What Makes a Good Glamour Photograph?

“It’s not about seducing men, it’s about embracing womanhood.”—Dita Von Teese

Glamour photo-graphy has its roots in the pin-up or cheese-cake of the 1940’s but over time evolved. At one end of the spectrum there’s boudoir photo-graphy practiced by many shooters and includes the kind of sexy photographs wives and girlfriends give their significant others for Valentines Day.

On the other hand, there is photography that varies from explicit to fine art. Deciphering the nuances  means you’re dancing on the  edge between portrait or figure photography genres but, I think that, any successful glamour photograph should include most of the following elements.

  • Sexiness. Glamour photography focuses on the depiction of a subject with a strong emphasis on sensuality with today’s trends leaning toward a more natural look.
  • Technique: In pursuit of the ultimate glamour image photographers use make-up, camera and lighting techniques to produce an appealing and sometimes romanticized vision of the model. While some photographers prefer gritty realism, put me in the idealized camp.
  • Sharp focus? Some glamour photographers prefer crisply rendered images, while others, like me, like to add touch of softness in the digital darkroom. It’s up to you because ultimately it all comes down to the…
  • Subject: Casting the right subject and having rapport with her helps create the uniquely collaborative effort involved in glamour photography. She must be comfortable being photographed and it’s the photographer’s job to make sure the subject is relaxed because it will make the session go smoothly and let both of you create the best possible glamour images.

Gear used for the above intimate portrait of Pamela Simpson: Olympus E-M10 Mark I, M. Zuiko 45mm f/1.8 lens, exposure 1/125 sec at f/8 and ISO 250.

Joe Farace's Glamour Photography bookIf you want to read more about the subject of glamour photography, pick up a copy of my book “Joe Farace’s Glamour Photography.” As I write this, new copies are selling on Amazon for $18.84 (plus shipping) with used copies available for the bargain price of $10.22.

Author: Joe Farace

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