CTV News On Your Street – Ben’s Dudoir

When I began doing boudoir and dudoir photography about 5 years ago, it was really special. I was always aware that what I did when I was shooting in this genre meant something to the people I worked with, in a different way than when I was shooting weddings, new babies, and families. All good professional photography is meaningful and personal. (Even if you’re shooting corporate gigs, you’re still working with people and for people, so it’s personal.) But the genre of boudoir has captured my heart, and while over the years my love of photography in general has waxed and waned, as it does for anyone working in a field for a long time, I’ve always felt that boudoir was special, and that the work I did with people really mattered.

When Dez Melenka from CTV News Edmonton’s On Your Street contacted me for a serious story she wanted to run on dudoir and male body image, it made my day, and it made my day again when she said we were for sure going ahead with it. I’m so pleased to be able to bring more of a spotlight to the area of body image issues for both women and men, and to talk specifically about the higher pressures that men are under these days. From the term “metrosexual” to Channing Tatum’s lady-pleaser movies to Buzzfeed’s recent video where the Try Guys work with a style consultant, there’s a definite undercurrent of society telling men as well as women that their appearance is just not good enough. In a GQ study, 75% of men surveyed said that compared to 10 years ago, men today are under more pressure to care about their appearance.

Ben, one of the organizers of Edmonton’s chapter of the men’s group, The Remarkable Man project, decided to give dudoir a go and get outside his comfort zone. He told me that while one of the reasons he’s doing this is to give his wife some nice sexy photos, there was another reason: “I believe in what you’re doing here, and I wanted to support you.” While many of my clients say things that give me the warm fuzzies, that hit home in a deeper way. It’s amazing to have someone believe in you, isn’t it!

I have to say that while I have had challenges over the years, shooting a dudoir session while being filmed is up there with the best of them. Sometimes photographers talk about being “on the other side of the lens” but this was both sides simultaneously, and that doesn’t happen often! It did feel a bit like an artistic collaboration, though, so that was a neat aspect of the experience.

My friend Tammy who runs The Photographer Studio, which is shared studio space in two studios for photographers where I do a lot of my work in Edmonton was able to accomodate us coming in last minute for the session the next morning.

Ben is a bright and eloquent man, who shared honestly about the things he likes and hates about his body, and things he’s always felt self-conscious about. It’s refreshing, every time I have a session, that people find it easy to be so real with me. Ben said I was very friendly and warm and he felt comfortable with me, which I strive for every session – whether I’m working with a man or a woman. He also said that like all the other men I’ve worked with, he’d have been more nervous working with a male photographer – interestingly, from what I’ve heard, both genders typically prefer the female eye.

Here’s some of the eye candy we created together!

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Sexy And I Know It

Every time a gentleman calls me about getting a dudoir session, I get excited! I love it when guys are looking to use dudoir to help them regain self-confidence. Graeme, not his real name of course, had just gone through some really tough times, and wanted to do dudoir in part to help him feel sensual again for himself. I think it’s really brave for men to do something like that, to allow me to look into their world when they’re struggling with their self-concept and give them a piece of my mind – in a totally different way than you usually interact with a stranger.

My man Graeme chose our “Faceless Man” option, so unfortunately I can’t show you those sexy, daring eyes, or that full-out laughter, but he had a totally fantastic time at the session and the photos show that. It was a blast working with him. As you can see, Graeme’s body is not necessarily model material, but because that’s not what dudoir is about, it doesn’t matter. He’s exactly the kind of man I think can benefit most from a session like this.

Graeme may not have entered the session feeling all that great about himself, but once the photos came back he was thrilled. He’s sexy, and now he knows it.


Punk Dudoir!

Chris is the best kind of client to work with for a lot of reasons – first, he read my entire FAQ, which I worked very hard to write, and then he was very co-operative and fun to work with and even helped me pack up my equipment. He’d also done his homework on “dudoir” photography, a term he introduced me to while complaining about George Costanza’s famous boudoir spoof. His confidence and sexy guitar helped make the shoot a great success – but then, punk/rockabilly scene people are great to know and work with as a rule!

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What to Prepare and Wear to Your Session – Dude Edition

Are you looking for The Ladies Version?

Okay, after talking with my newest male client, I’ve realized two things. 1) Dudoir is a thing. Up until today I hadn’t heard the word, but it makes sense! 2) Nobody knows much about it except that if you search for “male boudoir” you’re going to find that awful photo of George Costanza. Ouch. Both of the men that I’ve worked with have really enjoyed the experience, and I think it deserves some serious airtime – we all know that women like eye candy just as much as men do – and there’s no reason men shouldn’t look for seriously awesome masculine photography to show that off.

So, how would a man go about booking a male boudoir, or if they like word-hybrids, “Dudoir” session with Seven Deadly Sins? I’ll give you my number, call me! =)

What Will the Photographer Bring?
Myself, a key ingredient… A camera and lenses (obviously) and lighting equipment with extension cords. If you don’t have a lot of natural light in your home or bedroom, these will come out! If you feel like your house is pretty dark or any of your spaces are, keep in mind where your plugins are for me. I do not bring props for guys, although you might want to bring your own! If you, like most men, have a crappy bachelor pad, we can also do a studio-style shoot, which works better for guys than girls usually.

What Do I Need?
Yourself. Your chosen pair of underwear. Any props that relate to your job or hobbies – a guitar, books, computer stuff, sports stuff… A nice stool or ottoman is a good manly choice, too. Hair gel if you have short hair and don’t naturally do the messy hair look. A white or solid-color dress shirt – one with a collar. A suit and tie if you want to do a striptease-type set. Sleeveless undershirt if you wear them with dress clothes. A nice belt. A nice (or super ratty – not just one with a hole, if you’re going for dirty jeans go all the way) pair of jeans or cargo pants. Sports jersey if that’s big for you. Jackets, particularly leather jackets, are always sexy.

If you are getting dudoir photographs done as a gift (even for yourself!), then can you include some aspect of your relationship or your personality in the photos? Are there any stories from you and your lover’s history together that you might want to consider? Anything you’ve been told is sexy? If you are doing this as a gift for a loved one and she cheers for a different sports team than you, make a concession and wear her team’s jersey! Or if you have a favourite book in common, if there’s any hobby stuff of hers that we could use as a prop (you holding her lingerie with a “Shall we?” look, for instance), those would be great things to bring!  And if you saw a sexy man photo or two you truly love on your hunt for the right photographer, we can try to recreate something similar for you.

How Do I Set Up The House?
Get rid of as much clutter as you can! Clutter even includes neatly kept storage stuff that will possibly appear in the background of your photos – the least distracting view possible is best, so we can make YOU stand out, not your stuff! Typically, we’ll work in the bedroom, the living room. If you want to be a bit more adventurous, you might try something different: the kitchen, the office space, if you have a cool claw-foot tub or jacuzzi/pool in and around your home that’s also an option. Think outside the box for something really unique, and I’ll make suggestions too.

Hope this post has been a helpful journey! Any questions or other ideas can be left in the comments, I’d be happy to speak with you about your ideas any time. And gentlemen – if you’re looking for a boudoir photographer who works with guys and have a reasonable budget to get yourself where I am or get me where you are, I’m willing to travel or give you priority scheduling.

Dudoir men in my gallery…
A dudoir set on Flickr, also taken by a woman I think

A lovely set of a guy in California
The Gypsy Boudoir – A Dudoir Session