Boudoir Photography

Yes it’s true. I took the three-day Creativelive Boudoir online workshop and I loved every minute of it. Of course shooting photos of attractive and healthy young women wearing lingerie isn’t hard on the eyes. But surprisingly I discovered that boudoir photography isn’t about women or even photography at all. It’s about making your client feel better about how they (and others) see themselves.

Workshop instructor Jen Rozenbaum was terrific. The photography part of her workshop was all about posing the human body and even I learned a few new things about how to get a better image.

(BTW one of Jen’s secrets is to use cheap insulation boards for reflectors. These big boards have silver on one side and can be painted black on the other and are available for $20 or so from Home Depot!)

Not everyone can conduct a three-day online workshop but Jen sure can even despite the cough she had as she was recovering from a recent illness. Poor girl was drinking water laced with cough drops for most of the session. I know how she felt as I shot a dinner party and dance a week ago for a group I’d contracted to shoot for and despite having the flu rather severely I showed up. Tried not to breath on anyone and the shots came out fine and I’m recovering nicely.

BTW it may come as no surprise that I don’t have any boudoir shots (but call me if you’re in the GTA!) of my own but Jen sure has so if you want to see what I’m talking about go visit her site. Especially check out the section on her site where she shows you the before and after photos to see what a gifted photographer can do. Amazing stuff!!

It’s been my experience that very few men can shoot boudoir without it ending up looking like a skanky strip show. It gets worse if there’s a pole in the photo.

But Jen’s teaching and her images were in a class by themselves.

One of the best images was a butt shot. I know. I know. But really it was inspirational (not the butt – the shot!!! And I’m not kidding!) One of our models, who stood almost six feet in high heels and would be tough to shoot as she’s so tall and the studio room was so small, photographed really nicely but the shoot I thought was terrific was one where she was wearing a very skimpy piece of lingerie that fully showed her natural beauty. Jen cropped the image at her waist and just showed a little bit of her leg and in black and white this would be an image that anyone would be proud to put up on the wall in their bedroom.

The image was stunning without being offensive in the least and certainly wasn’t prudent. The reason being is Jen’s workshop was all about self-esteem and feminine beauty and not so much about the gear and pushing of the buttons (which likely upset the usual gearheads who show up to these workshops asking what aperture the photographer is using as if that mattered).

A big part of Jen’s workshop was on the business of photography.

The in-studio students came in not understanding they were in a BUSINESS and needed to conduct themselves as business people. Business management and business growth were a big part of the workshop which you can buy from Creativelive for $149. (I own four or five workshop videos which come only as downloads but you can always burn your own DVD for safe keeping.)

One of the best stories Jen told was she no longer allows husbands, boyfriends or men in general into the consultation or sales meeting. Her contract to shoot is with her client and not her significant other. Why? Because she had an experience which, by the sound of her telling it, was with an insecure blowhard of a boyfriend or husband (can’t remember which) who basically put down her client in front of her and whined about the cost and just didn’t get what boudoir photography was all about. Jen almost pitched him out of the room. I would have.

Anyway Creativelive is a bold new venture in world-wide learning where you can go and watch the workshop for free (or the rebroadcast which follows so others in different time zones can watch at a convenient time) or you can buy the download at a reduced rate during the workshop or at full price (still a bargain) after the workshop is over.

One caveat is I’d recommend not visiting the online chatrooms. Creativelive has three. There’s one for questions and answers among chatroom participants. It can be helpful but there are a lot of basic questions that get bantered about over and over again.  The second is for questions to the instructor which get passed on and the third is the Creativelive Lounge. The Lounge is riot and there are some very funny people there but it is a colossal time waster and a major distraction from the workshop itself. There are often 400 to 500 chatters in the lounge and the Creativelive folks have some perverse compulsion to attempt to regulate online behaviour. It seems there’s always some seemingly 14-year-old moderator warning chatters about their language or their level of respect for the instructors (comments can be hilarious but also overly personal and hurtful. If I was teaching at Creativelive I’d never read the chatroom comments.). Personally I find this level of control irksome and demeaning and if it were up to me I’d never run a lounge that wasn’t open. But this is a minor annoyance and one easily avoided by actually watching the workshop and avoiding the Lounge especially.

So what’s coming up?

Glad you asked! Creativelive is always adding new workshops and while some are better than others (and some like Jen’s Boudoir Workshop are sensational) the one I’m looking forward to is Photoshop Week which is coming the week of February 18 to 23. I’ve booked the week off (with the exception on one professional workshop I’m giving) and will be on Creativelive for the week. (I’m also booking off April 11 to 13 for a three-day workshop on Final Cut Pro software.)

Regardless of where you are in photography, Creativelive will have courses coming up at your skill level. Aside from taking one of my courses (I’ve got one coming up in Oakville, Ontario on Wednesday Feb. 20 and email me if you want to attend.) this is a great way to learn photography.

BTW this unsolicited pitch is my way of paying back to Creativelive for some excellent free online training. Besides I’ve already spent almost $500 in training videos and I can see spending a couple of hundred more in the next couple of months so that’s my two cents worth 🙂


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