Saturday, January 25, 2014

Sexy Is As Sexy Does

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My clients generally want me to shoot sexy pics of the sexy girls they hire me to shoot. I don't always think the sexy girls they hire me to shoot are all that particularly sexy but that doesn't matter. I'm hired to shoot sexy and sexy I'll shoot, whether I think any given model is particularly sexy or not.

Sexy, like beauty, is in the eyes of the beholder. One person's sexy is another person's not so sexy. Generally, the moment I meet one of my victims models, even before she opens her mouth, I decide if she's sexy or not. It's not like I have a checklist or anything. She either strikes me as sexy or not, that is, she's either sexy TO ME or not. Which doesn't necessarily mean she is or isn't sexy.  It's a personal thing, that sexy thing.

A model can be attractive, beautiful even, leastwise attractive and beautiful to most including myself, but still not be particularity sexy to me. Sexy and beauty aren't always one and the same. Sex appeal is a funny thing that way. I've met more than my share of beautiful women who didn't make me conjure thoughts of sex in my head. I've also met plenty of women who weren't so beautiful, physically beautiful, who made my brain go all lust-filled almost immediately. Nope. Sexy is not universal, even when the person in question is quite attractive. All women aren't sexy to all guys.  (BTW, If you're a guy who is sexually attracted to all women, you're basically a dog. Just saying.)

Sexy is such a vague word. It really doesn't specify what might be sexy about a person.  It's sort of like the U.S. Supreme Court's take on obscenity:  I know it when I see it.  What makes one woman or man sexy to another?  I have no clue. Well, that's not true. I have plenty of clues, we all do, but those clues don't always answer the question of why I might find one beautiful woman not sexy and another, perhaps much less beautiful woman, sexy. Pheromones maybe?

Back to photography. Glamour and tease photography.

It doesn't matter whether or not I find the model in front of my camera to be sexy. I'm going to do my best to shoot her in ways that, I believe, feature her as sexy or make her sexy.  After all, she's sexy to someone out there. Hell, she might be sexy to many out there even if she's not sexy to me.

There are plenty of ways to make models sexy in photos. That's because there are many different elements of the photos that work together to make sexy women out of almost any model. Things like wardrobe, makeup, hair styling, setting, lighting, composition, mood, pose, expression, post-processing. If you're thinking those are all the same things that make almost any photo of a person a good or bad photo, whether "sexy" is the goal or not, you'd be absolutely correct. The only difference is when shooting sexy, there should be a sexy component to those things. And fortunately, many of those sexy components are rather universal in their appeal. Put a woman in lingerie... lingerie shouts sexy. Shoot a woman with a "come hither" expression on her face or part of her body language... sexy. Subtly soften her skin with lighting and/or post-processing... sexy. And, of course, the list goes on.

Since many of my models are "models," I don't often have to work all that hard to make them sexy or feature them in universally sexy ways. For one thing, they generally know how to be sexy, that is, how to project sexy in rather universal ways.

But take boudoir photography as an example. Boudoir photographers often shoot images somewhat similar to mine but they aren't working with models who are well aware of how to project sexy. Their subjects are women, of course, and most women know how to project sexy when they want to project it at someone in particular. But that doesn't mean they know how to project it to a camera and the person behind it. That makes boudoir shooters' jobs a bit more difficult. Leastwise, in my mind.

Personally, I've never shot any boudoir. No particular reason other than I haven't. Besides, I'm not sure I'd be all that good at it. Sure, many of the same "sexy" elements I integrate into my work are similar to that of a boudoir photographer's work, but the big differences are the subjects in front of the camera. Boudoir requires a very different approach in terms of the photographer's interactions with the subject. I'm pretty sure a lot of my manner, words, and more that I use with models might not fly so well with many boudoir subjects. Or, maybe not? I suppose if I ever pursue boudoir photography, I'll find out. After all, both genres -- boudoir and glam/tease -- are much about sexy and there's lots of ways to make sexy in a photo, whether the photographer finds the subject sexy or not.
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The sexy pretty girl at the top and to the right is a model I found rather sexy  the moment I met her while she was sitting in the makeup chair.

She's quite attractive, but not necessarily in the stereotypical, "drop dead gorgeous," ways that make many models sexy. That's why I shot some pics of her in decidedly non-sexy ways. Leastwise, from pose and expression perspectives. But you know what? Even though she's exhibiting an expression and pose  that isn't particularly sexy, at least in a more universal sense, I still find her sexy in the images even though she appears somewhat nerdy.

Go figure.


Jack said...

Oh to have had a librarian who looked like that!

David M said...

Someone described my work as boudoir before. I didn't really know how to take it. It conjures images of comically excessive photoshop and poor expressions. I tend to keep things as natural as possible, and let whatever will flow from the subject flow. Because of that, I don't see my photos as sexy or sexual, even if nudity is part of it. But one man's art is another man's boudoir. What I would consider my two "sexiest" shoots were fully clothed affairs. Go figure.