by Sue Altenburg Published 01/12/2008
The Evolution of Boudoir Photography
Sue Altenburg gives the perspective from the USA
I remember the exact day I decided to start doing boudoir photography though it was over 25 years ago. I had just graduated with my degree in photography and was working on building up our family business. At that time our studio income was 95 per cent wedding photography. A new photographer moved to Las Vegas from New York City and started displaying what he called 'boudoir' photography at bridal shows where we were promoting our weddings.
I had never heard of boudoir photography and frankly I was a little uncomfortable when our brides started enquiring about whether or not we could do a boudoir portrait for them to give to their groom as a wedding gift. At that time in the 80s the idea of photographing women in their lingerie was still a bit scandalous even for Las Vegas. I had no idea how to make women look good in lingerie and so I dismissed the idea as a passing fad.
Hair and make-up styling for boudoir portraits helps create a variety of looks for the clients and reduces our retouching costs
Later that year I booked a wedding of a well-known local businessman who reserved my top package. I was trying to move up in the wedding world so that I could raise my prices accordingly. This was the kind of wedding that I knew would give me great referrals and get me into the right circle of clientele. When his bride called me before the wedding to ask if I could do a boudoir portrait for her to give to her husband, I gave her my standard answer that I didn't do 'that type of photography'.
I had forgotten about her request on the day of their wedding. They booked a full-day coverage, which began with a trip to their home for 'getting ready' photos, then to the church for a full mass, portraits afterwards in the church and then to a park. By the time I made it to the reception I was already tired and when the announcer said that they needed the groom to come to the centre of the dance floor for a special surprise from his bride, I had no idea what was going to happen.
Two groomsmen carried out a large box with a huge bow and the groom pulled out his wedding gift, a 24x30 canvas wall portrait in a gold gilded frame of his bride. It was a beautiful, soft, head and shoulders boudoir portrait (showing only a tasteful bit of cleavage) that looked like an oil painting. The groom cried, the bride cried and everyone went crazy. The rest of the night I was asked over and over if I did that gorgeous portrait of the bride and I had to say, while mentally kicking myself, 'No, I don't do that kind of photography'.
There are 27 days to get ready for The Societies of Photographers Convention and Trade Show at The Hilton London Metropole Hotel ...
which starts on Wednesday 10th January 2018