Noelle from Noelle Amanda is here today to share about taking a boudoir workshop! As workshops like this are getting more and more popular, we were excited to hear from Noelle about her experience at the workshop and how it pushed her to a new understanding of herself as a photographer. We hope you enjoy!
What inspired this workshop boudoir session?
I usually gravitate towards light filled, ethereal boudoir inspired sessions, but when I saw that Sugar Los Angeles was hosting a small intimate workshop on how he photographs women, I knew I had to attend. His style finds the light in dark spaces and focuses on the mix between shadows and highlights, while focusing on the natural beauty of the female form to tell the story of women.
This session highlights the subtleties in form (stance, fingers, hands, arms) that make women naturally beautiful just as they are in their own homes. The space was neither light filled nor uncluttered. Instead, it focuses on finding the light in darkness and shooting among distractions and clutter. Nothing was staged and no props were used to distract from the subject and who she really is. It aims to show a woman as she would be in her space.
Now that your vision has come to life can you describe the final result in one word?
Authentic -- I attended this workshop to push myself to be able to create beauty in a space that I wouldn’t normally shoot in. This shoot challenged me to find the light and angles in a challenging space. It forced me to shoot in a completely different way looking for the way the highlights and shadows work together, to work with and capture the light that was available. One thing that makes us grow as artists is to push our own limits and to experiment. Often times we find more inspiration when we extend ourselves and try something new.
What was the most memorable moment from the workshop?
I remember taking a break from shooting and sitting down as she lay on the bed. I watched as she lay there, how her head turned and looked out the window, how she dropped her hands and they lowered and lifted in the most natural way. She didn’t know I was looking. What I realized is that it wasn’t about having the perfect space, it wasn’t about directing her into the perfect pose, it was about allowing her body to fall into its own and to truly be relaxed. Those in-between moments, the slight movements, the gestures, and positioning that occur naturally are the ones we often times miss. I remember thinking, “That's it. That’s the moment. If I hadn’t just stepped back and observe, I would have missed it.” Sometimes we have to just take a step back and let it unfold instead of trying to control what is happening.
Tell us why the workshop shoot took place in this location?
This location was chosen to try and demonstrate that you can shoot a beautiful, natural boudoir session anywhere. It was chosen to challenge our notions of the ideal space, and shows us that clients don’t have to have the ideal space -- it’s about finding pockets that work anywhere. It’s about creating an atmosphere where your clients feel comfortable, like themselves. The most beautiful subtle moments happen when people are comfortable.
What is your approach to boudoir photography?
Simplistic, natural, organic moments and movements. I focus on the subtleties like stance, hand placement, small movements with the eyes, hair, face that present themselves when a woman is fully at ease. My style is more about the beauty and sensuality that comes in the in between.
What challenges if any have you faced as an artist?
I feel that a lot of people have a preconceived notion of boudoir. They see so many images of women in an objectifying, overly-sexualized manner and think that is boudoir. We are all inundated with photos of models that have gone through hours of hair and makeup, been airbrushed, and essentially made to look like someone else, and we are made to think that this is normal. Challenging the notion that you have to look a certain way, and act a certain way to convey beauty has been difficult. I hope to help change that and demonstrate that boudoir can be simple, sensual, and beautiful without necessarily being provocative or overly-produced. I hope to show women that they don’t have to be made to look like someone else in order to see themselves as beautiful.
What advice would you give someone considering a boudoir session?
Know that there is so much beauty in simplicity. Pick something to wear that makes you feel like you, something you feel confident but natural in, that you can move in, relax in, feel like yourself in. Boudoir doesn’t necessarily have to be about finding the sexiest piece of lingerie, it can be found in the everyday -- boyshorts, a tee shirt, a sweater. Pick a space you are completely comfortable in, a place that you normally relax and unwind in, someplace that is going to allow you to be at ease.
Photography: Noelle Amanda