“Can I bring someone with me to my photo shoot?”

19 03 2012

“May I bring someone with me during my photo shoot?”

Occasionally we get this question.  While my answer is a qualified “yes,”  I do like to know more about the underlying reason for the question before I answer.

You can tell quite a bit by the wording of the question.  Such as, “What do you think about husbands being there for the photo shoot?” Or, “Are there pros and cons to having your husband here during the shoot?”  And this one, “My husband would like to watch.  Is that OK?”  Another is “I’m kind of nervous.  Could I bring a girlfriend with me for moral support?”  Can you hear the difference behind the way someone expresses the question?

People have different reasons for asking.  Some want us to say, “No.” Some want us to help them come up with good reasons for not having an audience so they can explain to a husband or boyfriend why they shouldn’t come along, just in case it’s suggested.  My most detested reason; some men are control freaks and these women probably shouldn’t do a nude photo shoot until after the divorce. Of course, other women are married to voyeurs and if they happen to be exhibitionists, it can work for them.  And others have friends considering shoots themselves and need someone else to do it first.  Then, there are the rare few who’d like someone with them for safety concerns, though that trepidation is usually dispelled after meeting us.

In another post I’ll tell you how I answer the question, “Can I bring someone with me during my shoot?’

See the beautiful sensual photographs for yourself

 

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Breast Cancer and Personal Decisions

9 03 2012

Breast cancer touches all of us, either by way of a personal battle, or that of someone we love, a family member or friend, or even a friend of a friend. It’s a concern, even a fear, we hold in our hearts and minds every day especially on the day of our mammograms and the long, scary wait for our results.   My mother had two radical mastectomies about 30 years apart. A number of close friends have been diagnosed with breast cancer and my husband and I have had the honor of photographing quite a few women who have shared their journey with us by way of pre surgical and/or  post surgical pictures.  I’m such a strong believer in empowering women to make their own informed decisions in life about what is best for them.  I still can’t imagine how these brave and amazing women absorb the news they have breast cancer and are still able, within just days, to analyze and make the critical decisions on the course of their battle plan.

I’d like to periodically post some of the stories women have shared with us regarding their decision to have pictures taken as a result their diagnosis.  Some people won’t understand why anyone would decide to take photographs and others will ‘get it.’  It doesn’t matter what you think or even what I think about this.  What matters is what it means to the women making the decision.  If our photography has been helpful in some way to the breast cancer survivors we’ve photographed, then I want other woman to know we are here for them.

Twelve years ago or more we got a phone call from a woman stating she needed to get in immediately for a photo shoot and she didn’t have time for or want a consultation first.   She’d just seen one of our ads and decided on the spot that she wanted to have some artistic pictures taken of her breasts.  She went on to explain in an understandably shaky voice that she was scheduled for a double mastectomy in three days and needed to get in for pictures before her surgery.   The following day she was at our studio and shared a bit of her story with my husband Darrell.  She is just a tiny person and she explained how she’d always liked her breasts, that along with all the other bigger issues confronting her now, she was also grieving at the prospect of losing this part of her body that made her feel pretty, feminine, attractive.    She and Darrell sat there for probably 30-minutes just talking and crying a bit before beginning the shoot.  While she’d specifically stated she wanted the pictures to focus on her breasts, Darrell wanted to get some pictures of other parts of her body so that she’d know she was beautiful in so many ways and that that wasn’t going to change.  During the shoot, he asked permission to take a specific picture of her back and buttocks to which she agreed though with more of a, ‘if you really want to attitude.’  He took the picture and a Polaroid as well of the same pose so she could have positive feedback immediately.  Seeing the Polaroid she commented, “Yeah, it’s nice. Kind of arsty fartsy though!”  And that was that.

Two days later, she and her husband came by to look at her proof sheets from the shoot.  While she was momentarily out of the room her husband turned directly to us, staring pointedly into our eyes and said, “Thank you so much.  My wife has barely spoken since getting the diagnosis and she certainly hasn’t smile.  After her photo shoot when she got home I asked her how it went and she looked up at me with a smile and told me, “I’m ready now.  I’m going to go upstairs, light some candles, and get in the bathtub with a glass of wine.”  We weren’t quite sure how the photo shoot had that impact, but we were so grateful that in some way we’d helped her to get to that point.

Remember that “artsy fartsy” picture?  It’s a beautiful art piece now, still hanging over their bed or at least it was when we were at their home one time for dinner.





May I bring “!?!” to the photo shoot?

2 03 2012

Most of our photo sessions are a whole lot of fun but far more tame than I suspect most people might imagine, given that we are fairly well-known for nude photography.  Our nudes are usually black and white with strong shadowing.  While some images may have an erotic feel, they aren’t particularly showy or graphic, although people have their own definition of what is showy and what is erotic.

On rare occasions, we’ll get a phone call from someone inquiring about doing a photo shoot who begins the conversation with a lot of awkward pauses preparing me for a question I really don’t want to have to answer.  So I’ll often interrupt and ask the caller if they’ve looked at our website because I think our site gives a very visual depiction of our style.  For those who haven’t done their homework, I’ll suggest they take a look first and then call us back.  That usually eliminates people asking if we’ll take pictures of  “this “ or “that,” if you know what I mean.

So the other day, we had a call from someone who’d already met with us and booked her photo session.  She started the conversation referencing our suggestion that she feel free to bring some personalized props with her for some of the shots.  Then, the hemming and hawing began.  “I’m a little nervous about asking you this,” and “Feel free to say ‘no’ to this,” and “I’ll understand if you don’t want to do this.”  I’m thinking to myself, “Oh no.  She’s going to ask me about bringing a sex toy to the shoot.”  Finally she comes out with it, asking if she can bring some sexy, lace-up, black boots and an unloaded gun.  Phew. That was a relief.

See the beautiful sensual photos for yourself BodyPhotage, Inc

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The First Time I Was The Beautiful One.

2 03 2012

Several years ago a woman in her mid 40’s came for a consultation in contemplation of a photo shoot, which is how we like to begin the process.  Seems like you wouldn’t, perhaps shouldn’t, show up for a nude photo shoot without first determining you feel safe & comfortable with the photographer/s.  She’d brought a female friend to the consultation for moral support.  As is usually the case, she booked a photo shoot for a few weeks out and showed up for the shoot, on time, by herself.

As you might expect, most people come in a bit nervous never having done anything like this before and not sure what they are most nervous about; being naked in front of someone they don’t know or more fearful they aren’t going to look any good.  Five minutes into the shoot, the nervousness faded and two hours later she was walking a lot taller, with more confidence, and the knowledge that she was indeed beautiful in her own body.   We set an appointment for her to come back to look at the proof sheets, hugged her good-bye at the door saying we’d see her next week.

Darrell looked out the window about 10 minutes later and commented that he thought she was still parked out front and was concerned that perhaps she was having car trouble.  Before he could get out to inquire and check on her, she drove away.  The following week, Darrell asked if she had some car problems after her photo shoot.  This is how she explained the delay in leaving; “I’m a very successful and confident business woman.  However, as you probably noted, my friend who was with me for the consultation, is an exceptionally beautiful woman.  She and I have been best friends for more than 20 years and when I got to my car it hit me that this was the very first time that I felt like the beautiful one.  It was just such an unexpected and emotional revelation that I sat outside in my car crying for a while and processing the experience. It’s not a big deal really.”

But really it is. Sometimes it’s important to feel that special.