I was not born into the selfie nation where we had cell phones at our fingertips to document our days. If I wanted a picture I had to wait a few days to a week to get it back from the lab. Now, if you do not like an image, there is a simple delete button.
So when I chose clients' images, I have the ability to quickly go through, delete the half blinking eyes or shift in lighting that created an unflattering look. I never gave it a second thought until I decided it was time for me to stop talking the talk and start walking the walk.
Back in winter of this year, I decided it was time to see exactly what it meant to be in front of the camera in a boudoir setting. Let me tell you, I have a whole new respect for my clients. It is one thing to tell someone how to pose, where you can adjust. However when you are alone and have to run back and forth to the camera (when you forget your trigger) the level of understanding posing and facial expressions becomes so much clearer. I attempted the traditional "sexy" poses. Which no matter how much I tried, I just could not stop laughing at myself. Why? Because that is SO not me. I am a geek at heart, and being seductive such as this image I could just not see "me".
So instead, I decided to let go of what I saw other boudoir selfie photographers doing and decided to pose myself as I felt more natural.
It proved to be a true experience within my own studio. I know this place better than my home at times. Where the light hits, where the best angles are and most certainly that no one can see in. Until I was walking around, nude under a sheer dress. Than the panic settled in for a moment to think "Can anyone see in!".
Then I calmed quickly. As I realized this is what I do. For all my clients, everyday. I assure them that I have checked that no one can see through the curtains. That they look fantastic and that this session is all about empowering their courage. So why was I not taking my own advice? Well simply put, I was not in my comfortable element being behind the camera. I shook off everything in my head from society in my head making me feel this was vanity, this was attention seeking. I thought about my clients. Everyone of them and how THEY would walk out of my studio with a brighter confidence. I wanted to feel that glow again.
I proved myself right. After looking through (and yes shooting yourself is so difficult- out of 30 shots I got maybe 5 usable images - but by this point of running back and forth-I was exhausted)
So I kept my little images to myself, thinking no one but me would even care to see. Until that is, the day Cate Scaglione (my dearest photog buddy) came to my home town in Staten Island where we were leaving for Maryland to teach and underwater photography workshop.
We went down to the beach for a quick head-shot of myself for future work. As boudoir photographers tend to not just shoot what the initial plan was, we shot a few more intimate looks. After seeing the work Cate captured, I realized why am I NOT sharing my experience with my clients.
I now know fully how you feel. Up until now I was doing a disservice to you and to myself. I walked the walk and I could not be happier that I did it (finally:)
Be sure to check out this weeks coming upFSTOPPERS article to subscribe and read where I will explore the experiences of other boudoir photographer!
(All Images below are Courtesy of Cate Scaglione of LifeAsFineArt.com in Redbank NJ)