Something a bit different for the blog this week. A short tutorial on how I use projection photography to create stunning boudoir art.

I was first inspired to try projection photography thanks to Parisian artist Dani Olivier. His Instagram is absolutely amazing and I highly recommend you follow him if you are interested in the art.

At the time, I had never shot anything like this and I wasn’t even sure where to start. One thing was certain, I didn’t want to invest in expensive equipment in case I didn’t like the results or there was no client interest.

projection photography boudoir photo

The Method:

At the time, I was shooting boudoir bodyscapes. For these I would close down my camera’s aperture to F11 and lower the ISO. This removed ambient light and the picture would be completely black when I snapped it.

Next I’d add in a narrow vertical rectangular flash soft box. By positioning my client, the light would bounce across her curves. This created a high contrast image of light and shadows.

Since the flash never lit the background, it remained completely black. So I figured that would be the same case for projection photography.

Some photographers shoot projection photography by standing behind the projector. Others shoot from below it. This allows the light to wrap around the subject and appear on the background.

For me, I wanted to maintain that black background to highlight the subject’s body. So the method I use is to place the projector to the side and shoot from the front.

Projection Photography Projectors

The next thing you need is a projector. I went with an HD video projector that could connect to my iPad. You can find it on Amazon here.

Note: That is an affiliate link – if you use it and decide to purchase a projector, you will pay the same amount, but Amazon will give me a small fee for promoting the item. That isn’t why I do it – I use and have had good results with this projector. But hey, every cent counts so if you use the link – I thank you!

The projector does a great job and is easy to use. The fact it connects by wifi to my iPad means no extra wires. Any image I add to my iPad can be projected onto the subject. Naturally the more distance you have between your subject and the projector, the more area you will cover with the projection. I work in a small studio, but by being creative with placement, I am able to get some good coverage. Projectors have advanced rapidly in the past several years. You can go for 4K now – and probably more in the future. I find the HD is fine for my purposes. Focusing the projector is important. Keep an eye on that because if your subject moves, it can cause the projection to go out of focus.
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projection photography
projection photography tutorial

Projection photography images

There is literally no end to the things you can project onto your subject. I prefer colorful, high contrast images. For much of my work I use mandalas. These are geometric designs/patterns that play beautifully across the body.

The sections are colored in using Photoshop so I can literally create a wide variety of different colored patterns in a short time. I’ve also experimented with lines, scales and circles.

One thing I do recommend is playing with different designs. I tend to love the larger sized mandalas – but for some patterns, smaller is better. It will really depend on what you, or your clients like.

Also remember that a small change in pose will change how the projection looks on the skin. That fact alone allows you to create a number of different photos!

projection photo

Editing projection boudoir photos

I love a bright, high contrast, saturated color look. Because of this, I will bump the exposure, contrast and saturation in Lightroom. I will also increase shadows and blacks. Because of the low light, some images will feature grain, but I believe that adds to the look and feel of a projection photo.

If any light does spill over onto the backdrop or floor, I usually clean that up in Photoshop.

Pretty easy edits for some totally stunning visuals.

boudoir projection photography

If you are interested in projection photography, I highly recommend giving it a try. It is fun and allows you to be highly creative.

If you found this tutorial helpful at all, please share it with others.

If you are interested in a projection boudoir photography shoot, please reach out to my studio using the contact form below. I’d love to talk with you about a boudoir session and answer any questions you might have.

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