Boudoir photography has transformed into the bolder nude portraits. Years ago, my clients would arrive with suitcases and boxes of lingerie and outfits. It’s where our guarantee of unlimited outfits to wear in the session came from. It was easy to lose half an hour just going through the choices.
I recall one client who brought three overfilled, oversized suitcases stuffed with lingerie. As she opened the first one, which exploded from the released pressure, she got a little embarrassed telling me quietly that when she gets depressed she buys lingerie. She went on to open the next two suitcases revealing their contents. After the last one flung itself open, she looked really shy then said, “Sometimes I just pretend I am depressed.” And smiled. Interestingly, in the end she only used 10 outfits, selecting only a few to include into her nude collection mix images.
These days, clients arrive with a handbag of lingerie apologizing if they brought too much. It’s more fun if they bring other “stuff”.
We are seeing more hobby or personal things. Lots of sports jerseys are coming in; it’s amazing the sexy things you can do with an oversized hockey jersey. One client had a very active, if friendly, hockey team competition with her partner. She loved the Flames; he was an Oilers fan. He had done something to one-up his Oilers team at the embarrassing expense of her beloved Flames.
So for one of her images we laid down the acrylic mirror to create an ice surface. Nude, she laced up her skates, put on her Flames emblazoned hockey gloves, tied her Flames jersey, preppy sweater style, around her neck, tossed his Oiler jersey on the “ice” surface then stepped onto it. Holding her stick faceoff style her posed dared all comers. She loved it! Never did hear what he thought.
We still do full lingerie, boudoir approach, sessions though. They have become a bit more daring. I think my clients are wanting more than the cookie cutter approaches they tell me of their other experiences. They are looking for a rite of passage experience. They have bigger, more personal, purposes for their photographs. It’s exciting to be part of that.
I have been watching a change in image selection over the years. When we do the full range of things – glamour with dresses, layers of lingerie, partial lingerie and nudes – the selected images makes me wonder why. A few of the glamour image are kept for more public gifts and display. The rest, along with the layered lingerie and most of the revealing lingerie, are the first to be discarded.
We hear comments like, “I look great in these (those above discards) but they pale in comparison to how amazing I look in these (the nudes).” Others will tell me, “You know, this is what I really came for but did not expect to look so incredible in them.”
I am not the only one noticing this evolution. I have a friend in BC who has dropped his glamour and lingerie option from his offerings. No one was buying any of his images when there were also nudes done in the session. He was just wasting his client’s time and hired resources.
The other thing I find interesting is the age demographics of the choice. The younger women flock to the boudoir. Women in their 30s, 40s and especially their 50s, desire the nudes. It could be a body confidence thing, which is odd because you would expect that more from the youth. I suppose it could be a bigger canvas to consider. Body acceptance, personal confidence about who they are, even if they are nervous about doing it.
At any rate, there is no doubt the lingerie filled suitcases are a thing of the past. Women still bring along a collection, but usually when they start doing nudes or semi nudes, they don’t go back. You can see their confidence and boldness emerging, taking flight. It’s a delight to watch the transformation.