What camera and lenses I use for boudoir photography

One of the advantages of being a portrait and boudoir photographer is the fact that I don’t need to have a lot of gear. I shoot all of my boudoir photography and portrait photography images on a Fujifilm X-t4 and either a 23mm f1.4 or 35mm f1.4 lens. A camera and 2 prime lenses. I also have a backup camera which at this time is my old and trusted X-T2 and I also have a set of 23 and 35mm f1.4 lenses as backups.

Boudoir photography is not like wedding photography where I carried with me 2 bodies with large lenses and I kept another backup camera in the car, just in case. At a wedding, I had to make sure I document as much of the ceremony and the party as I can, and also capture the emotions, the facial expressions, close-ups, and wider shots to deliver to my customer a good memory of that day. That’s why I had to carry a wider angle lens and a telephoto lens, to make sure I don’t miss too many moments. And backup was essential because it’s not really possible to reschedule a wedding shoot. With Boudoir Photography it’s very different. Sure, I have a backup camera and a backup lens, but I don’t have to carry them all the time. Just need to have them with me in case the main camera or lens fails.

Sydney boudoir photographerI shoot all my boudoir portraits with a Fujifilm X-t4. I used to shoot with Canon gear but decided to change the equipment because Fujifilm is a much smaller camera and their lenses are also half the size. At a wedding, which often went for 16 hours, I would carry about 10kg of camera gear, different lenses, flash, extra batteries, etc. Now, on a boudoir shoot, my camera equipment weighs less than 1kg. And that is one of the main reasons I no longer shoot weddings.

My lenses are primes, fixed focal length. I don’t use zooms at all. Zooms are usually much larger, much heavier, and much more expensive. And they are all at least f2.8 in the widest aperture. I don’t think I took a boudoir image at an aperture higher than f2. I like the blurry background bokeh I get when shooting at f1.4. And my customers like it too. Both my 23 and 35mm lenses are f1.4. Most of my lenses are Fuji as well, but today I received a 23mm backup lens made by Viltrox. I really like the build quality and the image quality as well. So much I like it, that I’m ordering their 33mmf1.4 as well. 23mm on my Fujifilm cameras works out to be 35mm in Full-Frame cameras and 33 or 35mm are close to the 50mm in Full frame.

I try to shoot most of my boudoir sessions with the 35(50mm) lens. It’s a perfect portrait lens that produces very little distortion. I just think that people look better when photographed with a longer focal length lens. Unfortunately, I have to stand at least 4m away from my subject to get a full-body image. Some bedrooms I shoot at are big enough for that. Sometimes I shoot in a living room, which is usually a lot larger than bedrooms too. However, most of the hotel rooms that I shoot at are not big enough to only shoot with a 50mm lens. I can get nice closeups, and half body images, but if I want to get a full-body shot, I have to shoot with the 23(35mm) lens.

That is the reason I carry 2 different lenses to a boudoir photography session. I have no problem with that. Compared with a wedding shoot where I had to have 2 cameras on me and 2 sets of very heavy lenses, I’m ok with having to swap the lens every now and then. The image quality of these lenses is superb, and they are tiny compared to the Canon gear. I also have a 56mm f1.2 lens, but I never use it on a boudoir shoot. It creates a very nice, blurry background, but the rooms are just too small for this lens, so I only really use it on my portrait shoots outdoors.

That is it, actually, a camera with 2 lenses and a backup. All that gear fits easily into a backpack, together with some extra batteries, chargers, etc. So much easier to carry and also so much cheaper than my old Canon gear. I know that I will no longer shoot any weddings and even if I get a family shoot from a previous customer, I can still deliver using the simple Fuji setup. Add a decent laptop to this list and that is all the tools I need to capture, edit and deliver beautiful boudoir photographs.


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