Betsy Rose for Digital Photographer Magazine

May 2, 2013

I’ve always been a big believer in the sharing of knowledge and skills within the photographic community, so when Wacom called me at the beginning of this year to ask if I would be interested in putting together a boudoir workshop with Digital Photographer Magazine, I literally jumped at the chance! The idea was that one lucky reader would get to spend the day with me in the studio, learning how to shoot and edit boudoir portraiture, as well as get their hands on their very own Wacom Intuos 5 tablet. A brilliant opportunity for anyone looking to expand into boudoir, or perhaps pick up some new workflow techniques.


The shoot took place at Murder Mile Studios, located in the heart of Hackney – one of my favourite places to shoot. The studio has a number of themed rooms throughout the venue, including a boudoir that would be the setting of our workshop. Our model for the day was international burlesque performer Betsy Rose, who brought with her a wonderful collection of designer lingerie, dresses and furs. Arriving at the studio, it was a pleasure to meet winner Nick Towney and to learn more about his photography and previous experiences of shooting portraits. It turned out Nick’s previous work focused mainly upon landscapes, so whilst Betsy was getting ready in the dressing room next door we covered some of the fundamentals of boudoir photography, such as choosing a flattering focal length (ideally 85-135mm) and how to interact and work with your model to maximise results from your time in the studio.

Betsy Lighting Diagram by Tigz Rice Studios

Our lighting set up for the shoot was one Elinchrom Quadra A head, fitted with a Rotalux 135 Octa to provide a large area of soft, diffused light. Utilising the stunning furniture in the room, we explored a number of different lighting set ups across a range of standing, sitting and reclining poses, giving Nick the opportunity to shoot a wide variety of images and see how the directional light interacted with both the model and the environment. As the morning progressed, Nick was given the opportunity to get even more hands on and use the information learnt so far on the day to try out his own lighting techniques with Betsy on the four poster bed.

After a quick lunch break, Nick and I popped into the room next door to start working on our favourite images. Using a Wacom Intuos5 Tablet and Adobe Lightroom 4, Nick was able to quickly rate his favourite images in the catalogue and apply exposure, colour, noise and tonal curve treatments, before exporting them into Photoshop CS6 where we explored the pressure sensitive features of the tablet. Having used Wacom products for the past seven years in my own practise, I gave Nick a full breakdown of my editing workflow, showing how the functionality of the pen and touch features can improve the speed and accuracy of precision based editing techniques such as masking, dodging, burning and healing.


It was a real pleasure working with Nick and being able to share my experiences of burlesque and boudoir photography with another photographer. I hope he found the day both informative and fun and hopefully we shall be seeing more boudoir images from Nick in the future! The images went to print in Digital Photographer, which can be found in our Press Archives.


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