“Beauty can be seen in all things, seeing and composing the beauty is what separates the snapshot from the photograph.”
— Matt Hardy
It was put forward as a suggestion to write a piece about boudoir photography - but from a photographer's point of view... I'd say it was a challenge, but I'll be honest. Most of it wasn't. But hey, I might be writing it at a tangent from what they'd actually challenged I write!
I've written many things about boudoir, but from the modern woman's perspective. It's empowering... confidence building. Self-love while truly being yourself. From a woman's view, it's falling in love with who you are and what you look like. And we all need that - at least every now and then.
In writing all that, voicing my opinion from a woman's mind, I guess I should sometimes voice my photographer's opinion and ideas.
From a photographers point of view.... The female body is amazing. Not only can it create life, but it's the same body we associate with sensuality and sensitivity. It's the body that has started wars, the same body that cares for us when we are sick. To me, as a photographer, the feminine body is truly inspiring. Curves and all. I know right now this may seem a little strange to talk about women like this. But I'm comfortable enough with my own self and sexuality to talk openly like this. At this stage in my career, I can't say I've worked with any men. So I don't really think I can talk much about that aspect.
The human body and soul is truly inspiring. Everything that makes us, us, is art.
Women can also tell so much more of a story with modeling for portraits as what men can. Sorry but I said it. A woman can change her facial expression and completely change the tone and intention of the picture.
Boudoir, Erotica or Porn?
Some might be mistaken that all of the above are exactly the same thing - I'm quite glad the majority of people in modern society are becoming less naive! Boudoir can take on elements of Eroticism, but the majority is softer portraits displaying a "good, but naughty" vibe. Boudoir and Erotic portraits display more personality. Eroticism toes the boundary, but porn crosses it. Porn leaves nothing to the imagination and there is nothing classy to pornographic images.
Boudoir is certainly more than just a sexy photo... it doesn't have to be over-sexualized and filthy. As with most portraits, it's about capturing the soul, the moment and the beauty in-front of us. As a boudoir photographer, I aim to put YOU on paper. You and YOUR STORY. For me, standard portraits don't capture WHO you are and HOW YOU REALLY LOOK. They capture what you want to be or pretend to be. Boudoir is so much more raw than that. There's only so many places the subject can hide in boudoir. It is literally ALL the client/model!
This is another reason why I actually ask clients or models to do their own hair and makeup. As weird as that sounds for a photographer to say. The following quote sums it up perfectly!
Makeup is a powerful way to effectively reveal something unique about your inner self.
-https://www.pinterest.nz/pin/3237030962926349/ Beauty brands
How we do our makeup is an expression of who we are. Confident, sexy women do bold colours and big eyeliner.... the naturally beautiful and more timid can see their worth in minimal or natural looking makeup. Also, much as I instruct and direct with posing, everyone has their own ways of doing things. EVERYONE WILL DO EXACTLY THE SAME POSE DIFFERENTLY.
In portrait photography, when a client or model appreciates what you've captured, they are appreciating themselves.
That's the kick out of boudoir portraits that I get. When someone loves the photos they get, they are loving the image that they project. The image that everyone sees when they look at that person. I pretty much feel like it's mission accomplished at this point! I like to do minimalism portraits... the smallest amount of distraction in the frame the better, Not only can the viewer focus on the beauty that's in front of them, you see more OF THE SUBJECT. We can look at the photos and gain the insight into the person. Wonder about who they are. In boudoir, the subject is a complete mystery. And that's what sexy is all about. Leaving things to the imagination.
Example, first photo of four previously is Zoe. An extremely confident woman comfortable in her own skin. Bubbly and always laughing. Yet in this photo, her softer side is captured. A small woman with a big heart. The next two - Jacinda. Sensuality in one photo, boss in the next. She's both of those things. But she's also a loving and devoted mother. Final photo - Sarah. A modest photograph of 'between poses'. A nod to her competitive dance - Sarah's used to controlling every moment and every technique of a pose or routine. She is in complete control of her body at all times. Also another extremely smart woman working her ass off to get where she wants to be. Career driven and family orientated. Each of these women have a story behind them. Each of these photographs make you wonder about their story and who they are.
None of the images discussed are what would technically be classed as "sexy". Yes, they contain lingerie, but nothing is really "shown" or "flaunted" (if you get what i'm trying to say here). Feminine, soft-natured and relatively modest. They are all being naturally themselves in a moment. That's what I like about boudoir and view boudoir as. Capturing women embracing their femininity, sensuality and themselves as they are.
That's real, raw beauty.
And that's what boudoir photography is to me.