“My hands are all sweaty, but it looks as I have eaten a kilo of sand, so dry my mouth is. She is there, in front of me, looking and expecting me to take exceptional images of her. O. M. G.”
Have you ever found yourself in this situation with a customer standing just in from of you? It happened to me countless times in the past, and for a long time I felt as customers were scrutinising me, judging me. That performance anxiety that made me feel like I was not good enough as I was just a scam, incapable to capture what I promised her.
Do you know that there is a uncomplicated truth behind all this? The truth is that you should put yourself in her shoes before feeling yourself judged and scrutinised.
Who’s the frightened one?
“What is my face like? Am I smiling too much, or is it just a fake smile the one I have on my mouth? And what about my stomach? Should I hide it with my hand, or maybe I should ask them if I can cover it a little. Oh Jesus, what was I thinking having these images taken in my forties? Great, now I am sure my smile is just…”
Between the two of you, who do you think have the hardest time, the one in front or the one behind the camera. Moreover, it is your role as the photographer to reassure and work with every woman you photograph, not just for her.
Set your expectation where it counts!
Photographers are very good at immersing themselves in technical things. Doing that we transform our subject in an object, losing the opportunity of creating great images.
Focus your attention on who the person in front of your camera is, not just how she looks like in your photos. Light will come and go, especially if you shoot with natural light in London, what remains is the person in front of you, the essence that once captured makes the photo. The difficult thing is not photographing that essence, but make it surface.
Set your expectation where it really matters: in the rapport with the woman in front of you.
Removing Vulnerability: The Silver Lining of Boudoir Photography
The vulnerability a woman feels while posing in front of your camera is a danger to your images. Her body image is nothing in comparison to the lack of trust. In the end one step you can do to make your life easier is to make sure to make your customers’ life easier: talk TO them. As the photographer, you should help women feeling comfortable and confident before taking photos of them. Work hard to let her lose that feeling of vulnerability of being in front of a camera by dealing with her without your camera to your eyes!
When you create a good mood, when you lower that barrier between you and her, that’s when magic happens. Stop photographing “a woman” and start photographing THE woman in front of you, for what she is, for what she tells you and start working on creating a story out of her!