A couple of weeks ago, we created a beautiful intimate boudoir shoot with Sannu, one of this summer's brides. I was part of an awesome team: Michaela and Lotta of Hey Look planned, directed and styled, Kirsi Maijala was responsible for Sannu's hair & make-up.
I loved the simplicity of the settings, the make-up and the wardrobe Hey Look chose for Sannu. Working alongside a creative director on a session like this doesn't mean that the photographer's creative vision gets lost or that I'd be forced to shoot only what someone else tells me to. While Hey Look came up with the concept, location and feel - based on Sannu's nature and personality, we talked about each and every decision. This way we don't only make sure that the shoot suits the client, but also reflects my personal style and creative vision for the imagery.
Michaela and Lotta talked Sannu through poses, facial expressions and me through what to focus on to achieve the intimate, sofly bohemian feel. I didn't have to be worried about the locations, on how to pose Sannu, where to position her, if her hair and make-up are correct, if the facial expression matches the overall feel. The creative director is always by my side taking care of all that for us. They point out when a pose is starting to look unnatural or stiff - which easily happens when you've positioned a regular person in a certain way for more than a few seconds. That way I as a photographer can truly focus on the model, fine-tune poses, notice smaller details and capture more fleeting moments. The connection between the model and the camera goes so much deeper this way, and the resulting images all follow our common creative vision.
Sannu being so down to earth and serene, we decided to have the shoot in Villa Andania, located in Kallvik; a villa surrounded by forest and the sea and that had an old wooden sauna next to it. The style and wardrobe was really simple and natural. Clothes you might actually wear when waking up in the morning and drinking your morning coffee on the porch on a warm summer morning. Like most of my clients, Sannu is a real woman who has rarely been in front of a camera, and never in a shoot like this. So letting a complete stranger come so close to you, to capture you when you're being sensual and vulnerable with little to no clothing, can sound really intimidating. That's why we always take our time with a boudoir shoot. Using those moments when the hair & make-up is done to talk, joke around, get comfortable with one another is crucial.
A shoot like this is about praising your femininity, about what makes you the woman you are. Although brides-to-be usually book a boudoir shoot to surprise their husbands with an "only for your eyes" album on their morning after the wedding, it's also a gift to the brides themselves. A gift that's actually more meaningful. As they can see how gorgeous they are through someone else's eyes and gain incredible confidence from that. It's not the little imperfections we all have, but the eyes, the smile and...you know, our assets.
What Michaela of Hey Look had to say about this shoot:
"When we design a boudoir session for a bride-to-be, we approach it in the same way as we do their wedding - we want it to be intimate, personal and true to the woman in every sense. Even though we may choose a style and direction, the bride herself truly directs a session. Sannu's soft bohemian boudoir session was to show her as she is: a free spirit, shy and sensitive, strong and confident, an athlete and a dreamer. We knew right away that the regular girl in lacy lingerie and push-up bras wasn't her, so we chose simple, flowing garments, silk shirts, knits and cotton tops. Sannu, amazingly, although a total novice to being in front of the camera went along with the concept like a pro. She let go of her fears and inhibitions within moments, was sensual and sexy, confident, yet vulnerable. I could go on about the thoughts behind it, the style or the story for longer, but really this one just speaks for itself. Susanna did a stellar job in truly capturing in Sannu. The essence of female beauty and power."