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Glamour Photography Basics: 6 Tips for Stunning Glamour Portrait Photography

Posted by on in Glamour Photography
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From old-fashioned pinup to modern studio photography, glamour photography is back in fashion. Whether for an advertising campaign or a personal portfolio, being able to shoot glamour photos can help you expand your photographic career.

There’s far more to glamour photography than just lighting and poses. In this guide, we’ll share six tips to help you choose good locations, pick great outfits and makeup styles for your models and take amazing glamour photographs.

Teach your model the basic modeling poses

Before you start worrying about lighting or locations, it’s important to teach your model the basic poses of glamour modeling. With professional models, you’ll have little to worry about, but many amateurs may not know even basic poses.

While there’s no need to memorize hundreds of complicated poses, make sure you  and the model understand the basic poses that your shoot will revolve around. The type of shoot and location will determine which poses work and which don’t.

Don’t know which poses to start with? This list of 21 modeling poses is a great place to start. Pick about five poses to focus on and try to work your day down the list as you shoot.

While lighting and composition play a huge role in determining the outcome of your shoot, your interactions with the model matter far more. Help them strike the right pose during the shoot by providing useful feedback and guidance.

Learn the basics of lighting for glamour photography

Lighting plays a huge role in the look and feel of your photography. The wrong type of lighting for your location can turn an otherwise upbeat and playful collection into a moody, bleak and washed out set of photos.

Likewise, lighting that’s too soft and basic can take away the emotion in a dark or shadowy environment. Learning how to light your photo shoot well will help you and the model achieve the look you’re aiming for in your finished photos.

There are many different lighting arrangements for glamour photography, ranging from the simple and minimal to setups involving several lights, reflectors and white background materials.

Pick unique, interesting and dynamic locations

The right location can add as much visual appeal to your glamour photography as your skill as a photographer. Because of this, it’s important to learn how to choose locations that suit your photographic style, your theme and your model.

From grungy and industrial areas to classic pinup environments, the setting you’re shooting in will have a huge impact on your photos. Mix the wrong clothes, makeup and lighting to the wrong setting and you’ll seriously compromise your photos.

When you choose a location, you have to consider more than just its look – if it’s an outdoor location, you also have to be aware of light sources. In some cases, you may need to bring your own lighting to complement that offered by the location.

Make sure clothing, makeup and location match

Every aspect of glamour photography should complement another. From outfits to locations, make sure that all of the visual aspects of your photo shoot – things like makeup artistry, clothing and color schemes – are in sync with each other.

Some aspects of choosing complementary elements are obvious – for example, even a novice photographer knows that pinup-style clothing and dark, industrial settings don’t match. Others are more subtle and can require an expert’s opinion.

Makeup is one of the most frequently neglected aspects of glamour photography. A lot of models end up managing their own makeup during amateur shoots without a professional makeup artist on location.

This can result in sub-par photos, especially if makeup is an important part of your visual theme. To learn more about the importance of a makeup artist in your photo shoot, read our blog post on makeup designs and inspiration.

Learn how to use natural light to your advantage

A relaxed sexy young brunette woman or girl wearing a bikini sit

You don’t always need artificial lighting for glamour photography. Many of the best calendar and catalog photos are shot without any natural light, especially if natural environments factor into the shoot’s visual style.

By selecting the right location, time of day and camera settings (not to mention the right lens) for the shoot, you can turn your lack of lighting equipment into a serious advantage that produces unique, interesting images.

Practice the art of subtle editing in Photoshop

Side view of a casual male photo editor using graphics tablet in

Almost all of the photos you take during a glamour photography shoot will need to be edited before being published or added to a portfolio, either to fix exposure and color issues or simply to remove skin blemishes.

The key to retouching photos is to do as little as possible in order to achieve your desired look. Too much airbrushing and editing is obvious, even to the untrained eye of the average magazine reader or calendar viewer.

Keep any Photoshop editing – beyond the standard exposure, color and levels fixes – to a minimum. Focus on removing typical skin blemishes and lighting issues, and not on completely transforming the look of your model.

I'm a Melbourne based beauty, glamour and lifestyle photographer specializing in modeling portfolios. With a dark and moody approach to creativity and a penchant for the dramatic, my love for shooting beauty and glamour has allowed me to travel and work with professional and aspiring models across New Zealand and Australia.

Reggie Singh is a accomplished professional photographer, digital strategist and social media influencer based in Melbourne, Australia.