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Fine Art Boudoir Part III – Emotion Through Expressions

Let us get emotional

..shall we?

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Expressions and emotions go hand in hand, especially in boudoir. This is key to understand since many times we think of the “expression” as being in facial features only. Body language is an incredible way to convey emotion through the expression of the poses.


Dominating the Scene

Last month I spoke of the creative ways to create a fine art look. You can set the scene to perfection, only to have an epic fail from  range of expressions to work with.

One of my favorite books is by  Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Grey. The famous line “I don’t want to be at the mercy of my emotions. I want to use them, to enjoy them, and to dominate them”.

Just posing your client on a couch and clicking away will not create an image worthy of that price tag.  Convey the emotions by creating a story to tell your client.  They will then be able to immerse themselves into this feeling where the expressions will flow easily without fail. Learning to encode expressions in order to have the viewer decode the emotion is what artists strive for since their start.

For example-  a smile (the expression) is understood to be happiness (the emotion). Pretty straight forward. Yes?  JTNoirPhotography_ABates_2_2015--24PIN

Total Recall (the sexier kind)

In order to truly convey emotions through expressions, it is best to have the client recall a time that relates to the emotion you are looking for. When I want a smile, I ask how she met her significant other. When I want a sultry look, I ask her what he looks like. When a shot is needed of peak emotions, I just ask her to trace her fingers down her chest and think of him (the expressions are emotional overload after that one).
Sounds silly that those small things could bring such an impact? Studies show that these small questions will recall  a target memory that will convey the emotions.

What are the expressions telling us?

  • Joy/happiness has postures of head back, chest forward, shoulders lifted and arms up above.
  • Lust has hands tracing neck line down to chest, back arched, lips parted, eyes closed.
  • Confidence has eyes open staring head on, one eyebrow raised, lips closed, hands around body (not tightly), some instances to lean forward towards the viewer.
  • Peak intensity has expressions that are turning the attention away from the appearance of themselves in perfection, and more so going with the heightened sense of the moment. (hair in face, grasping at legs, hands also tracing chest line)

It gets tricky when working with emotions in fine art. In certain periods of time, a  smile was an indication of a lesser dominate character. People wanted to be revered for their regal or magnificent expressions. They wanted to be remembered for a more powerful stare, rather than a set of pearly whites. JTNoirPhotography_TBOB_fineart_Victoria_June_2015PIN

We can use a softer smile to create the link between more modern boudoir and the fine art series.
In this image, her posture is straight, hand placement is relaxed and smile is closed yet soft. Her expressions convey a relaxed, confident image. The slight lip curl (the expression) targets a hint of joy (the emotion) for the observer.



Don’s be afraid to get emotional!

All too often we are told being emotional is a bad thing. Well for boudoir, kick that idea to the curb, grab your story telling thinking caps and start using those expressions to convey a scene that is sure to please. It is as simple as understanding WHAT emotion you want to convey. The expressions are just the utility for the transfer.


Jennifer Tallerico

Jennifer Tallerico, the artist behind 'JT.Noir', is known, throughout the International Boudoir Photography Industry and the region for her unique approach to, Fine Art Photography. With its darkly romantic, fashion-inspired aesthetics, Jennifer’s work has an almost 'literary sensibility' to it, a 'modern opulence' merged with 'old world' appeal.

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  • June 18, 2015 - 9:28 PM

    Victoria Elizabeth - I love your technique of asking clients to recall a memory to bring out different emotions. It’s a great way help your subject feel comfortable in front of camera and helps bring out their inner beauty. 🙂ReplyCancel

  • July 23, 2015 - 12:55 PM

    Victoria Elizabeth - I love your technique of asking clients to recall a memory to bring out different emotions. It’s a great way help your subject feel comfortable in front of camera and helps bring out their inner beauty. 🙂ReplyCancel

  • February 16, 2016 - 12:49 PM

    Veronica - this is definitely something I’ve been wanting to make sure to add to my photos…it gives them so much more life and makes them much more than just a pretty photo.

    I’ve been working on a list of cues I could use to elicit emotion from my clients and I cant wait to try it out with my very next client.ReplyCancel

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