DIY Boudoir Photos - The Perfect, Personal Christmas Gift Idea

If you're looking for an ultra-stylish and personal Christmas gift for your partner this year, then why not create your own DIY boudoir photo shoot and have the best image or two printed onto canvas? It's a lot cheaper than paying for a private shoot, it's perfect if you're a little shy and by printing the best of your images on canvas instead of a traditional photograph, your present will last much longer and look very classy hung on the bedroom wall.

To get some great boudoir images, you don't need lots of expensive kit, just a few hours and a bit of imagination. Here are our top tips for DIY boudoir photography:

Equipment

A digital SLR will take great photos if you have (or can borrow) one, but your average digital compact camera will do just as well. Use a tripod if you have one, but you can improvise if not; you can use a table, chair, sturdy box or a stack of hardcover books - or more likely, a variety of these as you play around with different heights and angles.

If you're going to invest in any one piece of equipment, then consider getting a remote control trigger. This will allow you to take multiple shots without getting up to reset the timer between each one - you can pick a remote trigger up for as little as £10 if you're not worried about it lasting forever.

If you don't have a remote trigger, then set the camera into position and use the timer function - place something on the 'set' in your place and hold the button down halfway so it will be focused on the right spot. Then press to go, move your focus object, get into shot and wait for the camera to do its work. Don't smile or don your intended expression straight away, wait for the timer flash to speed up, as this indicates it's about to take the shot - if you pose too quickly, your expression or smile won't look natural.

Location

Don't assume your photos have to be taken in the bedroom - choose the best useable room in terms of natural light. A through-lounge or conservatories are great options as there are plenty of windows to let the light in. You can use a quilt, pillow and sheets to create a makeshift bed or use a sofa or chair for your poses.

You can choose a plain background, patterned wallpaper or curtains to use as a backdrop - or pin a large, flat sheet to the wall if you don't want your decor to feature in the photos.
Think about what's going to be in shot once you start snapping - remove ornaments and anything that could create a distraction in the image.

Lighting

As we've already mentioned above, natural light works best as it provides softer results. If you can't work around daylight hours, then try using both the main ceiling light AND some lamps - the idea is to avoid using the flash function on your camera if at all possible, as flash photography can highlight blemishes and imperfections. Play around with the lighting - it's worth spending time to get it just right.

Styling

You want to dress (or undress!) to impress, so treat yourself to somethingthat makes you feel like a million dollars, such as a negligee or some new underwear. High heels will elongate your legs, or you can buy a beautiful silk throw to artfully drape over yourself. Also think about accessories; necklaces, earrings, hats, silky scarves or even one of your partner's ties.

For hair and make-up, think big night out and super glossy or bouncy locks that will reflect the light and give texture to the photo. Apply your make-up heavier than you usually would for a flawless finish - you can even follow an online tutorial to get that sultry, smokey eye look. If you're intending on printing your canvases in black and white, try some bold lipstick for definition.

Poses

This is really down to personal choice. You may want to try out some poses or look online for inspiration before you start. The most important thing is that you look relaxed and confident - and you can have lots of fun too, trying a variety of poses in lying, sitting and standing positions, until you've captured some photos that you feel happy with.

Post-production

Using either your computer's basic editing software, or a free online version, you can manipulate your images to get them ready for print. You can soften the colours, change your images to black and white, play around with colour balance or simply crop your photos to get the exact final result you want to have printed.