Twenty years ago, when my husband and I were first dating, I made the daring move to contact a local photographer known for taking “risque” photos of women. I wanted to have a Christmas present that would be very unique and a bit daring. Mission accomplished!
Recently, he mentioned that he’d like a reprise of that photo session. The very next evening I attended a gala that included a silent auction, and like a beacon amongst other entries was a gift certificate for Hotel Boudoir. Serendipitous, no? I bid and “won” the photo session with Greg Perez of Hotel Boudoir, whom I contacted the next day.
He offered to meet with me to discuss what I hoped for in my session and to get to know each other before the session, but I passed; I’d done this before, after all, and wasn’t feeling anxious about it whatsoever. Instead, we emailed back & forth, sharing images & ideas. Once a date was set to meet at a local, upscale hotel, I was very excited to see how the photos would turn out.
Therein was the problem: I was focused on the end result, not the process, which would entail two hours of me scantily (or barely) clad, posing for a man I’d never met. In the session 20 years ago, that was no big deal. I’d been on the dating scene and thought nothing about baring skin, especially when it would be for a professional. This time was different, and it didn’t hit me until I stepped into the hotel, texted Greg that I had arrived, and waited for him to come down the elevator to bring me up. I was nervous. Clammy palms and all. Then he stepped off the elevator, and I see that he is young. And cute. (Inward groan.) Last time, I was with a photographer who hailed from the West Coast, had a huge ego, and called all the shots (literally). That was in a studio, with him and his female assistant. This time? Just me and Greg. In a hotel room. And he’s young and cute, and I am in my 40s with stretch marks, c-section scar and none too fit. Also, there was the small detail that I hadn’t bared my body to anyone but my husband for over 20 years. I was the epitome of self-consciousness at that moment. Seriously, the sexy drained right out of me.
This is where the importance of finding the right photographer comes in. Greg recognized my nervousness (which is likely common) and steered the conversation to more neutral topics, asking what kind of music I liked, then playing it on a streaming site. We talked about music and concerts and bands we enjoyed. He told me a bit about his commercial photography. Then we looked at photos that either of us had picked out and discussed whether to try them or not. In the beginning, the poses were more cute than racy, with Greg making suggestions in a gentle way. Always “What about…..?” or “Can you do….?” This patience, kindness and professionalism helped me to slowly loosen up and begin to trust him, then I could be a bit more daring and provocative in posing. That’s what I was there for, after all!
Spoiler alert, for those considering a boudoir session: there is definitely an intimacy created when sexuality is being expressed in a trusting environment, and that is a turn on. I had not felt that before, likely because the other photographer was a moody, arty guy, kind of ordering me around – and there was another female in the room. This time, I had to take a quantum leap in trust, being alone with a man while wearing sexy lingerie. Don’t be afraid of that intimacy and sexual tension; it’s part of the magic. It will come through in your photos, in the look on your face and your body language, making for the kind of photos your partner will pant over. I want to stress that there was never the slightest hint of inappropriate behavior, either in word or action. I know some women deliberately choose a female photographer out of fear of judgement, or fear of inappropriate behavior, but I wonder if I could have gotten the type of photos I wanted, that expressed the kind of look my husband is used to seeing, with a woman photographer.
The waiting for proofs: I was excited and also a little anxious, wondering if my husband would be taken aback that I had posed that way for another man – even though it was on his behalf. THAT was wasted worry; he was THRILLED with the photos. It took him over two hours to choose the 20 he wanted to have, with me having to help with the whittling of the last 4 or 5. Definitely a testament of Greg’s skills, both in making me feel safe and sexy, and in his keen eye for just the right light, the right filter, the right pose. He captured so well the playful, sexy side of me that my husband adores. Another client of Greg’s described his style this way: “He has a strong sensitivity to what is on the other side of the lens.” I concur. Some photos were more erotic than others, and the hubby picked a couple of those, too, but mostly he chose ones representing the “real” me. He was happy to see that Greg had captured his “beautiful, luscious wife” in such a way (his words, not mine!)
I would highly recommend a boudoir photo session, no matter your age, size, or perceived imperfections. Of course I think you all should call Greg Perez of Hotel Boudoir. You will end up with photos that capture the sensual YOU that is always there, hiding beneath the “work” self, or the “mom” self, or the “caretaker” self. It is truly a gift for you, and if you have a partner to share them with? All the better.
I’d love to hear about your boudoir session! Did you find it intimidating? Fun? Naughty? I look forward to your comments!