Earlier this month, I did 3 days of free (yes I said free) Boudoir shoots for masculine centered folks. And baby these folks came and showed out. The experience was undeniably amazing.
I chose to do these shoots for a few reasons, but the most important reason was for representation. As I navigate through my photography journey and try to find my niche, I noticed how much boudoir photography lacks images of folks who look like me. Boudoir photography is a photographic style featuring intimate, romantic, and sometimes erotic images of models. Boudoir shoots can take place in a studio, bedroom, or even in a private dressing room. After researching boudoir photos and companies that specialize boudoir, the search only ever came up with images of white women and sometimes men. Of course that made me say to myself “we can boudoir too”. By we I mean people of color, queer and trans folks, but most importantly women of masculine center. People who look like me and my chosen family.
Then it hit me! I’ve modeled in boudoir shoots before. So there is not just lack of representation, but also a lack of knowledge about boudoir photography in my community. So now I have this mission to both encourage and educate. Mission accepted. I made a flyer which featured a boudoir photo of myself (shot by my good friend/photographer Armani).
I then posted the flyer on all of my social media outlets – including in every Facebook group I belong to, texted it to all of my friends, and slid in the DMs of random folks I thought fit the part. I set up a professional looking Google Form, which asked for people’s gender identity, pronouns, and other important information I offered 3 different sets: bedroom, home gym, and shower/tub. In two days I had about 20 individuals booked. All in all, only 10 people actually showed up. This definitely turned out to be for the best; it was some work!
Not all of my models identified as women. I intentionally wanted this to be open to all masculine identities except cisgender men. Nothing against cisgender men, or anything! But this just wasn’t the space for them. Few of the models had never heard of boudoir photography. Some had never done a photo shoot of any kind, so making them comfortable was my top priority. It was when I shot my first couple when things got real. They were a Stud4Stud couple and oh they came ready. (Dam, I really do appreciate a S4S couple. Mmm… I had a flashback. Sorry). I mean they came with pillows, strawberries and silk sheets to set the mood. The whole nine yards. They didn’t need any directions aside from the occasional “hold that pose a little longer.” Undoubtedly, their connection made the photos magical.
Three days of shooting was followed by 3 days of editing because for some odd reason I promised that each model would receive photos by Wednesday. I was just overly excited to get their feedback. Originally, I had offered each model 2 edited photos as compensation for basically being my test subjects ( I mean this was my first time doing boudoir shoots as a photographer, afterall). After going through over 2000 photos, I realized how fanstatic each model was, so I decided to send each model four edited images. Additionally, they all had a chance to buy up to 20 more images for $20. Everyone chose to buy the extra photos. But of course they did. The photos turned out fucking amazing. Check them out below.
Ok so it was 4 days of editing. I sent my last model their photos Thursday evening. Yet the feedback started coming on Tuesday. My Instagram and Facebook notifications were ringing nonstop. The love was overwhelming. I started lurking on the models’ pages to read comments their friends and family were leaving. Some were comical. Jokes that they were coming out with the next new R&B album and pleads for them to cover up. You can tell most have never posted such erotic photos.
I asked each model to leave a review of their experience on my Facebook page. Each complied and all reviews came with 5 star recommendations. Each model spoke on how comfortable they felt and how much fun it was. It was Nefertari Sloan’s review that brought tears to my eyes. Nefertari is a sex educator and S4S advocator amongs other amazing things, so their opinion and feedback was really important to me. After reading it, I said “Mission Accomplished!“ My whole reason for this project was in this review.
All in all, I’m very satisfied how this project is coming along. In the next few months I plan to hold two more free boudoir shoots. One for Fem women of color and one for men of color. I may set up an art exhibit this spring to showcase that we boudoir too. You know what? Let’s make that a hashtag. #weboudiortoo
Boudoir Shoots are great for gifting your partner with some intimate and sometimes silly images. They are also a great confidence booster when working with the right photographer. I encourage you to try it the next time you want to take professional photos. And if you identify as black/brown and queer, I offer special discounted rates. Let’s show them not only that #weboudoirtoo but #weboudoirbetter
To book a shoot with me click here . I’m based in Philadelphia, PA and willing to travel.