The Great Valentine Swindle

23rd January 2015
In: Blog
The 14th February is on the horizon, the day we, with the help of Cupid, Royal Mail and florists everywhere, celebrate our love for our spouses and partners. Whilst some admire from afar and anonymously (as traditional expects), us married and co-habiting types do it loud and proud to show that we haven't forgotten.
The retail sector, not surprisingly, sees this day as another big earner, where everything from flowers and chocolates through to expensive phones and tablets are branded as the perfect way to show your love. I have my own opinion on that, which shall we say, is a touch on the cynical side.
Bringing this blog piece in line with the photography genre, as you would expect, the same thing happens with photo shoots. Boudoir in particular.
Men are encouraged to buy a shoot package for the woman they love as a pamper session, woman are cajoled into having photos taken in order to furnish their partner with sexy imagery, which of course he'll love beyond measure etc. etc.
These are proffered under the usual guise of the Valentine Special Offer, which of course is much similar to the Christmas Special, just a number of weeks later.
I don't offer any such 'specials' for this most love drenched day in February. As I eluded to before, I have reservations about using certain retail products to show how much you care for someone, although I understand the need to publicise your products from a business aspect. This isn't why I don't subscribe to the Valentine Offer for my Boudoir Packages, not at all. It's not because I'm reluctant to give discounts, in truth I feel I'm more than generous in that respect throughout the year. It's simply because the reason being publicised for having the shoot (I believe) is wrong.
I have been carrying out Boudoir shoots for some time, so I do have an inkling of why women have these shoots done. Before you think I have found the male’s Holy Grail of understanding women, relax. I haven’t. How I know this is simple. I ask.
The publicly perceived 'selling point' of Boudoir is that the shoots are carried out for photos to be gifts for the partner or husband. This promotion technique is used heavily in the United States to persuade women that's why they should book their shoot. I don't know whether this is a cultural difference, or whether it's designed to mask a woman's real driver in having a Boudoir photo session, but whatever it is, in my experience it isn't the case at all.
Before I carry on and deconstruct the argument for using your partner as the reason to have a Boudoir, let me say it is a genuinely acceptable excuse to have it done, especially if the partner is particularly encouraging. I am not saying anyone doing this is wrong, my point is it's less common than people think.
So let me give you a numerical fact to back this up. Of the sixty or so Boudoir consultations I've carried out, the reason given for having a shoot done to give gift products to their partner has has happened on just three occasions, that's 4%. Of those three, two had their shoot, but the other lady didn't because her partner didn't want her to. Incidently, the number of men that have enquired or bought gift certificates for their partner is a big fat zero!
I once had an enquiry from a lady that was very keen to have the shoot done, using the reason that it would be a present for her husband, and she asked him about it. He was happy for her to have the photo session, but wasn't particularly bothered about having photos as a gift. This enquiry didn't even lead to a consultation.
I have also heard one or two stories about women having Boudoir shoots (not with me I might add) as a surprise for their husbands, only to be greeted with, shall we say, a less than positive reaction on receipt of their gift! Lesson learned…you have to be careful with surprises.
I may not be able to write confidently about a woman's reasoning where Boudoir is concerned, but I understand how a man thinks. Of course we're all different, but the views range from the stubborn refusal of letting his partner have a shoot, through to the man which is more than encouraging. These two extremes are the minority, with the vast majority of men (although happy for their partner to have a shoot) are indifferent or mildly interested at best. It's not that we as men don't love our wives/partners, of course we do. It's simply that men in general aren't overly motivated by photos of their partners. A common response would be that they can see their spouse or girlfriend 'like that anytime'. Fair enough I suppose, I'm in no position to question this, but that's the average perception.

What about the other 96%? Why did they book? Well, they cited the shoot was 'for them', which I feel, is exactly how it should be. I believe Boudoir photography should be solely for the woman having the shoot. It's about her self-esteem, her self-confidence, her chance to show to herself that she is beautiful.
So if you want that Boudoir shoot, have it done, for you, and 'Be your own kind of beautiful'

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