Any successful boudoir photographer will tell you that the way you feel during your session greatly affects the look and feel of your final images. Our job as boudoir photographers is to help ease your nerves and make your session as fun and exciting as possible. Generally, this isn’t an issue considering these sessions are a blast and we have a ton of fun doing them.
Nowadays, we have a closed session policy for our boudoir sessions. This means that if you are not going to be in the pictures, you are not going to be in the room. It may seem harsh but since implementing this new policy, we’ve become more productive and have received emails from clients thanking us for not allowing “so-and-so” to stay. Our clients will tell you that working one on one with the photographer made a huge impact on their session experience. But this wasn’t always our boudoir session policy and a few years ago we noticed an increasing trend of what we called “Session Sabotage“. It was the events of one boudoir marathon weekend that made us take a look at our session policies and make a change.
Here’s Boudoir Marathon Weekend – Session One
It was the first boudoir marathon of the year and we were preparing for the Valentine’s Day rush. We were shooting in an off-strip property and had eight sessions scheduled for both Las Vegas locals and tourists.
Our first session of the marathon was scheduled by a husband for his wife. During scheduling he said that she had spent the last year losing a bunch of weight and was wanting to celebrate her new look. They’d be flying in from out of state and were excited to be planning their trip. He said that she had never done a session like this before but was excited to do it.
I had just finished unpacking and setting up all of my lighting and getting my gear together when our stylist arrived to get set up. Having lost some weight herself, she was excited to be apart of this celebration. So when there was a knock on the hotel door we were both surprised to find a very timid and nervous client. Her husband was standing along side her to carry her lingerie bags. We let them in and were excited to show her the space we’d be shooting in. She smiled and said she was anxious to get started but still seemed more nervous that what we normally see. That should have been a clue that something was up but we just kept on with our normal routine.
My client hopped into the stylist’s chair that had been set up near the window and the husband set the lingerie bags down in the space we had set up for her things. I thanked him for carrying them in and then attempted to walk him to the door so that we could get started. He refused to leave. He said that he was there for support and that his wife wouldn’t do the session if he wasn’t going to be in the room. My stylist and I shared a brief glance before I took a nervous breathe and went about getting my things in order.
When it was time for us to begin, I pulled a chair into the corner of the room for the husband to sit in. Halfway through the first set of the session, and just when my client started to loosen up, is when the the questions from the husband began.
“You’ll be able to remove her wrinkles, right?”
“Her left eye has always been droopy, kind of like someone who has had a stroke. Can you fix that?”
“Can you make those ugly stretch marks disappear?”
“Yep, she’s lost a bunch of weight but she’s still got a tummy. Can you flatten that?”
As the session continued, so did his questions and I could see the little confidence she had just slip away. It was heartbreaking to witness and I felt helpless as it became increasingly difficult to get the shots I was aiming for. When the session was over I explained to her when she could expect her gallery to be available and went over the products we offer. She leaned over with a crooked smile and gave me a hug before leaving. She thanked me with an apologetic look. I told her she was beautiful and that her pictures would be too.
When the session was over I realized that I had spent more energy trying to build her back up than anything. They both loved her gallery images and placed an order for an album and a digital collection. Maybe it’s because I witnessed what I did but I see a sadness in her eyes when I look at her pictures, even today.
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