The desire to have a boudoir shoot is something we hear many women talk about. Older women chime into say, “I wish I had done that when____”. Boudoir photography comes and goes in and out of vogue. There are cliches attached to this genre of photography that we haven’t been able to shake; but by now I think we all know this isn’t your mothers Glamour Shots.
With anything there are trends and many of the things that have become very popular with boudoir photography this year has drawn harsh criticism. We are artists trying to make a living and often we feel pressure to follow the trends or lose our clients all while realizing that we will lose some clients if they don’t like the direction we are headed by leaning into those trends. I am cool with losing clients who insist on wearing jerseys and knee socks. I am cool with losing clients because I refuse to photoshop your body too heavily. I am cool with losing clients that require me to copy someone else’s work. I have enough years under my belt that I can proudly say that I am a solid boudoir photographer. I use both natural and studio lighting. I have never ever turned away a client because of her shape or weight. I can confidently say that I like my work and I no longer feel the pressure to follow the trends. I am in a sweet spot at the moment. I can balance portrait photography with the really sensual and intimate side of boudoir without completely losing sight of the woman.
I had a conversation with a colleague of mine just this morning. It is a heated topic we have had between us since before I could call her a friend. Is boudoir photography empowering? I would love to hear your thoughts! It would really make my day if you would add your thoughts on the topic in the comments!
If you have followed me for a long time, you most likely know my stance on the subject. I have been a boudoir photographer for quite a while now. I find the word empowering to be loaded and misused in this scenario. Boudoir photography is powerful. But is it really empowering? I have said before and will say it over and over. I give women permission. Permission to appreciate their bodies. Permission to find themselves attractive. Permission to FEEL sexy. I give women permission to see that what they view in the mirror is not always an accurate representation of what our bodies look like. Our relationships with our bodies are complicated to say the least. I have been told that this “Boudoir Therapy” has done more for women and their relationships with their self image than years of intensive therapy. I don’t even want to skim the surface of that issue at the moment. Body image issues are so rampant that yes women end up in therapy over their reflections; how fucked up is our world that we can’t seem to catch up with fact that bodies are all different and worthy….another topic for another day.
The current state of trends in boudoir photography is a heavy emphasis on sexuality. We are all mammals here, we know there is power in sex. There is power in sexuality and sexual exploration. There is power in the ownership of your desire to be seen and reckoned with as a sexual being. But do we have to SHOW it all? Is there power in being overt? Absolutely! Is there power in being demure? Absolutely. Is there power in the display of sexuality? Absolutely! Is there power in being chaste? Absolutely. What you want has power, what you are motivated by has power and all I do as a boudoir photographer is to give you PERMISSION to take back your power. I can not empower you. I did not disempower you therefore anything that you have derived from our time together when you shoot with The Girlfriend Experience Boudoir is your taking your power back into your own hands! I give you permission and I will give you both the beautiful portraits you can share and the overtly sexual and the sensuous demure images that you deserve. You are not 1 thing, you are all of the beautiful things and trends can come and go but emphasis will always be all about the woman and the many sides to her; as long as she isn’t in a sports jersey with knees socks asking me to copy another photographers work and photoshop her within an inch of her life!