Why I Shoot Boudoir in Black & White

As a professional photographer, I view my work as art and I choose to shoot my Boudoir client sessions in Black & White. Why, you ask? Well let’s explain. First off, let’s look at the history of boudoir itself.

Boudoir History

Boudoir Photography, as described by Wikipedia is: a photographic style featuring intimate, sensual, romantic, and sometimes erotic images of its subjects in a photographic studio, bedroom or private dressing room environment, primarily intended for the private enjoyment of the subjects and their romantic partners.

That description, however, does not indicate if boudoir photos are in colour or black & white. 

Woman with curly hair laying on a fur rug for a Boudoir Photography Shoot in B&W

Colour photography started in the late 1800s so when the boudoir genre of photography got started in the 1920s, both options were available. If you look at old boudoir images you’ll find them in both black & white and colour. And today, you’ll find boudoir photographers creating their art in either and/or both. For me, I prefer boudoir photos in black & white and here’s why.

Beauty

In starting my Mateus Studios boudoir business after shooting weddings and Personal Branding Sessions for many years, my main goal was, and is, to empower women. Doing a boudoir session is a wonderful opportunity for a woman to see just how incredible she is. It’s an experience like no other to help build self esteem as women get to see and feel, just how beautiful they are. For many, they get to realize their badass’ness too!

Having said all that, I want my photos to focus entirely on the woman in front of the camera and nothing else. I opt to keep my set simple and clean, and I don’t want any distractions. With black and white photography, it’s easier to focus simply on the beautiful person. Her and just her.

Woman in white sweater for Boudoir Photography in B&W

Esthetic

There is something elegant about black and white photos that I absolutely love. Creatively, it’s so fun for me to see the lines, the shadows, play with the light, and fine tune all of the subtleties in making this art.

Woman wearing leather body harness for Boudoir Photography in B&W

And depending on what type of outfits my clients bring (lacey and racy, soft and demure etc), and the style of photos they’d like me to capture, I get to adjust to the softness, the boldness, the sexiness etc. Again though, regardless of what they’re wearing, the focus is all about them, and I feel that black & white images allow that focus, more so than full colour photos. That’s my opinion anyway.

Woman reclined on chair wearing lingerie for Boudoir Photography in B&W

Inspiration

I have always been inspired by old films, the black & white ones of course. Frederico Fellini movies are a fav of mine, and Alfred Hitchcock too. If you check out my Pinterest boards you’ll see images of women in black and white and each image is all about her. 

Woman in Fishnet Stockings for Boudoir Photography in B&W
Image of Ms. C

I’m inspired by women of the past and by every single woman who sets foot in my studio. She takes a chance on herself, she experiences vulnerability, and she gets to create a legacy of herself through these images that she can view now and for years to come. Ultimately, she gets to see herself in a different light and often explore different facets of herself that is so amazingly empowering. Every woman deserves to feel so good and I’m ever grateful that I get to be a part of this experience.

Colour

Now I will say that I do love colour photos. Have you seen my branding work? It’s FULL of colour! I won’t lie, I might even be tempted to edit some boudoir photos in colour in the near future. I’m excited for spring as I’m going to be offering outdoor sessions and I know all of the beauty of the season will make for beautiful backdrops, in colour! I wanted to answer this question here though, as I get asked it all the time!

If you want to be a part of making art that features beautiful YOU, contact me for your complimentary consultation!

Photos shared with permission.


Michele Mateus is a Vancouver Boudoir & Portrait Photographer located in Coquitlam, BC. Hair & Makeup By Jenny Valla.

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