Boudoir, glamour, art nude. Should I do it?
Blog by Polly V - https://medium.com/@pvodenicharova95 I'll add in some bits in italics as we go so you have my perspective too - Russ
Boudoir, glamour and art nude are three very different aspects of photography, yet sometimes you will hear the words used as synonyms. It is true though - these styles can fluctuate into one another.
The easiest way to distinguish between them is to think what the subject (model) will portray.
· Sensual, light, and personal, something you’d give as a gift to your future spouse – that’s boudoir.
· Provocative, bold and lustful, something that you’ll see in a men’s magazine – probably glamour.
· Bodyscape, focused on the body shape, carefully arranged shots, with a lack of personification, something you’re likely to see in a gallery – art nude.
Of course, the borders are thin, and it’s possible to create images that will fall into one category or the other, depending on the setting, pose, outfit and, of course, the model’s expression. But whether you’re just starting out as a model, or planning to gift yourself a day of fun with a photoshoot, one question eventually comes up: "Should I do it?"
Because, yes, let’s keep it clear, all three styles may involve taking off your clothes (to an extent). So is that something you want to do?
Before you make such a big personal decision, make sure you know what to expect ahead.
1. I am thinking about it but I am not sure?
That’s fine and a perfectly natural reaction. Before booking any shoot, there should be time to have a chat with the photographer. Use it to talk about your ideas, your worries, boundaries etc. By the end of the chat you’ll have a clearer idea of what will happen during the shoot, and whether you’ll be comfortable to proceed. And there is no shame in deciding it’s not for you at the end of the day. I would advise doing this pre shoot day as most photographers will have a non-refundable deposit in place, but any decent photographer will be only too happy to discuss ideas and fears before the day, be that face to face or online.
2. I want to do a sexier shoot but I haven’t got any experience posing.
This should be the last of your worries. The key is to feel comfortable, relaxed and confident. Photographers have to work with inexperienced models on a daily basis (it’s what pays the bills), and they will be able to give you directions on posing, which will bring out your most flattering looks. Also, how will you ever learn, if you never try?
3. But what do I wear?
For a boudoir and glamour shoots you can wear lingerie, PJ's, dressing gowns, shoes and accessories that make you feel gorgeous, and channel the best version of yourself. Think about the look you want to portray as well. Is it casual & relaxed, innocent or sexy? Bring at least a few outfits, because sometimes lingerie doesn’t look as good on camera as it does in real life. The best advice we can give you - prepare more than you intend to wear. If you are planning on doing lingerie or nudes, wear something loose fitting to the shoot as it'll leave fewer marks on the skin. I've had models turn up in onesies, which is actually ideal!
4. I’m not sure I’ve got the right look…
Unlike fashion modelling and catwalks where agency standards apply, with boudoir, glamour and art nude, it’s all about confidence, embracing your body and portraying emotion. If you can bring yourself and your personality that’s what you need.
5. Do I have to go fully nude?
Not for boudoir and glamour you do not. It is possible to create fantastic boudoir images by wearing a woolly jumper and knee-high socks, and you can be gorgeous & glamorous in a floor-length dressing gown. Your attitude is what makes the set come to life, and after all, it's your shoot! A photographer may make suggestions if it suits the mood of the moment or they spot something sensual manifesting, but you're not obliged to do anything, and if you're not comfortable, say so and don't go with the flow.
6. Can I bring a friend or a relative?
The key to shooting lingerie and nude is to feel comfortable in your skin, in your mind, and with your surroundings. So yes, you can definitely bring someone if that would make you feel more comfortable. What is more, they can lend a helping hand with fixing your makeup, stray hairs, quick wardrobe changes and keeping up the good mood. However, do make sure that they are comfortable with remaining quiet during the shoot, and with seeing you pose.
7. What will happen to my images?
Whatever you want. No photographer will (or should) upload any images of yourself without your permission. Even if it’s a TFP shoot the majority of photographers will still ask you whether you’re happy with the images they’ll upload, just so there are no hard feelings in the end.
8. I am a man but I want to do glamour, boudoir or art nude, can I do that?
While we’ve primarily discussed female modelling in this blog, the answers are valid for male models as well. It is true that there is less demand for male modelling in these categories, but that doesn’t mean it’s non-existent. It can go hand-in-hand with fitness modelling. Male fitness models tend to get a fair amount of work for art nude as well. And if you’re looking to pay for a session, just because you want some nice glamour, boudoir and art nude shots for your personal collection, then you’ll just have to find the right photographer (don’t we all). On this and the previous point, i've shot male fitness / topless guys and never published the images after asking them, as they just wanted them for personal use. I've also asked to publish lingerie images from a female client who agreed - it's a sign the photographer thought you did a great job too and the images came out strong.
The most important thing when considering nude or lingerie shoots is to carefully think about it before making a decision. Evaluate your emotions and ask yourself "what is your drive"? – you have to be doing it for yourself above all.
In the end, it is a little bit about bravery – to take advantage of the urge, make the final step, and jump into the unknown. You can learn a lot about yourself in your most intimate nature. Grow your body confidence, and discover your boundaries. Don’t be afraid to be bold, or to stop and say “that was it for me”.