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A question about “Glamorous” Portraits
Old 10-19-2009, 04:41 PM   #1 (permalink)
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I am referring to a portrait session of a paying customer, and not work done for a model or for your own portfolio.

For some reason I am finding that more and more the ladies who call me about “glamour” portraits, are not really wanting anything glamorous. They seem to have the insane idea that glamour is more about bringing in “cute” props than anything else.

I do not want to promote my work as “Glamour” photography, since that seems to indicate I do the mall type glamour stuff. You know, tipping the cowboy hat, and holding the collar, and all that jazz. So, I refer to it as “Portraits with a Glamorous Style”. Heck, I would call it something else if I could think of it.

So, what is it? I show the ladies slide presentations of “glamorous” portraits, and they think it is wonderful and sexy, then start talking about bringing in teddy bears, or some other prop that I believe would more suitable for a high school girl than a woman who wants to give her hubby or boyfriend something creative and “sexy” (for lack of a better word).
Lingerie is not a requirement, as far as I am concerned. It can be in a classy dress, or even a pair of jeans with a snazzy top.

I am not on a rant, I am just wondering if the mentality in my part of Texas has gotten to thee point that women are more interested in goofy props and other trivial things than looking like a sexy, classy, or alluring woman.

Surely it is not the same in other parts of Texas, or is it? Or maybe I am expecting too much nowadays.

Ok, sounds like a rant, I guess, but not really; I am just getting confused.

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Re: A question about “Glamorous” Portraits
Old 10-19-2009, 06:25 PM   #2 (permalink)
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It's probably their own fear and insecurity about themselves and their body. They don't think they're (sexy, thin, beautiful, busty) enough to have pictures done in that style.

It could also be that they don't trust you enough. Either from a personal safety standpoint or combined with my point above they don't trust your ability to make them look good.

In my conversations with women (non-models) before a shoot they will say they are not interested in a certain style, usually nudes. I just smile and nod, I've found that when women see what it's like during a shoot, how you operate, what kind of images you can create of them (even just seeing the images on the back of your camera) they are much more open to doing risque photos.
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Re: A question about “Glamorous” Portraits
Old 10-20-2009, 08:08 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by zytkiewicz View Post
It's probably their own fear and insecurity about themselves and their body. They don't think they're (sexy, thin, beautiful, busty) enough to have pictures done in that style.

It could also be that they don't trust you enough. Either from a personal safety standpoint or combined with my point above they don't trust your ability to make them look good.

In my conversations with women (non-models) before a shoot they will say they are not interested in a certain style, usually nudes. I just smile and nod, I've found that when women see what it's like during a shoot, how you operate, what kind of images you can create of them (even just seeing the images on the back of your camera) they are much more open to doing risque photos.
I either didn't explain this correctly or you misread it. It is not a matter of them feeling insecure and it is not about them not trusting me, or being comfortable with themselves.

They would be happy with an implied nude, or even partial nude, but they want to have silly props or "gimmicks", as opposed to looking alluring. It is not a matter of how much they show, it is a matter of what they consider "boudoir", or "glamour".

By the way.. you mentioned personal safety standpoint?
I have been in business for 39 years in the same city, and I can assure you I am not a GWC. I operate a full time studio with regular business hours, and I inform every lady that my wife of 48 years will be here, and everything is done during regular business hours.

.........................

It is a situation similar to when a mother calls and tells me she wants something very nice; with a "timeless classic" look for her children, and after they get here, she has them dressed in jeans and
t- shirts and asks me if I have a "pumpkin patch" set.
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Re: A question about “Glamorous” Portraits
Old 10-20-2009, 09:44 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I either didn't explain this correctly or you misread it. It is not a matter of them feeling insecure and it is not about them not trusting me, or being comfortable with themselves.

They would be happy with an implied nude, or even partial nude, but they want to have silly props or "gimmicks", as opposed to looking alluring. It is not a matter of how much they show, it is a matter of what they consider "boudoir", or "glamour".

By the way.. you mentioned personal safety standpoint?
I have been in business for 39 years in the same city, and I can assure you I am not a GWC. I operate a full time studio with regular business hours, and I inform every lady that my wife of 48 years will be here, and everything is done during regular business hours.

.........................

It is a situation similar to when a mother calls and tells me she wants something very nice; with a "timeless classic" look for her children, and after they get here, she has them dressed in jeans and
t- shirts and asks me if I have a "pumpkin patch" set.
I debated for a while about including the last paragraph. I wasn't talking specifically about nudes it's about how the women feel.

I've photographed girlfriends and female friends I've know for years. Some of them still get nervous when stepping in front of the camera. They definitely trust me and logically they know they'll be safe, but they don't necessarily "feel" that way. Even all the reasons you gave about why they should be safe are all logical reasons.

Think about what you're asking them to do. Come to a location that they're not really familiar with, with two people they don't know that well, to do something they've probably never done before. I think the props and gimmicks are a way for them to cope. It's very difficult for most people to feel "sexy" if they don't feel "safe".

I hate to say it but your age may have something to do with it as well. I'm guessing that most of your clients are younger than you. They might have a hard time being sexy to the camera when the person controlling it is old enough to be their father or grandfather. It shouldn't matter and I know their age doesn't matter to you, but people don't always act like they should.

The last part about the pumpkin patch helped clarify where you're coming from. I think part of it is changing attitudes and lack of knowledge about what is classic or alluring. Part of it is just people are morons.
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Re: A question about “Glamorous” Portraits
Old 10-20-2009, 10:35 AM   #5 (permalink)
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snip.......

I hate to say it but your age may have something to do with it as well. I'm guessing that most of your clients are younger than you. They might have a hard time being sexy to the camera when the person controlling it is old enough to be their father or grandfather. It shouldn't matter and I know their age doesn't matter to you, but people don't always act like they should.

The last part about the pumpkin patch helped clarify where you're coming from. I think part of it is changing attitudes and lack of knowledge about what is classic or alluring. Part of it is just people are morons.
Well,,, the comment about "I'm guessing that most of your clients are younger than you.", should be so obvious.. How many 67 year old females have I shot.. Zero.

On the other hand, the ladies who do come to me feel comfortable with my age, because some have told me they felt uncomfortable with younger photographers who seem to want to get too friendly. I guess it works both ways. I won't name names, but I know many photographers my age and older who are very successful shooting glamour, figure studies, and nudes.

Using your assumption of females being concerned about age, I guess a 20 year old would feel uncomfortable if the photographer was 38, because he would be old enough to be her father.
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Re: A question about “Glamorous” Portraits
Old 10-20-2009, 09:23 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Maybe they still see themselves as a child. Could it be that their inner child comes out during your shoots and not the sexy woman you expect.



Isn't this and shouldn't this be about what the client wants unless you are shooting tfp or paying them. It could be that the teddy bears are the womens way of bringing back the thoughts or memories of when they were younger. Maybe the couples have been together since grade school. Your area may be better at staying together than other areas of the country. Maybe memories when they were younger were happier times or simpler times.
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Re: A question about “Glamorous” Portraits
Old 10-22-2009, 09:41 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Hey as long as they are writing the checks, let em bring what ever ...
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Re: A question about “Glamorous” Portraits
Old 10-22-2009, 10:10 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Maybe they still see themselves as a child. Could it be that their inner child comes out during your shoots and not the sexy woman you expect.



Isn't this and shouldn't this be about what the client wants unless you are shooting tfp or paying them. It could be that the teddy bears are the womens way of bringing back the thoughts or memories of when they were younger. Maybe the couples have been together since grade school. Your area may be better at staying together than other areas of the country. Maybe memories when they were younger were happier times or simpler times.
I do not photograph any grown up female to show her "inner child".

Keep in mind I am talking about a paid portrait session and not a model, paid or TF.. that is another story completely.

As far as this being about what the client wants; let me put it as politely as I can... If a lady asked me to photograph her wrapped in yellow caution tap, I would say no. I would also politely decline if they had any other whacky idea, like that.

With that said, I have been told, and seen stated on many forums that you MUST separate yourself from the run of the mill photographer by offering something different and unique, and offer quality; something they cannot get elsewhere. I agree with that; however, I have asked for examples of what that means…… “offer something different“. So far the answers are very vague. To me it means to not photograph the same old things that a woman might see and think is "cute". A grown woman who wants to look like a little girl, or to show her "inner child" can go a dozen places and get that sort of shot, right? So why should I offer it? That does not separate me from the average photographer.

By the way, the teddy bear example was just that, an example. I did have a young lady ask for that, but she also said she was expecting to pay a total of $40 for the session and the portraits. That should give a clue as to her ideas of what quality photography is.

My original question, which was not stated well enough, was whether the trend in other parts of the state or country is to shoot this “style“ , whatever it is called, and refer to it as “boudoir”.
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Re: A question about “Glamorous” Portraits
Old 10-22-2009, 10:04 PM   #9 (permalink)
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In a way I can relate to your situation, but I came at it from a different direction. Back before I retired, my studio did mostly commercial work and figurative art, but I also offered carriage trade portrait session to help fill in the down time. These were mostly boudoir sessions, lingerie and such, but I never had anyone inquire about bringing a teddy bear, caution tape or anything of that ilk. I encouraged the potential clients to come by to get acquainted and to discuss the nature of the shoot. I emphasized I understood many women did this sort of shoot only once in their lives and I wanted to make certain I got what they had in mind. This conversation was most often in person, but since many clients came from pretty far away, the conversations could also be by phone or email.

I explained that I approached the shoots from an artistic perspective rather f=than from a portrait direction. I explained that my intent was to show the person rather than fancy sets, so I rarely used traditional props. But I invited them to bring anything they would like to be photographed with or wearing.

I kept a display of wall hanging size prints on the studio wall of some of the figure art I had exhibited. About 1/2 or 3/4 way through the shoot, after I had included all of the client's outfits and the usual shots, I asked if they had something in mind which I had not already shot. More often than not the client would point at the B&W nudes and ask if we "could do some like that"? I loved it when they asked that because it was near guarantee of either a large print sale or a 'book' of smaller prints in addition to the basic prints. I found it to be a serious profit multiplier.

But I have to wonder how hanging nudes in a more traditional portrait studio would work. I can see some serious potential for negative results.
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Re: A question about “Glamorous” Portraits
Old 10-23-2009, 08:27 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Thanks Doug,

I appreciae the comments.

Hanging any sort of boudour portrait, in my studio, in my area would probably cause an uproar. Showing a nude would certainly be out of the question.
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Last edited by BenE; 10-24-2009 at 01:45 PM.. Reason: typo
 
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