As I was perched one leg over the threshold of the chicken coop, the other firmly planted on the bale of straw that serves as a step up into it, leaning deep into the coop to check what level of food was remaining in the feeder, I found my self muttering about my mixed feelings regarding the phrase "Boudior Photography." That was one moment among many where it dawned on me: everything about this new business endeavor I'm undertaking in photography is complicated. And, there is no denying, at times it's as awkward as dangling over a flock of chickens, half in and half out of the coop. Perhaps that is why launching a Boudoir component to my photography business falls into the category of a life adventure.
So, let's come in from the chicken coop and really talk about this: What exactly am I doing by launching a "Boudoir Photography" component to Elements of Light Photography? Today's post serves as an opening to an on-going discussion, and focuses on my why.
Everyone knows you need a good "why" for anything you do with your business. My why for this new component is three fold:
1. Women want to be known - they want to be seen, heard and understood because they were created to be in relationships - with other women, with children, and indeed, at various levels, with men.
Even as they want to be known, women don't want to have to explain themselves. We want the people in our lives to "get it" and understand us. Boudoir photography is a form of photographic communication that allows women to tell our intimate stories, to be seen in a way that brings about a sense of being known.
On a very personal level, I believe God created women with an innate sense of needing to be known, not because that need is a weakness, but because it is the very characteristic that draws us to Him (the one who knows us completely), and motivates us towards engagement in the relationships we are designed to crave. Let's face it, we will always do battle with the concept of being known. But knowing ourselves, expressing our whole selves, and telling our stories is part of the process of wrestling with this desire to be known.
Just because some will question, and I'd rather get it all out there from the get go, let me be clear about boundaries: a desire to be known in the Biblical sense (i.e. sexual intimacy) is a healthy and integral part of how women are created, but acts of sexual intimacy are not a literal part of what I offer in Boudoir photography. How is that for setting boundaries?
2. I want to empower women. In this era of the #metoo movement, there is this desire to fight back from demeaning and damaging behaviors that have been tolerated towards women. But there is also a deep wound for all women that arises because society tolerated the demeaning in the first place. There is a feeling that saying "me too" damages our sensuality, our sense of being special because we are women, our value for being different from men. Somehow there is a hint (or more than a hint) of suggestion that because some have taken advantage our our sexuality, all feminine sensuality is sullied. It is not!
We don't need to "reclaim" because our sensuality is so integrated into us that it was never lost. But, we might need to reframe it. We can acknowledge that part of what makes us strong, part of what makes us unique, part of what drives our hopes and dreams and our sense of our selves comes from the fact that we have bodies and emotions and an approach to relationships that are uniquely feminine and inherently different from men. It is neither a weakness nor a weapon. It is a legitimate, strong and powerful, yet vulnerable, part of who we are as complete human beings. I want women to be allowed to express this part of themselves for their own private (and sometimes somewhat public) reasons and to feel empowered and unashamed.
3. This is the component of my "why boudoir" that is plain and simple: I want to grow the power of my business to contribute to the financial success of my family, and adding a boudoir component is just good for business. Sounds crass, but if I'm going to suggest that women might be vulnerable and honest in front of the camera, I need to be fully transparent and honest from behind the camera. I love taking beautiful photographs, but I do it for a living, not for a hobby.
This whole "Elements of Light does Boudoir" is new to all of us, so here are a few of the details:
1. While I'm a Bozeman based photographer, I'm willing, able, and experienced at taking things on the road. Car, truck, bus, train and plane travel all work for me - with sufficient notice, I can come to you wherever you need.
2. I've got a new studio in my home if you are here in Southwest Montana, and there is no additional cost for using it - but I'm also willing to come to your home, your favorite VRBO, a hotel, a friends home, or whatever setting is comfortable for you. Yes, we can even do it outside, as I can tolerate any weather you can.
3. I've got a fantastic set of resources for hair and makeup artists to pamper you and make this a full experience, so no need to worry about all that. If I don't know someone in your area, I've got the resources to find someone.
4. Cost is based on factors like hours of services, print packages (small little black book albums are a great way to present these photos), and travel. I'll put up another post that includes packages soon, but until then, if you need a quote, use my contact page to inquire and I will answer all of your questions.
5. Want a quick guide to preparing for a Boudoir photo shoot, again, use my contact page to ask for one, and I'll get it out to you a.s.a.p., no obligation or cost to you.
All hair and makeup for the models featured in this post were provided by Shayla at Beauty and the Belief
Feed back is always welcome - leave a comment!