Maggie wanted to surprise her boyfriend with some boudoir photos for Valentine’s Day! She started the shoot getting gorgeous makeup done by Mika of MikaDoesMakeup at Mika’s beautiful studio.
Here are some photos from the shoot – I couldn’t blog them before Valentine’s Day or it would potentially spoil the surprise! Maggie brought a couple bags of rose petals, which was a really great idea. Maggie and Mika had lot of fun throwing the petals around (and strategically placing them on Maggie). It definitely had an American Beauty look. Maggie had a great time and loved her photos – as did her boyfirend, I’m sure
Here are a some some photos that I took on the roof deck of The Studio by Mika Does Makeup with model Ariel K. Marie. It was pretty cold up there so it was a very quick shoot! It’s a beautiful location with a great view, so I’m looking forward to another shoot when the weather gets a little warmer. I hope that you have a happy Valentine’s Day!
Valentine's Makeup by Mika
Click to see more Valentine's photos with Ariel K. Marie
Thanks also to Tiffany May Photography who collaborated on this project, providing much inspiration, creativity and assistance!
For the background, we used “Super White” seamless paper, available from Savage or B&D. It glows blue under black light. We cut different sized hearts out of pink fluorescent bristol board and hung them from the studio’s ceiling with fishing line. We set up four 48 inch 40 watt fluorescent black light tubes – one on each side of Rachel, one overhead and the fourth on the floor to surround the model with black light.
Here’s what the setup looked like (the fourth tube on the floor is not shown):
Skin tends to look very dark under black light, so to help make the model’s face more visible, we positioned a White Lightning X800 strobe with a grid in front of the model, and for some the shots we used a hand-held white LED flashlight to light the model’s face. We also used a white disk reflector, which gave off a blue glow, to help light the model.
Initially, I used ISO 100, f/1.4, 1/25th second exposure with a Sigma 30mm lens. I then wanted to get some shots with a longer focal length so I switched to my 50-200 mm using ISO 200 and 1/10 sec at f/2.8. I used a tripod and a cable release to minimized unwanted motion blur. I wanted to minimize noise by using the lowest ISO that I could get away with. Depending on your camera, you may be comfortable going to higher ISO and faster shutter speeds.
I used Lightroom 3.3 to adjust the colours, exposure, noise reduction, and some local brush adjustments. I completed the editing in Photoshop CS4 – mainly retouching and removing the visible fishing lines that the hearts were attached to.
Are you thinking about giving glamour or boudoir photos of yourself to your boyfriend, partner, fiancé or husband for Valentine’s Day? Of course, I think photographs always make great gifts! If you have never done a glamour or boudoir photography session, it may be a little intimidating.
What is glamour?
Glamour photography is all about making you look amazing, whether it’s pretty, beautiful, sexy, classy, or elegant. I love doing glamour – it’s a lot of fun and a great feeling when clients love their photos!
The ingredients for great glamour photos are:
Hair and makeup: I work with professionally trained makeup artists and hair stylists who know how to make you look your best. They are trained to work with your features and skin tone so you will to look great. And the makeup artists have plenty of professional high quality makeup, brushes, and supplies!
Wardrobe and accessories: Glamour photography is more about the woman than the clothes, so the outfits should compliment you rather than be the main point of focus. For glamour, usually less is better. Outfits can be lingerie, jeans, shorts, swimsuits, skirts or dresses and can be risqué, elegant, cute or innocent. The same is true for accessories - depending on the jewelry, it adds elegance, sexiness and personality.
Lighting: One of my main concerns as a photographer is how to best use lighting to create the glamour look. In the studio I will tailor the lighting specifically for the woman being photographed because everyone is different. Natural light can also be very flattering and glamourous when it is available – such as outdoor locations or locations with window light.
Posing: The right poses make a huge difference in the photos. Professional models know how to work with the photographer and have a repertoire of poses and expressions that they can draw upon. They also know the poses that are most flattering to their own look. For clients who are not professional models, it may be a little intimidating being in front of the camera. Another major part of my job as a photographer is to help with different poses and angles to get the most flattering photos.
Retouching: Everyone has imperfections and the camera records them faithfully. However, most women don’t want to see dark circles under their eyes, bloodshot eyes, wrinkles or blemishes! When I retouch glamour photos, I clean up these problem areas and anything else that distracts from the your natural beauty.
Having a blast! Having a great time with lots of energy makes the session a success too!
Tips for choosing a photographer (in order of most to least important):
Portfolio: The first thing to do is browse the photographer’s website. Are there are images that you love? You can use those as examples of the style that you want when you talk with the photographer. If you do not love that photographer’s style, then keep looking for a photographer until you find photos that you love!
Recommendations: If you have a friend who has done glamour photography, ask her for recommendations.
Location: How far are you willing to travel to a photographer’s studio? Many photographers are willing to travel to a location, so if the photographer whose work you really love is not local, you could ask if they are willing to travel and how much do they charge.
Price: Decide on the budget that you are willing to spend and take a look at the price ranges, but don’t base your decision on price alone! Prices vary tremendously and there is no set price because you are paying for the photographer’s unique vision and skills. I recommend that you choose a photographer that you really love and then budget enough to get your photos done by him/her. The photos will be a long term gift that will last a lifetime, so it is worth investing in the best quality.
Male or female photographer? Some photographers advertise that because they are male or female, they are somehow more suitable. I don’t think this matters at all – it is a matter of personal preference. Professional photographers rely on having a good reputation and depend on word-of-mouth recommendations from previous clients for a successful business, and will treat you respectfully and professionally.
Once you have decided on a photographer, contact him/her to see if they will meet with you in advance. I much prefer to meet potential clients first to find out what style of photos they want. That way I can make sure she will be thrilled with the final results! Most photographers will require a payment in advance (usually applied to the session fee) to reserve a time slot.
What is boudoir?
Boudoir photography is growing in popularity, especially for pre-wedding photography, and also makes a great Valentine’s Day gift. While there is no single definition of boudoir photography, the name comes from the French for a lady’s bedroom, and it implies an intimate and sensual style.
Boudoir is a genre of glamour that tends to be soft, mysterious and intimate. It can be done in the studio by creating an intimate mood with lighting, props and sets or can be done at locations such as the client’s bedroom or a luxury hotel room. Selecting a boudoir photographer is the same as selecting a glamour photographer, with emphasis on a more intimate style.
This is a photo of model AsianSensation with makeup by artist Megs War Paint. The shoot was fun and sexy with lots of pink and girlie stuff, and definitely made a great Valentine’s themed shoot.
The model lives in Montreal and was in Vancouver for the holidays, so we arranged the shoot and planned the makeup, outfit and look. I got hold of some props including a couple Barbie’s at the local toy store – wow I didn’t know that there are so many Barbies! I also bought a long pink wig – I splurged and bought the higher quality wig for a little extra cost because I wanted it to look good in the photos. I have used cheaper wigs before and they are hard to use – the hair is too thin and frizzy! Now I own a long pink wig – so I’m sure it will appear in photoshoots again. I also got lollipops, bubbles, pink tulle fabric, tissue paper and bows.
On the day of the shoot I brought all the stuff and set up the lights while the makeup artist did her magic. I used a white seamless background and lit it with a strobe and pink gel. The model wore a sexy pink nightie and used the tulle for a skirt. The shoot was a lot of fun and the model was great. There were many photos from the shoot making it difficult to select a few for final editing!
We did not plan for this to be a Valentine’s Day theme, but looking at the photos, they are perfect for the occasion. Check out this set of photos from the shoot.
Feel free to comment and ask if you have any questions about my work. I am available for bookings, editorial and commercial assignments!