A word on nudity

Recently I was contacted by a potential client for a boudoir shoot. It was a fairly standard conversation, save for a bit toward the end — this person wanted a few x-rated (for lack of a better term) photos as a gift for their significant other. I declined, and my decision is part of an important concept of how I view my own photography as well as what I am willing to do for clients.

“Implied” vs fully nudity

In boudoir, most of the time, any nudity is “implied” — this means the client is nude, but nothing is exposed in the final shot. Personally, I don’t mind photographing exposed nipples or buttocks, as I feel such shots can still fit into the idea of sensual, tasteful photography.

Full exposure of the southern bits — what this potential client was requesting — is better suited for erotica, a related but ultimately distinct subgenre of photography. The essential difference is that erotica is sexual in nature, and is intended to be arousing and provocative.

I’m certainly no prude, and I have nothing at all against erotica — it’s a unique and fully legitimate subgenre of photography. But it’s not boudoir, and it’s not what I do. Unlike erotica, boudoir is meant be intimate and sensual — not explicit and sexual. Boudoir is ultimately about beauty. It is designed to capture a woman’s (and sometimes a man’s) natural beauty and sensuality. It is not designed to arouse or titillate the viewer — at least, no more than what any warm-blooded person feels when looking at another beautiful human.

As a rule — and especially because I’m a male photographer — I have a strict policy never to request nudity from any of my clients. However, you may be surprised to learn that nearly all of my clients request it! Personally, I enjoy the challenge of implied-nude photography. It’s more challenging when the client’s body, not their outfit, is the focal point of the shot. Because the nudity is implied, I have to find creative ways to conceal my client while still flattering her natural appearance.

You may wonder what the harm is in agreeing to a few explicit photographs for the client. But since my business is primarily built on word-of-mouth, I don’t want to garner a reputation for doing those types of photographs.

Here’s a small sample of nude photography I’ve done with clients. Hopefully you can see what makes this type of nude photography distinct from erotica! (Cropped images done to protect clients who requested anonymity.)

Whether or not you’re brave enough to go the full monty, I’d love to work with you. Hop over to my pricing page to check out my photography packages and to book your session!