Chances are that you have an idea in your head about what your boudoir session will look like, or at the very least you have seen some of the images that I have here and you have an idea of how my sessions typically look. But have you gone further to think about what you would be comfortable with in terms of imagery and content?
As you can see on this website, I shoot a wide variety of content, from things that most would consider to be fairly covered and modest (at least as far as a boudoir session can be) to things that some consider really revealing and explicit or graphic. Because of that, I don’t have a set routine that I follow at every session. If I did, the modest people would be uncomfortable when more revealing or suggestive things were requested, and the more open people would feel really bored and disappointed with the more modest things suggested. So to that end, in order for me to better tailor the session to your desires and comfort level I’ve got to know where your boundaries and comfort level lie.
The Boundaries and Consent Form
This is where my ‘Boundaries and Consent’ form comes into play. This is the document that you will use to tell me about your boundaries and comfort level with regards to the possible content that we shoot during your session. Think of it like setting ‘the field of play’ in a sports game, you are the person drawing the lines on the field for what is in bounds and what is out of bounds. This form also brings up possible aspects of the shoot that maybe you did not consider prior to seeing the form, so it also prompts you to think about things that you may not have. This way you aren’t surprised by anything I suggest and you are able to think about where you stand on possible images we could shoot.
The second part of the B&C form is what you can sort of think of like a ‘choose your own adventure’ book. I present you with a list of popular types of poses at my sessions and you are able to indicate which ones you are comfy with, and you can indicate which ones that you are not comfy with. You can also, if you aren’t sure, let me know if you are leaning yes or leaning no. But pretty much, I will only bring up ‘Yes’ stuff on my own during the shoot. If you indicate a maybe (leaning yes or leaning no) or no answer then it is left up to you at the shoot to let me know that you want to do a certain type of pose.
The consent part of the form is just that you are agreeing to be photographed in this way and that you understand what is involved with that. Just an added point of confirmation besides the session contract itself that you understand what you are getting into and that you are consenting to it.
No Is No, Period.
So obviously as noted above, if something is on your ‘hard no’ list on the B&C form, I won’t bring it up at the session. However, what about a situation where you may have been on the fence ‘leaning yes’ or even thought you were comfy with something, but during the shoot, you decide that it just isn’t for you? Simply put, all you have to say is ‘No’.
I am not a person that will get flustered or upset at you letting me know something doesn’t work for you. In fact, just the opposite. I want you to feel very comfortable with me, I want you to feel like you can tell me that and not feel awkward about it. So again, all you have to say is No, you aren’t comfortable with XYZ idea I just suggested, and that is the end of it.
No discussion, No ‘well what about’, Nothing. I will simply say OK, and I will suggest another pose or idea. The longer we linger on that ‘No’ or the fact that you weren’t comfortable, the longer it will take you to get back into the shoot and the more potentially awkward the situation becomes. So I won’t ask you to elaborate on the why, or try to convince you to change your opinion. the pose/suggestion will be instantly pivoted to something that I can be totally sure you are comfy with.
This Is Why I Ask This Stuff Before Your Boudoir Session
This is why I bring this stuff up, why I ask you on a B&C form, and (as you will see in your session) will constantly check in with you to make sure you are ‘doing alright.’ The very last thing that I want out of this experience for you is to feel uncomfortable at any point. Obviously, there will be some nerves and ‘warm up’ that you need to do when the session starts, but that is not what I am talking about. I am talking about you being uncomfortable with anything that I say, or by anything that I do. I would go as far as to say that is not something anyone wants.
So how I do my best to avoid this is by asking you these questions ahead of time, and by having a pre-shoot chat about my sessions being a ‘safe place’ to say what you are feeling. I’m not a mind reader and I can only base my interactions with you on the information that you give me.
Every individual is different, especially when it comes to what level of nudity and sexuality they are comfortable with, both for seeing and experiencing – though obviously, in this case, the seeing comes later when you view the photos of yourself. It’s not a black and white this is ok, this is not ok situation, its a big giant grey area, and the only way we can navigate that and make it a little more black and white is to have a direct conversation (or in this case, email/form you fill out) about where you are with this stuff.
Your comfort and experience are key, and this is how I do my best to prevent you from becoming uncomfortable, and to protect myself from being in the awkward position of having unintentionally made you uncomfortable. I obviously do things differently and shoot this genre in a way that is very different from a lot of others – let’s get real, this is probably part of the reason that you are interested in shooting with me. The side effect of this is that through this form and possibly in other situations (maybe at your consult or via an email) I may have to ask you about things that you are not used to being asked, or touch on topics that you may not be used to talking about with a stranger.
Simple as that, its having a frank and up front discussion about setting the boundaries, or – to bring up an art analogy – its about you telling me where the lines in the coloring book are so I’m not coloring outside the lines. I don’t care if you want to do your entire session covered head to toe in your Sunday church attire, or if you want to be totally nude expressing your sexuality. It honestly makes no difference to me and I have zero preference other than to keep you comfortable.
If you have any questions about this, or anything else related to my boudoir/erotica/intimate portrait sessions, please feel free to reach out to me anytime.