If you google “What is boudoir?” and click the first answer that pops up from Wikipedia, this is the answer you’ll get:
“Boudoir photography, or sensual photography, is a photographic style featuring intimate, sensual, romantic, and sometimes erotic images of its subjects in a photographic studio, bedroom or private dressing room environment, primarily intended for the private enjoyment of the subject and/or his or her romantic partners.”
That’s pretty accurate. Although I don’t tend to lean towards the “erotic” vibe with Bare, some boudoir photographers do. Now let’s say you’ve decided you want to do your own boudoir session – AWESOME! But where do you start? Boudoir is often mistaken for something it’s not, or at least doesn’t have to be (shouldn’t be, in my opinion) because 1) the market is saturated with boudoir photographers that think boudoir always has to mean a girl in scantily clad lingerie spread eagle on the hood of a car, or sticking her finger in her mouth doing some crazy acrobatic pose. If that’s your vibe, cool go for it full force, girl! You do you! But if it isn’t, and that’s what has deterred you away from boudoir all this time, let me just say that it absolutely does not have to be. Go with your style, personality and comfort level. If you’re tempted to give it a try, but are afraid your session won’t match your style or comfort level, consider these 6 things:
- Choose someone that makes you feel comfortable. Decide if you’re more comfortable with a female photographer or male, or if that even makes a difference to you at all. Be sure to check out their social media, website, reviews, etc. Do they have an about me page on their website, with a photograph? Do they post photos/stories of themselves on their Instagram? Bonus if you can chat with someone who has worked with them before to get a feel for their experience and make sure they are who they say they are! And lastly, get on the phone with them before meeting them in person. A phone consultation is a required part of our booking process, not only so that we can make sure we’re a good match, but so that you can hear my voice and get a feel for me before meeting me! The last thing you want is to show up to your boudoir session only to be greeted by some creepy dude with a camera.
- The Location. It is safest to choose a studio or a location with high traffic (obviously the room you shoot in will and should be private). You don’t ever want to invite someone into your home, go to theirs, or meet them at a hotel UNLESS you’ve thoroughly taken care of tip 1. All of our sessions take place at our studio location at Carr Mansion, and you can view their website HERE.
- Check out their work. Make sure that the work on their website matches the work on their social media. Make sure all of their work is cohesive in style and skill level. You’d be surprised at how many “photographers” steal work from established photographers and post it as their own. You’ll also want to make sure that their style and brand matches the end result you are aiming for with your own portraits. In other words, don’t expect a photographer who specializes in “exotic boudoir” and expect the end result to be soft and romantic. Our personal style can be described as timeless and modern, yet romantic and whimsey. This is consistent throughout our website, social media, and branding.
- Expertise of Photographer. Does this photographer specialize in boudoir, or do they at least have a significant boudoir portfolio? Boudoir is a very intimate type of photography, and you’ll probably have an easier time loosening up in front of the camera with someone very experienced in working with boudoir clients. It is the photographers job to put you at ease, make you feel comfortable, pose you in flattering ways and get natural facial expressions from you. It has taken me a few years to get really good at this part and someone who primarily specializes in families or children or shoots a variety of genres is not going to want to use the same prompts to get you to relax that they would a toddler, trust me, I’ve learned from experience! You should never be left to figure out posing on your own, and your photographer should be able to give LOTS of direction. Personally, I have lots of posing prompts and I even get right down on the floor (or the bed!) with you and get into the poses I want you in so that you can have a visual. I also have breathing techniques that will elicit natural and flattering facial expressions.
Moral of the story, make sure you choose someone you can trust, feel comfortable with, offers the style of boudoir you’re looking for, in a safe place! If you can think of any other great tips for choosing a boudoir photographer, we’d love to hear them! And if you have any questions about these tips or the way that we do things at Bare, ask away! I’m an open book <3