There are many boudoir photographers in Nashville. I'm talking about dedicated boudoir photographers who shoot boudoir nearly exclusively. I'm Shane, and I'm possibly the only serious boudoir photographer in Nashville who is a man. (I'm not aware of any others) Not only that, but I established Boudoir à la Mode on July 5th of 2010, so I'm also possibly the most experienced at this in Nashville, male or female. It's a female photographer dominated market, and that's because it's easy for a woman who is considering a boudoir photography session to automatically jump on the "all female staff" mindset. But is this really what is best?
Men's magazines use male photographers.
GQ to Maxim, Sports Illustrated to Esquire...and even Playboy all have male photographers shooting for their magazines. Russell James is the primary photographer for Victoria's Secret. Photography has been a male dominated industry and only recently have women started to enter the field with the advent of digital cameras, making it easier to be the family photographer, and then move up from there. Of course there have always been female photography superstars like Annie Leibovitz. There are some female photographers out there around there world that I have HUGE respect for. But with as much money as those magazine companies spend on producing their magazines, they know what they are doing when it comes to photographing women. They hire men. They could EASILY be hiring women...if they thought it was best. You will never hear about Victoria's Secret magazine boasting of an "All female staff!"
Sexy is for Guys
Let’s get real. The reason the lingerie industry exists is so women can look sexy for a guy. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for a woman buying lingerie for herself and wearing it to feel sexy. But if a woman gets the chance, she’d be happiest in sweats and a tee at home watching Netflix or Hulu. . Guys are the same way too. Men would spend far less money on houses, suits ,cars, and education if it didn’t impress women.
There is something to be said about being in front of someone of the opposite sex. You don’t need to be an exhibitionist to want to do a boudoir session. Being in front of someone of the opposite sex makes it easier to flirt or get “into character.” If you feel comfortable throwing sexy bedroom eyes to a woman, then hire a woman. Most females, however, find that it is easier to turn on the sex appeal when it is someone they could possibly be attracted to or might be attracted to them. No, I don’t want to have sex with the women I shoot. I have a lovely wife at home, and in fact right by my side as I shoot! Yes, my wonderful wife/assistant, Dawn. (I only have eyes/desire for her, and she knows that!)
Men and women have clearly different aesthetic tastes. Female boudoir photographers usually capture the soft and reserved side of a woman. A male will typically have more raw sexuality. The sexuality comes across as passion, desire, and drive in the images. A good photograph doesn’t just capture a sexy pose, but also the emotions behind it.
I also know when something is “too” sexy. I don’t want to capture images that make my clients look like something out of the adult entertainment industry. If a pose or look is too provocative, I can change it or the camera position to capture a better look. As a guy, it is easier for me to push the line of sensual imagery because I can pull back where a female photographer may not take the risk at all.
I will make this one short and sweet. Let's pose a question: When shooting boudoir, which would give a woman more confidence in front of the camera during her boudoir session?
A) Another woman, giggling, saying "you look sexy girl!". or
B) A male photographer shooting and saying "wow, you look amazing!" I think the answer is obvious.
But don't get me wrong, my wife and I, along with our clients, keep a fun and relaxed atmosphere during our sessions. It's just a little less giggly, and more productive toward great images than a female photographer would have.
Just as mentioned in the attraction section above, I know what looks good. And I know what looks sexy. One of my favorite things to do is show a girl exactly how to pose by striking the pose myself. This always gets a good laugh from my client and breaks the ice. I still spend hours studying posing. Every different body type has poses that flatter it and those that don’t. Knowing which to use is one of the things that will guarantee a better session.
As I look at the majority of boudoir photography today, much of it can be summed up as.... just pretty pictures of women in underwear. So what? There's not a lot of passion in the photos. Not much sensuality. We like to make (most of) our images exude sensuality AND beauty. There's a line between sexual and sensual. That's a great topic for another post to come!
So..... we are an all female staff....except ONE! And that ONE is what sets us apart from the pack.
Shane, founder of Boudoir a la Mode.