Soon after I started shooting boudoir one of my clients asked me if I'd ever had my own boudoir (dudeoir) shoot. My initial thought was, "it’s not really something for guys, right?" But then I realized, how can I expect someone to put their trust in my hands if I hadn't experienced it myself.
So, I went out and had my very own dudeoir shoot. I wanted to know exactly what my clients were experiencing when they began their boudoir journey. I started by hiring a photographer that I had never met, but whose work I loved. We rented a studio space so I would be outside my comfort zone. I EVEN got a little hair and makeup done.
That’s when everything got real. How much of myself was I willing to share? Was I willing to bare it all? What does a sexy picture of a normal guy even look like? Do I have to wax my chest? Do I need a spray tan? (I have a lot of these questions answered in our downloadable welcome guide) The idea that a stranger would see me in such a vulnerable way was pretty nerve wracking. My pale skin and physique didn’t match what I have seen in the magazines teaching men how to get “Super Hero Arms” or build a "Back of Steel.” WHO HAS SUPER HERO ARMS? No one.
The truth is, as much as I knew looking like Superman was an impossible expectation, a little voice inside my head kept telling me that I needed those arms to be desirable, and being photographed would put in plain sight how far I was from it. My doubt helped me realize why some of my clients were hesitant to book their shoot, being photographed makes people feel most vulnerable. In my case, it could expose the truth about my scrawny body. I had to remind myself that not even the actors playing the Superheros have the bodies they portray, just like the woman on the cover of the magazine doesn’t even look like the woman on the cover of the magazine.
Even though I’ve seen women’s confidence change as a result of doing a shoot (you can read some testimonials), I was surprised by how much my photoshoot actively built my own confidence. With every photo we took that was a little outside my comfort zone, it gave me more confidence to be a little more daring. You may not know me yet, but “daring” isn’t a word in my vocabulary. The questions that ran through my head before the shoot answered themselves- I was doing a Dudeior shoot and there was no turning back.
Is that really me in the pictures?
Seeing the pictures at my reveal was one of those "aha moments." For the first time, I understood what clients meant when they said, “I can’t believe that's me in the picture!!” It wasn’t because I didn’t physically look like myself. It was because I didn’t recognize the confident, assertive, and fearless man looking back at me. It may not seem like it, but I’ve always felt like I was a follower. Someone who needed permission to take a risk. Someone who would rather be a wingman than risk rejection. I never even imagined I could move to California until I had a few friends who did it first.
For the first time, I saw myself as someone who didn’t need permission to dare greatly. And today, it's a little easier to believe that those characteristics are a part of me.
Things I learned:
- Boudoir is more than just a photoshoot, this a rewiring of who you believe yourself to be.
- Conquering one fear gives you the strength to overcome others
- There is never a perfect time to do it
- You don’t get confident, and then shoot. You become confident because you shoot
- Your opinion of beauty is the only one that matters
- You don’t need a movie star body to love your photos
- You don’t need someone else to gift these pictures to. I am proud of mine, and no other person has received as much as I have from them
I think EVERY woman should have the same positive experience as I did. I believe the things I learned to be true for everyone, and I believe in the power of Boudoir.
Honestly, the hardest part of the whole process is sharing these photos. The photographer posted one on Instagram, and a few days later I got an email from a friend saying "IS THIS YOU?!" It turns out Glamour.com wrote an article on dudeoir and I WAS IN IT!