Essential Beginner’s Tips for Photographing Portrait Subjects Laying Down

If you’re into more sensual portraiture,  you most likely know that every photographer tends to use shapes, lines, and colors to appeal to someone’s eyes. You probably see this kind of work amongst lots of #instafamous photographers–but there are ways to make it look less tacky and more about balancing the beauty of your subjects and the artistic features in photography. These can be done with any body shape and are really popular with boudoir photography.

Work With the Natural Shape

Model: Natalie Margiotta

The portrait subjects who are typically photographed laying down these days are women. One of the biggest and best ways to start with working with women has to do with looking at their specific shape. Artistic photography is honestly all about working with shapes and finding a way to photograph a feeling rather than just an excellent subject. When photographing women, one of the best things you can do is find a way to accentuate their natural shape. Before you even start, also ensure that their clothing works well for something like this.

Artistically speaking, think of it also as working with a bodyscape by playing with the ideas of lines, slopes, hills, etc. Sounds crazy? Photographers have been doing it for years with very happy clients.

If you’re photographing in a less well lit scenario, then I really recommend finding a way to play with the tones and colors in addition the shapes we were just talking about. One of the best ways to do this is to start with black and white against a fairly neutral/non-clashing background of some sort.

Pro tip: ALWAYS ASK IF A SUBJECT IS COMFORTABLE DOING SOMETHING! DON’T ORDER ANYONE AROUND! YOU’RE NOT THEIR BOSS!

Here’s another example of how you can do that. See how the only major tones are white, black and some shades of grays?

Have Them Arch in Specific Ways to Create a Flattering Contour

Notice how we’ve been talking about shapes and tones a lot? Let’s add to that:

  • Notice how the images of the more flatter lying women were shot from above to work with their shapes?
  • And notice how the women shot at eye level are slightly turned in one way or another?

Well that’s the point here. No matter what, you want to keep and create interesting shapes for the eyes to move around the scene with.

The best thing: these tricks work with every single body type!

Shoot From Way Above or on Eye Level

Lastly, we’re talking about angles. Notice how, when you shoot from a above, you find a way to change the shapes. If I were shooting from eye level, the image probably wouldn’t be as flattering, so I’d need to turn my portrait subject to make it so.

Go ahead and try these out!