...Sometimes, it is just a photography session.
As a boudoir photographer, your primary goal should be to create a comfortable and enjoyable experience for your clients-- while delivering amazing results. The boudoir photo session is a deeply personal and intimate experience for many individuals, and it is crucial to keep the focus on the client's needs and desires. What has happened in boudoir photography is that some photographers go down a marketing path that may wind up costing you clients and business.
Unfortunately, and probably unknowingly, some boudoir photographers get bogged down in promoting social politics, "spiritual" healing, or lean too much into body positivity, detracting from the purpose of the session-- and boudoir photography. Instead of focusing on the client's comfort, needs, and enjoyment, these photographers may attempt to impose their own social beliefs and values onto the client (or worse, what they think they have to impose on a client), leading to a less-than-optimal experience.
About eight or nine years ago I was working with a client during a session. About half way through our time together, she starts telling me how she contacted another photographer prior to me. I distinctly remember her telling me how this photographer was just going way over the top telling the potential client how she would be spiritually reborn, and how she was a broken soul and this photographer was going to rebuild her. This other photographer was apparently using all the moves from the "broken woman marketing" playbook that many boudoir photographers espouse. Turns out, all the client simply wanted was a fun anniversary gift. --That's it. She wasn't seeking to be "spiritually reborn."
To ensure that your boudoir photography sessions are enjoyable and successful, it is essential to avoid overdoing the pitfalls of social politics, spiritual healing, and body positivity. In this blog post, we will explore why these factors can detract from the overall boudoir experience and provide some tips on how to focus on the client's comfort and enjoyment.
Boudoir & Social Politics
In the realm of boudoir photography, the focus should always remain on the clients - celebrating their unique beauty and sensuality. Yet, a potential pitfall arises when photographers mistakenly leverage the intimacy of these sessions as a conduit for broadcasting their own social or political convictions. Not only does this misdirect the purpose of the shoot, but it also risks establishing an uncomfortable environment and could detrimentally impact the rapport between client and photographer.
Boudoir photography's beauty lies in its inherently personal and intimate nature. It's an experience that’s all about the client, their desires, and their comfort levels. Consequently, their beliefs, values, and expectations should be the guiding light throughout the session. However, when we, as photographers, fail to honor this principle, we veer off course. Any imposition of personal beliefs onto the clients can lead to discomfort and a less than stellar experience, deterring the celebration of individuality that boudoir photography so elegantly encapsulates.
After all, whose session is it? Theirs... or yours?
Remember, the primary aim is to create an environment where clients feel at ease to express their individuality and beauty. To truly honor this, it's imperative to maintain a neutral, respectful stance, devoid of personal social or political ideologies. It's about understanding that your role is to facilitate and capture these moments of self-expression, providing clients with a liberating and enjoyable experience. By keeping the focus on the clients and their needs, boudoir photography can continue to flourish as an empowering, celebratory art form.
Boudoir & Spiritual Healing
Delving into the sphere of boudoir photography, some practitioners tend to assert the notion of their sessions offering spiritual healing. They advocate for the belief that through the experience, clients can connect with their inner selves, and mend emotional wounds. While this may resonate with some individuals, it's crucial to remember that the core of boudoir photography isn't rooted in the promise of spiritual healing. It's a nuanced and delicate balance that we, as practitioners, must strike.
The responsibility of a boudoir photographer does not extend to acting as a spiritual guide or therapist. Any assumption of such a role diverges from the primary purpose of these sessions - to create an atmosphere of comfort, enjoyment, and celebration of the client's individuality. Superimposing spiritual healing narratives may lead clients down a path they did not initially intend to walk, detracting from the primary focus and potentially causing discomfort or dissatisfaction.
The essence of boudoir photography is about acknowledging and capturing the unique beauty and personality of each client. It's not about infusing sessions with extraneous elements such as spiritual healing. Maintaining this focus helps to ensure clients leave not with a sense of having undergone a spiritual journey they didn't sign up for, but with a profound feeling of being seen, celebrated, and cherished just as they are. This, in the truest sense, can be more healing and empowering than any spiritual promises could ever claim to offer..
Boudoir & Body Positivity
In the world of boudoir photography, there's an important balance to strike when it comes to the concept of body positivity. As a noble and significant movement, body positivity advocates for self-love and acceptance, regardless of one's size or shape. However, there is a fine line that exists where promoting body positivity can shift from being empowering to inducing discomfort or self-consciousness in the clients.
The crux of a successful boudoir session lies in celebrating a client's individual beauty in a respectful and sensitive manner, regardless of their shape or size. Yet, it is equally essential to avoid overly imposing the body positivity narrative in a way that could inadvertently exacerbate any insecurities or doubts. Clients' comfort zones should always be respected, and their boundaries upheld. Any discomfort with certain poses or settings should be acknowledged, with alternatives provided that resonate more closely with their level of ease.
At the end of the day, boudoir photography's ultimate goal is to underscore the unique beauty and individuality of each client, not to serve as a platform for the amplification of the body positivity movement. While promoting self-love and acceptance is essential, it must never be done at the expense of the client's comfort. Keeping this balance allows us to create sessions that genuinely celebrate each client's unique beauty, leading to an empowering and memorable experience.
Tips for Focusing on the Client's Comfort and Enjoyment
Now that we have discussed why it is crucial to avoid social politics, spiritual healing, and excessive body positivity, let us explore some tips on how to focus on the client's comfort and enjoyment.
Listen to Their Needs and Desires
Before the boudoir session, it is essential to have a consultation with the client. This is an opportunity to understand their needs and desires and create a session that meets their expectations. By listening to their concerns and preferences, you can create a comfortable and enjoyable experience that celebrates their individuality and beauty. If the client is coming in for an anniversary gift... it may be just for an anniversary gift.
Create a Relaxing Atmosphere
A boudoir session can be nerve-wracking for some individuals, particularly if it is their first time. As a photographer, it is your responsibility to create a relaxing atmosphere that puts the client at ease. This can involve playing relaxing music, using soft lighting, and providing a comfortable environment.
Respect Their Comfort Levels
Every client is different, and it is important to respect their comfort levels during the session. If a particular pose or setting makes them uncomfortable, it is crucial to listen to their concerns and adjust accordingly. This can involve finding alternative poses or settings that make them feel more at ease or giving them the option to skip that particular pose altogether.
Communicate Clearly and Effectively
During the session, it is important to communicate clearly and effectively with the client. This involves providing clear instructions on poses and settings, as well as asking for feedback on how they are feeling throughout the session. By communicating effectively, you can create a comfortable and enjoyable experience that meets the client's needs and desires.
Focus on Celebrating Their Beauty and Individuality
At the end of the day, boudoir photography is about celebrating the client's beauty and individuality. Be inclusive not divisive. It is not about imposing your beliefs or promoting social politics or spiritual healing. By focusing on celebrating their beauty and individuality, you can create a session that is enjoyable, empowering, and memorable.
In the complex world of boudoir photography, navigating through numerous subtleties and nuances becomes an integral part of the job. Key to success is a delicate balance. This equilibrium comprises an unwavering focus on creating an environment that is both comfortable and enjoyable for clients, sidestepping potential pitfalls that may arise from overemphasis on social politics, spiritual healing, and excessive body positivity.
A comprehensive understanding of the client's needs, desires, and comfort levels should be at the heart of every session. This understanding is the guide that leads us towards crafting an experience that exceeds the client's expectations. It helps us carve out a path that results in sessions which are not just enjoyable, but also empowering, creating memories that clients will cherish.
Creating a relaxing atmosphere is pivotal, and a big part of that revolves around clear and effective communication. It's not just about providing detailed instructions on poses and settings, but also consistently checking in on how clients are feeling throughout the session. Respect their comfort levels, make adjustments where necessary, and keep the lines of communication open. This way, a seamless dialogue can be established that ultimately enhances the overall experience.
Finally, the grand finale of any boudoir session must always be a celebration of the client's individuality and beauty. That's the star that should shine the brightest, not the photographer's beliefs or ideologies. Stripping away these extras allows us to get to the heart of the matter - providing clients with an experience that not only is a reflection of their unique selves but also serves as an empowering journey. This dedication to client-centricity is what makes boudoir photography such a special and rewarding field. It is this commitment that turns an ordinary session into an extraordinary experience.