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To Tan or Not To Tan?

There was a time when getting a tan required time in the sunshine.  Nowadays, not so much.

That is why I ask each of my clients to make a conscious decision about tanning at least two weeks before our session.

Even through I talk about various techniques of tanning in this post, know that any type of tanning carries certain health risks, which can vary by skin type, ethnicity, and heredity.  Know your body.  Learn the risks.

Just You and Your Skin

No tan is always an option and usually looks best in pictures.  Fair skin takes on an ethereal glow under the proper lighting conditions (like at a photography shoot)

And it has the advantage of not increasing your risk of skin cancer (which sucks BTW).

I strongly urge you to forgo the temptation of darkening your skin tones.  i really think you will look better without.

Natural Tans and Boudoir Photography

Before making the decision, you need to know how your skin will react to any given tanning method.

Done carefully a natural tan, or tanning in sunlight, is probably the safest way to add some color to your skin.  Always wear sun screen, know your limits, and go slowly.  Over exposure can lead to sunburn that is not only painful (don’t ask the white guy how he knows this), but also leads to days and weeks of dry flaking skin, which is really not a sexy look for boudoir photography.  

In addition, getting natural sunlight often means being somewhere in public, which means clothing, which means tan lines.  Some people find tan lines very attractive.  Others find them very distracting.  Know your audience and your own tastes.  But also know that I do not remove tan lines in post-production.  I shoot a natural style of boudoir photography.  if you brought your skin in looking a certain way, I would make it look better, but I won’t make it look different.

As a general rule, if you are going to pursue a natural tan, get your sun on at least 10 days before the shoot.  This allows your skin some time to calm down and heal.  As well as to allow your tan to naturally develop.

Tanning Beds

In a nod to my a certain Medical Aesthetics Physician was married to I will start by saying “DON’T”

That being said, may women see this as a quick solution to spending boring hours lying around a pool somewhere.  And it has the advantage that in most locations in can be done naked, so ‘Hello Tan, Goodbye Tan lines”  Again, only if it is done right.

But the risks of skin cancer from long term exposure to tanning beds is amazingly well documented.  So for a one time special treat, you will probably be ok.  But this is not something to use on a regular basis.

Just like a natural tan, if you choose this option, stop at least 10 days prior to your shoot to allow your skin to recover and calm down.

Spray Tans

There are good spray tans, and there are… well… You’ve seen them. I love the look of fair skin, and many of the women who shoot go au natural. If you want to tan up before your shoot, I recommend going to a tanning salon you’ve used before and trust. It’s a lot like getting your hair dyed before pictures. You don’t want to try something new.

A few rules:

– Spray tan 2 days before your shoot.
– Shower at least 2 times before you come into the studio. 

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