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The art of boudoir photography with Emma Joanne

In the spring of 2018, we met with professional photographer, Emma Joanne, and Amateur Photographer at the eccentric themed Hotel Pelirocco in Brighton for a boudoir shoot. Whilst Emma works primarily as a wedding photographer, she’s also a master of boudoir photography as well. Emma has developed a fun and unique style that can be seen throughout her work that is, as she calls it, “boundary pushing and rule breaking”.

As playful as it is sexy, Emma’s photography employs the use of bold, striking colour palettes to dictates the mood: mysterious greys and blacks, angelic white and baby blue, or flirty pinks. “Look for somewhere that gives you more creative options than just whitewashed walls and white linen,” says Emma. “I like to use themed hotels which give me a variety of different settings to inspire me, and make the client feel more at home in that boudoir setting.”


Emma Joanne shooting at Hotel Pelirocco using the Rotolight AEOS and NEO 2


Emma utilised a lot of props on set, like a telephone, lipstick or hairbrush, not only to add context to the shots, but also incorporate a playful element to distract the model, who might be feeling nervous if it’s their first shoot of this kind. Emma also advises the strategic use of bigger props, such as a pillow, to help cover any parts of the model’s body that they’re particularly conscious of. Above all, boudoir photography is about making the model feel confident and comfortable in their environment, their outfit and their own skin.

Using Rotolight’s continuous LED lighting for this shoot, as Emma had the freedom to shoot precisely what she saw, allowing the shoot to be more fluid without needing to constantly take test shots to evaluate the light fall of a strobe. Constant lighting lets you adjust the output to see exactly the lighting you’re going to get and how it balances with the ambient light,” says Emma. “With Rotolight LEDs, you can even adjust the colour temperature to match the available light which was perfect with the sunshine coming through the bedroom window.”

 The most important thing when shooting though, Emma tells us, is to have an open mind: “Don’t be so rigid that you’re working to a checklist; let your environment give you ideas that you may not have thought of before. Always be adventurous and try something new.”