INTERVIEW with boudoir photographer, Emma Jones
Chiq Clicks greets September in sexy boudoir style with an exclusive interview with Emma Jones from Miss Boudoir.
With many A-list celebrities such as Lady Gaga, Christina Aguilera and Kathy Perry rocking the vintage glamor look, many are opting for boudoir style portraits over regular portraits. While not many photographers are able to fully master this style of photography, Emma picked it up quickly.
In 4 short years, Emma has made a profession out of turning regular women into divas from the past through her photographic creations. From vintage glamour to pin-up & retro style photos, Emma does not hold back in bringing what she has to, to make the shot.
Take a peak to see what goes on behind the curtains as we find out from Emma, how and what it takes to make boudoir photography work.
1. How would you describe yourself in 1 sentence.
Bubbly, loving and enthusiastic with a mind that is constantly thinking/creating.
2. In your opinion, what is the essence of boudoir photography?
In short it’s sexy, romantic, fun, energized, beautiful, loving and tasteful. To me boudoir photography is a very personal portrait of a woman showing her sensual side, whether that is feminine, raunchy or playful. Everybody is different and one doesn’t fit all.
Some say boudoir is or should be a soft, romantic side of glamour photography but for me, it’s whatever the client wants it to be interpreted as to the viewer.
3. How did you start Miss Boudoir and how long has it been running?
I started Miss Boudoir® in March 2007 when I opened my first specialist boudoir studio. I’d been self-employed as a photographer since leaving college in June 2003 and was undertaking weddings, portraits, model folios, headshots, music photography and product photography.
I longed to follow my passion for a more exciting area of portrait photography that I could combine with my love for vintage styles. The boudoir just seemed to happen after people started asking for burlesque and a classic yet tasteful style of lingerie photography.
4. Can you make any woman look sexy?
I don’t make people look sexy, I believe all women are sexy and beautiful in their own way, myself and the stylists simply highlight their natural allure thus make it more apparent.
5. Who are your most common clients?
We have a lot of brides-to-be wanting albums for their grooms, wives and girlfriends wanting sexy photo gifts for their loved ones and ladies wanting photos to send over to their partners in the forces. All of which are fantastic ideas and ways to celebrate or spice up a relationship.
Other common shoot reasons are clients requiring a confidence boost, others want to satisfy their curiosity of what a boudoir shoot entails and then we have clients needing saucy and classy images for their websites.
In the past year we’ve had a number of pro photographers opting for a boudoir shoot with us, simply to get a feel of the experience from a client’s point of view, see what goes on and like the majority of women, they want some nice photos of themselves to look back on.
6. Boudoir photography can be a bit of a taboo for the more conservative people. How do you deal with the critiques?
I’ve not had any so far but if I did, I’d simply say look the other way if you aren’t happy to see a woman celebrate her figure and femininity.
7. What is the best thing a happy client has ever said to you?
Oh gosh this is hard. We have so many nice comments, guest book entries, tears of joy and cards from our clients that it really is hard to single out just one comment.
One of my recent clients had been ill and bedridden for a long time. She hated being in front of the camera but really wanted to be able to have her hair and make-up styled and undertake a vintage shoot after waiting 13 years to be well enough. She was fabulous, enjoyed it thoroughly and her partner was astonished at the album presented to him and that she’d actually managed to do all this without him knowing.
Her feedback of the entire experience has been many emails long and I feel we made an impression on each other with what we achieved that day and what it has enabled her to go on to achieve. It’s not just one comment but a catalogue of feedback that I am overwhelmed by and deeply proud of.
8. What is the most outrageous shoot you’ve ever done?
I’m fairly boring in this sense, I’ve not done anything truly wacky as of yet. By request I’ve photographed one client on the boudoir sets in a hunting jacket and muddy wellies, another tied to a chair in a saucy pilot wartime scenario and requests for cross dressing boudoir shoots.
9. What is your biggest challenge in this field of photography?
Mainly reinventing my photography so it stays fresh and keeping my style unique so that it’s recognisable from the masses. Another is having unique sets, furniture and backdrops.
My main challenge with my clients is the age difference between us. Of late my average client is about 40-55 and I am 27 but look 22! I can tell when they arrive they expect me to be much older. In my head I imagine they’re thinking I am young enough to be their daughter and a lot of people have the opinion that you have to have 20 years experience to be good in your field.
So it’s a challenge I have with myself, being too conscious of what people may think even though they probably aren’t.
After we’ve had a coffee, good chat, giggle and got to know each other, the ice is broken and I can feel the trust gained and placed with me to deliver the results required.
10. What is your top 5 tips for portraiture photographers wanting to try a boudoir style shoot for the first time?
- Plan and prepare like there is no tomorrow. Make sure your client knows what to bring, how to arrive ready for styling, etc. The better prepared they are the better their photos will be.
- It is very important that you listen to what your client wants, ideas, requirements, what they want to get across in their photos and you have to do everything possible to deliver that.
- Gain as much practice at posing people of different body sizes and shapes as possible. For examples look on the net, clothing and lingerie catalogues and even paintings.
- Work towards a unique style; don’t just offer the same as someone else. Get a niche, yes it will be replicated after a while but be the best at it and keep refreshing your style to stay on top and be recognised.
- I think it’s very important not to undersell yourself. Some will complain that your service is overpriced, some don’t even think you should charge and that you should be honored to photograph them, others will pay willingly. Charge your worth and you will get quality, respecting clients.
11. Can you show us a photo which was the hardest for you to create, and explain why?
I’ve not had many hard shots to create but the most intricate was a pin-up scene for a sailor/beach look.
I didn’t just want someone on a blue background with a ring and sporting a sailor suit or bikini. I knew exactly how I wanted it, sand, sea, shells, foliage, nets, etc. The problems were sea and sand. I can’t have water as I don’t have the facilities in a boudoir studio and sand is just way too messy to whip away quickly ready for the next scene.
So I bought look-alike water and had a sandy colored dustsheet that I draped over boxes and cushions to make sand banks. I then added my other props and it looked better than I could ever have hoped for.
To create a sun style lighting would just be too harsh for the look I wanted plus harsh lighting isn’t the most flattering. So I used 2 soft boxes for the background, 2 for the model and then a huge beauty dish as my sun.
All together it gave me the softness I wanted and the beauty dish added that extra crisp edge and highlight to the skin. In Photoshop I added a few clouds to the blue background and softened the sandy dustsheet resulting in a set of shots I was very happy with.
12. What gear do you use?
I use Canon cameras, my main a 5D Mark II with 5D backup and a very old 10D as an emergency spare. Lens most used for boudoir is my Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L. I have Sigma 20mm f2.8 which I adore; it offers the most beautiful quality. A few more Canons and a Tokina from the old days stay in the bag.
In my studio I use Bowens lights and modifiers. My office has a mix of Macs for image work and pc’s for other things; I like to stay up to date with both systems.
13. Who are the other women boudoir photographers who inspire you?
I don’t really follow any other photographers and don’t know any to mix with; I’m a bit of a loner when it comes to togs. I’m one for being inspired by my experiences, movies, music videos, books, history and emotions.
I don’t like the idea of looking at someone’s image and thinking, “that’s good, I’ll try that”. I want everything I do to be as unique as possible. I want to discover for myself, create from my own mind and life. I can then be proud of my creations.
Check out more of Emma Jones‘ work at Miss Boudoir and keep up with her on her: