Monday, December 26, 2011

Deciding a Modesty Level for your Boudoir Shoot

Men and women are wired differently in a number of ways.  It's generally accepted that men are a visually focused creature, and as nature would have it, women come adorned with a visually appealing form.  Win win!  This is why women figure so prominently as the subject of the visual arts.  Their form is universally accepted as a pleasing form to behold, and of course obviously so for men.

Women on the other hand tend to relate their sexuality in a more subtle way, appealing to a nuanced sensuality, and expressing desire with body language, gestures, and facial expressions, less so an overt appeal to their physical attributes.

It is this disparity of sexual portrayal that we at INFINI Boudoir sometimes find ourselves caught between.  Sometimes a husband will make the appointment for his wife and give us direction about the kinds of shots he's looking for.  Or sometimes we'll get a call or indication from his wife that he's looking for very revealing and sexy photos.  At the same time his wife will point out she is not very comfortable with the idea.

We're on Your Side!

It is very important that all our clients who step in front of our cameras understand that we are on their side.   We cannot be put in the position to exhort our client to go beyond her comfort level for a given photosession.  It puts us in a very awkward, unpleasant, and unethical position to do so.

We are open to all kinds of modesty levels from the most conservative to the most racy, sexy types of shots imaginable.  However our allegiance lies squarely on the preferences of the person in front of the camera.  That position is one of vulnerability and must be one of decisive personal conviction.  Our clients must feel comfortable and secure for the images to have their maximum impact and intended effect.

Mr. Sneaky Husband

One humorous incident of diverging preferences came to us through a client who, during the make up portion of her photosession, provided us with a stack of sample photos for us to review for her shoot.  Having consulted with her prior to the session, I already had a pretty good idea of what she was looking for.  The first few photos in the stack confirmed expectations for a fairly modest, artistic shoot, but somewhere along the line the sample photos diverged into a much more exposed, sexually oriented direction.  Thinking this was a little odd, I sought her confirmation that the far more revealing sample photos were correct, and she expressed surprise and embarrassment that her over-eager husband had slipped the photos into the middle of the stack.

It is important to us that couples are on the same page for the direction of the photosession.  The first question to ask yourself is who the final images are intended for.  Some women come to us of their own volition desiring to feel and look beautiful as a visual work of art.  In this case, we are interested in pleasing her sensibilities and capturing her vision.  Many women on the other hand come to us to give a very special gift to their husband or boyfriend.  Thus begins a more complex navigation of issues.

First, consider the target eyes will be his and not yours.  It is an unfortunate missed opportunity to go through the time, effort, and expense of a boudoir photosession and yet fail to meet his expectations.

When you know his expectations, its then a matter of bridging a compromise between what he may want and what you may be comfortable with.  This is an understanding that the two of you should come to resolution on; it is our policy to strongly resist advocating on his behalf in the modesty level of your photosession.

Alternatively, estimating his expectations is an important exercise in judgment when the gift is a surprise that he doesn't know about.  Will relatively modest shots underwhelm, or hit the mark?  Equally consider how more risque shots will be received and come to a decision on what you want your photoshoot to look like.

When you've given consideration to all these factors before the date of your photosession you will be much more resolved and comfortable with your decision which always provides the best possible results.  Regardless of the modesty level you choose, you will always be treated with respect and dignity in a non-judgmental environment at INFINI Boudoir.  We see the feminine beauty in all our clients and our mission is to use our artistic talents to capture your vision.


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

An INFINI Boudoir Session Survival Guide for prospective clients, from a recent client "Tracy":

I recently had a boudoir photography session with Dario and I thought maybe I could help others by writing my thoughts down while they’re still fresh in my mind. I know I was incredibly nervous and had no idea what to expect. Maybe I can help others with that.
In the first place, if you’ve just booked yourself a session? You’ve just done yourself one of the biggest favors you’ll ever do. It will make you look at yourself in a whole new way. Just wait … you’ll see.
The first obstacle I came across was … what do I bring to wear?!? I’m not a girly‐girl and I hate shopping so I don’t have a lot of clothes. I have some decent work clothes but my after‐work attire is usually a man’s big shirt and a pair of sweat pants. As long as my underwear doesn’t have holes in it, I’m a happy camper and bedtime means throwing on an old football jersey. Not very photogenic. And let’s face it … these sessions are too expensive to consider buying new clothes too.
So I went digging. My significant other did a double‐take once upon seeing a photo of a woman wearing a suit jacket and nothing else. I’m sure you know what kind of look does it for your guy too. So that was a given. Then, because I usually hang around in a man’s shirt, I found one that was kind of filmy and brought that. A couple pairs of pretty underwear and a couple decent plunging bras and that was all I really needed. I felt bad that I didn’t have some sort of exotic lingerie but after seeing my pictures? I’m glad for what I was wearing … it was truly representative of me … not someone else. So that’s my first rule … be true to yourself and who you really are and what you really feel comfortable in. Depending upon how you wear it, just about anything can be sexy for pictures, I think.

The next hurdle was hair and make‐up. I’m not very good at those things either so I put myself in Kathy’s very capable hands. It seemed like it took forever. How could it possibly take that long to put a few swipes of make‐up on? The only directive I gave her was that I didn’t want to look highly made up … just be the best possible me that I could. But when she finally got done and I looked in the mirror? I was shocked … and scared! I thought for sure that someone was going to think I was channeling Tammy Faye Baker. But they kept assuring me that it would look perfectly natural in the pictures. Despite their reassurances, I was fully prepared to be disappointed when I saw my proofs. But no! It was perfect!
Maybe it did look like me on one of my better days and not my every day look … but there was no doubt that it was me … and not a Mary Kay fanatic. So rule #2 … trust Kathy.
Then we get to the posing. Much harder than it looks. Dario puts a lot of thought, effort, time and energy into getting it just right. He even invented a new phrase while I was there … “If it hurts, it works.” Some of those poses were downright uncomfortable and I thought they’d look it when the pictures were done. He kept telling me that it would end up looking natural and he was right … again.

But after viewing my pictures … I did learn something. The pictures I like the best are the ones that have me posed in a manner very similar to the way I’d ordinarily sit to watch TV or hold a conversation. So I kind of wish I’d gone more in that direction. For instance, I do office work. Maybe I could have brought my glasses into the picture or something, gone for the sexy secretary look. There was a bathtub there and I should have inquired about using it. I’m known for spending hours lounging in the bathtub. Here’s my suggestion in a nutshell … just as Kathy made me up to look natural and I wore clothes that were representative of my normal attire … perhaps you should try to have your poses build upon your real life situations.
One last thing. My very favorite picture has turned out to be one that was completely un‐posed. I was laughing at something (you’ll do a lot of that during your session!) and had my hand up by my mouth.
It’s a look you’d see me in 100 times a day … only I was looking better than ever, wearing my clothes in a sexy manner and otherwise posed to my best advantage. Just as I started out wanting … it is the best of my real self. I felt very awkward trying to move at all while he was posing and setting up the shots, so determined to be cooperative and get them just right but now I think that I should have relaxed a bit more.
To recap:
1. Wear what you’re comfortable in but make it sexy.
2. Trust Kathy. She’s a real artist with a make‐up brush.
3. Trust Dario. He sees things in his mind in ways you could never imagine.
4. Be yourself.
5. Last … relax and enjoy!

INFINI Boudoir

Sunday, October 2, 2011

World Imitates Studio, and Vice Versa

On occasion we'll get an artistic boudoir shot that is taken outdoors and somehow has a "fake" look to it.  The technique used may be unusual, causing a "studio-like" effect as if it was shot in a studio and manipulated to look like it was shot elsewhere.  Its not necessarily a bad thing if the shot was compelling but it can undermine the sense that the shot was indeed shot in the field.

This photo is one such example.  Shot with a time lapse effect, the water smoothed out over the duration of the exposure causing an unexpected "polished" effect, vaguely resembling our studio floor.

We were intrigued with the possibility that such an exquisitely beautiful image might be reproducible or at least emulated in the studio.  We're always looking for ways to push the boundaries of our abilities further.

In our considerations were creating at least some kind of plausible background.  A complex cloud and distant boat structure were possible, but not necessary to capturing the essence of the shot.  What was important for realism was emulating a distinct, glowing horizon.  The horizon is what gives the image a feeling of "depth".

I often mention to my students that as photographers we do not have the luxury that videographers have in conveying a sense of depth in a scene.  A great shot will have to capture that sense through careful composition of elements in the shot, as well as traditional camera techniques such as a wide aperture and careful focus.

Next was creating that mysterious water element.  While our floor did indeed provide the reflective glow captured in the original shot, we decided to try a technique that would give us the flexibility of different lighting options.  The result ironically is a look that resembles reality more than our original shot.  The "water" has a rolling, wave-like texture to it which is not reminiscent of the typical studio environment.

So oddly, our in-the-field shot looks vaguely studio-like, and our studio set up looks vaguely real.  The important thing is that both techniques result in very beautiful environments that can be used to complement the unparalleled beauty of the female form.

INFINI Boudoir

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Prepping for Your Shoot

Many of our clients actually worry that they will disappoint us or be disappointed at the results of their shoot.  They worry that the people we feature in our sample gallery are super-beautiful photogenic specimens of the human race and they couldn't possibly measure up.

The concept of being photogenic (we refer to a person's "photogenocity") is a real one, but our job as professional photographers is to tease out the natural beauty in ALL our clients.  We always get results but there are things you can do to increase the total number of awesome shots.

Beauty Within, Beauty Without

We have always felt that...
being full of life is more important than being strikingly beautiful.  
If you come to INFINI for boudoir photos, its already clear that you are abundantly full of life.  And pulling that inside life from you is part of the photoshoot process.  It's a personality thing, an interaction thing, a relaxing and letting the inner person come out thing.  That's our job.

And your job is to practice a few things that will help us get better shots of you.  First, get a hold of a few Victoria's Secret catalogs and study the photos inside.  They are a wonderful illustration of classic and contemporary feminine allure.

Hair is Sexy

Hair is one of the defining qualities of feminine beauty.  Notice there's a lot of playing with hair in Victoria's Secret images.  It's sexy, guys love it.  When we shoot, we ask you to run your hands through your hair.  RUN them through -- we take action shots.  Its motion, its movement, its exciting, its capturing the right moment when it happens.  HOT!

Curves are Sexy

Its the sexy curvy girl look, and women know how to do it.  Just not always on command.  So here's how -- pop the hip out to the side and drop your shoulder on the same side as that hip.  Move your arms in the air like you just don't care.  But we do, cos we're getting fabulous shots!

Looking Away is Sexy

When you do that, it looks like you're doing your own thing.  When guys look at your photos, it says you're sexy in your own world.  It gives them a visceral thrill, like they're catching you from behind closed doors.  Sexy!

Looking at the Camera is Sexy

When you do it in a sexy way.  You're not just looking at the camera -- you're looking through the camera -- at your mate looking back at you.  You are communicating with your eyes and lips -- you're looking with intensity, with desire -- you're saying come get me.  You squint just ever so slightly, like you have a slight headache, LOL.  Part your lips slightly, like you're about to tell him off.  If you can, practice raising an eyebrow, maybe a slight smirk.  SEXY!

We've just given you some helpful hints to help you get the best shots possible from your session.  Put them to use!  We look forward to getting some super sexy shots of you, and we have the highest confidence that we'll do just that.


Saturday, August 27, 2011

Photography and Sports, but Not Like You Think

We are all familiar with sports photography, the Sports Illustrateds of the world with great action shots of our favorite players doing what they do best. I admire the great shots I see that capture the players' emotions, their raw strength and skill.

But there is also another link between photography and sports. I find myself using certain analogies over and over when describing to a client or student what we're doing and why. I should warn the reader this post has a tongue in cheek sense to it. On the one hand, what I'm about to say is silly; on the other hand, the analogies are true, and illustrative.

Photography as Baseball

When I'm shooting a client or a model, I find it necessary to advise that there will be a few warm up shots I take over the course of the shoot to ensure the lighting and general environment looks good. No need to smile or pose for those, they are just technical "test shots". And after that, there will be lots of shots taken when we're on point. Why do I take so many? Won't one do? Snap and move on? Probably not.

If you have ever watched America's Next Top Model, you'll note that they shoot perhaps hundreds of photos of extremely beautiful women. Then when they're reviewing the shots, certainly there are lots of very nice photos, but at some point, everything aligns.

The hair waves just so, the fabric falls just right, the prop is in the most flattering, complementary position. The model's hand, her arm, her shoes... all ease into a natural and appealing position. And her expression... finally her expression captures the inner life of her personality, the intensity that penetrates and transcends a static image to captivate the viewer... forcing them to stop and look. She "pitches" her shots at me, look after look, while I tease and coax out her best throws. I'm swinging away as batter with a camera. Snap, snap, snap. Foul away, out to the bleachers...

The camera is a time capture machine. I dont have the luxury of the continuum of video, picking out the best moment from the reality presented. I have to snap it when it happens. And I miss. She pitches, I swing, and like most batters, there's a lot of missing. But at some point, she throws, I hit, and wow, home run. And when we hit that home run, then yes, time to move on to the next play.

Photography as Football

When I'm teaching a photography student, I'm often taken by the complexity of what I'm trying to explain. On the one hand, I have internalized an awful lot of subtlety and inter-related issues that affect each other. Sometimes its hard to pick a starting point; it sometimes feels like a big circular wheel of complexity. I can't explain this without first explaining that. And I can't explain that without discussing the other thing.

On the other hand, photography can at its most basic be reduced down to a fairly simple set of rules that can get someone grounded. Adding complexity from that point on is relatively easy once you understand the rules. Its not something that is easily understood by watching other people shoot, or by looking at great photographs. Someone essentially has to explain it to you, at some level.

I remember for years strongly disliking football as a sport of very large men beating each other senseless, then picking themselves up off the ground and doing it again. Until someone explained a few basic rules of the game -- the idea of first and 10, the idea of first down, the touchdown, the field goal, the defense, and the quarterback. SUDDENLY the game was enjoyable. No, I didnt understand all the nuances of the game, but now I could understand the progress of the game, why the players did what they did, and could even cheer along with everyone else when something identifiable good happened. But someone had to explain it to me. You can't really understand football by just watching the game.

And to get better at photography so that your shots progress beyond the odd lucky shot, someone at some point is going to have to explain to you the basic rules of the game.

And there is even a similarity between photography and boxing, if nothing else, in the phrase, "Stunning shot!" LOL.

Whether teaching students or shooting our INFINI boudoir clients, we always strive for "stunning shots" that leave a mark.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A Customer's Testimonial

We do understand that the INFINI Boudoir experience is a transcendent one, far beyond merely taking photographs of feminine beauty. For many if not most clients, it is an affirming, almost religious experience, deeply gratifying and uplifting.

It is testimonials like this that help us see our work as something more than just an exercise in the creation of beautiful art, but of touching someone's soul in a way that we never could have set out to do. We present to you Danielle's words of gratitude.

Dear Dario,

I’m not entirely sure where to start. It is the day after my photo session and I still find myself at a loss for words. When we were researching photographers and came across your website, I found myself immediately drawn to your photographs. As I told you when I met you yesterday, there wasn’t a single photo on your site that I didn’t like. However, going in, I hoped to have some good shots, but quite honestly, I figured that I am 43 with bulges and sags I didn’t have 20 years ago and therefore, I didn’t think my photos would be as good as those on the site. I’ve been happily married for19 years and I knew that my husband would really like for me to indulge and have these types of pictures taken and I really wanted to be able to give him this gift.

My husband asked me afterward, what the shoot was like. The only way I could describe it was to say that during the entire shoot I felt appreciated. From the time that Kathy started applying my makeup, through all the work you and Lisa did to stage the shots, through the time that you spent at the end of the shoot, I felt appreciated and valued.

Late last night we received the link to the photographs. With more than a little doubt in my mind as to how the pictures would look, we opened the link…and there they were.

Through the first four or five pictures that scrolled across the screen, I found myself surprised. I thought to myself…wow that one was really good, and then the next would scroll and I’d think, that was one pretty good too! I glanced over at my husband and he had the best smile on his face. I turned back to the screen and realized that all the pictures were absolutely amazing. As I watched shot after shot scroll on the screen,

I realized that you had created these amazing images (just like the ones on your website) with me…for me.

I have to admit, as I watched, I couldn’t help it…I wept. I could see the great smile that you kept talking about (you see it’s just my smile, I use it every day, what could be so great about it?). I saw all the things that you encouraged me on and complimented me on. I never think of myself as beautiful, mostly just average.

I believe you have a gift
and you found and captured so much of the essence of me. Of the 90 pictures we received, there wasn’t a single one that I didn’t like. Of course I liked some more than others, but seriously, I’m not sure that I have 90 pictures taken in the last 19 years that I can say I really liked. You were able to crush that in a few hours.

Thank you seems inadequate.

I want to take a minute and also thank your team. Kathy was absolutely amazing with the makeup and hair for the photos. When I saw myself in the mirror the first time, I actually thought to myself, I’m not sure who this person is. With my heavily lined eyes and false eyelashes (a first for this 43 year old!), I wasn’t really sure. I really had to step out and put my faith in the professional. What I saw in the photos was that it really was me there, under the shadow and lashes. Only, my eyes glowed and the expressions were more pronounced. The images were made more powerful by Kathy’s artistry, using my face as a canvas.—A million thank-yous Kathy!

Lisa wore many hats yesterday. I especially appreciated her coaching and encouraging throughout the process. I tell you, I passed my nursing boards, but nothing was more complicated than, pop your hip, but don’t bend your leg, keep your toe pointed at the camera…oh yeah, and smile! Her “styling” made each photo the most flattering they could be. Between Lisa and Kathy I knew that all of those little things would be caught; straight laces, hair lying just right. I could relax and enjoy the shoot, or just the ride around as she pulled the bathtub or couch with me on it! Thank you Lisa!

Your team is outstanding! It is no surprise to me that you have a 100% customer satisfaction. During the shoot, nothing is more important than the client. I feel honored and privileged to have the opportunity to experience this with your team. Since I really have no better words,

let me just say a heartfelt and grateful…thank you.


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Boudoir Styles -- Which is Right for You?

Part of the INFINI process of getting clients photos that are the right fit for them is to understand what kind of style they are interested in. Style in this context refers to a blend of "look and feel", and modesty level. Boudoir photography encompasses a wide range of styles, a continuous spectrum if you will. These are four of the more popular ones, though by no means the only ones:

Pin up

This is one of the classic, enduring styles in boudoir. Best epitomized by the nose art found on the sides of WWII bombers, they capture an almost cartoonish, whimsical look with a nostalgic flair. Make up is bold, with lavish eyelashes and deep luscious lipstick while hairstyles carry the retro rolls, pompadours, and beehives. With Marilyn Monroe style satin wraps and full body swimsuits and corsets, this look can be delightful and campy. They also tend to leave more to the imagination which can be an appealing option to some full figured clients.

Victoria's Secret

This is the title we give to the most common contemporary look -- beautiful, dramatic lighting highlighting facial features like cheekbones, glamorous smokey eyes, and provocative lips. Makeup is more subtle than pin up, but also richer in a more natural way. Hair is fluffed for a lush, beautifully messy just rolled out of bed look. Very sexy! Wardrobe usually involves some form of lacy lingerie but can also be implied nude, that is, nude or topless, but posed in such a way that nothing, or little is actually showing in the photo. Provocative and sexy without being too revealing.


Most people are familiar with what Playboy photos look like, but to describe them for our purposes -- lighting is definitely dramatic and carefully controlled for a high intensity look. Specifically, the body is lit to reveal, but additional lighting is used to provide enticing highlights on different parts of the body *especially* the hair which is fluffed full and lush. Location and setting is also a big part of the Playboy look; it is usually not shot against a simple white or black background, instead opting for an interesting environment. Maxim is generally shot in a similar way; the main difference between the two being the level of modesty.


The prior three styles are an "intimate" form of photography. They are intended to be enticing and engaging to the viewer. It is essentially a "come hither" visual appeal. The woman frequently looks at the camera, or more accurately *through* the camera, to the intended viewer, attempting to communicate emotion and desire.

With a more artistic approach, the woman becomes more an objective form of beauty. That is, *anyone* can observe the resulting images and admire the transcendant beauty of the female form. It is not a personal appeal to an individual, but a more abstract and primal statement of art, like a Venus DeMilo, or a Birth of Venus. The images may focus on parts of the body and perhaps not even include the face, resulting in anonymous and stunning works of art worthy of a museum wall.

A typical INFINI Boudoir shoot can often wander through a variety of related styles but we find it helpful to understand what the client is visualizing when they come to us for a photosession. Having a sense of visual style and modesty limits allows us to hit the client's target and maintain our 100% customer satisfaction record.

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Realm of Fantasy Art

This is an art category that wanders into the surreal -- extra-terrestrial landscapes with sometimes vivid colors, whimsical realizations of timeless myths, and completely unique, dreamy interpretations of pure fantasy. It is a specialized category of the visual arts, promulgated by masters of the realm. There are many realms of the arts I admire, and this is no exception.

The combined power of digital photography and software such as Photoshop provide easy passage into this realm. This is one of those arenas that are easy to enter, but quite difficult to master. Many a photographer has pushed the boundaries of "normal" photography as a rite of passage in exploring the capabilities of editing software. Indeed, its almost unavoidable, since learning such powerful tools requires testing the extent of their control. It is during this process of exploration that a photographer comes to a definitive decision -- are they purely a photographer, or a "digital artist"?

The former is concerned with making the most of what the camera can capture. Photoshop is not verboten, but is used to enhance the power of the image which at core represents a decidedly "real" scene. A digital artist on the other hand is almost a painter using technology as a canvas, palette, and brush. Restrained only by their imagination, the digital artist transfers that which has already been conceived in their minds without limitation. Digital artistry does not come without penalty however. Where a photography-minded artist might set a scene and capture potentially hundreds of images, a digital artist's production is significantly more modest, perhaps a handful of images or less of a certain type or scene. It is painstaking work, crafted with care and precision.

Years ago, I decided to focus on being the best boudoir photographer I could be, leaving behind my attempts at digital art. My market generally prefers many beautiful images rather than a handful of highly processed works, but there does exist a certain fantasy-oriented clientele which desires and appreciates the surreal and elaborate. Recently a couple of clients requested fantasy type images which now fall outside my typical style. Doing anything outside your comfort zone can always add a bit of adrenalin and anxiety to your day, but I'm gratified to say that the results were stunningly beautiful. I'm grateful to be given the opportunity to expand my domain a bit, though I plan to stay well grounded in the realm of the traditional photography of feminine beauty.

Nevertheless, if a client has a desire for this sort of thing, clearly INFINI can deliver the goods.


Sunday, March 27, 2011

What If I Want to Shoot REALLY Sexy Photos?

It does depend on the photographer of course. Certainly you can't go to a Sears Portrait Studio and ask to do Playboy style shots. After turning red they would politely ask you to leave and threaten you with security if you didn't.

But aside from the standard policies of retail photographers, professional photographers operate more on the basis of personal limits. Some photographers won't shoot nudes or Playboy style images (or beyond for that matter), some will. If they don't have a formally stated policy on their website, you'll have to judge from the content of their portfolios whether to even ask.

At INFINI Boudoir, it is our position that it is inappropriate to suggest a certain level of nudity to our clients. On the contrary, each client has their own comfort level and for a positive photoshoot experience, the client needs to be the person that sets the tone for the shoot. We have found as well that a client's comfort level may change during the course of the shoot and they may decide to do more risque shots. In order that we meet our client's expectations, we always ask what their modesty level is.

Some thoughts to consider for your own shoot:

Getting What You Want

You don't do a boudoir photoshoot every day, and it doesn't come cheap, so you should walk away with the shots you want. If you want super sexy shots, you should say so. Remember, it is inappropriate and borderline unethical for a photographer to suggest shots of this type to a client, so it is up to you to indicate if you want them.

You Are Not Committed

You can change your mind either way, even at the photoshoot.

At INFINI Boudoir, we strive to capture the client's vision whether they want to shoot in a shirt and jeans, nothing at all, or anything in between. And we always apply our artistic brand of photography to the process.

INFINI Boudoir

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Power of Black and White

Color is an interesting component of our vision. The ability to see color is like salt and spices on our food, providing an explosion of visual flavor. We experience this every spring when the grey shades of dead landscape bloom into the vivid hues of colorful flowers and vibrant green foliage. We've enjoyed the universal availability of color photography since the 1950's (though experiments in color photography had been going on since before the turn of the century).

But our common visual experience of the 1940's and before is through a black and white filter. We see the quaint history of a simple and sometimes gritty America through a nostalgic lens. Common scenes were filled with meaning and drama, or alternatively were imbued with a certain campy charm, often seen in old carnival photos.

A cache of color photos from the 40s floated across my email recently and I began looking through them with interest. The initial intrigue of seeing a more accurate representation of what old America looked like eventually gave way to a certain disillusionment. What I had become accustomed to as a beautiful era of hardy, hopeful Americans in drab clothes driving charmingly antique retro vehicles was actually a very ordinary, every day reality. The beauty of nostalgia it turned out was conveyed in the shades of grey.

Color was like a harsh light, exposing the almost contemporary mundaneness of their lives. Old America was minted, idealized, and glorified in the drama of black and white imagery. We created an alternative visual memory of our history which was greater than the reality. The mundane was augmented to the height of drama through the removal of color.

Color is in a sense, a distraction. Relating back to the food analogy, it is like ordering filet mignon and dousing it with ketchup. Not that there's anything wrong with ketchup -- fries without ketchup is almost a travesty! But the complexity of a fine steak, or a powerful image, can be undermined with the distraction of color. And hence, black and white imagery is still with us today despite the obvious technological advancement of color.

To be sure, black and white is not a cure-all for injecting drama where there is none, or forcing "artistic interpretation" on a patently bad image. But for some images, their true power is revealed when the mantle of color is removed.

We at INFINI sometimes incorporate a process where the essence of black and white is entreated into an image though a color tone remains. It is a blended treatment that enhances the drama but also provides a hint of visual "flavor", a pleasing compromise between the vibrancy of color and the mystique of black and white.


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Getting the Most out of Your Session

By now you've surely heard about our 100% customer satisfaction record. Its one we're very proud of and we try very hard to keep that record. Because its definitely not as impressive to say a 98% customer satisfaction record. We'd hate to have to explain that a handful of women were not happy with their shots. And because we love what we do, we don't want to live with that knowledge of failure.

Our shoots have a consistent level of success because its a team collaboration. And YOU'RE the star! You have to work with us to create the beauty that we capture. Here's how:

Send us a headshot and full length shot of yourself

The headshot helps our makeup & hairstyle team know how to plan for your shoot. More on that in a future post! What I *can* tell you as photographer is that a full length, clothed shot of yourself is a tremendous help for the success of your shoot. There are all kinds of body types -- different heights, different flexibilities, different body proportions, different skin tones. We've shot every kind of body type but we prefer not to be surprised. Our best work comes from knowing in advance what we're going to do.

Not every pose works for everyone. Knowing in advance how well your body is likely to bend in certain directions or if you have exceptionally long legs (or not) allows us to visualize the *right* kind of poses for you. There is still plenty of room for unique, playful, natural moments that are all your own of course but a good starting point goes a long way towards a productive session. We spend less time compensating and de-emphasizing things on the fly that we were not prepared for, and more time shooting super flattering shots because we had already planned for them. Win-win!

Lighting, too, is heavily dependent on the person in front of the camera. A certain kind of lighting that creates dramatic images on one person can make another person look much older than they are. A different kind of lighting that softens and removes age can make another person look much heavier than they are! You've heard how the camera adds 10 lbs? Well, only if you pick the wrong lighting! Clearly, we want to prepare the right kind of lighting for you rather than be scrambling to change things during your session. The more time we have to prepare for you, the more time we'll have to get fabulous photos!

Which brings us to the last point. We've created a number of packages to fit every budget and every need. We are flexible enough to create custom packages for those who want very specific sessions. No problem! However, a consistent rule of thumb in photography is, the more time you have to shoot, the better your shots will be. There are many reasons for this phenomenon including things such as your initial comfort level, time spent changing the environment, and yes, time spent working with you to get the most flattering angles and poses for you.

Don't Skimp on your Session!

Our most economical package provides for 1 hour of shooting time. This may seem like a lot, but you'd be surprised how fast that goes. We can get up to 40 great, sorted/final shots in that time, but that presumes you are natural in front of the camera and there are no major lighting or posing obstacles to overcome for your particular body type. If you feel for some reason you are a "challenging" subject, for example you feel you have rarely or never liked any photo of yourself, believe that you are not our only client who has felt that way. THAT is, in fact, why they come to us. Because our photos are often the FIRST ones they've ever felt truly beautiful in.

But the reality is, this kind of beauty does not come quickly, easily, or cheaply. Time is a factor in producing truly magnificent shots. And it would be a disservice to you if you feel this way, to book our shortest session. We *want* to create beautiful photos for you, but be cognizant that the more time we spend with you, the better your photos will be. You will still be amazed at your photos with our Reggie package, but you dont know what you're missing with a longer session. If you feel the camera doesn't love you, our cameras will. But they will love you MORE the longer you are in front of them, so definitely consider booking a longer session. After all, most clients only do this once. You might as well get the most out of it.

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Make Up Artist Speaks!

There is nothing I appreciate more as an artist than to witness another great artist in action. I get to experience this every time I walk into Dario's studio! The man just has vision!!! We have worked together for many years now and as a result, I have a huge respect for the professionalism, vision, and unending creativity that Indy's best boudoir photographer brings to the table with every shoot.

While not particularly catering to the young super model types, I feel we, as a team, excel at finding the beauty in EVERY woman and bringing that out of them from the time they walk up the stairs to the final shot at the end of the day.... from sharing playlists on iPods to bringing out the very best of them with makeup and hair....making sure that every concern is addressed and every asset is played up to its utmost potential... well... we just have a lot of fun!!!!

I recently had the opportunity of being in front of the camera lens while this man of genius captured what I hoped to be a very personal and reflective side of me that no one else has ever been able to capture before. You see....I HATE being in front of the camera. It is usually very uncomfortable for me but I needed great shots for my business cards and website. In a nutshell, we had so much fun that afternoon and the shots, as a result, are more than I could have ever hoped for! Dario made me look and feel like a million bucks!!! He made it so easy for me and it showed...

We have made so many friends over the years and it speaks volumes when a huge percentage of your business is based upon referrals.... Bottom line... ALL women are beautiful... Dario is just a master at finding your personal beauty and transferring it onto photo paper. I LOVE being a part of this team... Dario ROCKS!!!!

- Kathy

Monday, January 3, 2011

The *ART* of INFINI Boudoir

We've decided to create a new type of package catering to those clients who are more artistically minded. The reality is that there are many different ways to shoot the female form. Boudoir is a category with multiple sub-categories -- things like Victoria's Secret style glamour, pin-up, Playboy, etc. But the artistic realm is a different direction. Its intent is less oriented towards the provocative and sexy, and more towards the classics.

Focusing on form, substance, and story telling, such creations require some thought and collaboration with the client. We become less interested in lots of sexy shots, instead focusing on a small number of "concepts". Each concept is pre-conceived and developed with story elements. Considerations include the client's body type, incorporation of the client's interests and preferences, and constructing the "scene". Sometimes this means selecting a suitable location that provides the correct ambiance for the concept. Other times, the scene is more abstract and can be effectively constructed in the studio.

Photographic art is something that can hang on a wall and be objectively admired and appreciated by many viewers. It stands the test of time. Achieving this requires some painstaking effort. Many shots are taken with small adjustments along the way to adjust and perfect the various elements in the shot. Each shot is an improvement towards a final image where all the elements finally come together in harmony. Having captured that piece, we move on to the next concept. In practice, 2-5 concepts are about all that can be achieved for the normal working duration of a session. Beyond that someone starts to get giddy and the intensity and productivity of the process wanes.

Your take away is a fraction of shots from our regular INFINI boudoir sessions which can number 150 or more beautiful images. But each of the handful of artistic images will be a masterpiece in its own right, admired by multiple generations, family, and friends alike. And included with the Sanders package is a 16x24 canvas print ready to make a bold statement on your wall. Fabulous!