Your best guide to glamour photography in 2021 Beginners guide to creating beautiful images


Glamour photography is a form of portraiture which glamourises the subject. It can be something of an ambiguous genre as the idea of glamour is open to interpretation. Some photographers conceptualise glamour photography as the traditional high-contrast images of iconic vintage film stars, but glamour photography has evolved. It can take the form of an intimate boudoir photo or an editorial photograph. Some people conflate glamour photography and fashion photography, but the two are different in their aim. While both are glamourous, fashion photography centres on clothing, whereas glamour photography focuses on the model. Here are our glamour photography ideas for taking the most beautiful photos.



The success of your glamour photoshoot starts with planning. You should have a clear objective for the shoot – is the mood soft and sensual or artistic and dramatic? Is the style more laid-back or editorial? 

Once you are clear on your concept, you can plan the location, wardrobe, and styling. Because glamour photography is centred on beauty it is essential to employ a hair and makeup artist. No matter how skilled you are as a photographer, if the hair and makeup do not look sensational it is unlikely that your client will be impressed by the photos. Discuss your vision for the shoot with the hair and makeup artist so you can successfully collaborate on the project and enhance your model’s beauty in line with the concept for the shoot. 

If budgets are tight – go for the hairstylist over the makeup artist (although you may find one person that can do both). This is because most models are quite proficient at applying their own makeup, so when costs are critical this is one area to save on.

You may also find success recruiting students from a local college to perform these roles – either for a reduced fee or for free, in exchange for images to add to their portfolio. 

It’s also a good idea to plan some poses so you can give better direction to the model you’ll be working with. You can ask the model to do some prep beforehand and practice some poses that will emphasize their best features.


The photoshoot

On the day of the shoot, you should keep the atmosphere light. Glamour photography is about showing the beauty of the subject, and part of that is their personality. Make sure that your model is comfortable, and keep the mood playful to let their character shine on camera. Be sure to shoot heavy and take lots of photos as you want to have plenty of options, which you can always narrow down later.

Even if you have an idea of the photos you are going to take, it never hurts to get creative with your angles. Glamour photographs aren’t meant to look like corporate headshots! By shooting from a variety of angles you may find a unique vantage point that showcase’s your subject’s beauty. 

With glamour photography, everything must look aesthetically pleasing, so you should ensure the composition contributes to the overall aesthetic. As you’re taking a portrait you don’t have to strictly adhere to the rule of thirds, but remember that everything has to look harmonious within the frame.


Glamour photography guide


Go retro

If you want to take your shoot in a creative direction, our glamour photography pro tip is to consider going retro and shooting in black and white and using backlighting. This is in line with the Marilyn Monroe vintage concept of glamour photography.

On your camera settings, you can go into image style and select black and white and the JPEG preview will appear as black and white on your LCD screen. You can then select ‘monotone’ and turn the contrast up, to create the high-contrast vintage style glamour image. You can, of course, photograph in colour and edit the photos using Photoshop or Lightroom; but for the authentic retro look, we recommend that you shoot using black and white, as photographers during this time would light and expose differently for black and white photos. 

The set up for a retro glamour shoot requires backlighting. You should have two strobe lights slightly behind the model directing light towards the backdrop, and two reflectors in front. By modern standards, the source of light should always be behind the camera, but with vintage glamour photography, the backlighting casts an ethereal glow around the model and makes the photograph look positively dreamy.



When it comes to glamour photoshoots, you’ll need to be using professional kit for an image quality that will accurately portray your model’s beauty on camera. A prime lens is also recommended for a sharper definition. A lens with a focal length of 35mm or more is recommended,  as any less can cause distortion. Using an aperture of f/2.8 can be advantageous for glamour photoshoots as it creates a soft, dreamy bokeh effect that puts the focus on your subject.

Most glamour photographers use studio lighting as it is convenient, predictable and easy to manipulate. Use reflectors, modifiers and softboxes to create the perfect light. Alternatively, using natural light can be interesting if you are going for a more naturalistic feel but be sure to use reflectors to maximise the light’s potential. 

One of the tendencies of glamour photography is to have a plain backdrop as this doesn’t distract from the subject of the photo. Some photographers use a shallow depth of field to create a bokeh effect and blur out their background. If you want to add a creative touch, a coloured background might be apt for your shoot as it can enhance the mood of the photograph.


Glamour photography editing techniques

Glamour photography retouching is a standard procedure for photographers, as it allows them to enhance the beauty of their model. Using Photoshop in post-processing, you can airbrush the model’s skin, edit out fly-away hair, and correct tone and colour. One of the best tips for glamour photography is that many photographers use the spot healing tool, smooth skin tool, and Gaussian blur tool in Photoshop to make their model’s skin look immaculate. You can also adjust the hue and saturation in Photoshop to whiten your model’s teeth. 

We hope you found these tips helpful – now get out there and put them into practice. As always – practice is the best teacher!

If you require a photographer for your glamour photoshoot, book with Splento today for a reliable, on-demand photographer at an affordable, fixed rate. If you have any questions, be sure to contact a member of the Splento team.


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