appear shorter.
If you’re looking to get closeup shots––such as headshots––of your model, the 85mm lens will allow you to dramatically blur out the background while maintaining complete focus on the model herself.
Other Gear to Consider for Boudoir Photography
There you have it – if you’re looking for the best lenses for boudoir photography, the three listed above are hands down the best available on the market.
If you’re a brand-new or novice boudoir photographer, you’d probably be better off starting with the Nifty Fifty (50mm) lens since it is by far the most versatile and capable lens to date.
However, if you’re a more seasoned boudoir photographer, you may want to consider adding either a 35mm or 85mm lens to your arsenal. These choices, of course, all depends on your shooting style or the needs of your customers.
Before we come to a close, let’s take a quick look at some other gear that you may want to consider investing for your boudoir photography:
- Camera body: When it comes to camera bodies, a full-frame camera is your best bet, regardless of whether its a mirrorless or DSLR. If you want to shoot in many different angles and hard-to-reach areas, you may want to consider having a flip or adjustable viewfinder, which will allow you to orchestrate your photoshoot better. We’ll assume you have a full-frame camera body since you’re reading this post.
- Light meter: A light meter helps you with choosing the right aperture and shutter speed to attain an ideal exposure. A light meter is very useful in expediting the camera settings process.
- Off-camera strobes: If you need artificial light to boost the quality of your photos, its best to stick with an off-camera strobe, rather than the camera flash. The thing is, stock camera flash tends to produce average to poor results that are better avoided altogether. Off-camera strobes, on the other hand, offer flexibility in the amount and angle of the light. For boudoir photography, strip lights are the best option.
- Softbox: To control light and shadows on reflective surfaces and give your model a genuinely soft and radiant glow, a softbox is one of your best bets. There are other light systems available, but the softbox is a safe start.
- Props: This is where your creativity comes into play. Sure, we know that boudoir photography is usually taken in a bedroom or intimate setting. However, you’ll need props to bring the environment to life. Some great props for boudoir photography include sheets, bedding, oversized shirts, string lights, books, or even food. It all depends on what you and your client are aiming for in the photoshoot!