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How You Shot it: “Bohemian Gypsy” ~ Outdoor Boudoir Photography

By Meranda Olson on March 8th 2014

How You Shot It is a series where you show us how you shot an image. Many who use our presets love to share their special processing recipes. You can join the SLR Lounge Textures and Presets group on Facebook and share your favorite images and recipes as well!

50mm F2.5 1/2500 ISO320

50mm F2.5 1/2500 ISO320


Camera: Canon 5D Mark II
Lens: Canon 50mm f/1.4, Canon 85mm f/1.8, Canon 35mm f/1.4

The Concept

I love all things bohemian/gypsy-ish.  I am obsessed with Free People, and Spell and the Gypsy. I love cruising their Instagram accounts and pulling inspiration from their amazing styling and photos. I also love shopping, so I have been buying pieces for my styled shoots anytime I see something good!

Nicole and I had been talking about shooting for a while now, and when I had a client reschedule I called Nicole and informed her she was getting in front of my camera in three days! Since I have a little bit of a shopping problem (or so my fiancé says), all I asked of her was to practice her “sexy” face! A friend offered to do her make-up and I curled her hair.

With her being 6 feet tall, I knew I needed to get some amazing full body shots of her. We started playing with the blanket topless. Then I asked if we could do some fully nude (nice way to break the ice right?) 10 frames in. I shot a close up first cropped right under her butt, and when I asked her if side booty would be ok to post and she said, “totally!” I instantly took a few steps back and started shooting.

50mm F2.5 1/2500 ISO320

50mm F2.5 1/2500 ISO320

I live in California, and I’m pretty sure this year our winter got lost on the East coast!  We started shooting around 3:30pm, with that yummy “golden hour” light that I am addicted to! I shoot 100% natural light with the help of a reflector sometimes. Shooting this in full sun, I needed to bounce a little light onto her. Here is my simple set up, nothing fancy:

Post Processing

When I started culling this session and came across the final image, I immediately knew I had “the one!”

  1.  I opened the image in ACR and adjusted the temperature, and fill light.
  2.  I then transferred over to Photoshop and started with a little skin smoothing and skin tone adjusting.
  3. I adjusted the brightness with a new curve layer.
  4. I used the stamp tool to remove all the cow patties (yes I make my clients pose in poop!)
  5.  And finally, I added a matte layer by playing with curves.



Before & After



If you shoot Boudoir or are interested in it, bribe a friend or find a model and take them outside! Trust me, once you do you will never want to go back into a studio again.

Check out some more of my work on Facebook or my blog, Dollhouse Boudoir.

50mm F2.5 1/1250 ISO320

50mm F2.5 1/1250 ISO320

About the “How to Shoot It” Series

This educational series highlights amazing images from our writers as well as our community. The goal is to not only feature inspirational work but to provide valuable education for our photography community. If you would like to submit your work, please click here for more info on writing for SLR Lounge.

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Meranda Olson is a natural light photographer located in Bakersfield, CA specializing in Boudoir and reminding women how truly beautiful they are. To see more of Meranda’s work follow her:

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Anthony Calleja

    Great Photo!!

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  3. Michelle Ford

    i LOVE it! and i love outdoor boudoir as well. i feel like i can infuse a fresh perspective into the art. oooooh…. beautiful work!

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  4. Mike

    I am pretty new to photography, so I am trying to learn why the Pros make some of the choices they do. why did you use the combination of high shutter speed and ISO 320. I would have thought you could have lowered your ISO and still had high enough shutter speeds for the situation and lighting. Is there some environmental reason like wind? or because of the strong back lighting? Or is it a creative choice?
    Just trying to learn and understand.
    Great Images, thank you for taking us through your process

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  5. Dani

    I do most of my Boudoir sessions outdoors, and my clients love it! Gives then such a unique look! Definitely my favorite sessions :)

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  6. Stephanie Kay

    I am a huge fan of Meranda’s work. I love how she uses light and knows exactly how to pose her subjects. I wish she would make a posing guide! Maybe she can write another article all about her posing techniques. These images are gorgeous.

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  7. Sherry

    Meranda never fails to blow me away with her work. She is incredible at what she does and is one of my absolute favorite boudoir photogs. This shoot was def one of my faves!!

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  8. christian

    Hi, thanks for info, but i dont get the phrase “pose in poop”

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    • Jason

      I assume she means that taking the clients out to fields sometimes occurs where there are farm animals roaming about and, well… they don’t exactly go in one spot :)

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    • Ladi

      Do you know what cow pies/patties are? Its cow poop… I’m sure it wasn’t meant to be taken in a literal way, so she makes clients pose around cow poop. You cant even tell they are cow pies before the stamp tool. Love the images! :D

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