We all deserve to feel sexy and beautiful, and what better way of doing so by having a Boudoir and Glamour session? Barbara Downen, owner of Mist and Moonlight Photography in Rapid City, SD, not only does a wonderful job capturing your beauty, but she also focuses on making your experience with her comfortable and enjoyable. Barbara chatted with us about celebrating your beauty, getting out of your comfort zone, and more…
What style of boudoir do you do?
I do boudoir photography with the woman in mind. I want their images to be sexy, romantic, fiercely feminine and beautiful. I want them to do it for themselves and not just for the man in their life. My goal is to have a woman leave feeling more confident and beautiful than she ever has felt before. I do offer other styles: Glam Maternity, Modern Glamour, Tween Glam, Senior Portraiture, families and – of course – weddings.
What are some reasons people do a boudoir or glamour session?
Usually women do them because they want to give it as a gift to their significant other. But I think they just want to feel amazing for a day, to be photographed by someone who really takes the time and cares about how the images look and feel. Who doesn’t want to get hair and make up done, feel like a model, and have a beautiful portrait taken in this day of Facebook selfies? I wish that more women were braver to do it for themselves, regardless of losing that last 10 pounds or whatever the excuse of the day is. You are beautiful right now, in this moment, in the body you are in.
What inspired you to do boudoir and glamour photography?
I am also a fine art portrait artist, and I started convincing friends to play dress up for me and go out in the Hills and take what I call Elemental Portraits. I have always had a passion for artistic photography, and once I saw what I could do with my camera, it kind of took over everything. A friend asked me to do a boudoir shoot several years ago. We did it and it was a blast – I was hooked. I had always had a passion for this kind of photography, but it wasn’t until I discovered Creative Live and Sue Bryce that I realized that what I loved to do had a name and could actually be my job! I went out and rented a studio with natural light, have continued to study and learn, and hopefully will be a successful portrait photographer that women want to be photographed by!
How do brides get comfortable to put themselves out there during these sessions, and do you have any recommendations to prep before a shoot?
I work hard to make them feel as comfortable as possible. It’s awkward enough without the photographer making you feel weird, so we chat about it beforehand and I send out a cheat sheet on how to prepare, etc. When they get to the studio they go straight into hair and makeup, which I think really gives them time to just relax and get to know me. I go through the outfits they brought and plan out the shoot with them. We laugh and joke a lot on set and I direct them from head to toe, which really helps. I don’t stop talking long enough for them to think about the fact they are being photographed in their delicates.
How do you and the model decide on their look for boudoir or glamour sessions? Do you provide outfits on set? Can the client bring their own?
I really leave a lot of it up to the bride on what she wants to do. If they have purchased bridal lingerie I have them bring that – veils are awesome to pose with. Of course Pinterest is always a great resource for ideas. I do have a few things in my studio they can use if they want like robes, baby doll tops, lace, nightgowns, shoes, etc. I recommend they bring in his favorite shirt or sports theme. We go through it in pretty good detail before the shoot so they know exactly what to bring. Then we just have a ball playing dress up! I recommend they bring up to five outfits of their own. We can mix and match from there. We may not use all five, but it gives us a great variety of looks to work with.
What do you recommend to do before the shoot? Grooming? Practice poses in a mirror at home? Drink a glass of champagne to relax?
How to prepare. Yes, grooming is number-one! I hate chipped nail polish, so I ask that they make sure they do their nails – or better yet – no nail polish at all. They come in with no make up and clean, dry hair for styling if they opt for the in-house stylist. I recommend they eat a light breakfast and drink water, but they are allowed to bring whatever they want to drink. I haven’t had anyone bring wine or champaign to a session yet, but they can if they want to! As long as they have someone to drive them after the session. Im not a huge fan of spray tans either, but a good one does help even out skin tone and gets rid of tan lines.
Once you start shooting, how much coaching on poses will you provide?
I warn my clients that it is like a Pilates work out and you will be sore the next day. My job is to make them look as amazing as possible, and most of the time it is all in how you pose the subject. Poses for slender girls may not work for someone with curves. Being aware of what looks good on every figure is key. It’s also about what is comfortable for them. I will never ask them to do something that is not in their own comfort zone, physically or mentally. I try to flow poses so that one pose goes into another and so on.
Do you provide hair and make up services? Do some women prefer to come in with their make up and hair already done?
Yes I offer hair and makeup as part of the session. I like to have a say in what their make up looks like for the camera. I use professional stylists so that they leave looking amazing!
Do you do group sessions? Maybe for a client and their friend to do it together for fun?
I do offer group sessions. Sometimes it isn’t as scary if you have a friend with you.
Do you provide privacy polices?
I require a Model Release for all clients for use in promoting my business. However, I will never use photos from clients that say no. I always ask permission first.
How revealing are the portraits for boudoir sessions? Can they show partial skin, or do you do the illusion of nudity?
The sessions are designed for the client’s comfort. They can show as much or as little as they like. I do not have an issue with full nudity, however I think implied nudity is sexier. It’s like a little teaser!
Is boudoir for women, or do you see it common in men, too?
I have not had many inquiries from men. I think it would be awesome to offer Dudeoir portraits! Maybe that day will come. I will have to find something other than a frilly comforter to pose them on, unless they like that kind of thing!
For more information on Mist and Moonlights Boudoir and Glamour Photography, visit their website or call (605) 390-6454.