This particular blog post will give a brief nutshell version story of what has transpired in the past 6 weeks or so. Interesting things for all of us!
So....here we are in early-mid June. The Covid-19 "CoronaVirus" has had its way with our lives and economy. I know so many have lost careers and jobs and businesses. My heart hurts for them. I'm happy to say that Boudoir á la Mode is doing just fine though it all. Since our studio is in our huge basement, we don't have to pay rent on that. But many have not been so lucky. The effects so far, and those that are yet to come, have devastated many. Prayers for them!
Now, what have WE been up to during all this? By "we", I mean of course, Dawn and Shane. We did our share of self-isolation. We had to search for that rare apocalyptic commodity known as toilet paper. (I found some at Lowes) We did the whole bit. Now, the world-wide Covid fears have settled down a bit, and of course there is that worry of a 2nd wave. We will deal with that if/when it comes.
Due to the whole pandemic, we did not have any photo sessions in the studio during the height of it all. We recently took a 10 day vacay to one of our favorite spots, Myrtle Beach. The resort we stayed at was just re-opening the day we arrived. (planned out of course). We needed our beach time! Dawn and I find our best times of relaxing to always be around the beach, with an ocean view room. Myrtle Beach is our spot. Florida is one of our others we enjoy frequently.
Who's that girl in the photo with the red hair? That would be our new friend Aderial. We connected with her while we were at Myrtle, and she is a local to Myrtle. Dawn has become a rising star as a hair and makeup artist, and what you see here was all Dawn's handiwork. Dawn uses (and sells) Younique brand makeup products, which have very high standards, and are virtually chemical-free. Hopefully we will have an upcoming blog post on that soon. So, Aderial brought us a great canvas...herself. Fun, bold, expressive, and beautiful, we had a great session with Aderial right there in the resort hotel room. We love it when we get to shoot sessions while away from home. Aderial also wanted to have one of our sexy boudoir HD videos shot of herself, so we did. You can see that on our portfolio page. It was a home run! She brought a lot to the table that day. As usual, we made a new friend through it all. Thanks Aderial!
Dawn and I are back home now of course, and settling into our now slightly altered lifestyle, thanks to the Covid thing, which we are all too aware of now. Yes, we are booking sessions! Maybe see you here? Long live boudoir!
Sony, Canon, Nikon, Panasonic, or wait a minute....First this: As you can tell by the title above, this particular blog post is for other photographers that follow me, especially in the boudoir genre. So if you are a women looking into a possible boudoir session, you may want to jump to the next post! But...if you are a boudoir photographer in particular, this could be of great use to you. I'm Shane, the Nashville boudoir photographer. This is my story on why I made the switch from Canon DSLR, to Sony mirrorless cameras.
Most of us photographers get asked pretty regularly what we "shoot with", or in other words, "are you of the Canon clan, or Nikon clan? For many years, that was the two main options that were offered in the world of DSLR cameras, and even back to the film days. (This was the first revolution; Film to digital) Nowadays, camera makers like Sony and Panasonic have made huge waves with the mirrorless cameras that so many of us now use. Canon of course, does have their pretty stout mirrorless EOS R on offer, as well as many others in recent months. But Sony has what I needed the most, once I decided firmly that I was going to switch to mirrorless, and sell my dearly beloved Canon 5D MKIV. It would have been so much easier to just stay with Canon. I mean, the lenses, the menu system learning curve, the FEEL. So obviously, I must have felt very strongly about my decision to switch makers.
Do I miss the 5D MKIV? No. I LOVED it when I had it. But I don't miss it. When I bought it just about 1.5 years ago, and spent quite a nice sum of money on it, I could not have imagined that I would soon be selling it off, and at a pretty large loss! But it was essential. The mirrorless revolution is here. (This is the new and second revolution in photography) Many photographers are now buying up slightly used DSLR's for pennies on the dollar. And they are still super great cameras! So why did I switch?
Well, the low light capabilities were my number one reason, but there were other, including live view capability. Of course, my Canon had very high ISO capabilities, but it just could not match the clean low light images produced by the Sony A7III, which is what I ended up purchasing from Dury's in Nashville (Durys was THE place to go in Nashville for all things photography, but shut down since the Covid thing happened)
Being a boudoir specialist, and one who shoots mostly now in the low key, "dark and moody" style, I needed a camera body that would excel in this. Not only for photography, but for video as well, since I also shoot boudoir videography. The Sony A7III is the perfect camera for my needs. YEs, the menu system is very deep, and sometimes seemingly and notoriously a bit TOO complex. At first, I was angry, just like most new Sony users are. But with a few days practice, it's not that hard to navigate the menu. It was worth it.
If you are a photographer reading this post, you have likely been thinking this whole time.."what about lenses?? Did you buy Sony lenses and sell all your Canon lenses?" Well, that's a story in itself. But here is the nutshell version. Obviously, being a pro photographer, I had built up a nice but small arsenal of Canon L series lenses. My favorite was always the 24-70 2.8L. (Click HERE to buy on Amazon) Then there's my 70-200 2.8L. Then my Ultra wide angle 12mm Laowa zero distortion lens. What a beauty! Then my nifty 50 1.4. Well, you know. I like my glass. Here's what I did. I kept all my Canon glass, but I bought an adapter to go between the Sony body and my Canon glass. I had mixed results with that, and it actually created some chaos and huge frustrations for me for a while. Mostly that was due to the fact that my old 50mm 1.4 was just...older. Something in it wasn't communicating well with the adapter. I somehow caused my lens to stop down with each shot taken. But the aperture readout was not showing it! Arggg! So I decided to fix it once and for all, and go get my first ever Zeiss lens. I grabbed the 55mm 1.8. Now this lens, I LOVE. It is incredibly sharp, and operates like a dream in low light. (Buy it HERE on Amazon) I also still connect the adapter when I need to connect my wider Canon 24-70 to the Sony. I use the 55mm and the 24-70mm lenses pretty much 50-50 split time during my boudoir photo sessions.
My conclusion: I'm sold on Sony. In fact, I plan to buy another one fairly soon, to replace my Canon 60D which I keep around for a second video camera. I will likely buy the Sony a7riii for the next one. A close runner-up was the Panasonic G5, which I've used for many many hours at a past video production gig I was doing for a year. The Sony has won my photographer heart, and eye. The mirrorless revolution is here, and it has captured the attention of thousands of profession photographers. Join me if you wish. You can buy the Sony on Amazon from this link HERE
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.
By Dawn Gabriel
Boudoir is quite an exposing experience. It shines a blaring light where we may not want it to. This brings our thoughts into the dark places, those secret places where we hide our insecurities. It’s our closet where our flaws seek dark hiding. Why is it that as women we overlook our beautiful features and subscribe to a lesser beauty? Let’s face it that WE are THE most critical about ourselves. After all we have seen the good the bad and the ugly. We are familiar with our puffy eyes after a good cry or an insomniac night. We know good and well our times of bloating and more bloating. Our moods can change like the tides which also add to our bleakest most critical moments. Is this resonating with anyone yet?
I’m calling all women to come out of hiding, out of those dark secret places, the critical moments, and false beliefs. Yes, I said false beliefs! Here’s the down low with boudoir; You will most definitely find that your beauty is so much more than you ever dared imagine it could be. How can I say this? I have experienced this, and every woman we’ve worked with can attested to this. We are in a day and age of taking pictures, selfies, and we will be blown away when we see just how beautiful Boudoir is for us! When you see yourself pictured by a professional photographer, in this setting you will be truly amazed. I’ll warn you that it lakes a bit of vulnerability, some great makeup, lingerie and poses that make you look so damn good and so glamorous! Once you see YOUR beauty displayed before your very eyes, you will be overcome with confidence. In our Nashville boudoir photography studio, we can make this YOUR reality. Schedule your shoot with us today because you will never be as young as you are right now!
Confidence comes when you move forward in your lack thereof.
No nudity required
Part of the whole boudoir experience takes place very soon after you arrive at the studio. It's hair and makeup time! As a quick side note, we recommend you arrive with freshly showered, but dry hair, and no makeup. Let the pro’s work with a clean slate.
So, why is professional hair and makeup part of the session cost? The short answer is that both you, and us, want you to look absolutely your best. It’s the same thing for a bride on her wedding day. She wants to look her best, for several reasons. For her. For her man. For ....no name it.
Maybe, just maybe you are old enough (like me) to recall the 1980’s Vidal Sassoon TV ads that told us that “if you don’t look good, we don’t look good”. That also applies here. We want you to look amazing for not only you....but also for us. If you don't look good, we don't look good. Many boudoir clients allow us to use their photos online, in some capacity or another. Some will agree to be shown as long as their face is not showing. Some say “go for it, and use all you want”. (We get it all signed in release forms, to whatever degree is agreed upon).
Either way, both you and us want you to look amazing and stunning! If we do not include pro hair and makeup, then many ladies would cut corners to save a few bucks. In reality, In the long term, you don’t want any corners cut. You want to look back some day, just as a bride would at her wedding photos, and be thrilled that you went all out on this!
We have a couple of professional HMUA’s (hair and make up artists) that we call on as needed. They are wonderful people to be around, and they love what they do. Both are very qualified and do exceptional work. Dawn herself is also very good with this, and is also a distributor of Younique makeup products.
Oh, and don’t forget to contact us and schedule a session soon. It’s really easy to put it off until some day... That usually ends up being never. Today is the day!
Well, it's Orlando week! Dawn and I left Nashville for a week to get warm, and to do some more boudoir sessions in Orlando, Florida. A type of working vacation you could say. First we spent 3 nights alone on Hutchinson Island, FL. Then off to Orlando for several nights. Of course we had to squeeze in a full day at Disney! I guess we are still big kids in a way.
We connected with a gorgeous young lady named Roseanne to shoot boudoir with us, and we made it happen. Our room at the Hilton Grand Vacation Club at Sea World was delightfully sexy and photogenic, including a huge bath tub that looks like a bath tub, not a hot tub, and large glass door (and NO door) shower, and of course plenty of living room and bedroom locations with natural lighting. I also used my specialty lighting that I brought along. We made use of the tub for a "milk bath" photo, which will appear soon on the website (and on Instagram)
We had some great times, and fine food. I am always happy to leave any location with fresh beautiful photos. Even when I was traveling the south Pacific as a cruise ship musician in 2009, I spent all of my spare time connecting with models who wanted me to photograph them. I shot models in Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, Bora Bora, and Hawaii. Some day I will write up a blog post on that journey in 2009. Of course, I will post photos to go along with it.
As I write this, it is early in the morning, and Dawn is still asleep. I think the biggest difference between the two of us is our sleep schedule. I'm an early riser who hits the floor running, and she....sleeps as well as I wish I could!.
One of the best ways to increase your confidence and feel beautiful is to be photographed in a boudoir session. I know many of you are hesitant and want to be the perfect weight and size. Believe me when I tell you that it doesn’t matter one bit. You will see yourself beautiful in your own skin. Whether you are nude or in lingerie you will honestly see just how beautiful YOU are.
Don’t worry, we will help you pose in flattering ways that will bring out the best you, and who doesn’t want that?Step out in confidence and be brave enough to try this. (Personally I have done this myself at many different sizes.) I know you will not be disappointed!
Dawn I have converted our open layout 1,500 square foot lower section of our home into a photo studio. We are stoked about it, and ready to shoot many amazing boudoir photo sessions here. It is fully equipped with walk-in closet/dressing room, private bathroom, kitchen, and or course lots of space for many different "looks". We even do green screen now, so if we want, we can place our subject in Aruba, or Australia, or NY, or anywhere we want. We also offer videography.
So....on December 1, 2019, the new studio is officially OPEN. Boom-badda-bing! More photos to come soon.