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A successful boudoir portrait?

This is one of my favorite images. That’s why you’ll see it appear occasionally in the masthead above. It just works for me. Certainly Ms. S. has striking features, but it’s more than just a pretty face. From a photographer’s perspective, the lighting is big and soft, perfect for creating beauty images. It has a narrow depth of field to bring the viewer right into her eyes. The posing is relaxed and comfortable with an engaging expression. It has been retouched, but only enough to make it pop a bit. I’d like to think that technically it’s a very strong image.

But beyond the techniques of photography, for me the image has real depth. It’s more than just pixels laid out in an image according to a set of rules. To me it’s really bringing Ms. S. to life. You get an idea of who she is and her personality. If you were to meet her, even briefly, you would see almost immediately that she’s bright, cheerful and personable. I like to think the image is showing her personality as well as her physical appearance.

And that’s really my goal for every shoot. I want clients to look at their images and feel like that’s who they are, even if it’s in a new and different way.

What do you think? Does this image work for you?Boudoir portrait image by Patton Boudoir, Boston

Boudoir photography Boston | Shoot with Ms. M.

Here are a few images from a shoot before the holidays with Ms. M. Hair, makeup, wardrobe styling all done by the awesome Michelle Poor of Mass Makeup Artistry. We did the session in a hotel suite just outside of Boston which was great because we had plenty of space to get lots of variety. The suite area had a separate chair and couch which made for some great shots.

Ms. M. was a bit nervous as we got started, but as usual she quickly relaxed and really got into the flow of the shoot. I’m sure her boyfriend will be thrilled with the photos!

Ms. M. sitting in a red chair
Ms. M. smiling and lying on the bed
Portrait of Ms. M. wearing a sheer teddy
Ms. M. Ms. M. lying down on the bed

Meet Erik…

Getting to know your boudoir photographer, even virtually, is a great way to find out if you would ever want to do a boudoir shoot with that person. If you’ve looked through the portfolio and website and like what you see, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll want to know more about the person behind the camera.  So here’s a bit about me in an interview format answering questions that I thought you’d like to know.:)

Tell us a bit about yourself.

Colleen and I on our wedding day

Colleen and I on our wedding day
(Tilly Photography)

I grew up a military brat and a preacher’s kid. My dad was a chaplain in the US Army so we moved around a lot. I spent a lot of time in Europe and ended up in Kansas for college and graduate school.

How did you end up in Boston?

I had been living in San Francisco for a few years where I met my future wife. We dated for a few months before she moved back home to Boston to be closer to family. I was bored with my job at that point so I took a chance and followed her out here. We were married a couple of years ago at the Codman Estate in Lincoln.

With all the moving around, do feel like Boston is home?

It is home. I don’t know that I’ll ever get used to the winters though. Boston feels very much like San Francisco to me in a lot of ways, so the transition was pretty easy.

How did you get into shooting boudoir? And what does your wife think about it?

I had been shooting weddings for a couple of years and started to get requests for boudoir sessions from brides to be. I enjoy working with models on beauty and glamor projects, so boudoir seemed like a great blend of the two. After doing a few sessions I was hooked.  I was making pictures I was proud of and the clients loved them.

While I’m sure she would rather my photographic interests were in something like landscapes or architecture, Colleen fully supports my shooting boudoir. She gives me feedback from time to time on my work. Having that feminine input can be really helpful.

Speaking of gender, do you think male and female photographers approach boudoir differently?

I find trying to generalize male and female shooters limiting to both photographers and clients. The great thing about photography is that no two photographers will shoot the same subject the same way. That’s what keeps it fresh. I think it comes down to the quality of the work. The client will always want the best photographs that she can afford, so why should it matter what gender the photographer is?

But do you think clients are more comfortable with female photographers?

Again I don’t think you can generalize and say all women are more comfortable with any particular gender. There probably are ladies out there who would rather pose in lingerie for another woman. But at the same time I think there are also ladies who would get more into the seductive nature of boudoir by shooting with a man. In my opinion it really should be all about the quality of the work.

So what makes a great boudoir image then?

To me a great image is one that connects the viewer with the person being photographed. Being able to bring out the subject’s personality is key. The lighting, posing, clothing and setting may all be perfect, but if there’s no life to the subject then the image is never going to work. In boudoir we’re trying to bring out the sexy and seductive, but it can also be fun and flirty.

Getting back to you, what do you enjoy when you’re not making pictures?

Me and my son Thomas

Me and my son Thomas
(Tilly Photography)

Colleen and I like to get out in Boston.  We’re fans of the Kendal Square theater where there always seems to be something interesting on the big screen.  We don’t consider ourselves “foodies”  but we enjoy spoiling ourselves with a nice dinner out every so often.  Weather permitting, we also like to hike and camp or go for rides on my motorcycle.  Probably our favorite thing to do though is travel.  We went to Germany and Austria three years ago and spent our honeymoon exploring southern Mexico.  Ireland, the pacific northwest, and Florida keys are all on the list.

Why Ireland?

Like a lot of Boston Irish, my wife’s father immigrated to the Boston area in the late 60’s.  There is still quite a lot of family in Ireland and England that I would like to meet.  It’s also a beautiful country with some pretty amazing landscapes.

Where is your family?  You mentioned your dad was in the military.

My brother and parents have settled in the Colorado Springs, Colorado area after moving around for close to twenty years.  My dad has officially retired, but mom is still working as a news writer and photographer at a local paper.  If the photography bug is genetic, I probably got it from her.  My son Thomas lives with his mom in the Seattle area.  They just moved up there a few months ago, so we’re looking forward to getting out there to see him.

Anything else you’d like to share?

Just that my goal as a photographer is to make pictures that will be unforgettable. I love shooting boudoir because most people have never had photos taken of themselves like this. I really do think it’s something that every woman should do at some point in her life.

Boston boudoir photography shoot with Ms. W.

A couple of weeks ago Ms. W., myself, and beauty consultant Michelle Poor got together for a session at a local hotel. Because we were shooting in the morning, the light coming through the window was absolutely amazing. Natural light is great for shooting boudoir because it’s very soft, and when shooting against a big window as we were, ideal for showing form and shape by playing with the shadows.

Ms. W. brought with her a huge assortment of necklaces, chains, rings and other accessories that made it quite difficult to finalize her outfit for the shoot. While she and Michelle were being quite girly about picking things, the analytical side of my brain went back to figuring out lighting patterns and making sure my equipment was all working correctly.

That’s one of the great things about working together with Michelle as part of a male and female team. We each get to concentrate on the parts of a shoot that we enjoy and do best. For Michelle that’s styling the client from head-to-toe in wardrobe, makeup and accessories. And for me that’s concentrating on making pictures that hopefully the client and her partner will both think are pretty awesome.

Thanks so much to Ms. W. for letting us share a few pictures from our shoot.

Necklace detail in black and white

Necklace detail in black and white

Ring detail in black and white
Heels propped up on the headboard of the bed
Detail of lingerie against white
Gold necklace and bra detail with mirror reflection
Putting on gold high heels with red toenail polish
Detail of big chunky black ring with thigh high stockings and black sheer panties