What’s it all about? A boudoir shoot starts with a usually somewhat anxious woman arriving at the studio with an armload of small clothes and a touch of what the hell am I doing here gleaming in her eye. We go through her clothing options and ideas and then she is taken to the make up chair for about an hour to have her hair and make up done by a pro. They then dress or undress according to their level of comfort. Boudoir is synonymous with the bedroom, but to me, it can be all types of beauty imagery. We can use sexy lingerie or big tulle skirts and corsets. It’s not about what you wear but how it makes you feel. I sometimes use swirling fabric, bed linen or flowers to play with revealing and concealing. It can be sensual, naughty, glamorous or playful but it’s always fun.
Who is it for? I’ve been asked if these shoots for women or their men. These shoots are empowering for women, they encourage affirmation of their sexuality in a society built on repression. They are fun and confidence boosting and their men certainly benefit from that. I think the experience of the shoot is liberating and a step toward self acceptance including all the jiggly bits, stretch marks and shortness. There’s a moment in every shoot when women find themselves strutting around the studio in their heels and underwear forgetting to be self aware. Everybody struggles with some kind of insecurity and that doesn’t make them less beautiful, just human.
We’re so bombarded with ad imagery that society thinks is sexy, but we all know it’s an overly idealised reality. I create some of this imagery and I enjoy it. Real life beauty photography is actually the same in some ways. Trust me, no one is as perfect in real life as they appear in their images. It’s not just photoshop that creates these illusions, it’s careful positioning of bodies to engage muscles and lengthen torsos. It’s reflectors placed to fill just the right amount of light into shadow areas and hide crows feet and circles under the eyes. It’s the hair light added behind the subject to make their hair look glossy and shiny. People rarely stand just the right way, with flattering lighting illuminating them to compliment their every curve in real life. If they do accidentally hit on a photograph that has these effects, it will be one of those pictures they’d say “I love this picture of me, I don’t know why, I just do.” In a beauty or boudoir photo session the aim is to get 30-40 different images that do just that with good expressions and emotion.
So you had a spot that day; you don’t have a spot every day, so I’ll remove it for you. You’ve been making bad food choices for the last few weeks because you’ve been stressed out and are bloated because of it; I can trim that tum back down to where it was two weeks ago. Does that make it unreal? I think it’s just giving someone the view of themselves that they deserve, showing them how they look at their best, saving these moments so they can remind themselves (and their partner when they are feeling less than fabulous. I think that the person my clients see when they look at themselves in the finished images is who they are when they visualise themselves on a good day.
Why do you do it? Women are beautiful in all shapes and sizes, as nurturers, as sensitive empathetic souls, as glamour-pusses. Their are many women who don’t hear that they are beautiful often enough. It’s an intrinsic part of being a woman, any woman who tells you differently is lying. A global beauty market expected to reach a value of €265 billion in 2017 tells you that. If my boudoir shoot can make one woman feel the love for her own unique curves and freckles then I’ve done my job. I really feel she’ll have a happier life because of that shoot. No, it’s not building orphanages in Africa but it’s a small thing I can do which makes the world a better place starting with one woman.
** I do a standard amount of retouching at my own discretion which includes accentuating features using light and shadow balancing, white balance & colour toning. Digitally toning figures or accentuating curves is something that is a result of client consultation and their wishes not my own perception of how my clients bodies should look.
For more information on boudoir shoots click here.