What are glamour portraits?
Glamour sessions are tastefully done portraits that hint at sexiness and celebrate a mature woman’s enjoyment of her own body and sensuality. The wardrobe can range from evening gown to nightgown, from fashion-forward to flirty-and-fun. The sessions often feature a sense of costumed theatricality, and can be both epic and grand or close-up, intimate, and personal. Although the results are often presented as a special, intimate gift for a spouse or “significant other,” at Sourcelight our goal is to produce fine-art portraiture that reflects the self-confidence and unique personality of the subject herself. Many of our clients find the glamour portrait experience and the intimate photos it produces to be surprisingly moving.
So what are boudoir portraits, and how do they differ from glamour?
“Boudoir” comes from a French term that actually means “pout” or “sulky.” While that might suggest an appropriate attitude for how to pose for this type of portrait, the more common meaning these days uses the dictionary definition of boudoir as “a woman’s bedroom or private dressing room.” That should suggest that boudoir portraits are usually done in a bedroom setting or some other intimate location like a fancy hotel room, and that the wardrobe tends to be something you’d wear in a bedroom or other private, personal space. Partly it’s just a matter of scale: while glamour portraits could also easily qualify as boudoir portraits if the wardrobe and setting are appropriate, if you’re wearing a luxurious evening gown or expensive lingerie in front of a seamless white paper background and the pose and lighting suggest a bright fashion layout rather than a sexy, intimate encounter, you’re probably not talking boudoir. Although boudoir has come to be used lately as the all-purpose term for any kind of sexy photography, we still get clients who want their “glamorous” session to showcase an elegant wardrobe and elaborate make-up and hair, and the location might be a swanky restaurant or ballroom rather than a bedroom; and for those clients, the term glamour still seems appropriate. Otherwise, don’t worry about it–if you ask us for a boudoir session, we’ll know what you mean.
So does this mean I’m going to be photographed in the nude?
Boudoir portraits mostly give the illusion of nudity without actually being nude, but each session follows the preferences of the client. Since each woman has her own idea of what sensual is and what she is comfortable revealing, each client is photographed in any outfit she wishes–a sexy dress, a tank top, lingerie, a man’s shirt or football jersey, or, yes, nothing at all. We love the human form at Sourcelight, and fine-art nude portraits are some of our most-requested sessions, but whether your session includes nudity or not is your decision. Either way, we work hard to respect our clients’ dignity, sense of privacy, and personal boundaries. Above all, your session is meant to be relaxed, comfortable, and fun!
Will other people see my photos?
Absolutely not! Your confidential images are never viewed outside our studio. All glamour-image processing and retouching are performed in-house by Sourcelight Photography’s professional staff. Photo sessions are only proofed electronically in a private, password-protected gallery that you control access to. And your images will never be used for portfolio display (web or print) unless your specific permission is given. All photo subjects featured in the web galleries here have given express permission for their images to be posted.
Where do you do the session?
Sessions can be done in our cozy, home-based studio, at your own home, or at a posh hotel or inn.
Who will be at my session?
Bruce Jones will be your photographer, assisted by Sourcelight partner and wife, Sharon Johnson who also serves as makeup artist (we recommend having your hair done before you arrive at your session). No one else will be present, although if you would like to bring someone with you for support, you are welcome to do so.
What should I wear for my session?
Anything from a corset and stockings to a man’s shirt and tie or a football jersey and athletic socks. We recommend you bring three or more different outfits, with at least one being your best and most flattering lingerie. Your clothing selections should suit your taste and your comfort level. For variety, we also provide various fabric items such as satin sheets and shawls, to create provocative coverings over bare bodies or lingerie.
What if I have a last-minute blemish, bruise, or other appearance issue?
Don’t worry about it! Glamour images are retouched more extensively than other portraiture, so fixing a problem is a routine part of the service. Unless something major has happened to dramatically alter your appearance, you should keep your scheduled session. We’re also very accustomed to discreetly managing “weight issues” at either end of the spectrum. It’s mostly just a matter of carefully managing posing, lighting, and wardrobe selection, and we’ve been helping our clients with those kinds of considerations for years.
You’re not going to make me look like a Barbie Doll, are you?
Photo retouching is an art-form in itself, and plastic-looking skin is just amateurish work. When retouching is done properly, it shouldn’t even be noticeable; the only thing you should be thinking when you look at your finished glamour portrait is that it’s the most beautiful photo you’ve ever taken in your life. And it will be.
How should I prepare for my session?
When you feel good, you look good. Here are some tips to make feeling good during your session a lot easier.
• Get a good night’s sleep; it’s pretty good advice for anything you might want to do the next day, but it’s really important when what you want to do is look your best for a photograph.
• Take care of any grooming such as waxing/shaving in the sensitive areas at least 2-3 days before to avoid irritation and redness. And don’t forget to check your nails, both hands and feet–details matter.
• Being dehydrated can make you look tired, so drink plenty of water the day before. You might also want to skip any particularly salty foods for the same reason.
• You should also avoid foods that might temporarily stain your teeth.
• However much it might help you to relax the night before, drinking alcohol can make you look puffy the next day. As we said above, we’d suggest a glass of ice water and a good night’s sleep.
• Don’t fret about your posing. If you see something that you like in a catalog or magazine, bring it with you and we’ll work with you to incorporate it into your session. We also have many years of working with models and coaching boudoir clients to help them relax and show themselves at their best. By the end of your session, you’ll be considering a new career and looking for an agent.
• Wear loose clothing before the session to prevent marks on the skin. Be daring–you might want to go bra-less until it’s time to don one for the camera.
• Come in with a positive attitude, expecting to have a great time. You paid for it, you deserve it, and we promise–you’ll have it.
Do men ever have glamour portraits done?
They do at Sourcelight Photography. From Fine Art nudes to film noir recreations to McSteamy shower pics… from beefcake to bashful to tongue-in-cheek, we help our male clients find unique ways to express themselves in a photography genre that certainly doesn’t have to be restricted to women.
Are there differences between male and female glamour?
Let’s be honest… most of the typical glamour poses for women tend to look pretty silly on a man. It may be a cultural stereotype, but it’s also true that women have traditionally been more valued for their appearance than men have, so consciously posing in a seductive manner works for a woman but not so much for a man. So what works for men? Historically, males have been depicted in art in action poses, which seems to fit the male’s assigned role of active pursuer in the seduction game, rather than the object of pursuit. (Hey, we said it was a stereotype–we never said it was fair.) The stereotyping does, however, provide men with a golden opportunity to do caricatures of the cliche poses, and you’ll find that some of our best male glamour images contain a lot of humor. Nothing shows strength like a willingness to let your goofy side shine.
What kind of clothing says man-glam?
While a woman may look sexy in a man’s shirt, a dress or a lacy blouse doesn’t do much for a man’s image (although it’s a great start for the humorous approach). Male glamour images often feature fitness outfits–gym clothes, boxing gear, athletic uniforms–or stripped-down formal clothing, like suit pants and a sleeveless undershirt (notice the Bogie type on the right). Hats and caps are always good, and there’s always the traditional glamour outfit–the fine-art nude wearing nothing but a confident attitude. The most basic advice is the same for both sexes: wear whatever makes you feel comfortable and attractive.
What other differences are there?
The primary difference is lighting. We expect smooth, flawless skin in a woman’s portrait, but a few wrinkles and a tasteful scar or two seem to enhance a man’s apparent ruggedness. Women’s glamour emphasizes curves and smooth planes, while the lumpy, bearded male’s images usually feature hard edges and more skin texture. Therefore women are usually lit from the front with large, diffused light sources that erase shadows and soften skin; men get hard light, often from the side or back in order to create dramatic angles and sharp lines that emphasize musculature.
There are exceptions, of course. Skin problems, for example, can dictate a softer lighting strategy for a man, and women in the fitness field often prefer glamour photography that emphasizes strength and muscle definition. Managing weight is also an issue, and the right lighting with strategic posing can either add or subtract pounds. The trick is to find a photographer who can help you assess your particular needs and design a lighting plan to achieve your desired results.