All images by Critsey Rowe of Couture Boudoir. Used with permission
Critsey Rowe of Couture Boudoir is the author of “Boudoir Photography- The Complete Guide To Shooting Intimate Portraits“. Critsey teaches boudoir workshops and seminars across the nation and abroad. She’s been featured in magazines, on television and on podcasts talking about her work. It goes without saying that she is a photographer that is well respected in the industry.
Critsey works with clients to create beautiful boudoir images that make them feel more confident about themselves and like many portrait shooters, she likes to tell a story about people. And when it comes to Bridal Boudoir Photography, each person has their own unique and specific story.
Phoblographer: Talk to us about how you got into photography.
Critsey: Not unlike many photographers, Photography has always been a passion of mine. I have always been a “photographer”…always the girl with a camera at parties and family affairs. I remember photographing my friends for fashion portraits in junior high and high school. I look back at those photos and laugh because they are so bad but at the time I thought I was big time. Thankfully I have grown so much in my craft since those days.
Phoblographer: What attracted you to portraits and how did that evolve into you starting out in boudoir photography?
Critsey: Portrait photography has always been my favorite genre of photography because it is capturing a person and showcasing something unique about them. Whether that is their serious side, their sensuality or their brilliant smile. There is always something unique about every person.
I evolved into boudoir photography through weddings before boudoir was popular. It actually started with bridal boudoir. As one of my brides was getting ready I took photos of her wearing her bridal lingerie. I shared one of the images on my blog and it grew from there. In the last few years the boudoir genre has exploded. Not only are brides opting to have sexy portraits taken but women from all walks of life.
Phoblographer: What do you personally think are essential pieces for a Bridal Boudoir shoot?
Critsey: Having the bride bring her wedding accessories such as veil, sash, shoes, jewelry, hair jewelry and other bridal accessories can make for stunning bridal inspired images. Some additional items would be anything that says “Bride” or “Mrs” such as panties, robe and/or tank. A mock bouquet or similar wedding day flowers can all be great props. White lingerie can also add a bridal appeal to the shoot.
Phoblographer: What are some of the best ideas that you think you and your clients have developed for a bridal boudoir shoot?
Critsey: It is a great idea to incorporate some of the groom’s items; his wedding day attire, his grooms gift, photos of the groom. I once had a client bring 30 8×10 photos of her groom to lay around her for one of her poses. I love when clients think outside of the box and want to do unique poses or incorporate unique props. I have a bridal boudoir shoot coming up where the client is bringing white angel wings because her groom calls her his “angel”. Discussing ideas with your clients is always helpful in creating something unique.
Phoblographer: Talk to us about retouching, you’ve got a section on your site that explains it and you seem to try to keep the images still very natural and true to their original form. What’s your philosophy when it comes to this type of stuff.
Critsey: I try to keep it simple and natural. I do get requests for more then I would typically do but most clients prefer a natural retouched look. Becoming a pro retoucher takes some time and a lot of photoshop hours but it is beneficial to keep things looking more natural when retouching skin. It is so worth it in this genre of photography because almost every client that contacts me has this as their first question: Do you offer retouching?
Phoblographer: How do you and your clients come up with specific ideas to make each shoot unique? We’ve noticed that there doesn’t at all seem to be lots of repetition in your work.
Critsey: I think each client is so different and I try to make their shoot unique to them. It also varies on what type of lingerie they bring to what poses we might do. The locations also play a big role in what type of shots I might get. If a room has huge windows I may do a lot more window posing and using the windows as my backdrop. If a room only has one small window I may use a blank wall for my backdrop and alternate posing.
Phoblographer: Pretty much all of your work seems to be done on location. What locations do you think make for great boudoir shoots?
Critsey: Yes, I shoot all on location in hotels, bed and breakfasts and clients’ homes. My favorite locations are the ones that have huge rooms or a suite. This is not always possible but the more space you have the more posing possibilities you will have. I choose my locations based on aesthetic and lighting. I love places that have lots of beautiful natural light because I like to do a diverse selection of lighting. I shoot part of the session with natural light and I also incorporate off camera flash and constant lights.