As a photographer I like to push myself into areas I don't normally shoot, take myself out of my comfort zone or just try some thing plain different. This helps keep my day to day work fresh and also gives me new techniques and skills to apply to other shoots.
So when Glasgow's Steel Studios invited me along to try out their new boudoir set, it was with a certain trepidation that I stepped into the breach. Not least because I'd injured my knee just before and had it strapped up and was dosed up on pain killers.
I'd had the good fortune to shoot corsets with Crikey Aphrodite in the past, but that was a very different flavour of shoot as Lynne, our model, took on the character of a show girl. So all things lingerie were still a bit of a mystery to me.
So what is boudoir? It's a big niche market in the photography world. A number of specialist studios offer a boudoir package, with a set, a makeup artist, a selection of outfits for the "model" and a photographer who knows how to direct and light the model well. It's aimed at all women, not just the conventional model types and is as much about building confidence and capturing the beauty of the model, rather than photographing a beautiful model. If you see what I mean.
So I guess this evening at the studio was a little bit of a cheat as I got to shoot with Mimi Moon and Ms. Rose, two models that I'd worked with or met before. Still, it was fun to use mostly natural window light (with a little bounced studio flash later in the evening) and to work on an aesthetic that I hadn't dealt with before.
A further selection of images from the shoot can be found on my Facebook page.
I guess my approach is not to take it all too seriously, it's about giving the model room to be themselves, have a little fun in front of the camera and to create a mood. Not being tied to a studio I could bring the shoot to the customer and increase their comfort levels by shooting in familiar surroundings. There's also a nice range of boudoiresque albums with appropriate covers in velvet or damasque that would allow a fine memento of the shoot (or an interesting present for your other half). But it's not my main focus of business, so if they would prefer I can refer customers on to one of the established boudoir studios in their area.
And as this was a new set at Steel Studios I should I suppose comment a little on that. The "bedroom" is roomy and well lit by window light, with room to throw in some extra light if needed. There's a dressing table, chair and bed, interchangeable lamps/decor and bedspreads (or bring your own) with talk of the boudoir cliché, a chaise longue, arriving in due course. You have to walk through the main studio to get to the boudoir set, but I believe there are plans to have makeup room/changing room on that side of things once they clear out some stuff from other rooms. It's a comfortable set to work in, but will need regular refreshing of the décor or it may well become a Glasgow landmark, like Contrast studio's dragon chair. If shooting with curtains open then you do need to watch for the glowing blue neon of the casino across the road creeping into your shots.