Saturday, April 4, 2009

Female Boudoir Photographers - Right for You?

There are some female boudoir photographers who market themselves or their teams as specifically female, playing to and emphasizing the concerns of those clients who harbor reservations about boudoir photography. I dont begrudge them their attempts to leverage any particular area to marketing advantage; this is a business after all. And I have indeed seen a small minority of clients who do suffer a legitimate personal phobia in posing for a male photographer. However for the average client who entertains the normal apprehensions about it, I can say that though I cant relate in any meaningful fashion, I certainly sympathize with those concerns.

With today's technology that allows anyone to purchase a powerful though relatively inexpensive digital camera and call themselves a "professional photographer", the industry is indeed rife with practitioners with little or no vision, questionable talent, and less than a solid sense of ethics and appreciation for human dignity. There is little outright criminal behavior in the industry, any more than any other. But feeling awkward and uncomfortable is a legitimate complaint that no customer should have to contend with.

The most important aspect of differentiating those who take their craft seriously and those who view it as a tool of questionable intent is to examine the quality of their work. One can check references as well and though that can be an additional tool of consideration, just about anyone barring hardcore criminals can find one or two people willing to vouch for them. Quality on the other hand is unmistakable. A boudoir photographer with an extensive portfolio of quality work provides three important indicators:

A) that they know what they're doing,
B) that they've been doing it for a reasonably long time, and accordingly and most importantly,
C) that they are not likely to jeopardize the career and livelihood they've built up with criminal and/or questionable acts.

Of course there are always exceptions; you will find them in all professions -- dentists, doctors, even sadly, the clergy. Nevertheless, some sense of confidence in your selection of photographer will help put you at ease and get the best results for your money.

How can you tell what is a "quality" portfolio? It is similar to the difference in detail between a scam/spam email offer and a legitimate request from a friend. Almost invariably, scam emails are replete with poor punctuation, sentence structure, and an improbable storyline. Those are surely bound for the delete folder, not that all legitimate email is written in the King's english. But you can have a strong sense of what's real and what is highly suspect.

When evaluating a photographer for your employ, examine his body of prior work. Does it show magazine quality aspects? Does it show a command of lighting that flatters the subject rather than look like it was taken with a snapshot camera? Does it show an ability to compose a shot that arranges the subject in her most beautiful, feminine lines and curves? This is not an accident but a directed skill. Even a supermodel can be made to look unseemly and awkward if posed incorrectly. Does the photographer's website indicate a sense of credibility, of establishment, and continuity?

Finally, when considering the gender of your artistic photographer, include in that consideration who these images are for. While many women have boudoir photographs taken for reasons of their own fulfillment, and this is perfectly fine, many do have the intent of giving them as a gift to a special significant other, likely male eyes. It is clear that not only are men and women different physically, but their psyches work in different ways. While a woman photographer is perfectly legitimate and may be entirely talented and skilled in her craft, one should account that we as men and women see and appreciate with different sensibilities.

When one thinks of the celebrated renaissance masters of art who painted the iconic masterpieces of their time, it is unavoidable to consider Rembrandt, Raphael, Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Boticelli. Of course it would be disingenuous to overlook the influence of their respective paternalistic cultures, and that women are without doubt, strongly represented in the arts, nevertheless, there is something to be said for being photographed with a male perspective.

Ultimately, if one cannot under any circumstance consider posing for a male photographer, then it is of course out of the question. It is better to have pictures taken well than to be uncomfortable during the entire session as that would undermine the whole point. However in all other circumstances, what should be the overriding decision is not the gender of your photographer, but the quality of their work.

Which is why we market INFINI Boudoir as photography for the discriminating woman.