Boudoir! ... the bigger picture.
As a Boudoir photographer I feel that one of the most important things I need to understand is what it truly feels like for a woman to be half naked having your picture taken by a complete stranger as well as the general experience overall. To truly understand the what, why and how there was only one thing for it, it was time for me to get my kit off and step in front of the camera.
My experience at the **BLEEP** Studios in hindsight was somewhat disappointing. I had purchased a Groupon voucher which entitled me a free photo shoot, makeover and 1 free image. Maybe this was my first mistake, I had read some pretty awful reviews about these kind of studio's however the aim here was to simply have this initial experience.
Being a portrait photographer I know how important it is to build a rapport with clients in order to produce an environment that is comfortable thus allowing the client to relax and build trust with you. This in turn awards you the chance to capture the real essence and demeanour of a person, the ultimate aim of any portrait photographer.
So as I stood there half naked in just my undies, made up to the nines and geared up for my shoot, I felt calm and eager to meet my photographer. Now as a photographer I do have the distinct advantage of knowing how to pose myself to show off my body in it's best frame. Not many people are aware of their own posture however until you guide them into pose. So being able to give gentle clear and concise coaching is some what of an art to be mastered. With an expressionless persona barking out orders at you and your choice of accessories sniggered at really doesn't bode well with the harmonious environment mentioned earlier... and so I’d met my photographer for the next hour!
And as if that wasn’t bad enough, once your photo shoot time is up (and they really do run by the clock) you are then made to wait around post shoot for over two hours whilst your images are being 'edited'. After which time you’re pretty eager to just pick what you want and leave … pronto (or, maybe that's the idea) I sat down in a small room with a young girl who was at first full of overzealous smiles and appreciation of my images (including the really bad ones, according to me, but subjective none the less) we sat there and worked our way through the images one by one, 50 in total. Me stating yes, no or maybe and coming back to the beginning to complete the whole sequence again. The deal with these types of studios is they go for the hard sell and this can be very intimidating and uncomfortable it's only when you have decided upon your final choice of images that you are then presented with the menu of prices.
I can appreciate there are costs involved in running a studio of such proportion as well as wages for the makeup artist, photographer, and photo editing. But what concerns me the most is that the minute they feel there will be ‘no sale’ or ‘no big sell’ the prices drops DRAMATICALLY over 50% less I was quoted when my enthusiasm seemed to be wearing thin. This made me question the value that they put on this whole experience including the finished product. Of course it didn’t help that the sales girl had also lost all enthusiasm in me and my images as soon as she realised there was no chance of a sale her attitude completely changed she pretty much turned her back to me and began to text on her mobile. When all is said and done I guess my biggest bug bear here is first of all that I had lost a few hours of my life I’d never be getting back, but more than that... where was the personal touch that is needed for this genre?!
At Love Miss D we are all about the personal touch. Time is taken so that you feel comfortable even before we start shooting. During the shoot I make it fun and engaging. Care and attention is taken with every pose ensuring that the angles are correct and the light is flattering. Boudoir is all about you, I don’t mass produce images of the same pose for every client, the location is at your home so your instantly relaxed and comfortable with your surroundings. There is no need for a hard sell, when you agree to a photo shoot with Love Miss D you know in advance what the cost of the shoot and products will be.
So reluctantly and with a poor taste in my mouth now at a stage where I felt no emotional connection with any of the images, just very uncomfortable and eager to leave, I picked the one ‘best of a bad bunch’ image and headed for the hills. Thus said image below:
It’s not my intention to bad mouth studios such as this, I'm simply giving my review and opinion of my experience in comparison to the Boudoir experience I offer to women. I feel so strongly about protecting this genre of photography and making sure it gets the appreciation it deserves and that women from all walks of life have the most incredible personal experiences with it. The image above is technically perfect, good light, good pose, good composition (horrendous looking bed!).
In comparison the 2nd Boudoir photo shoot I participated in gave me an entirely different experience and I have been brave enough to share with you one of images taken of me by a fellow photographer in my style of Boudoir. I guess with all things ‘Art’ it is subjective to the viewer. But when I look at both these images and compare them, the 2nd image is the one I have the most emotional connection with and love for due to, first and foremost the overall experience I had and secondly the way I have been captured, the image is honest, I look relaxed and comfortable in pose. It is beautifully lit with natural light and not over edited, this is Boudoir... for me!