Years ago when I asked my dad why he liked adult magazines his reply was “its art”. I figured he was just making excuses. Funny how years later as an aspiring photographer I am now borrowing those same magazines. The reason is I am preparing for my first boudoir photo session for a bride-to-be. Of course, I can just as easily find images on the Internet and/or search for ideas from professional boudoir photographers. Yet, thinking about the comment made many years ago Dad was right…again.
Adult entertainment magazines sell because the women – and men – in it look great. In fact, Playboy’s best-selling edition (November 1972 with model Pam Rawlings on the cover) which sold over 7 million copies was photographed by portrait and fashion photographer Rowland Scherman. Another notable portrait photographer Annie Leibovitz photographed supermodel Jerry Hall (Mick Jagger’s ex) for Playboy’s October 1985 edition. Annie – who I admire – has photographed for other magazines such as Rolling Stones, Vanity Fair and Vogue.
As photographers, our job is to create beautiful portraiture for our clients. Yet, creating dramatic images can only be accomplished – in part – by studying the works of other artists and photographers. So, why not go right to the source? Besides, there’s no surprise as to how a $1,000 loan from his mother turned Hugh Hefner’s Playboy publication into a multimillion dollar enterprise.
Boudoir is a different photographic style when compared to erotic photography or nude photography. Nonetheless, the use of lighting techniques and poses are key to capturing mood, personality and expression in any genre of photography. In fact, good photographers always prepare for each assignment ahead of time.
Therefore, it’s “back to the books” for me…Playboy magazines that is!