I’ve been in wedding photography for about 7 years. I have been a boudoir and glamour photographer for about 4 years. I am happy to say that over the 7 years of my photography life I have seen dramatic changes (hopefully for the better) in everything I do. This doesn’t require a pat on the back…the opposite really. If you are a photographer and you don’t see your photographs getting better every year and feel yourself growing and expanding in knowledge and in style you might want to start pondering that. You can always tell when photography is part of a photographer’s heart by their willingness to grow, learn and ability to get out of their comfort zone and find that thrilling, not a pain in the tuckus.
When I started boudoir photography it really was on a whim. I had no intention of building my own separate business around this genre so I suppose I went into it totally unaware of what in the world I was doing. I found it scary that women were placing their trust in me with such a delicate style of photography. Weddings are very “real life” so it was easy for me to slip into that. But boudoir and glamour is really quite fantasy-driven, as women desire to be sensual, sexy and feminine always…but who can do that 24 hours a day?? We also get mixed messages on our sexuality and sensuality throughout our lives: be sure to use your feminine wiles if you want a man, don’t be too sexy or you’re a slut. Be sure to emphasize your femininity and beautiful looks if you want to get anywhere in life, don’t even identify with being a woman or you won’t be taken seriously. But when women come into my studio it is to conjure sensuality, sexuality and femininity. This in no way means you should be wearing a thong and stilettos when you do that. Just look at the photos above. All you can see in N’s clothing is part of her tank top. Yet these photos drip with a fantastical wow-factor (I hope that’s what you see too ;-))
In the beginning for me it was all about the clothes and the woman. Let’s face it, we’re women….we love clothes! And we certainly associate clothing with whatever image we’re trying to project on any given day for any given situation (you wouldn’t wear a negligee to a business meeting, would ya?) Looking over photographs from my past work I see that I tried to encompass way too much in some of my photographs. I wanted the window, the full outfit and the woman’s lovely expression all in one. For some of photos it worked beautifully, but in others the woman’s purpose in the photo was lost. It took me a long time to realize that in order to do justice to a woman in her photos, to really focus on her as a woman, mother, daughter, wife, girlfriend, best friend…her inner self…I was missing the most important feature on her: her eyes.
It’s all in the eyes. You’ll know when you take a photograph that slows down time when you can look at a photo and think “It’s not the clothes, it’s not the background….it’s the way she’s looking at me.” And truthfully she’s not looking at you. She’s looking at the camera. As a photographer this truly strokes my ego even more (down ego! Down!) because that means I did my job on point. In that moment I brought out something in her that made her connect with me, the camera and her inner woman. It’s those moments I swear I would scream “yyyyyEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSssssss!!!!” if I didn’t think it would scare the bejesus out of her. This is what I found so appealing in my first post of N. That before and after shows a magnitude of difference in N’s demeanor before I got to work on her and after. What a gigantic difference! Note the slight slouch and unsure smile in the first photo. Then take in the powerful gaze in the second. Wow. Two completely different women looking at me right there.
So when you’re out there taking photos, remember the eyes. They are the one part of a woman where her emotions flow freely from…if you can get it out of her. 😉