We are boudoir photographers. And most of the time that means we photograph women. But sometimes there are men. We have been asked to shoot couples in a boudoir situation and we have also photographed some men. I kind of hate the term dudeouir so I don’t generally use it, and I won’t be using it here.
We talk often about the fact that boudoir photography has turned out to be something much deeper for us than we first expected it to be. We honestly believe that all women are beautiful and the problem is that most of them just don’t feel beautiful. A photo session with us can go a long way in helping a woman feel good about herself. We love that.
We also love a challenge, so when our first male client booked a session with us we were very excited. We knew the posing would be very different and we would have to learn to adjust. As we often do when trying out something new we did some research. As I began scouring the Internet for posing ideas I started entering search terms such as “sexy male photography” and sexy posing for men.” It wasn’t’ long before I noticed that every image I found was an image of an amazingly well-muscled man. The kind that spends hours a day in the gym.
Don’t get me wrong, these men were gorgeous and the poses were sexy. But the guy we had coming in had expressed some worries about not being in good enough shape to have sexy photos done. Nonsense, we told him, everyone is beautiful and we’re going to prove it to you.
I started to widen my search. “Posing for average male bodies.” “Sexy average men.” No luck. None. I don’t mind looking at photos of extremely fit men but this was getting discouraging. The entire boudoir industry is based on the idea that all body types are valid and beautiful. We encourage women to embrace their curves. Making women feel gorgeous no matter their size, shape or age is what we do.
That first shoot ended up going very well and we’ve since done quite a few more sessions of men’s and couples’ boudoir style photography. One of the most enlightening things we’ve learned is that men have just as many issues and hang ups about their bodies as women do. But it’s not acceptable to voice them and be strong and learn to love them. They are expected to be perfect or be quiet about it. Even the recent but fleeting fascination with Dad Bod hasn’t changed things.
There are just as many damaging images of male perfection out there for our sons to see as there are photoshopped supermodels taunting our daughters. Not many pudgy superheroes. Seth Rogen played a less than Adonis like Green Hornet, but even then he was required to lose 30 lbs for the role. He still wan’t perfect enough for spandex.
I belong to an online group of boudoir photographers and when the subject of shooting men came up there were several women who expressed the idea that if a man wasn’t in great shape he should leave his shirt on because nobody wants to see that. This saddens me. Double standards are never okay. We are all in this together.
Boudoir can be for anyone. We can do sexy photography for women, sexy photography for men and sexy photography for couples. Because everyone can be sexy.