As Toronto’s #1 boudoir photographer, my studio is always packed and I am booked back to back weeks to months in advance. This means, I interact with a huge number of women every single day. From phone conversations to photographing them, there is so much insight I have gained in to the psychology of different women that I think now is the time to pen down some of them. One day, maybe, I will write a book about it, too! But until then, read on to see my take on what women really want.
(Disclaimer: Names/location/demographics may have been changed to protect the identity of individuals. Portfolio images in this article were all taken at Dream Boudoir Photography but do not necessarily represent the subject of the following stories and observations.)
A mom of four walked in to my studio and we were in the middle of her shoot when she stopped me to give me a big hug to tell me how appreciated she was feeling. In her 25 years of on-going loveless marriage, she was beginning to feel that nothing she did was enough. That she was expected to work, expected to raise kids, expected to be a good wife, daughter, mother — but she wasn’t told playing all these roles how monumental of a task she had undertaken and was fulfilling at least since she was a young 21 year old East Asian bride. She stopped dressing up and trying to look good because she felt no one noticed because she had “lost it.”
It was only after her kids were grown and she started taking out more time for herself and doing the things she loved that she felt that it wasn’t her but the situation and the people she was constantly surrounded by. She decided to leave her long-term job and started a new career where she instantly became successful because she was no longer in the company of people who had little to no passion outside of work. She convinced her husband to downsize and moved to a more hip and busy location so she could keep herself occupied. Although the marriage still stayed in place because she wasn’t looking for a new romantic adventure, when she received appreciation from her larger circle and from myself and my crew in the studio, she knew she was ready to accept the goodness and the greatness others were seeing in her and started to believe in the power of who she was as a direct result of being appreciated for being her best and doing her best.
Among reassuring women of all sizes — from smallest to fullest, there is so much more women feel they can’t share because they will be judged. Because of my line of work, I am often contracted by women in adult industry to photograph them for their online presence. My style of work is classy, sensual, and timelessly beautiful so this fits in perfectly with the kind of clientele they want to attract. My boudoir studios in Toronto and Vancouver are judgement-free zones so they always feel warm, welcome, and comfortable during their shoots.
There was also this time when this woman came to celebrate her new corporate job and being back to work after having her first baby at 36. She was very forthcoming telling me how she is in an open relationship in her marriage and has an adventurous sex life which keeps her fulfilled so she can devote her essence to her family and those who matter the most. We proceeded to take a collection of several different images that were catered to the taste of different partners in her life so she can share it with them. Needless to say, it was a great collection of images we created that day!
This one time I was speaking to a courageous woman on the phone about the reason she wanted to book a session with me — she broke down telling me how she was in love with a man overseas and when she visited him, she was subjected to serious sexual assault. At the time she was in shock and pain but upon her return to Canada, she started writing about her experience and uplifting other women.
We have seen all about the #MeToo movement where women are now feeling empowered enough to speak against the culture of violence we have been subjected to. Women want to feel free and secure from emotional, physical, sexual, and passive forms of violence. This need to feel secure and safe is one of the biggest reasons why I have a female-only staff because this encourages the women who come to me to feel empowered as opposed to keep anticipating the worst and constantly looking over our shoulders.
Doctors and nurses in scrubs, police officers and flight attendants i uniforms, mothers stuck in a rut, corporate leaders constantly in and out of high stake meetings with pristine appearances, women in their late 50s looking to do something more than RRSP management — you name it. I have seen it all. The one thing all of these women have in common is that they are looking for a change: The ones who get no time or reason to glam up want me to turn them from natural beauties to knockout bombshells. The ones who need to present themselves in high heels and tailored suits want to throw on a sexy-T and booty shorts and have me take beautiful photos of them being the causally slaying queens that they are. Moms who are consumed by the plethora of responsibilities just want to take a day out for themselves to recharge and remind themselves that they are more than just mothers. Police officers putting their lives on the line and dealing with tough nuts want to put on those high heels and show that they know more than one way to kill ;).
A nice change is good and healthy. When they see their beautiful boudoir and portrait images in my Toronto studio or Vancouver location, they sometimes cannot believe that they’re looking at the same woman they stare at every morning.
FRIENDSHIP & ADVENTURE
When I first opened registration for Dream Boudoir’s glamour photoshoot and vacation trip to Santorini, Greece, the fact that half the slots were sold out within the first half hour confirmed for me how important it is to have female kinship and friendships. Some of these women are my past clients who trusted me with their vision and have become my good friends since! I can see similar patterns when someone posts about their life experiences in my VIP facebook group for women — these women come together to see how they resonate with each other and start up conversations, sometimes as intimate as sexual habits(!) as if they have known each other forever.
While I other can’t stand the hippie connotation of the word “tribe,” these women definitely are looking for one and have found something simple as the love for beautiful portraits bringing them together. Be it going to our glam trip to Santorini or commissioning a boudoir glam party with all their girlfriends — so many ways to feel the power of a feminine collective!
Freedom to change our minds. Freedom to live our lives as we please. Freedom to wear what we want and be who we want to be. Freedom to think for ourselves. Freedom to live for ourselves. Freedom to explore our dreams. Freedom to catch a break.
Freedom to be true to ourselves.
This may sound cliché, but in my career, I have at least twice photographed women who were married off as child brides, at the age of 15 and 16, respectively. At 46, one of them had a 25 year old daughter. She never got the chance to explore who she was when she became a mother and had a tough life. Only now she is beginning to take life in her own hands and become the woman she always dreamed of being.
This feeling of liberation is something women fiercely want in my personal experience and I know this is true for all women.
I recently did a shoot where the entire theme was leather and latex wardrobe. No laces, no frills, no two-piece sets — strictly rocker chic session. I did another shoot where the theme was vintage retro pinup: Pin curls, coke bottles, polka dot dresses, the works. And then there are those who leave it all up to me to guide them through the motions and show them everything I can do and then they choose what calls out their name. This entire group wants their word and their wishes to be trusted. Not someone telling them what they should want but LISTEN to them and help bring THEIR vision to life.
Again, only recently we have started creating a culture in the world where a woman’s voice matters. But at my boudoir photography studio, this has always been the case and this is what I became convinced of as the right thing to do throughout the years.
Recent from the studio
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