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Boudoir Photography

Lesson 20 of 28

Shoot: Creative Posing with Couples Part 1

Rachel Stephens

Boudoir Photography

Rachel Stephens

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Lesson Info

20. Shoot: Creative Posing with Couples Part 1

Lesson Info

Shoot: Creative Posing with Couples Part 1

All right, guys. You ready? Take deep breaths. All right, so we're just gonna talk for just a hot minute over here. Okay, So, um, what inspired you guys to be shot together? Facebook. So I mean, it kind of just happenstance that our good friend Stacy Mays Brooks, who you have shot in the past in Texas, posted a thing on Facebook that was like, Hey, they need models for this boudoir. Didn't even say boudoir just said photo shoot. So we kind of went into it unexpectedly. But, you know, it kind of was a happy accident that it was like, Oh, hey, we're doing this couple saying it's boudoir. So that's awesome. So we were, like, totally into it. And it was It was just history from there. So they're kind of open up a conversation between you guys in terms of like what you wanted to capture in your relationship with each other. I don't know that we've really had that conversation. We just kind of like, you know, joking around with each other while you're getting you know, your stuff together, g...

etting ideas together for looks. Well, I mean, kind of in the past week, we were like There's always those things on group on her Facebook are living social that are like, Hey, there's a boudoir photo shoot or whatever and I was like, I kind of feel like, Hey, what if I did one of those things and he's learned Won't mind that my girlfriend and on. And so when we have this opportunity arise, you're like, um, you know, I posted it on Facebook and I was like, Hey, Matt, let's do this thing And he was like, I'm down for that. And we started discuss outfits and was like, Oh, my God, do I have enough underwear on? And he was like, I don't have to go giving enough to the store this morning and more shorts, underwear, some things and then ended up not meeting. So I think the conversation that arose was mostly it was never a question. If it was just a question. How nice? Perfect. Yeah, And what that says to me is that you guys have a really strong relationship where you're both adventurous and you have a, you know, playful connection, which is really fun as a photographer to capture. So this is gonna be cake for me. Good way. Like attention? Yes, it. Okay, so let's get started. Great. Okay. So I am always losing my camera. Here we go. Thank you. So I think I'm gonna start with the 100. Thank you. And I'm gonna go ahead and I'm going to start with both lights. Yeah, you have them kind of the lights, like flanking them. So typically, I will shoot with one light, but sometimes with a couple, I'll bring the second light. And just with that extra person. So let's go ahead. And de robe, Pacific Northwest. Uh, tan. Yeah, that's it's like an Irish tan. I mean, a number. Yeah. Perfect. Thank you. Yeah, Yeah, I'm growing. Quite fond of you. Might take her was pack you in my bag. Let me check. Old can't help them. I tested it right. Seems like a bolds in. Did it turn on earlier yet? Remember I said keep it simple, stupid. Not plugged in. It just needed to pop back. Yeah, perfect. Thank you so much. You look gorgeous. No, this None of that feeling. Okay, so let's have you guys go chest to chest. So actually, what they're doing right now. is something that I have clients do all the time. What's I get composed, I'll say. Okay, now I want you guys to look at each other, and I'll just awkwardly sit back while they're looking at each other until they start to laugh. Then you capture those awesome laughing shots. So go ahead and hold hands. I like how you guys went, and I like how you guys went nose to nose. We? Yeah. You can't. You can't have any fun. Okay, now you're gonna turn your heads towards me, and you're gonna kind of come temple the temple. Perfect. I don't remember. Please. And you're gonna turn your face for me. I'm the absolute worst person with names, but one more time. Okay, So temple temple a little bit more And, Molly, keep your head Turn this way a little bit You're gonna bring roll your shoulder forward a little bit. Perfect. And you're just gonna roll your shoulder tiny. But forward, Matt. There you go, gorgeous. Now what I want. So since it's Valentine's Day since it's Valentine's Day, I would like to highlight one of the poses that I do it. I call it the Super cheese pose. And people are always like Okay, well, I'll do it. But they always buy it, too. Okay, so you guys are gonna bring your hands around the other shoulder's. So now your arms make a heart. Ah, So you're gonna roll your shoulders in just a bit. There you go. And you're gonna come in temple the temple again, and go ahead and bend that outside me and for me and turn your head out this way, Molly. Just a little bit beautiful. Hold that, guys. And instead of the hand up, like here, just gonna go ahead and you're gonna wrap your hand right around her shoulder on the top. Like this. Like this and then yeah, and try to kind of just relax your hand a little bit. So we're not It doesn't feel awkward. You're gonna wrap your hand around his shoulder here. Perfect. Hold that and turn your head. This will only please. Perfect. Beautiful. Okay, so, you know, for this one, I'm just gonna have you scoot, like, kind of just Do you, Matt, you're just gonna kind of squat just a little bit, and then you're gonna you're gonna take your right hand and bring it around the back of his head. Yes, And you're gonna arch in like this, and you're gonna kind of like liquor presenting your throat to him. And you're gonna tell your head to the left and you're gonna come in. You're gonna give her throat a little kiss. Part your lips. Molly, hold it, Hold it. Hold it. Cause I enjoy making people hold off awkward poses. Stand by. Okay, Perfect. All right. So now I'm gonna have you guys dio I like what you're doing right now. Actually, it's have you hold around each other's hips. You can just go ahead and slide your hand into his pocket. So, as far as like the male, um, the man goes when I shoot couples, I will do shirtless, but I won't do anything else. The women could go all the way, Newt if she wants. But the guy has to say in jeans that is my personal boundary. I've had couples request more nudity than that, and just personally for me, I'm not going to do that. Typically with a couple sessions. Sometimes they tend to get a little into it. And I don't need to see that. So let's have you put, like, kind of hook your thumb so your fingers are out, like like, the other way. So your fingers air out of his pocket. Perfect. Yeah. Yeah. Perfect. And then you're gonna you're gonna arch like this. So booty back and your chest in towards him. Perfect. And you're gonna come till your head in this way, gorgeous. So I like it toward the hand placement. I just want you to, like, let your hand come down. You're kind of like cupping her, but there you go. Beautiful. It's okay to smile. You guys are smiley people, right? That's gorgeous. Beautiful. Yes. Okay. Look at each other for me. A little kiss, but don't actually touch lips. Sunset of puckering. You're gonna come in like this, like, lips parted like you're gonna come in like that. Let's have you lift your chin just a little bit more towards him and lean in toward some more. Lean in a little more. More, More, more, more, more, more, more. Okay, one more time. If we say okay. If we get a little lipstick on and we can fix it, lift up. Just okay, let's go ahead and touch bottom lips. Beautiful. All right, so I'm not gonna have you guys look, So what we're gonna do is you're gonna be looking over his shoulder at me. So you're gonna be looking that way you're gonna turn this way, but But you're gonna keep Yeah, exactly. Perfect. And you're gonna be just looking at her, not. And then you're gonna be leaning in looking over. Yeah. Perfect. Let's have you kind of there. Yeah, and just tiptoe a little bit, and then you're gonna lean out this way, come in to kind of pull his shoulder into their It is perfect. Tilt your head back this way and kind of let your eyes drift towards him. Put your lives eyes right to me. Beautiful. Okay, both of you, turn your heads towards me. Okay, So now I'm gonna have you guys dio like, how suggestive can this poses be? You go out. You guys couldn't hear that? Our producer Brian just said keep going. And when it goes too far, we'll let you know. Okay. That's why we love Brian. What? I'm gonna have you have you just stand there facing me, and I'm gonna have you in facing him chest to chest, and you're going to stand. You're gonna cross your ankles like this. You're gonna put your arms over shoulders, and you're gonna come up like this. So you're really hinging from the lower back, So booty back boobs forward, you're gonna come. You're gonna grab her hips. You gonna grab it like you own that. So, typically, that little instruction that I dio I do that really, like really close on the front. And especially when the guy like does not want to be there. He's just like, Oh, my God. When is it gonna be over? As soon as I do that they always, like, just start laughing and melt away like Okay, this is gonna be fun. Like, this is this is gonna be okay. So really, it's just helping him objectify his lady in a playful way. So a little lower on the hips? No, lower on the hips. Try not to kneel on chords, and there you go up on the tiptoes, kick your hips to the left, getting your calf workout. Take your hips to the left. Okay. You're gonna do that same thing that you guys are gonna turn sideways towards me. So you're not gonna cross your ankles, though. But your feet are going to be together. You to come up on your tiptoes on the leg closest to me. You're gonna kick it back like this. You bring the knee in there you go instead of leading away. You want to lean in perfect a pie on those tiptoes. Can't try to come forehead to forehead, both of you labeling in this way. But don't go back. Come forward, Molly. There it is. Perfect. And booty back one more time and let's bring the knee forward. I really just kind of bring that shoulder and give me a playful expression. You're like, beautiful. Hold that. Hold that. Okay, Nice. Okay. So also, what I do when I'm posing couples, But obviously we don't have it here. I'm like, in a living rooms environment. I'll sit the, um I'll sit. The guy in the couch just haven't, like, chill out. And then I'll have the lady in front, and I'll have them probably about very 4 to 5 feet away from each other and all pose her facing me. Kind of like doing this kind of stuff and all focus on her, and I'm throwing it back at 1.2. So everything behind hers and Boki. And so he doesn't have to worry about posing, but he is enjoying the view. Rachel, do you think you could demonstrate that by having them sit on the edge of the bed or would it not really? Bring the chair out. We have a chair over here. We could do that for sure. Sounds like a cool post. I just want to see it myself. That please. I think for this one of the need to 50. Otherwise I'll have to go. Thanks, my lady. As you wish. So let's have you scooch. I wish I had, like, a bunch of ones, like a throw and make it right right now. Okay, So I'm gonna have you kind of scoot off to the side just a little bit. And they were having turn your chair this way. Not too much. Just a little bit. There you go. And then just kind of like chill. I know. Have you come this way? Just a little right there. Stop that. It's gonna relight. Okay, So we're gonna have you since we've got the retro Look, We're going to kind of do some playful poses to go step in front like this, which I made it. Let's try the other way. What feels comfortable That feel a little more comfortable. Okay, so you're just gonna point the top, the front toe and this hand, You're gonna come here like you're pulling off the strap. Exactly. And you're gonna arch the booty back like this on the chin. And yes, exactly. Chin comes down a little bit and relax the the cords in your neck. Perfect. So again, I'm at my settings, and I am changing. My, um my shutter speed you can write wrote. Yeah, we don't need it burning. Perfect. Perfect. Hold that. So, typically, I won't have a backdrop, so I wouldn't have to worry about, but I'm just shooting the pose. How I would normally shoot. I'm not worrying about the backdrop, bars and stuff. Okay, your turn to the side, and you're gonna kind of just so you can turn so you can look back at him and let's have the Scripture chair up just a little bit. Perfect. Now you stand like this, you're gonna come up and just kind of arch back like that. Let's go ahead and pull the the strap off the shoulder and looked back at him. Roll your shoulder forward. Let's put this hand up in the hair like that and kind of fluff it. Look back at him. I want you to slowly looked back at me eyes. So when you can bring that shoulder in their arch that booty back Perfect. Nice. I beautiful Hold that. So with the retro look, I do love have two lights if I can, because the whole way that they used to light that was with lots of lots of light. And even though I'm shooting white open, I can put my cheddar speed as high as I want. Like up to 8000 if I need to. So I don't have to worry about that. I can still preserve my style of shooting where I shoot wide open with all that blur. Do you guys want to do some stuff on the bed? Okay. So weakened dio you and Panies but topless. And then you can just stay how you are. But if you want to go with her and help her or just keep her company while she changes. And all field some questions while you guys were getting ready. This is so great. Everyone is so happy to see it. And by the way, we love the couple. Everyone loves this couple. It's like you guys are like the perfect couple for this so little cheeky little cheek. So what is this? Is this kind of representative of what you usually do? Is the more playful or do you tend to go? The more sexy, the more sensual? Or do you just read the couple? I read the couple, but I will always kind of like sex up the poses on the bed, but with the stuff that we're doing, like typically, what I do is I'll shoot out in the living room parlor section first, and then I'll move into the bedroom. So as far when when I'm shooting a couple in that way, he's like, kind of like a background element or a prop a lot. So we don't do a whole lot of portrait's what I did on the bed. I mean, here with the with the arms. I usually do that on the bed, but I didn't want the brick behind us. So I did. I really like this backdrop for that. So that's why I did it there. Um And then once we get on the bed, you know there's their stuff where he could be kind of like playing against the headboard, and I'm posing her and some of the signature poses that I do, and he's just kind of back there, um also demonstrate, uh, when you're when you're I'll explain when you're interacting with a couple of your posing a couple hand placement is very important. So, for example, if I have ah, girl laying on the floor and I've let's say I've shot her like we just did where he She's up here and he's blurred in the background, sitting down. Then I'll move her to him, and I'll have her lay on the floor on her back and put her feet up in his lab. And then we'll have her kind of arching back and all shoot, so we only really see from maybe here maybe just his legs, but he's got his hand like grabbing her ankle, and I'll joke around around with him, too, and I'm like this day doesn't suck, does it? And he'll laugh and I'll be like, Now, let's let's, you know, hold on truly, like, grab like look how hot she looks like. Let's own that look. That's mine. And then you get him laughing and you know, it's just all about being playful and, you know, you can tell a few dirty jokes and just get the couple into It s so they they know it's not this stiff thing that they can have fun and and interact with each other having normally would. Well, I think it's a kind of just a follow on from your strategy everywhere else. Which is, to be honest, like this is gonna be fun for him. You know exactly what I'm seeing her like this. So why pretend otherwise? Embrace it, acknowledge it and go with it. That's what I saw you doing with them. Yeah, I was like, Yeah, this is a good day, right? Yeah, exactly. Exactly. So. I mean, his lady looks hot, you know? Let's have some fun with bed. Absolutely. Yeah, because most of time, when couples coming, the guy's not coming in for himself. It's all about the lady and I shoot female centric anyway, and I've never had anyone complain that well, my husband didn't get enough time, you know, e any quick questions here in our studio audience? I think just the one question that I haven't hear that I think you just answered with all the different descriptions was about when you have a man whose shorter than a woman what I heard from you. A lot of those poses would work in that scenario. Definitely, absolutely. And I and I have done that, too. But typically, when you have a couple where the man is shorter, neither one of them cares exactly. So I'm not going. Teoh put any kind of perceived notion onto a couple as a shooter. I'm I'm reading them. If he's kind of like if he keeps kind of going like this, like, then I know it's an issue for him or if he makes a comment that you know, you're so tall. I mean, you read your couple, you know, but I'm not gonna go in just assuming his shorter. So I need to make him look taller, because for some reason, that's more manly, right? Yeah, And one more. Just very quickly from April, Lane says. How do you ensure that your couples don't get too into it and make it awkward or inappropriate? So if you're in the middle of this session and they start enjoying it, what do you do? I had to ask people to leave before it does. It has happened, especially for like, you know, I don't think that many people when they're having their baby shot there drinking. So a lot of people, lot of people like to kind of like, take the edge off by having a drink. Um, I don't say they can. I don't say they can't. They don't offer it. But sometimes people drink and they start to kind of, you know, get inappropriate like, Oh, we don't shoot that Calm down. I would be like, Whoa, Nellie, I'll try to like, make it light and fun. But if they keep pushing it, I'll say I'm feeling uncomfortable and I think that the session's over now

Class Description

Becoming a successful boudoir photographer is all about making your client feel confident and beautiful. How else can you expect them to relax, overcome any shyness about their body, and follow your specific posing directions? Boudoir photography is a delicate, intimate art that takes time to hone. Join Rachel Stephens for a three-day course that will cover everything from gear to lighting to posing — and show you how to build a thriving boudoir business in any market.

Drawing on over a decade of experience as a boudoir photographer, Rachel will share the shooting, marketing, and communication techniques that she used to to build a luxury boudoir business from scratch. Rachel will start by showing you step-by-step how to create an amazing high-end experience for your client — from the first contact to the final portfolio. Rachel will also arm you with a plan to efficiently scale your customer service into a national outreach program including strategic multi-city tours.

If you are new to boudoir photography, or want to learn how to make an existing glamour or boudoir business thrive, you won’t want to miss this hands-on, comprehensive course.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Client Policy

Example: 2 Day Schedule

Lightroom Presets

Lightroom Presets Installation Instructions

Client Session Information

Full Edit & Longhand Retouch Partt 1

Full Edit & Longhand Retouch Part 2

Full Edit & Longhand Retouch Part 3

Longhand Retouch Part 1

Longhand Retouch Part 2


Facebook Ad Creation

Full Edit in Lightroom

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

Related Classes


a Creativelive Student

Let me first start off by saying that Rachel puts her subject first. She has a passion for empowering the everyday woman, showing them that Boudoir photography by no means only belongs to the "supermodels". She shows them that they're amazing and beautiful, and it was so comforting and heartwarming to see this in action in her Creative Live course! When Rachel's shooting with a client it's almost like no-one's in the room but the two of them. Rachel gives her undivided attention to the client's safety and well-being and general comfort. I was so glad I tuned in for the course as I learnt countless tips and techniques about lighting, angles, posing, different settings for the different types of shots you'd want to grab. Another reason that watching the class was such a pleasure for me is that Rachel comes across as that awesome, down to earth, lovely friend you might have in your life, who just happens to be one of the BEST Boudoir photogs on the planet! This was an excellent workshop, top to bottom, and I'd recommend purchasing it to anyone who wants to learn everything about this type of photography, including the business side of things which her husband, Sean, explained thoroughly. I have absolutely no idea what a couple reviewers were "disappointed with" but take it from me - this is a STELLAR course and if you're looking to get into the business, or just even honing your skills on photographing the ladies, this is most definitely the course for you! Tons of info - great guidelines on how to handle your models, great info on lighting, lenses and settings! Rachel will make you fall in love with Boudoir photography like your life depended on it! She's just THAT good! So go on, purchase the course and have her invaluable instruction at your fingertips whenever you need it!


I mainly photograph landscapes but I'm interested in learning other types of photography. Being introverted it's a challenge for me to photograph people but I it's a barrier I want to get over. I purchased this course and some others on portraiture and boudoir photography. While Rachel and her husband aren't polished speakers I thought they were honest and straightforward. The "clients" being photographed seemed a bit nervous but I imagine that had a lot to do with the fact they were doing the boudoir session live in front of thousands if not millions of viewers. Rachel also had to keep in mind she was tethered and the recording of the session while photographing her client so I don't think this was optimal and Rachel's back began to bother her so I'm sure she was in some physical pain. Regardless, the resulting pictures were beautiful so Rachel was able to make her clients feel "safe" enough to get through the session. Also it seems part of the audience were women who had been photographed by Rachael so it says something that they came to learn from and support Rachel. I appreciated Rachel was photographing real women, not models. What I liked most about this course is it made me feel like little 'ol ordinary me could be a boudoir photographer too If I am ever inclined to do so. Her style of photography isn't quite mine, but the session was still useful and instructive especially with regard to her lighting set up. I wish Rachel had talked a bit more about setting up the support team that goes around with her like her make up and hair artists, how she finds and decides on houses to rent and what cities she goes to, etc. but I guess you can't go over every single thing in a single course or maybe that can be a future course. Rachel and her husband seemed like a nice down to earth couple who put their family first and they were quite honest about some of the difficulties and their concerns over safety for themselves and their clients. I was touched that Rachel photographs women who have gone through cancer treatment for free as I do volunteer work in a hospital. I thought the bonus and included materials which had Rachel's Lightroom presets and her client info packet was very generous. Some of the other photographers charge for getting a copy of their client documents and presets. I purchased Rachel's eBook off Amazon and wanted to purchase Rachel's Photoshop actions but in searching for the purchase links I read Rachel is going through some health issues, I think it was spinal fusion, and it seems has suspended her business until she recovers. It looks like she plans to still make her "return" sessions starting with Hawaii during April 2017. I wish her and her family the best and will say a prayer for her quick and complete recovery. Thank you Rachel and Sean for coming to Creative Live and I hope you will teach another class or at least participate in a critique of boudoir photographs.


Warning: You are about to encounter a large number of exclamation points. ;-) This was such a great course! It was great to learn boudoir with such a caring, generous, and knowledgeable pair! Rachel really brought it with her posing, shooting, and building rapport with her clients. She even kept going while in intense pain! Also, the sections on retouching were EXCELLENT! I had trouble following the first retouching segment where she used her actions, but then she came back to retouching later and showed us how to do each step "longhand". Knowing what each action is designed for makes such a difference! I feel like Rachel read the audience and saw that we were floundering, and tailored her presentation to just what we needed! Sean was also very thorough in his presentation of the "business" side. It is hard, as an artist, for me to run my business like a business. Sean showed how it can be done. He also showed the need for a strong "why" to focus on when telling others about policies. "It's a business. I need to feed my kids." I need to reach down and find my "why" that will keep me strong enough to stand behind my policies and pricing. I haven't gotten a chance to sit down and go through all of the bonus materials yet, but I am so excited to see what's in there! I saw that Rachel had posted a longhand version of the "little hug," and I watched it, and I have been trying it out on some of my older images. Just that one little tweak makes such a difference! Thank you, Rachel and Sean, for giving us SO MUCH usable content! I'm so glad I decided to watch and then purchase this course! And I can't wait to see the two of you again for your next creativeLIVE!