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02 March, 2011

Lights, Camera, Satisfaction!

Since the dawn of civilization, the female form has been revered and captured through art...

Progression in technology brought on new ways to honour (and then, arguably exploit) the female body as well. 

Now, more than ever, ladies are choosing to get photographed for their own personal use. Maybe Samantha Jones on Sex and the City started this trend when she decided to get nude photos done of herself because she wanted to “remember her body as it is before everything goes south”.
Either way, the more market there is for “boudoir shots” as they are called, the more people you hear about going out and buying cameras with impressive lenses calling themselves photographers – trying to make a buck and see some T&A.
It can be daunting and tricky to sift out the pros from the pervs, so I paired up with Tim Nguyen, owner and photographer - and  * cough * genius - at Citrus Photography here in Calgary, to help you with the whole process – from finding a photographer to the day of the shoot. (Oh, and ps, he did that photo of me in the top left corner of this blog. If you look through his portfolio on his website, you may just get to see me nekked! He's also on facebook.)

Finding a photographer
You can search through the phone book... or you can ask a friend that's had boudoir photos taken. Many wedding photographers shoot boudoir as well, so you may already know someone. If you have photographer friend who’s work you admire, take a moment before jumping on their bandwagon. These images are for you and those you choose to share them with. You want to be represented in a certain light. Going with the cheapest option is seldom likely to yield the best results. Spend some time looking through websites - are the photos interesting? Do they hold your attention? Do the women in the photos look like they are comfortable or are they just looking at the camera? Taking note of things like that can give you an idea of whether or not the photographer is good at making their subjects comfortable.
In terms of the types of photos you’d like (mood, background, style, etc), it’s good to browse some photo galleries of boudoir shots online, and let your photographer know ahead of time what you would like if it is something specific. Be careful though: Getting a photographer to copy other artists’ work is not exactly kosher and is a buzz kill for creativity. Also, if all you’re showing him/her is photos of ladies with long, gazelle-like legs and you are petite and curvy, you may be in for some disappointment. Choose a photographer that has a wide range of styles in his portfolio, has photographed different body types and has made each look beautiful and classy in their own way.
 
Location
You are more likely to be comfortable in familiar surroundings. Having photos taken in your own home can work quite well. But make sure the space is clean and clutter-free. Be careful though, Nguyen advises: “Some men feel this is an invasion of their personal space. (Especially when “some stranger” is seeing his woman naked.)” Have a conversation with him before hand - if it’s not a surprise, that is. If opting to go to the photographer’s studio, visit the location prior to shooting. It will give you a better idea of what you will be walking into.

Grooming
Nguyen recommends that you have yourself plucked, shaved, tweezed, whitened and tanned to your liking 48 hours beforehand. If there is razor irritation, don’t panic. A good-quality photographer CAN successfully photoshop it out, but it’s better for your confidence during the shoot to be prepared - and being ready in advance will give you time to make adjustments. 

Wardrobe
These photos are for you. So wear your clothes. A few photographers may have some outfits on hand for you to wear, but think about it: this means others have had their business in there when they were getting their photos done. And even IF they have been washed… “No thank you!” "If the photos are for a lover or a special friend, use something of theirs in the photos", Nguyen suggests. For example, a piece of jewelry that was bought for you, something with memories tied to it, a favourite dress, a sports jersey or homeland’s flag (cliché, yes, but they do go over very well!)… The list goes on. It’s up to you to get creative! 

On the day of the shoot
DO sleep well the night before.
DO breathe deeply - this is supposed to be fun!
DO have conversations with the photographer, keep things light, play music, relax with a drink, maybe even in the photos! (White wine is best – no bubbles for bloating or strong colours to stain your teeth.)
DO feel free to bring a friend. Pick someone you will be comfortable with and who may just have a knack for pointing out if your hair just isn’t quite right or helping you achieve the perfect smokey eyes look, etc. He/she may also help you stay within your boundaries for the shoot. (Level of nudity/types of poses, etc) Do not trust a photographer who refuses a chaperone.
DON'T drink coffee - drink green tea and only clear liquids.
DON'T drink red wine, stained teeth ARE difficult to photoshop.
DON'T smoke heavily.
DON'T eat heavily the meal before or drink carbonated liquids – These will both make you feel bloated.
DON'T be afraid to say “no”. You are NOT required to be nude in a boudoir photo shoot if you choose not to be. There is plenty of sex appeal in clothed and suggestive photos. You should be comfortable at all times. If not, you have the right to stop the shoot at any time.

Tim kindly let me use a couple of his photos for this post. Notice the different moods, highlighting the models’ features, personal styles, and strengths. Striking, sensual eyes vs. a more funky, playful feel. As he says, “Regardless of your shape and size, you are beautiful. Just watch.” 

 










If you like what you see, mention this blog post to Tim at Citrus Photography to receive 25% off prints + one additional hour of your session for free! That means you get three hours for $200! (This promotion is good until 30th June, 2011) www.citrusphotography.ca

~A

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