The “plug” for Christa Meola’s book, The Art of Boudoir Photography is “How to Create Stunning Photographs of Women.” Therein lies the difference between this book and many others of its ilk. Most are full of intimate images of glamorous, thin or voluptuous women, seldom do we see the “regular” woman.
As you can see by the image samples in this review, there is a bit of poetry even in her pictures: from selected close-ups to fully realized shots, she captures the beauty and the spirit of every woman she photographs.
“Lastly, I give heartfelt thanks to every woman showcased in this book,” she writes in the Acknowledgements, “who had the strength and courage to be vulnerable and share herself intimately with me. Thank you for bringing your body and spirit in front of my camera…”
With sections like “Models, Muses and Real Women,” Meola sets the stage for a journey into what it takes to create and realize wonderful images simply by relaxing and having fun. It makes little difference whether she is photographing the girl next door or a professional model, the setup stages are very similar. She is at her best coaxing a smile out of a very shy subject, or by enabling a woman to relax enough to exhibit some hidden sex appeal.
In “Real Women (non-models) and the Girl Next Door,” she tells us that the bulk of her business is made up of non-models, “those women who are not familiar with the fashion or modeling industries and are not pursuing a modeling career.” She adds that with this group it is very satisfying to be able to “create a transformative experience,” that allows them to feel sexy, desirable, beautiful, and sensual.
There are enough tips and techniques sprinkled throughout this book that it would be well worth its price just to are before and after examples, do and don’t scenarios, and practical tips for male photographers, as well as post-processing secrets for Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom.
There are enough illustrations, including graphics of lighting setups and before and after pictures, to leave little to doubt for your first or latest boudoir session, and enable you to have the confidence to be successful.
Chapter titles: Working With Women, Creating Sensual Movement, Posing to Make Your Subject Shine, Telling a Story With Styling, A Minimalist’s Approach to Equipment, Creating Light That Flatters, Capturing Beautiful Photographs, Finishing With a Light Touch in Post Production, Behind the Scenes With One Subject.
The last chapter, Behind the Scenes With One Subject, is where I would probably turn first to see what this book is all about. It will serve to enlighten and inform just about any photographer about where to begin and what the results should be once you go through this book. Meola takes us through each step of the process by picking out a subject through her blog, the interview process and phone call and then progressing through to the shoot. She takes a 40- year-old soccer mom/ teacher, with two kids and a demanding lifestyle.
The whole process was planned from beginning to end including wardrobe selection, music suggestions, mental attitude, time-frame, styling, etc. There was almost nothing left to chance. In the final shot (right), you can see how relaxed this overtaxed 21st century woman “isn’t!”
Granted, we all have or own styles, but we still need instruction and guidance. Some of us need to even have our hands held every once-in-a-while. Meola is there at every turn for guidance and suggestions.
From Amazon: “I actually found that this book had AMAZING tips on posing women in general – clothed or not clothed. Between ways to hold their bodies, position their hands, arms and what to look for in eye tracking and angles. I think this is a must just for posing and working with the female body. It’s easy to peruse and you don’t feel you have to read it cover to cover. Editing tips, helpful but not critical. Gloria
“Have been following her blog for quite some time, and when an online offer came through from her publisher, Peachpit/New Riders, I grabbed it in Kindle format. At about 270 pages, it’s a good one, and handy to have for the reader or photographer on the go. The author delves into how to work with women, how to flatter every size and shape, and how to bring out the best in every woman. In short, here you’ll find the fundamental posing, shooting and lighting techniques that each photographer can employ to capture truly stunning photographs.” John
“I actually found that this book had AMAZING tips on posing women in general – clothed or not clothed. Between ways to hold their bodies, position their hands, arms and what to look for in eye tracking and angles. I think this is a must just for posing and working with the female body. It’s easy to peruse and you don’t feel you have to read it cover to cover.” Molly
If you have any desire at all to photograph people, even if you aren’t interested in boudoir photography, The Art of Boudoir Photography will aid you in working with people, male or female.