Seedy or Sexy? – Thinking About Boudoir
28 Nov 2011
My sister told me that someone she knew was looking to get some photos done to celebrate being 40. But this woman wasn’t looking for the outdoor family portrait or the in-studio-with-hubby portrait. Nope. She’s looking for the I-may-be-in-my-40s-but-I’m-frickin’-amazing portrait – also known as boudoir photography.
When I was setting up shop, I spent (and still spend) a great deal of time looking at other photographer’s websites and Facebook pages, trawling for ideas and inspiration. As such, I’ve looked at hundreds, if not thousands of images created by other professionals, but very few have been samples of top class boudoir images. One good reason for this is that boudoir shoots are often highly sensitive since they involve less clothing than your average shoot (unless you’re a newborn) and, as such, photographers sometimes run into trouble when it comes to publicising this service. I have been impressed by the work done by a number of photographers and, as you may have noticed in another of my posts (“You spend all that money on a dress and then you want to…wreck it?”), my current favourite for boudoir is Jeff Cooke, who is out in Halifax. Another photographer whose work I’m enjoying is Cornwall’s own Jason McNamara (of Framed Photography), who is making waves for his dark and edgy style. He has done some beautiful work and one of the shots using Melanie Sommerville and a strategically placed foot is a particular favourite. Unfortunately, I’m not able to post any photos by either photographer, by I heartily recommend searching for examples of boudoir photography on either of their sites or on Google.
It is incredibly easy for boudoir photos to come out looking like a sad attempt at impersonating a Playboy centerfold – arched back, one hand in the hair, lip biting… But come on! In order to keep boudoir from looking like cheap pornography and take it to the height of the art photography market, it’s important that photographers work hard to make boudoir sexy and alluring, not cheap and seedy. It’s about suggestion and sensuality, not straight out nudity. The image of a bare calf and high-heeled shoe with a tie/dress shirt/other article of clothing in the background can be much more alluring than a woman fake-writhing on a bed. The reason I like Jason and Jeff’s work is because they’ve figured out how to make their subjects look both sexy and decent while steering clear of the Pamela Anderson poses.
If you’re in the market for boudoir, TALK TO YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER. Figure out if you trust them enough to get down to your skivvies in front of them; find out if they’ve done it before (not that this should be your deciding factor – we all have to start somewhere, but find out if they’re completely new to the idea); find out what other photographers they are watching; find out what style of image they find interesting. And then tell them about what YOU like; what images YOU find interesting; what YOU would like to do with the shoot.
And if you’re the Cornwall woman my sister told me about (or someone like her), get in touch with me through Moment.us Photography! I can’t wait to make you look your best.