Recently I had the great honor of doing a photoshoot for a friend of mine. She was injured and was looking to celebrate her body before she underwent surgery. I was immediately in for it. I felt I could help her immortalize her feelings of strength and fitness to help her through the time of her recovery.
When looking for reference shots, I couldn't actually find very many. Boudoir is fairly common and typically empowers bodies in a manner to feel sexy. But this was a slightly different genre. Intimate like boudoir, but to make her feel strong. Thus, I dubbed this shoot "fitness boudoir". Either way, it is a rather intimate experience and it was important to treat it with care. Here is what I did to make her feel comfortable and safe while doing this shoot.
First I talked to her in detail ahead of time to understand exactly what she hoped to get out of it. Do you want to feel strong? Sexy? Sensual? Fun or serious? This allowed me to plan ahead, develop poses, and bring props that would add to the experience.
Before the shoot, I also communicated that she had the final say on all poses. I had many poses and movements planned, but but her comfort is ultimately the most important and she should never do something that makes her feel uncomfortable.
During the shoot, I communicated clearly to compose the shots. If I wanted her to turn her head, I gave her something to look at so she would know how far to move. I also demonstrated with my own body to show as an example. This also typically helps your subject feel more comfortable, as, poses can sometimes feel silly if you don't know what they look like. Along that vein, I also showed her the images as she went so that she got an idea of how great she looked! This can also be empowering so that your subject can get ideas for things they might want to try in front of the camera.
Overall, I was extremely happy with how these turned out. She was a very receptive model and made it very easy to get the poses we were looking for. I was also very happy with the choice to go black and white with the editing. the simplicity lets the viewer focus on the contours of her body, highlighting the muscles she works so hard to build.
This was a relatively atypical shoot for me, but I hope to do more! Photography can be a powerful tool for art, beauty, truth and comfort. It was a wonderful experience and end result and I hope more people see this and are excited at the prospect of celebrating their bodies in this way.
See the rest of this series here.