The first question is pretty obvious – how does it feel to be a male boudoir photographer?
It feels pretty good, actually. I know a lot of newcomers to this area think it’s something unheard of, but it isn’t. There is some tension, of course, but ultimately it’s all about the experience and the end result. We want to empower women, we want them to feel better about themselves, so we need to do everything we can to help them.
So, everyone is okay with it?
There are, of course, people who are not comfortable with this arrangement and it’s totally fine. I think of them the same way as people who cannot afford the service or live outside of my market – they are not my customers yet. They’ll come around. Boudoir is an amazing experience that every woman should experience in her life.
How do you make women feel comfortable working with a male photographer?
There are a few things you need to keep in mind. One is the experience – I’ve been doing this for 8 years and I’ve mostly worked with female models through fashion, designer and editorial photo shoots. I am very professional on all of my shoots. Another is that it’s almost never a one on one photoshoot – I have a makeup/hair artist, I may have a fashion or wardrobe stylist, potentially an assistant, so it’s a crew. The shoot is a team effort and everyone is keeping each other in check. Sort of like a system of checks and balances.
Do you think your work is different from female photographers?
In the same way, a work of one artist is different from another artist. We’ve come such a long way to recognize and equalize women in many aspects of our lives and now to question if a man can do this is kind of reverse sexism. We all have our artistic vision and we all get to implement it the way we see. I follow many male and female boudoir photographers and when I scroll through their works I don’t even know if I am looking at works of a male or female photographer. All I care about is if images have artistic value, are they done tastefully, do they empower the client, do they make the client feel better about themselves.
What would you say are the top three challenges of being a male boudoir photographer?
First is probably managing the significant others. Usually, it’s not the female client who has a problem with a male boudoir photographer, it’s their boyfriend or husband. It’s a problem for them, especially when they want the photos to be a gift.
Second is the expectation of safety. Women expect themselves to be almost naked or fully naked in front of men in a very limited number of life situations. It is my responsibility to make sure they feel safe and comfortable. In many ways our setup and the environment we create helps a lot – it looks more like a movie set, and our client is a star. It creates this professional vibe that is while still intimate, still remains very professional.
The third is keeping the client in check. As I have said – we create a very safe and comfortable environment and an amazing experience. A lot of times the client would break any boundaries that they have established to try something new and provocative. Once people feel safe they start pushing their own limits. And we are here to keep you from going overboard. Because time is limited, and you want to make sure the client will want to use the pictures once they “wake up”.
What do you mean by pushing limits?
Before the shoot, I try to question most of my client’s decisions, especially anything regarding nudity and revealing various body parts. I always ask if it is something they are comfortable with. So when I start the shoot I have my own expectations of limits – because I want to respect my client and want to make them comfortable. When a client decides to push those limits – to go for more revealing looks, more outrageous ideas – it is my responsibility to question that and make sure they really want those images to exist.
Does that happen often?
Not often, but it happens. I am very kink friendly and I make sure to make my clients aware of that to be completely transparent. I have several publications in kink-related magazines – in addition to others, so it’s out there, you can view it. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but sometimes clients want to try things to see what it would look like – because they saw this picture online, or that movie or something. They want to try it although they didn’t initially want to do any of that. We’re treading very carefully around that because we want the client to have this amazing magic experience, but we don’t want them to have any regrets afterward. But it gives them this “out of this world” experience, it’s a “magic journey” as I call it. Each photo shoot is a journey, mine is “magic journey” because we end up creating magic.
You talk about magic – do you use Photoshop magic often?
It makes my opinions very unpopular in certain circles, but I do use Photoshop a lot. It’s not just to make a size 16 client look like size 2, but to make the images more visually appealing and artistically sound. For all intents and purposes, I can spend 30 minutes in Photoshop retouching wrinkles on your dress (and I did!) because I believe they take away from the picture. Or fix the lighting. Not all Photoshop is about making everyone super skinny, in many cases, it’s about improving things that could not be improved during the shoot. It’s a tool that makes certain aspects of photography easier.
Thank you. Any closing words? Where can we see your work?
Boudoir photography is a beautiful thing. To me, it’s more art than commerce, so I do create it as an art. You can see it on my website – www.wannaglow.com or on my Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/commanderpirx/