For so long, men expressing themselves was seen as weakness and something to be avoided. Encouragingly, the false narrative that men can only present themselves “a certain way” has been steadily declining to a place where many men are no longer held down by the gender norms of yesterday, and can embrace every part of who they are now. It’s okay to be vulnerable, it’s okay to present yourselves in ways that make you feel sexy – this is where strength comes in, the strength to simply portray your truest selves, and also the freedom to do it without fear. That portrayal looks different for each person, and finding that courage is easier said than done, but there is something remarkable about the amount of freedom one can experience from participating in a boudoir session.
This type of vulnerability can be scary, especially when first stepping in front of a camera. That’s why, if you’re seeking the opportunity to express yourselves through an intimate portrait session, it’s incredibly important that you find the right boudoir photographer to take your photos. Below are some things to look for when researching to determine who will be the right fit for you. While this list is not comprehensive, it’s definitely a good starting-point for any guy even a little interested in doing a boudoir photo session for themselves (or even as a gift for their significant others).
Do they offer Male Boudoir/Dudeoir?
Many boudoir photographers are currently set up so that they only photograph women and couples, and don’t photograph solo male intimate portraits. That being said, just because you don’t see men in the online portfolio of a boudoir photographer you want to work with, doesn’t mean that they won’t photograph you. They may not advertise male boudoir sessions depending on the level of demand in their business area, or they may not have been given a model release to share photos from past client sessions. The only way to know for sure is to contact them directly and ask about booking a session.
Short and simple – a good boudoir photographer will never pressure you into doing something you’re not comfortable with. Period. You should be able to talk with your boudoir photographer before your session on discuss your expectations of what will happen during the session, what you are comfortable with doing, and what your boudoir photographer is comfortable photographing. That way you both go into your boudoir session with a clear understanding of each other’s boundaries and expectations.
The way I approach learning and understanding my client’s expectations for their session is by holding a pre-session consultation either in person or over video chat which encourages them to share what they want out of their session. That conversation includes both the vision they have for their session – what story they want their images to convey, as well as the level of nudity and the level of sexuality clients want to show in their photos.
THEY BREAK THE ICE
A good boudoir photographer will be able to put a good amount of any “pre-shoot jitters” at ease. It’s okay to be nervous, part of that means you’re excited for the shoot, but a good boudoir photographer knows that the photos taken are created through a collaborative process. That means it’s not your responsibility to walk into your session and make the magic happen all on your own. You should feel comfortable enough with them to express your insecurities, but also trust in the process and know that you are in good hands.
My approach to help reduce nerves is based on the idea that (the right) knowledge equals power. So before each session, clients receives a detailed getting ready session guide, which provides advice and suggestions to help clients get ready for their session. The pre-session consultation also gives guys the opportunity to ask questions about their upcoming boudoir session.
IT’S A COLLABORATION
Touching again on the idea of a “collaborative process”- that’s exactly what the boudoir session is, a collaboration. You and the photographer are working together. A good boudoir photographer is going to work with you, not just talking at you. During your session, your boudoir photographer should be letting you know what is going well, what may need to be adjusted/modified, and what poses and guided direction will work best for your body. You should feel free to ask them questions, and your photographer should be checking in with you throughout the session to make sure you’re both on the same page about how your session is progressing, and how you are doing.
Additionally, a good boudoir photographer should be able to use their experience and expertise to coach you along throughout the session. Ideally, they have some sure-fire methods of capturing a great shot that they can pull out of their back pocket, especially since its more than likely that you’re not experienced in front of the camera. They should walk in prepared, having a at least a general idea of what they want to capture in the session, with the flexibility to move in a different direction if need be, leading the way as they guide you through your session. If they’ve done their homework, it’s a sign that it’s a good match.
I strongly encourage anyone interested in doing a boudoir session and looking for a professional boudoir photographer to get to know and understand their overall process. A great way to do this is following the photographer’s social media accounts – many boudoir photographers are active on social media such as Facebook and Instagram, and love to share about the boudoir experience they offer. If you like what you see and think they will be a great fit, go for it! Reach out to them about scheduling a session for yourself. Once you take the risk, you will definitely reap the reward.
If you would like more information about a session with Beyond the Mask,