Posts Tagged ‘Photography’

Tattoo and Shibari/Kinbaku experience

October 5, 2016

The other day a Model Mayhem male model contacted me about shooting some Time For Pictures shoot. His only request is that his face not be recognizable. They don’t call me Fuzzypictures for nothing, sure I am up for it.

For those who don’t know what Shibari is It’s an ancient Japanese art form developed during the Samari time for bonding their prisoners with rope. It is also referred to as the art of Kinbaku a sensual provocative form of Japanese erotic bondage now becoming popular in America.

That day and still today my flash receivers were acting wooky. Sometimes they worked sometimes not, so exposure was all over the place and I had a lot of over exposed throw aways along with some surprises.

I’ve wanted to add some spooky Images to Peau magazine for the autumn issue sort of as a theme and thought the tattoo’s might do the trick. Who knows what works and what doesn’t?

Tattooed male grasping his head and shoulders.

Dark Zen


Dark Zen

I haven’t gotten around to trying to adjust the over exposed images yet and maybe I won’t it’s a lot of work finding interesting people and shooting them then selecting images we both like.


Dark Zen

We chatted about our likes and dislikes but I never asked him the story of why so many tattoo’s. We did exchange information about who some of the tattoo artists were both his and mine where done as I shot.


Darkk Zen

If I don’t know and like the person ‘I am out of there.’ I am way too old to be uncomfortable anymore, been there done that. My work is about collaboration with the model around a theme, if there is one, I couldn’t do this type of photography without the model having ‘some chops’ as they say in jazz.


Dark Zen

I need to fix those strobes but this White Lightning 1200 Ultra keeps on kicking, I’ve only two left out of four but what a light.I didn’t need to give him much if any direction as he does this out of love also. I did show him images as we went along so he had an idea of what I was shooting.


Bamboo pole

We fooled around with this pole for awhile but it didn’t do anything for me not that we didn’t get some interesting shots of his hands holding the pole but I wanted some more so ‘Hey lets try this’ my favorite saying.


Prisoner of the dark  



I am reading a book called The Beauty of Kinbaku a history of the art and artists which got me thinking about what’s Japanese and one of the first think that comes to mind is Bamboo, so I go down to the flower district and find some. Who knew there was a vicious spider living in them and bit me on the elbow while I napped. Yeow some poison I sprayed the whole lot. I don’t like to kill spiders but he attacked me first.


Dark Zen

Well I’ve saved the best for last, although they were the first images we shot we both loved all of these but the first images blew me away. I looked at them and said ‘that’s it.’ I am not sure I could have planed them any better.


Dark Zen naked

But wait there is more, our first picture below.


What am I holding?

Yep that Ultra 1200 is something. This is from one of our first images sets. See I couldn’t do this without someone aware of the creative process.









There is always something else

September 9, 2016

to do. There was a time I had plenty of time to write here but now so many dangling projects. Finally got the summer issue of Peau magazine is on it’s way, see link

Of course a model asked me for a digital tear sheet and I spent days looking up how to do to no avail, nothing. Just now it occurred to me maybe she wanted a ‘screen shot’ of the Peau pages. Life is full of difficult question made more by how the question is phrased.

But persistence always pays off somehow. My wife is turning into a very creative photographer I am impressed with her creativity see She has found her niche at least with the underwater photography and climate change.

Me after publishing the summer Issue of Peau magazine I am drained yet it’s time to start again as I have a theme Halloween. I really haven’t up dated my web site at Photoshelter in months.

I started the day wearing my Occupy Wall Street t-shirt and listening to native american tapes I’ve collected along the way. Doing laundry moved to listening to Phantom of the Opera just to get my blood moving. Now it’s Man of La Manch.

The other day a french model Byuruka Heck contacted me about shooting together when she was in town. Hey why not I’ve been in front of a computer for weeks. To say nothing of home projects.

So we began doing shoots and talking she wanted some fashion images
but the latex dress didn’t cooperate with the shoes.


Latex dress


fishnet stockings


I am not sure about that

She did fit into the Peau magazine tattooed look.




I asked about this tattoo she explained it was about birth and death and she had designed it herself.


sitting nude

As we talked I suggested trying some body paint ideas I’e been thinking about. Sure.


silver paint on nude female

This isn’t an easy technique as I need to mix each batch them pour it never knowing where it will go.


Silver pain on naked boob


Silver paint on female nude

This can be messy an disappointing at the same time. But that’s the exciting part of it, you never know what will happen, except a shower afterwards.

I want to do more of this as I learn something each time.Till next time





I shoot them as they come to me, thank goodness they are all different

March 6, 2016

and that’s not a bad thing. But as I get older things, names and words  temporary vanish from my mind.

I almost missed this shoot due to not keeping my phone calendar up to date. my wife brought me the phone with all these text messages ‘I’am on my way’ and ‘ I’am almost there’………… holy smokes i called her right away saying i had forgotten about it. i was 30 to 45 minutes away and couldn’t get in using mass transportation but Mary and i have had ‘no shows’ and know how it feels. Mary drove me into city in 30 minutes. Where are you? waiting in a bar down the block she said, it was very cold out and reading her bio below i knew she was cut from a different cloth.

My Name

I GUESS YOU ARE KIND OF CURIOUS as to who I am, but I am one of those who do not have a regular name. My name depends on you. Just call me whatever is in your mind.
If you are thinking about something that happened a long time ago: Somebody asked you a question and you did not know the answer.
That is my name.
Perhaps it was raining very hard.
That is my name.
Or somebody wanted you to do something. You did it. Then they told you what you did was wrong—”Sorry for the mis¬take,”—and you had to do something else.
That is my name.
Perhaps it was a game that you played when you were a child or something that came idly into your mind when you were old and sitting in a chair near the window.
That is my name.
Or you walked someplace. There were flowers all around.
That is my name.
Perhaps you stared into a river. There was somebody near you who loved you. They were about to touch you. You could feel this before it happened. Then it happened.
That is my name.

Britteny kind of hippy like but hey I was one of the original hippies.Her Model Mayhem link is 5340850.

the studio was a shambles nothing set up but thank goodness most of the lighting hangs from a grid. but I had no idea what to shot with her nor who she really was. I haven’t figured how to connect my IPhone to Model Mayhem. What a klutz. She did save my butt by pulling this outfit from her bag.


So we begin, well actually she brought her outfit going to another shoot after mine, once dressed she began poseing here and there one after another .


She was a pro at this because to tell you the truth I was unprepared. Usually I have some prevision of what I want to shoot with each model. That doesn’t mean  that’s where the shoot winds up going but at least that’s where I think it will go. This was a pleasant surprise because on the ride to studio I didn’t have a clue who she was, Ok just wing it.


I gave her one of my jackets because she said she was cold, it must have been in the twenties outside, but I though the semi coolness of the studio kept her nipples erect which I think is preferable. Somehow the jacket kept slipping off her. Maybe she wasn’t so cold after all._MG_0490

But I must say she gave me a full days shoot in a couple hours. I like to try different things with each person, so after going to the closet once she picked out this outfit


Which got reported on Facebook as inappropriate  because you can see a little bit of her pubic hair whoa they got good eyes. I guess I should have used this image below , oh well


There is such a slight difference here my old eyes didn’t catch it. We bought this outfit years ago at a clothing store next to an art gallery we had a showing in.

face 0457fuzzy

Obliviously she wasn’t shy but she also wasn’t into doing spread shots nude.


so we got these two shots this one with more attitude but getting the background under control wasn’t easy.Lots of blur filter making her the object of 0458

We had agreed that she was willing to do some bondage/rope work which seems to be a phase I am in these days.

couch 0693 fuzzy

I don’t think what I do is S&M but it does add a little kick for me over regular nudes.



There is something about the texture of the rope against the skin I like. We didn’t have time to let the rope patterns set into the skin as I originally wanted. Do we ever get all we want?


So all things must come to an end as I untie her and she gets dressed for her next foray into the cold cold world. We are not doing a brain surgery tutorial just playing around with things, hopefully making things a bit more interesting. As I say I never know who will walk through my door nor what I’ll walk away with.

So it is as she headed to her next shoot and I straightened the studio, then on to editing. She didn’t respond when I sent her some images . I guess she didn’t need them.



Back to dancers with Shibari

January 21, 2016

thrown in. I shoot as they come to me. people contact me about shooting together and i answer asking them to call me most never do. is talking to people too personal or having their phone number. one can always hide your telephone number my boss has his number come up as ‘unidentified caller’

but this dancer/model after a few emails actually called, maybe being a male he felt safer. i’ve had some women show up who i hoped were friendly because they could have kicked my ass.  but this is the age of FEAR it’s all around us every where we listen os see we are assaulted with guns, shootings, beheadings why did that become popular again? WTF

i love working with dancers and dance it appears so free yet to make something look effortless that’s a lot of effort. when i was a kid and the grown ups were gone i would dance to the radio thinking i was Fred Astaire. i didn’t have any dance training who needs training to express joy of movement? i think this western society is the only society who thinks one needs to learn how to dance.

today working with two different opposite art forms, free dance and restricted Shibari can be fun. discovery is always fun except maybe sticking a screwdriver into an open electric socket.



Masa being a young japanese dancer was fumular  with Shibari and wanted different types of pictures for his portfolio was a willing subject, very inhibited.


reaching out

with grace. i love the shape of his hand. i am very lucky to work with such talented people.



at my age i am not sure if my knees would be able to do this for long.


adding lights

i started with two lights turned one off but basically kept to two lights, as i say i am trying to learn a craft here.


i love shadows and sometimes things work out when working with sculptures.


when i first looked through the files i was very disappointed because when we began i turned off the autofocus and all i saw were fuzzy out of focus images. ECK.

true this blog is called fuzzy pictures but there are acceptable limits. but after awhile i changed techniques and moved into rope work.


here again i love his hands they are so expressive.


his warrior pose looking forward naked and open to the world.


so not to being one to leave things alone i added a prop, sparing no expense i moved a ladder on the set.


i think this looks better in black & white using the ladder for support.


but here are my favs from the shoot not that i don’t like these or i wouldn’t share them.


this reminds me of the cross in the roman colosseum


oh well that’s all i have for today.

waiting for people to return my requests to speak in person, so may people don’t like to call on their phones and talk,  i see so many people looking at their phones on the subway or walking on the street, models, hair people and makeup chairs just don’t make phone calls. people do or don’t.

i understand why television executives are afraid of a ringing phone because they usually mean trouble. one has to make a decision and that means being accountable. being semi retired i don’t have that problem but if i want to collaborate with people we need to talk, at least say hello.


Peau Magazine

December 2, 2015

Peau Magazine, a fine art magazine devoted to the landscape of skin,. Where we hope to share with the world our unique vision of skin ‘that which allows us to touch the world.’

Well we have managed to meet our publication goal of November 2015, just in time for Thanksgiving holiday.

peau new A

we hope you will enjoy our effort and share it amongst your friends. See a link here :

I’ve drawn from various photographers whom I’ve met in my photo journey . Jack Cutler, Mary Durante Youtt, Jeffery Dutton, Alexey Kashpersky, Peter Le Grand and myself Jene Youtt.

We are always looking for additional contributions from photographers, models, hair & makeup artist, retouchers, as long as the subject matter is skin.

contact me at

Wet Plate Collodion Photography within Hand Blown Glass

January 8, 2014

Life is so amazing with all kinds of opportunities out there, here is an interesting young artist i found on Creative pro com

Some of the most interesting expressions of creativity can come from the combination of seemingly unrelated art forms. Case in point: a Kickstarter project by San Francisco artist Emma Howell, whose idea is to combine wet plate collodion ambrotypes (think: Matthew Brady Civil War era photography) and glass blowing. Here, the photographic “plates” can actually be bowls. The process and results are unique, beautiful, and just about as far from the throwaway, instant gratification of modern mobile photography as you can get.

Wet plate Collodion Photography within Hand Blown Glass

or to see the history of The Wet Collodion Plate process it self follow the link below.

since her project is fully funded now i am not sure how to be involved other than to keep track of her on the web. maybe one can still contribute to the project helping her along on the creative trail.

that’s all for today back to copying images and backing up files from our Russian trip. ugh or maybe add some images to my web site, haven’t done that in a while. the spiders are wondering jene who?


GoPro’s killer new video is about sharing, not just surfing

August 6, 2013

 photos for Instagram, too By David Griner
surfer’s super-selfie

For years, GoPro has been synonymous with helmet-cam footage of skydiving, 
surfing, heli-skiing and other extreme activities that most of us prefer 
to enjoy by proxy while browsing YouTube and eating a cruller.

But as the technology and innovation behind the camera have evolved, so too has the company’s marketing strategy. And you don’t have to look any further than this new ad for the GoPro smartphone app to see how a once-quirky outdoor gadget has become a leading millennial lifestyle brand.

The two-minute clip, shot entirely on a GoPro HD Hero3 camera in the Mentawai Islands of Indonesia, features three popular pro surfers—Alana Blanchard, Lakey Peterson and Camille Brady—not only recording their day on the waves but sharing stills from the Hero3 directly to Instagram right from the beach. Instead of a tool for creating raw first-person video footage, GoPro is portrayed as the key to taking a super-selfie.

Justin Wilkenfeld, GoPro’s director of lifestyle marketing, tells Adweek that these features showcase how the brand has kept pace with modern life. Outdoors enthusiasts don’t just want to capture their experiences, they want to share them as quickly as possible. The brand’s WiFi-enabled Hero3 and smartphone app, both of which launched last year, have helped make immediate sharing a reality.

“It was a bit of a frustration that you had to go back to your computer to download that footage,” Wilkenfeld says. “There’s something lost there because we are so real-time these days.”

While the ad shows off GoPro’s newest features, it also harkens back in some ways to the brand’s early days. Before it was known for helmet-mounted cameras, GoPro was a wrist-mounted camera that surfer (and recent billionaire) Nicholas Woodman created to take 35mm photos of himself and friends.

Now, the camera has come full circle, with GoPro becoming known as a source for some of Instagram’s most interesting photos, not just a tool for extreme YouTube clips.

“In the world of social media, you don’t have to take two minutes or five minutes out of your time to watch the full video and get immersed in that moment. You can just take snapshots,” Wilkenfeld says. “That’s kinda the way of the world now—short-attention-span theater.”

Meanwhile, GoPro is also trying to reach beyond its core audience of extreme athletes by highlighting the camera’s versatility as a tool for capturing any kind of experience, not just crazy outdoor adventures.

“It’s been a progression for us,” Wilkenfeld says. “We definitely started in action sports, extreme sports, but we found that if you follow that line of passion, the average person is passionate about the moments in their life, too. That might be playing with their kids. We do try to embrace the broad community and the lifestyle those people try to live, regardless of what it is.”

This ad, like all the brand’s videos, was shot and produced entirely by the GoPro staff without any agency assistance. The soundtrack is “Riptide” by Australian singer-songwriter


jene youtt

Bert Stern died: RIP

July 9, 2013

R.I.P. Bert Stern


Bert Stern was one of the first photographers whose work turned me on to photography. His Last Sitting’ of Marilyn Monroe made him famous, but even as a kid, I can remember being drawn to his images in magazines. Advertising and editorial pages in the 60′s and 70′s were plastered with his work. His portfolio could be used to illustrate just about everything you see on “Mad Men”. Later, when I become more and more involved in photography, I learned who he was. I bought a book of his early work that I have to this day. Looking at the photographs in that book brought back all those memories of my early childhood and like a lightbulb going off over my head, it was then I knew I was meant to be a photographer. For me, he defined what a photographer was all about. He was single-minded in his passion for creating memorable imagery. His work transcended commercial photography…he was seen as a cultural hero…a straight-up Rock Star. And for more than a decade he was the most sought-out guy in the business. But the excess, copious amounts of drugs, alcohol and failed relationships took its toll and he quite literally burned out and disappeared from the business. He resurfaced in the late 80′s as a kinder, gentler, Bert, but the World had changed and the days of jetting off to Egypt to shoot a martini glass in the sand were long gone…

Bert died Tuesday. June 27, 2013 he was 83.


Tell Adobe to go FU*K themselves with their Cloud

May 15, 2013

DIGLLOYD Takes On The Adobe Creative Cloud…

by Damn Ugly Photography


The past 24 hours at Damn Ugly have been pretty damned busy. We’ve gotten more hits from that Adobe post than just about anything I’ve written about in years! And as I continued scanning the interwebs to see what far smarter folks than me are saying about the entire mess, a came across a treasure trove of information posted by Lloyd Chambers, the Capo di tutti capi of making your Mac computer Ferarri-fast. Lloyd is also known as DIGLLOYD…the driving force behind…and he devoted a few days going over the fine print of the new Creative Cloud scheme, and he’s none too happy about any of it. He breaks down…with a whole lotta very funny & sarcastic asides…a whole mess of stuff I hadn’t even thought of, not the least of which is the particularly heinous contract Adobe expects you to sign prior to joining their Big, Happy Cloud Community. I loved the part where he said that since he actually took the time to READ the contract, when it came to the point at the end where he had to click the ‘ACCEPT’ button, the page had timed out!!! Apparently Adobe never intended ANYONE to actually read what they were gonna give away before signing the thing!

Now a warning…as with my post yesterday, reading through this requires a certain investment in time, but trust me, it’s well worth it! As a public service to all my Damn Ugly groupies, I’m linking to all of what Lloyd dropped over at regarding the cloud. Enjoy!

Adobe Clouds Software Choice (Adobe Creative Cloud Only Going Forward)

Adobe Creative Cloud: Date of Birth Mandatory, Lopsided Legal Agreement

Adobe Creative Cloud: Lopsided Legal Agreement

Adobe Creative Cloud: A Time-Wasting Chat

Adobe Creative Cloud: No Fair Warning Given for Upgrades

Adobe Creative Cloud: Why no ‘Buyout’ or Read-Only Option?

Adobe Creative Cloud: Reader Comments

Adobe Creative Cloud: The Main Point

Adobe Creative Cloud: Summary View

Adobe Creative Cloud: The “Toaster”

Adobe Creative Cloud: Activate/Deactivate and “Phone Home” License Check

And please…if you haven’t done so already, head on over to and sign the petition to get Adobe to offer us users a choice!!!

8 ways to flatter women using one light

May 15, 2013

8 ways to flatter women using one light

I often work outdoors with just the sun as my one light source or in very tight spaces, with little room for more than the model, me, the makeup artist, and one strobe. There are many wonderful ways you can use one light source to flatter the women you photograph, and it’s nice to have a handful of go-to lighting scenarios that are easy to execute, consistently reliable, and flattering to the majority of women. I have included eight looks that are just that, which I think are particularly useful for boudoir photography.

Mix it up and make it your own

The following scenarios are techniques that you can borrow to inspire your own work. Think of them like recipes and trust your inner artist to add, subtract, or tweak them to your taste.

Within each of these looks are many alternatives. With just this single light source, it’s possible to create a wide variety of looks, even with just slight adjustments. You can vary the height of the light, the angle of light, the distance of light to subject, the distance of camera to subject, the position of camera in relation to the subject, and your choice of accessories— not to mention changing your exposure settings, background color, her wardrobe color, and so on. Experiment with each lighting scenario, have a good time with it, and make it your own. Take it a step further and add your own creativity. You can also use these setups as a base and then start adding on additional lights if you like, such as a hair light, a second fill light, or a light pointed at the backdrop. But for me, simple is usually the way to go.

A couple of small but important technical details: All setups with strobes were at the lowest power, 2.3—about 30W. In most cases, a higher- or lower-wattage strobe could produce a very similar look, as would continuous lights. (Continuous lights are different from strobes in that they stay on all the time. For simplicity’s sake, I don’t cover those in this book, but you could easily do any of these lighting setups with continuous lights instead of a strobe.) Because describing it is nothing like seeing it, I’ve included demos at

What’s the story you want to tell?

When creating a lighting setup for a shot, I ask the following questions to help guide my decisions. The first is one I’ve emphasized previously: What is the story I want to convey and what is my focus? Is it her facial expression, the curves of her body, her clothes, the setting? Which lighting setup will help me communicate that and pinpoint the focus there? And most important: Is it flattering to the subject? Do we want to enhance or de-emphasize certain body parts?

Keep these questions in mind as you read through the following lighting scenarios and consider how you would use each one with the women you would like to photograph.

1. Gorgeous backlighting

Shooting a subject backlit is one of my favorite techniques and is an extremely easy setup. Whether using the sun as the main source or an artificial light, this scenario is great for flattering women of all body types and for creating a striking image with a feeling of luminosity and joyfulness. When shooting indoors and only with natural light, I place my subject in front of a window (the main light source), and then make a few different choices depending on the following:

If my model is modest, I like to try a few shots placing her behind sheer fabric or sheer curtains, so she feels and appears less exposed, as we discussed in the “Styling” chapter of the book.

Then I decide whether or not to add one or two large white reflectors just to the side and in front of her to act as fill light, depending on my focus and the amount of light in the room. For Figure 1, I did not use a reflector since the available light in the room was enough and what I’m focusing on here is her form, not necessarily her face or catch lights in her eyes.

Figure 1. By overexposing this image, we blow out the outer edge of this young woman’s belly, back, bum, arms, and upper thighs, giving her an even slimmer appearance.
50mm lens, ISO 100, f/2.2, 50 sec.

You can also experiment with the model in front of the sheers (Figure 2). Here, since we see her face and the room was fairly dark, I did use a reflector just to the side and front of her to bounce light back onto her body and face (Figure 2).

Figure 2. This behind-the-scenes shot shows the placement of my two reflectors used together and how close they are to the model.

Finally, I consider my model’s modesty level as well as what she loves about her body and adjust my exposure accordingly. By varying exposure, we can control how much of the model’s body we see or don’t see. If your subject is modest or unsure about how much nudity is too much for her, you can give her a few options by capturing this shot at different exposure levels. You can see nothing but a silhouette by underexposing, her entire body by overexposing, and every level in between.

There are two additional benefits to overexposing. First, you can blow out unattractive or distracting backgrounds. Second, you can give her a slimmer appearance if she so desires by blowing out the edges of her body, as in Figure 1, so its outer edge cannot be detected.


  • 42 x 72-inch and 42 x 42-inch white reflectors (Figure 1)
  • Multiboom light stand (Figure 1)

2. Sultry, low-contrast lighting

For this setup, I wanted a subtle look and sensual mood, so I went for a low-contrast, low-light effect, something seductive that will flatter the woman who wishes to de-emphasize certain body parts, such as her stomach, arms, waist, chin, or even legs, depending on how you position her (Figure 3).

Figure 3. Whether your subject is standing or sitting makes a significant difference in how much light hits her legs. Here. I have her slightly seated to push her legs forward toward the light, since she loves her legs.
50mm lens, ISO 200, f/2. 160 sec.

For this look, I placed a single strobe fitted with a medium softbox overhead and a large white reflector about a foot away from the model and slightly to the side (Figure 4). The reflector is just enough to cast a soft, even light across her whole body. Set your camera to underexpose by a couple stops, and you’ve got a beautiful shot with sensual mystique.

Figure 4. You can see just how close the reflector and light are to the subject.

You can experiment with this setup by adjusting her proximity to the light (Figure 5). Inching your subject forward or back a few inches dramatically affects the result, and the reflector adds just a bit more information to evenly light her body so you don’t get a disconnect. Her tummy and back of arms are hidden, disappearing into the shadow. You can further experiment if you’d like to see more of your model’s body outline by choosing a lighter backdrop, lighting the backdrop, selecting lighter colored clothing, or increasing your exposure.

Figure 5. It’s important to make sure your model doesn’t end up directly under the light, in which case the light would be strong and entirely on her head, blocking the light from reaching her body.


  • Elinchrom BXRi 500W Strobe
  • Elinchrom 27 x 27-inch Rotalux Softbox
  • Elinchrom Skyport Speed Transmitter
  • 42 x 72-inch white reflector
  • Two multiboom light stands
  • Black muslin backdrop

3. Simple, slimming short lighting

Short lighting and its opposite technique, broad lighting, are excellent techniques to flatter faces and bodies by creating the appearance that they are either narrower or wider, respectively, than they truly are. Short lighting occurs when the main light illuminates the side of the face or body furthest from the camera, which means that the majority of the subject’s face or body is in shadow (the side closest to camera), thus giving the appearance of a slimmer face or body (Figure 6). Broad lighting is the exact opposite, where the majority of the subject’s body is in brighter light, creating the appearance of a wider body. So just by choosing which side to photograph your subject from and which side of the light to place her on, you can affect how wide or narrow she appears.

Figure 6. This curvy gal’s face and body appear slimmer with a classic short-lighting setup.
85mm lens, ISO 400, f/2, 80 sec.

When shooting indoors and shooting with natural light, my subject is positioned to the side of a window (the main light source) with black muslin behind her, either taped to the wall or on a background stand (Figure 7).


  • Black muslin backdrop
  • Household fan
Figure 7. Vary your subject-to-light distance according to how strong the light is and whether or not you have diffusing material. I like to start about six feet from the window and then tweak it from there.

4. Full-length flattering lighting

For more fashion-style boudoir and full-length portraits, I love the ease of a big Octabox. Placing your main light slightly above eye level, angled down, and just off to the side in front of your model is my preferred position (Figure 8) to add a touch of shadow and dimension to her body and create a pleasing shadow under her chin (Figure 9). Placing the fan directly under the light will create wonderful movement in her hair and clothes (if she’s wearing any).

Figure 8. The fan and the Octabox are as close as possible to being directly in front of the model without getting in me shot.

Since we were shooting a full-body shot in Figure 9, we chose the 53-inch Octabox, which creates some of the softest and most beautiful light. This is plenty to light a full-length subject as well as the background if you bring your model close enough to the backdrop. Here, the model is about four feet from the background (Figure 10).

Figure 9. This is a flattering look that works well with almost everyone.
50mm lens, ISO 200, f/2, 160 sec.


  • Elinchrom BXRi 500W Strobe
  • Elinchrom 53-inch Rotalux Octabox
  • Elinchrom Skyport Speed Transmitter
  • Multiboom light stands
  • Gray seamless backdrop
Figure 10. This behind-the-scenes show shows how high the light is and its slight downward angle, as well as the low angle I shoot from to flatter full-length bodies.

5. Side lighting to dramatically enhance or reduce curves

This dramatic look is extremely flattering to body conscious women, whether they are looking to create curves or de-emphasize them. By placing the light source directly to the side of the subject (and either slightly in front of or behind her) and moving yourself on an arc in front of or opposite to the light (Figure 11), you can create a number of looks. (See chapter 6 of my book for examples).

Figure 11. This diagram shows the arc that you can position yourself along to have either more or less of your subject’s body fall into shadow.

The 3 biggest lighting mistakes and how to avoid them

The biggest mistake my students make in terms of lighting is neglecting to pay attention to how the light is falling on the model’s face. Make sure you know where your main light source is and that, in particular, it does not fall below her face, which casts very unattractive shadows I call “horror lighting.” Light her intentionally. Any shadows should be “drawn” for a reason, and make sure that if your assistant is holding the reflector, she doesn’t inadvertently lower the reflector as her arms tire, causing the fill light to come from below your subject’s eye level.

Another misstep I often see is that the subject is lit so flatly that there are no pleasing shadows creating interest, depth, or flattering curves. Make sure you angle yourself or your light to create some depth with shadows, and experiment with not using a fill light, unless a flat look is what you are intentionally going for.

Lastly, some students become so preoccupied and distracted by their lighting equipment that they forget to engage with their subject, resulting in a moment that lacks interest. Keep in mind that connection with your subject takes priority; it shouldn’t be sacrificed to fiddle with gear. Find your best light, tweak it, and then practice bringing your focus and attention to creating a rapport with your subject. Gently remind yourself of this throughout the shoot.

6. Sexy noir lighting

The deep shadows and strong highlights of film noir are a natural fit for boudoir photography. This look is a fun one for women looking to evoke a certain era or who love the extreme chiaroscuro look and drama of the darkest blacks and lightest whites (Figure 12).

Figure 12. I kept the model bright and the background dark without blowing everything out by exposing for her fair skin.
50mm lens (with .9 neutral density filter), ISO 200, f/2, 160 sec.

While there are a multitude of ways to create this look with other equipment, I thought it would be great to show this setup using the same gear we’ve being using for the rest of this chapter. Using the medium softbox off to a 45-degree angle, we aimed it at our model. To narrow the light and keep it from spilling onto the backdrop, except where we desired, we put two flags in front of the light (Figure 13).

Figure 13. This behind-the-scenes photo shows how close together the flags are (only a couple of inches apart).


  • Elinchrom BXRi 500W Strobe
  • Elinchrom 27 x 27-inch Rotalux Softbox
  • Elinchrom Skyport Speed Transmitter
  • Multiboom light stand
  • Two flats used as flags Gray seamless backdrop

7. Universally flattering clamshell lighting

Clamshell lighting is very popular for beauty closeups; it’s super easy and simple, and it flatters everyone. The main light is raised above the model and angled 45 degrees downward, and the silver reflector acting as fill light is at her waist level, angled 45 degrees upward (Figure 14), which looks like a clamshell from the side.

Figure 14. You can see how the reflector is positioned on her lap.

This is a quick, no-fuss setup. The light is soft and wrapping, great for women of all ages. You can do this with an umbrella, a beauty dish, or even natural light. It’s a good trick to reduce the appearance of blemishes, under-eye shadows, or bags, as you can see in (Figure 15). You still see light shadows, which I love, but they are so subtle, and this woman seems to glow from within.

Figure 15. The silver reflector eliminates deep shadows, creating a luminous glow.
50mm lens, ISO 200, f/2, 160 sec.

Just make sure your subject doesn’t lean too far into the shot, or she will be more lit by the silver reflector, which will create that upward unflattering horror effect—not good on anyone! You want to make sure the top light is brighter than the lower fill.


  • Elinchrom BXRi 500W Strobe
  • Elinchrom 27 x 27-inch Rotalux Softbox
  • Elinchrom Skyport Speed Transmitter
  • Multiboom light stand
  • Gray seamless backdrop 42 x 72-inch silver reflector

8. Seductive and flattering feathering

I love the look and mystery of a form disappearing into the background. This is another technique to flatter women of any size, since you can’t see where the body ends (Figure 16). It just disappears into luscious shadow. Place the light with softbox on a 45-degree angle from the model and turn the softbox away from the subject so she is lit only by the edges, where the softest light is. This technique is called feathering the light and provides a supersoft, even light. You will likely have to place a flag between the light and the background (Figure 17) so the light doesn’t spill onto the backdrop, especially if you are using a larger softbox.

Figure 16. The light is soft and gradually falls off into shadow.
50mm lens, ISO 200, f/2, 160 sec.


  • Elinchrom BXRi 500W Strobe
  • Elinchrom 27 x 27-inch Rotalux Softbox
  • Elinchrom Skyport Speed Transmitter
  • Multiboom light stand
  • Black muslin backdrop
  • 42 x 72-inch black reflector used as a flag
Figure 17. The softbox is aimed almost entirely at the background and away from the subject.

originally posted on Model Mayhem
i think one can adapt using these setups using any type of light, so just try them see what happens.

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