As you scramble to buy the perfect Valentine's Day gift for your sweetie, you might find yourself considering something on the saucy side, like a boudoir photo. But then you realize, "Valentine's Day is Friday! There's no time!" So you settle for a teddy bear holding an "I love you" heart, and hope that your partner mistakes your lack of planning for irony. Still, the photo idea lingers in the back of your mind, along with a nagging concern that the reality of a boudoir shoot might mirror the fiction of a Lifetime Original Movie.
Explain boudoir photography. Does that mean that women have to get naked?
"While some may know the term 'boudoir' to be a derivative of the French word 'boudeur,' meaning sulky, more people will relate to the word boudoir as a lady's private bedroom or dressing room… We strive to capture the sensuality and mystique of the boudoir vibe while maintaining our client's dignity, privacy and above all, their boundaries. Our clients are our top priority, so if getting completely naked is NOT on their priority list, this is a non-issue for us. Being naked is absolutely not synonymous with the word 'boudoir.' Not in our book."
Stripping down to your skivvies in front of a crew of strangers (even professionals) is intimidating. How do you make clients comfortable with the experience?
"Indeed it can be! Our staff is very warm and welcoming and we do provide a social and comfortable atmosphere for everyone to enjoy. After having some light conversation and refreshments, while listening to your favourate jams, we whisk you into hair and make-up. In no time, you will have forgotten about any anxieties you had while having the time of your life."
Most of the boudoir photos that we've seen show models in sexy lingerie and corsets and stockings. Do clients have to bring their own outfits?
"This is the fun part! You are encouraged to provide your own wardrobe, as only you know what makes you sparkle. Anything from a sensual-sophisticated look, to something a little more down-and-dirty/come-and-get-me; it's your choice. I mean, who are we fooling? Who doesn't wanna see their honey shine and nothing else? But seriously, we do encourage you to bring a few items from you own closet, to make the photos more personal. This also helps to increase your comfort level if it's your first photo shoot."
Can you provide oufits on request? If so…are these outfits dry-cleaned?
"Yes! Absolutely! We discuss outfit ideas at our first meeting and can source outfits at your request. And who wants someone else's 'stuff' for their photo shoot? We wash all worn clothing after each and every photo shoot. This is obviously for hygiene purposes, but also to remove the inevitable make-up smudges and smears or stains... Girls can be so messy!"
How much, um, "grooming" are most women doing before these photo shoots?
"Okay, bear with us here. Unless you, personally, are still into the 70s look and like things a little more, how shall we say, 'au naturale,' we recommend shaving or waxing any area that will not be covered in a photo session. It's always best to do this a little bit before the shoot, if you have sensitive skin, to avoid razor born or skin rash. Skin rash can be a hinderance and uncomfortable. We want our clients to feel as beautiful, sexy and comfortable as possible! Women who feel sexy, will behave sexier. It's science. Of course, anything that comes out looking 'unsightly' to our clients, once they see their photos, can be Photoshopped, if necessary."
You have an in-house glam squad for hair and makeup. How glam are we talking? In five years, is this going to remind us of Glamour Shots?
"Ha ha… NO! Not Glamour Shots! Please, no. We take our time to ask our clients what look they are trying to achieve. (Business sexy, school girl sexy, country girl sexy, sporty/sexy, girl-next-door, dominatrix, just washin' the clothes and doin' the laundry sexy, 4-wheel drivin' sexy, lumberjack sexy, etc… you get the gist.) With photography, makeup does need to go on a little heavier than everyday wear. That's just the biz, so it'll show up in the photos. Some women do prefer a more natural look though. There are those who like the pin-up look or a smokey-eye look. Whatever it is, our talented make-up artists are very skilled and take the time to achieve the look our clients desire."
What percentage of your clients are giving their photos to someone else? What percentage are just hot singletons who want to document their hotness?
We often ask this very question. It honestly seems to be about 50/50, with a lot of clients answering 'both.' I'm willing to bet that even if they are giving them to their significant others, they're also making copies and creating a 'totally hot' photo album and secretly stashing it under their mattresses, just to look at every now and then!"
Once the photo shoot actually begins, what happens?
"Yeah. 'Say Cheese' just doesn't cut the mustard for this kind of photo shoot! We offer a posing coach that may first show you a pose and walk you through a few different variations of that pose while the photographer snaps away. We'll encourage you to find your comfort zone in front of the lens, if you're a natural, and some are, or if you need a little coaching. It's a very individual thing and our coach is patient and awesome and has a lot of fun with our clients. After that particular set is done, you are given a robe to return to your boudoir (wink, wink) to change outfits, touch up your makeup and return to a new set! This may happen two or three times, depending on the package you have purchased."
Have you ever had a client cry during a boudoir shoot?
"Never during a shoot, unless you count laughing so hard they cry. We have definitely had some tears during the viewing sessions though. We love that complete feeling of awe that is so palpable in them when they come back to view their photos for the first time! It's just so damn cool."
Do men ever do boudoir shoots?
"I imagine there are some men that have done 'dudeoir' types of shots, but we haven't done any yet. Our market generally consist of women looking for the perfect gift to provide their loved one with."
Every woman has a "problem" area that she feels self-conscious about. How do you work around that? Will you Photoshop flaws at a client's request?
Every single person. Even the person the other people are jealous of are insecure about some part of their bodies. They are all their own biggest critics. We take time to talk to you and find out what that area may be. We may not see something as a flaw in the same way you do about yourself, so it's very important to have that conversation ahead of time. We first work around these things with posing and lighting. We can also strategically place scarves, boas etc, to camouflage problem areas. Finally, we can edit almost anything in post production. How much we do is up to you. Cellulite, stretch marks, scars, blemishes, freckles and the like, are all removable.