Anyone can buy a camera. Anyone can get a business license. Anyone can hang out a shingle advertising that they are a boudoir photographer, have a few mediocre shots to prove a point, and get pretty ladies to pose for them. So the question is how do you tell if these guys or gals are for real?
I call them the Creepers with Cameras brigade. These are the near-do-wells in the genre, there to completely objectify their subjects, which are no more than lens meat to these film pigs. And others are not so much creepers, but just don’t have the eye for the art, or perhaps it’s simply lack of experience. Bottom line is if it doesn’t feel right to you, don’t do it. Creepers can be in any form….trust your instincts.
A good boudoir photographer has the eye for beauty in many forms. In my book, they need to be artistic, professional, diverse in their tastes, and easy to talk to. It also helps if they have an actual real studio in which they do their work. Examples of their work should really showcase their artistic flair as well as their diversity. Are they all thinly veiled T & A shots? If so, you may have a Creeper! Finally, it’s really important that these types of photographers encourage you to bring an escort with you to your session, for your comfort as well as security, both for you and for them.
Insist on meeting them before you schedule a shoot. Too cautious? Perhaps I am, but it has yet to steer me wrong. If they can’t show you their work, or their face, why would you want to show them your …er…assets? Ask to see their work. Are they all similar pictures and poses? Are they all the same body type in their models? I am telling you, beware of becoming the dough for a cookie-cutter shoot.
It’s really a bit of a simple formula in boudoir photography from what I can tell: you get what you pay for. Nequim studios is not the most affordable in the area, however, there are some thing which quality will win over affordability. Of course I am going to toot the horn of the Nequim studios, as I now work here. However, before I became a part of the Nequim team, I was a Nequim client, and as I followed the work of the Man in Black, I decided that he had the eye to make things special. Let’s face it, these types of photos are of a deeply sensitive nature. No one wants to realize that they look ridiculous in a particular pose, or that they are just another model. One moment you are laying face up on the bed, the next you are flipped like a burger at a fast-food joint for a quick shot of your “assets.” Boudoir photography is all about the sensitive, sensual nature, and you should be made to feel like a queen during your session. If nothing else, Prime Rib instead of just chopped sirloin! The point is, if it doesn’t feel like art in the making, it’s likely not. A session should be relaxed, fun, and glamorous.
Speaking to the everyday woman out there, I find that there are a few things that are important in her self-image. First is to be unique, and recognized for her one-of-a-kind energy that she brings with her in everything that she does. Second is to be strong, in a balanced and gentle way. Third is to be sexy, sensual and desirable. These things are a must to bleed through into your session. No exceptions, unless you are willing to settle for the Creeper Brigade. It takes some talent for the photographer to find that signature feel for each client. If you find that in his or her example work, you have found someone worth working with for your project.
What we set out to do at Nequim studios is to create a safe and fun environment for the serious client, whether they are the average everyday goddess out there or the professional model. Live sets, a real dressing room, a vast choice in props and accoutrements for your shoot, and a lot of love for what we do go into sessions here. It’s not in my job description to be modest, so let me just say that much of our work is highly artistic, unique, and often is even more than what the client had envisioned when they first book the session. And once you get in front of the camera, it can become addicting! Wait…did I just call this work? It’s seriously hard to justify labeling this as work, when helping a client realize their vision for their shoot is like watching a rose come to bloom.
Don’t “settle” for average in a photo shoot such as this. Make it a memory that is worth revisiting. Make it an empowering experience, and learn to embrace all that comes with it. Find a professional photographer that clicks with you, and let yourself be amazed at how fun and freeing something like posing in costume, lingerie or nude can be.