I get a lot of questions regarding intimate portraits and boudoir photography. Since many women are interested and curious about what these types of photography sessions entail, I arranged to be interviewed about it. I hope you enjoy the following interview as much as I did. For those of you on the fence over whether or not you want to do this for yourself, please read on. I’m sure you will surprise yourself.
When you think of intimate portraits, what’s the first thing you think about?
The first thing that comes to mind is women and making them feel beautiful. I think of these women going through a special time in their lives. This special event could include something like a wedding or the fulfillment of an accomplishment. It could even be something as simple as a gift for themselves, or even surviving something.
Not too long ago, I assisted in photographing a woman who did this for herself after beating cancer. She knew that beating it was something to be ecstatic about. So, she celebrated. Her tagline for herself was, “It took 30 years, to look this good.” The intimate portrait meant much more to her than just reaching the age of 30. It was a huge milestone for her.
I just thought she was amazing. And I want all women to view intimate portraits and boudoir photographs as more than just beautiful images, but how special they really can be for themselves!
How do you define intimate portraits?
They are fun, flirty, sexy, and intimate. That’s why I don’t call my photographs boudoir photographs, because this normally makes people think of lingerie and skimpy outfits–stuff like that. I call them intimates because I am photographing you in your most vulnerable state. Many women, most of us, worry and are self-conscious about certain things. Maybe we don’t have the bodies we wish we could have, or we have details about ourselves that we wish didn’t exist. These moments are special. They help us confront our own vulnerabilities. This is an intimate moment between me and the woman I’m photographing.
Who are intimate portraits for?
Any woman over the age of 18. They’re for everyone, really. For the grandmother who’s turning 88, and wants to do something fun and flirty for herself. They’re for the 20 year old, the mother of 2, the grandmother, the person who’s never had children or the cancer survivor. They are for the real women in this world. It’s for everyone who doesn’t think that they are beautiful and for those who do think they are beautiful.
You can hold onto and cherish your portraits for your whole life and think “Hey, I’m gorgeous. I deserve this.”
They’re for every woman who wants to have a smile on her face and deserves to smile. Some people never get a chance to pamper themselves, and this is a great opportunity.
What’s your answer to someone who feels like they shouldn’t have an intimate portrait done? Maybe they don’t have the best self-image, or they feel something like this wouldn’t be received well or appreciated.
A woman who doesn’t think she should have an intimate portrait done probably needs it the most. A lot of us have been conditioned to feel that just because we aren’t society’s opinion of the right size, we can’t have a beautiful portrait taken of ourselves. This is nonsense.
A woman can have a portrait taken that reflects her beauty. I guarantee that at the end of a session, my client is going to feel amazing. Again, women need to do this for themselves.
For women who don’t think they should do this, I have a few questions myself. “Why not?” That’s the biggest question. Why shouldn’t you have something of you that makes you feel beautiful? It’s a huge confidence boost for women. You get pride, joy and excitement that you never thought possible. We need to know that our bodies are beautiful, and women need to have a representation of that for themselves.
So, what would I tell someone who doubts they should have an intimate portrait session? I would say: You will surprise yourself. There’s no reason to be shy, and these curves are to be loved. You need to tell yourself that. You’re going to leave the session thinking, “I’m so thrilled that I did this.” Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. And the naysayers? They don’t need to be there; this isn’t for them.
What is it about intimate sessions that drew you to doing this for your clients?
Having my session done for myself (after I had a child and I have the marks to prove it!). I was not blessed like some women are. You know who you are and I’m so jealous! Anyway. At first, I felt like I shouldn’t do this. I didn’t have the body I used to have. With a little bit of a push, though, I realized that I am pretty, that my husband loves me, and that I have a beautiful child. Well, now I have two beautiful children. 🙂
I was so glad that I did the session. When my husband runs to grab the photos to show other women, it makes me proud and excited to know that he is proud of them, and I should be too.
Earlier, we touched on what your definition of an intimate portrait was. You said that you wanted to distinguish that from boudoir photography. Is there much of a difference between the two?
I call what I do intimate portraits. Boudoir is different in the fact that boudoir photography can sometimes remove a level of intimacy. There can be a bit of a stigma when it comes to boudoir session. You know, there’s a fine line between art and sleaze; some people do it well while others miss the mark. Don’t get me wrong, boudoir is beautiful, and it can be stunning. I want what I do to bring about a certain perception and level of taste.
I love calling them intimate portraits. It involves you, a beautiful woman, letting someone in to share a vulnerable moment, while allowing me to capture it. It’s a portrait of you in a vulnerable state, and you get a chance, if you want, to just put it out on display without any reservations. There’s strength and liberation in that. Intimates can be beautiful and sexy at the same time without having to be all about sex. Ultimately, it’s about being beautiful. On the other hand, boudoir can start to lose a touch of class and taste when done incorrectly. I want to avoid that.
It seems like some people would start off anxious and uptight before relaxing for a photography session. What do you do to get your clients in the most relaxed state possible so you can get them looking their very best?
It all varies on the client. I try to adapt to that person’s personality and how they respond to different types of photographs. I always start with the subject at their most clothed. It’s a way of warming up.
It’s still beautiful, fun, flirty and fabulous. I start off that way so that we can ease into the more revealing intimate portraits. With some women, if they’re 21 and up, I offer a more adult beverage to ease anxiety and take off the edge a little bit. It helps a lot.
I always play music. That gets people in the mood to dance and have fun. I want the whole experience to be a blast. Every minute of the intimate portrait should be enjoyed.
The product should be fun, and so should the process. I also have a conversation before I start the session. Normally, there’s a couple questions I ask.
Things like: Who are we doing this for? Why are we doing this?. My favorite thing is getting to know the client. Doing this lets me get a better understanding of what has driven them to want an intimate portrait session. I let people know who to think about. I keep things light and joke with them. “Bat those eyes at me like I’m your man.”
Is there a growing trend for this type of photography? Have you noticed people asking about intimate portraits more?
Yes! I do believe there’s a growing trend. There isn’t as large a stigma on intimate portraiture as there used to be. The market is definitely expanding too. It’s not just the young girl who’s getting married, or the single woman who wants this for her boyfriend. Many older women are requesting this either because they just want to or, for some reason or another, they weren’t able to do this in their 20’s. The trend is growing.
Lots of moms want this now. In the past, the women who may have been self conscious about their bodies, now are much more proud. And the technology advancements help too. 🙂
Listen, I know that there are things about our bodies that we, woman, would like to do without. But, those marks make us who we are. I’m saying this, but I know that many of us don’t want to have these things highlighted in our photographs. Technology has been a great aid with this. It gives women confidence that, with a professional photographer, they get that polished version of themselves on their best day.
How long is the typical intimate portrait session?
Anywhere from an hour to an hour and a half. It usually includes up to 3 outfit changes. It’s super fun. I don’t limit you to taking a little bit to warm up or work on some ideas. I want you to be very happy. I photograph until I’m content and I know that you’ll be happy and love your photographs
Any other words about intimate portraits or boudoir photography before we wrap this up?
Yes! Ladies, whether you get boudoir or intimate portraits done for yourselves or not, always remember that your beauty, strength, and all the events that define your womanhood (down to the smallest ones) are to be celebrated. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.