This is a list of things I’ve learned, and things I want my prospective boudoir clients to know. It lived on my photo website for some time. :
- There are no perfect bodies – only smartly composed photographs of them. I’ve seen them all. Even the ones that look like they will be “flawless”, aren’t, so let yourself off the hook. Please don’t compare yourself to other people – you have your own unique kind of beauty. Revel in that, because that’s what I’m going to want to photograph.
- The sexiest move you can make has to do with your eyes. No matter how much, or how little clothing you are wearing, your eyes are the star of the show in a photograph. Resist the urge to hide your eyes with too much makeup, excessive eye makeup gobbles up the light. If for some reason I feel like your eyes makeup needs accentuating, I can easily do that in photoshop. I cannot, however, remove eye makeup in photoshop.
- Speaking of things that are impossible to fix in photoshop: tan lines, sun burns, and botox overdoses. Do not do any of these things before your shoot. Seriously. If you end up catching some rays before your shoot, do it naked.
- Boudoir can mean a lot of things – from a cute flirty picture of you in a tank top and jeans, to a completely nude and erotic photograph. It’s totally your call. We’ll talk about what kinds of photos and what your photographic boundaries are, a few days before the shoot, so that you and I both know exactly what to expect on the day of your shoot. This is essential to you being able to relax into the situation and really enjoy the process.
- We’ll have an honest talk about your strong points and your weak points. We’ll choose clothing, angles, and lighting that accentuate your best parts and downplay your weak points.
- I can add or subtract 20 lbs with the use of light and shadow, so waiting to do your shoot until you lose that last 10 lbs is totally pointless. Seize the day, my friend. Do it today or do it in 6 months after you’ve attained a major personal goal… “next month” is a pretty little lie you tell yourself, and it never actually happens.
- Do what you need to do in order to feel really sexy and sensual before, and during the shoot. Give yourself a spa day, take an extra long bath, hit the gym, meditate, spend some intimate time with your partner, have a glass of wine…whatever. Know yourself and put yourself in your most sexy state of mind before your shoot. It will show. Your job is to relax into your sensuality, my job is to create a safe, fun, creative, professional atmosphere for that to happen.
- Boudoir photography is an investment in an experience you’ll be able to talk about – and show off – for the rest of your life. You should plan on spending between $500 – $1500.
- Look “normal” – though I can bring in a superb hair & makeup artist, I prefer for you to look like… YOU. Please resist the temptation to do something really different, or to try too hard with your hair & makeup, as well. When all is said and done, I want you too look at your photos and be able to say, “Good Lord, I didn’t realize how pretty I am on a regular basis!” rather than, “Sigh… this was the only day of my life that I actually ever looked like this”.
- I can photoshop things. Yes. If you break out with a zit, have a scar, or some other blemish that is bumming you out, I can make that go away very easily. Can I photoshop you to look more skinny? Please see #9
- I don’t get hot and bothered over nudity anymore. I love the female form. It is poetic. Like a rock star on stage with a guitar and streaming lights, like the angular Teton Mountains, its curves and texture and mystery begs to be photographed. And sure, I used to be more easily amused when I was a younger man. Now, it’s just part of the job, just another body. There’s one caveat: To my lover, girlfriend or wife: when you share your nakedness with me, with intention, in the context of our love connection, your bare flesh fascinates and excites me endlessly. It’s all about the intention and connection.
- The Last 1o lbs are a lie part 1: Oh, how I wish I could have a dime for every person who has said, “As soon as I lose 10 more pounds, I’m in coming in for photos”. It never happens. Also, it doesn’t matter because I can sculpt the light and add or subtract “20lbs” from you by moving the light just a few
- The Last 1o lbs are a lie part 2: I’ll make this personal, tell me if you can relate. I have often created some kind of line in the sand, a “finish line” of sorts, that when I cross it, I’ll allow myself to be happy / worthy / sexy / whatever/. The line either constantly moves, or when I cross it I find that I’m not much happier than I was before, and create another one to chase after. Happiness / sexiness / worthiness is something I can give myself permission to feel right now. Today. The second I place it out there in “tomorrow”, I’ve lost a small battle with my own shame. Give yourself permission to be amazing TODAY. You aren’t going to do it tomorrow. I promise. Do it today. Like, right now, while you are reading this.
- My mother and I don’t talk about my work.
- Being on set is pretty boring. If you were a fly on the wall, this is what you would see and hear:“Ah, okay… you look gorgeous right there. I love the way your breasts look in that light…”
[adjust a studio light]”How’s your boyfriend doing these days?”[click, click]
“Stop! Okay. To the right a little…”
[try a different f-stop or aperture setting]”Yeah? I bet Hawaii would be an amazing spot for your anniversary”[click]
“Alright, you look constipated. Breathe a little..”
[goddammit, my light trigger didn’t work…]
“Step toward me 3 and a half inches. NO MORE. come, come, come. STOP! Too far… go back. okay, almost there…””Do you think you’ll end up having any kids someday?”
[hoping we get this shot in before the sun goes down and kills this great window light]
“Suck in… belly in…. suck ! SUCK IN! HOLD IT… okay… GOOD!”[click click click click]
[hate having to tell women to suck in their belly even when they don’t seem to have one]”Yeah, I’ve got two daughters, 16 and 18, they are awesome…”
- Playboy used to be fun. Now it’s about the articles. And how to properly set up lighting for skin. Those guys are masters.
- Being a straight guy is a liability from a marketing perspective. See point #3 again.
- I’m in it for the money. Look. I love photography, but I love riding my motorcycle even more. If the money is right, I can be talked off of my bike, and into the studio. Regarding boudoir – I’m really good at it, I create a very comfortable and positive experience for you, and that’s worth a lot of money. Also. Motorcycles are expensive.
- I’ve seen lives change because of boudoir photography. One in particular comes to mind. I’ll call her “Rachel”. She entered my studio a plain-jane athletic type on the tail end of a failing marriage. Months later, I met her again. She almost looked like a different person. She was radiant, dressed in sexy, classy feminine ways, carried herself differently, and most importantly, started commanding the respect of people around her. She left her abusive husband, her business started booming, and she attracted an amazing love into her life. She explained, “I didn’t know that I other people could see me like that until I saw it in your studio”. This will forever be one of the high points of my photography career.