People see photos like this, and think it’s all sexy-time… When, in reality, these images are not simple to pose, light, or capture. Read on below to find out exactly how a sexy, artful, compelling boudoir image actually happens:
[Position client on floor and demonstrate the pose I want… Go back to my camera and set up the shot… Walk over and position her hands just so…]
"Could you push your butt up even more and twist at the waist to roll it toward me??? Awesome, that’s gorgeous!”
[Go back to my camera and get on the floor like I’m really about to press the button this time… Get back up and rearrange client’s hair…untwist her panties where they’ve rolled on the side... Go back to my camera and get on the floor again...]
"Now….um, could you scoot like 2 inches back toward the window... No, one inch more... Ok, now back 1/4 of an inch the other way... No, sorry... 1/8 of an inch more... Great, now bring the top of your head toward me just a half inch... Oops, we lost the booty pop and roll, let's re-set that... But DON'T. MOVE. YOUR. HEAD."
[Client is now sighing loudly and looking at me like, wtf is up with this crazy bitch, and why is she trying to hurt me? I am so sending her my chiropractor bill!]
"Now… Pull that shoulder away from your ear - push it toward the window, so we don’t lose your neck - no, the shoulder closest to me...Yes, that's it… Now, push your chin out and bring it down just a touch...now back up about half that amount... Relax your forehead completely, now part your lips for me, breathe out through your mouth... whoooops, don't forget that toe point! Point 'em like your life depends on it... Now arch your back til it hurts... then arch it a little more…. Eyes right here… I don’t want you to smile…but I want you to THINK about smiling… Drop that shoulder... CHIN OUT and down!!”
“Okay, now let’s get that one more time…we had a little blink there, I know that sliver of light is bright in your eyes, but we can get this shot, I promise it will be worth it!… But wait, we lost the back arch again. Arch for me, please?…. There you go, perfect! Wait… Now the sunlight moved… Damnit… Can I get you to scoot another 1/2 inch back toward the window… Try not to change anything else about the pose while you’re scooting.”
[Starts over pretty much from the beginning...]
And so on... And this is before we even get the image into my "digital darkroom" (aka, Photoshop).
And that, my friends, is the difference between a snapshot and a work of art; between a cell phone selfie and a professionally-made photograph; between the fantasy and reality of boudoir photography.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining. Not in the least. I absolutely LOVE my job. I have fun with my clients, for sure. I do what I love, I am passionate about my work, and it is extremely fulfilling both creatively and emotionally… But it's not nearly as easy or simple as it looks. It takes a lot of skill, talent, intuition, emotional intelligence, and practice... And sometimes, you'll still mess up a shot.
Full disclosure: Okay, it’s true, not every photographer works this way. I pose down to the last eyelash. I may or may not be a the teeniest-tiniest bit of a perfectionist control freak… And I am highly invested (both emotionally and financially) in make sure my clients fall madly in love with every one of their photos.
Moreover, those photographers who work with professional models on glamour shoots have a very different workflow, a production team, and a tighter time frame to get the shot...which is okay, because the model is largely responsible for posing -- even for "finding the light" in many cases. The thing is, true boudoir is not about professional models, it is about "regular" women, who have likely never done anything like this before. It is, therefore, solely the photographer's job to coach them in every aspect of posing and expression, and to get every little detail just right to make for a flattering and impactful photo.
All of that said, this is how MY boudoir shoots go. Don't let this scare you away, ladies -- Trust me, it's more fun for the client than it sounds! In fact, once you swoon at that first amazing image I show you on the back of the camera, you'll begin to understand and appreciate the crazy attention to detail that goes into capturing it. It's totally worth it, I promise!
In the end, the devil is in the details, and the beauty is in how they all come together.