Behind-the-Scenes of a Lingerie Photo Shoot

Behind-the-Scenes of a Lingerie Photo Shoot

When I wrote “I Love Photography,” I didn’t have this particular shoot in mind…but, er, it’s obviously very important for me to keep photographing a variety of subjects to keep my skills up so that I can continue to love photography, right? (yeah right, Allen).

If your conception of lingerie is Victoria’s Secret, I’m happy to say that there are alternatives with a much wider range of choices, and I happen to be a technology/online advisor to Journelle, the best online lingerie retailer — conveniently located around the block from the PhotoShelter offices. I’ve spent a lot of time talking to their team about the same types of things that we talk about on the blog like SEO, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, and online marketing strategies. And when the subject of conversion came up, we all decided that it was important to have photos of models wearing the lingerie, instead of just straight product photos shot against seamless — this was corroborated by surveying their customers. Think about the use of photos in terms of the buying funnel and buying intent. Once of the hallmarks of good conversion practices is to provide enough information to the customer to offset any doubts they have at the point of sale. When someone is shopping for clothing, they want to know how it looks on a person (even if that person has no resemblance to them — clothing can be very aspirational).

When I previously interviewed Bonobos (a men’s clothing retailer), they articulated the difference between the types of photography assets that they create and use. E-commerce, marketing and “above the line” photos all have distinct functions in the marketing portfolio, and the shoot with Journelle was to be no different in that we were producing photos specifically for e-commerce. Now I love photographing pretty girls in lingerie as much as the next person, but like any produced shoot, this was no leisurely walk in the park. In particular, as a catalog shoot, we had to get through a lot of product, replicating the same poses, and shooting with gray and white backgrounds.

On set, we had the following personnel:

  • Art Director
  • Make-up Artist/Hairstylist
  • Stylist
  • Second stylist
  • Journelle CEO
  • Photographer (me)
  • Photographer Assistant

Melissa, the art director, created a shoot list and call sheet for the day. Here’s a little snippet:

I’ve done other catalog shoots in the past, so I wasn’t particularly worried about being able to produce, but there were some differences in the way that they wanted things lit. For example, they wanted a gray background, but not too dark. I originally wasn’t going to illuminate the gray background (Savage Soft Gray 90), but because I was shooting at f/13, the gray was going too gray, so we ended up throwing a little light onto the background. For detailed shots, they wanted more shadows, so we used a large softbox at 45 degrees off axis (instead of 30 degrees that we were using for the full body shots) to create more sculpting.

Here’s the lighting diagram:

All the various pieces were laid out in order.

The lovely Julia Pereira

Stylist, art director and make-up artist all prep for a photo.

What do lingerie models wear on their feet during the shoot? Socks!

You’ll have to wait to see all the finished images, but I thought it would be fun to show you an image straight out of camera without any adjustments given all the recent articles about models and Photoshop. In this case, you can see the dust on my sensor, the not-completely white background (this was intentional so that the background didn’t kickback any light and cause flare), and a lovely model in the Eberjey Pima Goddess Soft Cup Plunge Bra & Low Rider.

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This article was written by

Allen Murabayashi is the Chairman and co-founder of PhotoShelter. He co-hosts the "I Love Photography" podcast on iTunes.

There are 8 comments for this article
  1. Pingback: » Interesting Links for March 1st, 2012 – Occasional Drivel
  2. Jim Huibregtse at 12:53 am

    With all due respect, the image “straight out of camera without any adjustments” is horribly lit. I would suggest spending some time learning how to light, especially a subject as easy as yours.

    good luck..

    -jim huibregtse

    • Allen Murabayashi Author at 12:45 pm

      @jim: you’re a really fantastic photographer (i saw your website)! if you can spend enough time to read the article and comment, why not spend 2 minutes to say how you would alter the lighting position?

  3. David Taylor at 11:23 pm

    Why, oh why, is it that people feel the need to ‘up the volume’ on demeaning other people’s work, especially on the internet. @Allen spends a good deal of his day working on projects and products that ultimately make our job easier – and the first thing someone comments about is “with all due respect…”
    With all due respect, I didn’t get much respect out of that comment – @Jim. True – Jim does have some fine work on his site – however, I would suggest spending some time learning how to comment without degrading someone else’s work.
    This is another case of someone speaking their mind on the internet because ‘they can’ and not because ‘they should’.
    Sorry to shamelessly self-promote my blog post – but it’s become recommended reading:

    I, for one, appreciate the insights @ Allen. Time to get that ol’ can of ‘Troll be Gone’ out again…

  4. Anonymous at 9:10 am

    There is a reason Jim only shoots product photography (only see on website) not really a people person. To be honest he doesn’t have the challenges of working with hair stylest,make up artest models showing up late (sometimes) etc. he’s just has to worry about lighting a fish flopping atround tank(maybe art director telling you what to do)… Straight out of camera it’s not bad at all, I might use a fill card for the neck shadow but depends on what you’re looking for.. Good job!!

  5. Paul Bence at 4:21 am

    Thanks Allen, It’s these type of stories I find really interesting. I think for a lot of photographers , knowing the process and the steps that are involved in a shoot of this kind makes good reading. As for behaviour on the internet, I think the simple thing to do when coming across such as incidents is to ignore them.

    Without a voice, they have no power….with a silent voice they behave like children.

  6. Catherine at 5:41 am

    I have just come across this blog looking for photographers for a lingerie shoot. Really interesting thank you and yes there are other lingerie stores apart fro Victoria’s Secret!

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