Late one night, about 3am, I lay awake thinking about the challenges women face when doing boudoir for the first time. I wondered, "How can women develop confidence in a relatively short period of time so they can overcome their initial shyness, break everyday behavior and movement patterns, and create some killer images?"
I then realized I'd been connecting these dots subconsciously all along. So without further ado, here are 5 ways you can break through your comfort zone and bring forth your inner vixen.
How to Achieve Your Best Boudoir Poses...
- Look, but I mean REALLY look at magazine editorials and ads
Earlier this week, I gave myself permission to sit down for a bit and enjoy a current issue of Vanity Fair. A most stunning image by photographer Tom Munro had caught my eye while flipping through in a supermarket checkout line. This single image enticed me to buy the issue right there on the spot. The rest of the issue did not disappoint! As I scrutinized ads (many of which are boudoir in style), a celebrity story shot by the amazing Mario Testino, and fashion editorials, I noted the things that many professional models know to instinctively do (e.g. ballet hands, pointed toes, arched backs, etc.) All of these things are often new to my clients, most of whom are not models, but for the record, even the pro models I shoot often need to be guided and reminded to follow these best practices when posing. So I thought, let me share this piece of advice: when you sit down to read a fashion magazine, try going through once for content, and then go through again, for the purpose of studying poses. I'm sure if you do this, you'll begin to see the things that I notice about posing--those things that make for beautiful lines while evoking emotions and contributing to a well-shot image.
- Learn to move in a new way...perhaps try a bellydance class
As a Latina, I learned how to dance Salsa a long time ago. Salsa is great because it incorporates the hips. But a few years back I began to dabble in learning bellydance and WOW - I was surprised at how much harder it was than it looked. With bellydance, you learn to isolate the hips, the chest, and how to use arms to express. Bellydance is perfect for boudoir which is why once I'm nicely settled in my new space I plan to being offering these classes! Bonus: it's also super fun!
- Try an acting or improv class
Sounds silly right? But here's where this helps: emoting. It's difficult, as you're standing before a camera in your skivvies, to pretend you're feeling things you may not be feeling in that moment. The internet is overloaded with images that feature beautiful women in beautiful lingerie...but their expressions are such a mismatch that this mismatch is what draws attention most. Some women look scared, bored, or worse, angry. When you're nervous, it's especially difficult to make your face comply with the moods, emotions and messages you might want to convey to your significant other through your boudoir images. An acting class can help you tap into experiences and moments and learn how to recall them at a moment's notice. Bonus: Again, super fun!
- Try yoga
Many women I shoot demonstrate shyness by doing what I call 'the turtle.' They pull their chins in and raise their shoulders so high that their necks seem to all but disappear. Though they may not be aware they are doing this, it is so common that I've learned in my 8 years as a boudoir photographer to look for it constantly. Those who study Yoga and Pilates can be reminded to elongate the spine and as they do so, voila! All of a sudden necklines become graceful, long, elegant and beautiful! Yoga is also a great way to stretch out those hard worked muscles after a boudoir shoot!
I know this sounds all hippy and strange in the context of boudoir photography, but stick with me for a second. Meditation allows us to close our eyes, and truly experience with multiple senses what's going on around and within us: how we are feeling, what we are experiencing in our bodies, where there is tension, etc. I will often encourage clients to close their eyes during a shoot to feel what their bodies are doing if a woman feels disconnected. If you have experienced meditation, this will feel natural and calming. If you have not, I'll be honest, it may simply feel strange. But "tapping in" is a fantastic way to reconnect with your mind, body and soul and therefore project those feelings and emotions that will take your boudoir images over the top!
Illuminating the Power of the Feminine(R)
Susan Eckert owns and operates Long Island’s Leading Boudoir Photography Studio and is author of BODY & SOUL, A MEANINGFUL APPROACH TO BOUDOIR PHOTOGRAPHY WHICH IS NOW AVAILABLE ON AMAZON.COM and AS A BOUDOIR PHOTOGRAPHY RESOURCE ON BARNES & NOBLE