[Q.] The women in your photos always look so relaxed and natural. I'd be so nervous, how do you get them to look like that?
[A.] Well the champagne we have for you doesn't hurt! That being said, your comfort level with me starts well before you show up to the studio and have your champagne flute in hand. Before every session, you fill out a quick survey that helps me understand what you're trying to achieve with a boudoir session and then we'll schedule our video consultation. I always tell clients that this first "meeting" is probably the most important piece of communication that gets you boudoir images from just O.K to... Holy sh*t is that me?! Boudoir photography is built on trust. The more comfortable you are with me, the more you'll be able to "let go" when we are in the session and just have a freakin' amazing time. And you will! 1000% guaranteed. I always try to get your body posed correctly, literally down to your fingertips, and then I coach for expressions. I use different breathing techniques, emotional cues, and general silliness to help you focus on the "mood" of the shoot without it ever being creepy or awkward. I feel like I have been entrusted with something very important to you — your self-worth. I never take it for granted and I'm committed to empowering you.
[Q.] I don't know how to pose, should I bring poses on a Pinterest Board?
[A.] I NEVER expect clients to walk into my studio with any amount of posing knowledge or practice. None of the women you see on this site are professional models. If you're on the hunt for a photographer, you should know if they use models or women without posing training like you. The images you see on my site are women with desk jobs, they're cops, chefs, moms, dog-moms, and all kinds of girls-next-door. Of course, you are welcome to practice your "sexy blue steel" in the mirror prior to rolling up to the studio, but it is not necessary or would I want you to stress about it. According to my last audit, I have a mental rolodex of 4,684,982,981 poses up in this noggin. Clients sometimes make suggestions of poses that they see on Pinterest and I will happily recreate them with a twist that represents my style. When I'm reviewing the images that you Pin, I'm looking for a certain mood to the photos, or a theme. That way I can tailor your session and make it truly custom.
[Q.] I'm a plus-sized gal and I'm not sure if boudoir is for me?
[A.] Boudoir photography is for EVERYONE and if you have "Dangerous Curves Ahead," shouldn't prevent you from this empowering and uplifting experience. In fact, it DEMANDS that you walk towards it and face your fears. PSA... I am a curvy woman as well. I've been curvy for most of my adult life and I connect with your fears. However, my favorite part of your boudoir experience is tearing those fears up and lighting them on fire when you see your final images. I don't want you to be happy. I want you to be blown away.
[Q.] I'm not sure if I want to go fully nude in images. What are my options?
[A.] First and foremost, I want you to look sensual, sexy and classy, it doesn't mean we won't dip our toe into more risque poses. I'm not a photographer for Playboy or Penthouse and I don't shoot erotica, but I absolutely use shadow and light to shape an image and make the viewer want to see more, or what might be in the next frame. We will go over your level of nudity in our video consultation. However, clients often feel more bold in a session and you might ask to try a topless shot, or a "pleasure pose." I will never pressure you into doing something you don't want to do, and I'll always keep those lines of communication open. Keep in mind too that you're images will always remain private until you sign a release. I'll discuss more about that fun stuff in a future blog post.
[Q.] How do I prepare for the session as far as my skin, hair, nails, and skin (brazilian wax?...EEP!)?
[A.] I always tell clients that good skin starts with good hydration. So in the weeks prior to your session, you want to be hitting the (water) bottle hard. The morning of your session you'll want to arrive with your hair clean and dry and free of makeup. A little moisturizer is fine, but coming in with last night's mascara that's become today's smokey eye isn't ideal. :) Plus, you'll want to get your beauty sleep, since you'll be needing ALL your energy for posing in the shoot. It's a little harder (and more fun!) than it looks, so you'll need your z's. If you needed a touch up with your roots or highlights you'll want to plan accordingly, and a trip to the nail salon for a mani/pedi with a neutral color is ideal. As for the big question about waxing. That's completely up to you. I have clients who shave or go full Brazilian with their naughty bits. It's your choice. Just make sure that with waxing, you give some time for skin to recover, especially facial waxing, so that you don't have any redness on shoot day. I personally recommend Cera Wax Studio as they have both Northern Virginia and Maryland locations. That all being said, typically some of those areas are in soft focus and I'm an EXPERT at Photoshop and I can take care of all the typical bumps.
[Q.] Do you have a studio or will you come to my home?
[A.] I shoot 99% of my sessions out of my private studio in Northern Virginia. I know and LOVE the light, and the images you see in my portfolio (typically) are a reflection of that space. It's a cozy, comfortable, and safe. It's spot for clients (who are feeling pretty vulnerable) to relax and let go. We want you to rock out your session, and our amazing studio allows you to do just that. I will, on occasion shoot at a client's home or in a hotel setting. In that case, you and I would consult in advance about your space (how to get it ready and free of clutter). There are also additional fees that apply to shooting on location or in a hotel. Just keep in mind that using our studio keeps your stress at a minimum and we have boundless champagne and snacks!
[Q.] Who else is in the room for my session? Do you have an all female staff?
[A.] I get this question a lot actually. I know that when you take off your clothes (ANYWHERE!) you'd want to know who might be in attendance. ;) Depending on how many hair and makeup looks you have, it will be me, you and my makeup artist. Typically the uber-fab Carolyn Thombs. That being said, as far as the shooting space... that's just me and you. Since I want to deliver on the best images for you, I know that having someone (even a friend) hovering over my shoulder, is almost always a distraction for you. It makes it hard for you to relax, be your sexy self, and ultimately let go and have the most fun. I only hire female assistants and makeup artists. Even though I have male boudoir photographer friends (who are amazing at what they do btw), but I keep my studio all feminine... all the time.
[Q.] I'm feeling nervous... can I bring a friend with me or my husband/boyfriend?
[A.] I try to put myself in your shoes... the last thing I would want to do is show up at an unknown location, take my clothes off, and have photos taken ALL BY MYSELF! Because of that, I get the above question quite a bit. Here's how I typically respond. You and I will get to know each other well in advance of the shoot. EVERY client has a video consultation me in the weeks prior to your shoot. This helps you get to know and SEE me, and we go back and forth about your answers in your client questionnaire. This conversation almost always results in... "Danielle... I'm so glad to have met you and I'm super excited about the shoot. You feel like one of my girlfriends." Most gals, at that point, feel comfortable coming solo to the studio. If clients still want to bring a friend, she'll hang out outside the shooting area, but she's also more than welcome to join in on the fun and have her own shoot the same day. Plus, you'll both receive a $100 credit toward your order. As far as partners/husbands/boyfriends, etc... they must stay in the waiting area and aren't permitted in the shooting space. That's a firm policy.
[Q.] Do you have the right to post my photos?
[A.] As a boudoir photographer, I take my client's privacy very very seriously. When you come to me our entire professional relationship is based on trust. When you sign a contract with the studio to book a session, you're not signing a document that says I can share your images. After the shoot, I will present you with a separate document called a "Permission Slip." This puts you in the driver's seat as far as your images go. You can choose to share your images, share them anonymously, or not share them at all. No pressure is ever placed on you to do that. That being said, all the clients you see on my site are gals just like you (non-models) who came in scared and unsure of their ability to experience a boudoir shoot. When you honor us with sharing your images, we show ALL women that they too can do this. I've also been asked on occasion to sign a non-disclosure agreement, and once I review the terms of the agreement, I'd be happy to sign one.