About Travis Devonport:
Travis Devonport is an internationally published portrait and boudoir photographer from the East Coast of Canada.
Travis' work consists of portraits, boudoir, and special moments including events and weddings. 2020 marks five years of photography for the young artist. For Travis, photography is all about the journey behind his work. His approach for every shoot is being able to connect with his subjects on a personal level, getting to know their interests and experiences. This helps both him and his subjects trust one another, making the creative outcome nothing short of rewarding.
Travis is excited for where the future takes him. He's just getting started. You can find more of his work on instagram @bodiesbytrav and @traveling___trav
01) What does boudoir photography mean to you?
Boudoir to me represents a rising form of expression. When I first started I called it boudoir but as time went on I began calling it body positivity. In my opinion boudoir defines visual work captured within the bedroom, somewhat whimsical, somewhat sexual. A lot of my best work has been captured everywhere else but the bedroom. I can create these beautiful images almost anywhere I wish and so can everyone else. I believe traditional boudoir is still stunning but has been over done and because of that I keep trying to push my work to it’s limits, focusing on creating concepts others have yet to imagine.
02) Why did you choose to pursue a career as a boudoir / fine art photographer? What got you started in boudoir?
Body positivity has simply been an extension of my work as a portrait photographer. It started around early 2017 with a portrait shoot that unexpectedly turned into a creative nude shoot. I was 19 at the time and nervous as hell. The subject had been following my work for a couple years at that point and told me she found I captured peoples angles better than anyone she'd previously collaborated with. That meant a lot to me. At that point I wasn't getting that kind of response from my work, I was under the radar. We had planned a creative portrait shoot in the woods and it turned out she was pretty comfortable with the way she looked and just wanted to try something new. I always treat my shoots with professionalism so I put the creative hat on and just went with it.
At that point where I was located body positivity wasn't really a thing. There was one well known creator dominating the scene but she would later fall due to client scandals. That put a dark cloud on the style for a little while until other portrait photographers started filling the gap. It took another year before I delved into it as I didn't understand how I could approach the style as a young man. There's a lot of negative stereotypes about young people and young men. It can be hard to separate yourself from that. I found body positivity grew into yet another creative challenge I wanted to be apart of. I established a unique style over the course of 50-60 shoots that became a no-brainer for women and men looking to try that kind of art. Now I'm here talking to Boudoir Inspiration!
04) How do you communicate with a client or model you’ve just met to make them comfortable for boudoir / nude photography?
Rule number one: Talk to your subjects like you'd talk to a co-worker.
The first thing I tell photographers asking me for advice is to treat this as a professional job. If a model contacts you for a booking or advice they're not interested in you… they're interested in your art. I've heard many stories of photographers treating Instagram like it's a dating app. As a photographer I see my work and my name as a brand. There is no place for that and I believe for those that risk their reputation in that way it can easily tarnish your credibility.
Making your subject feel safe is the most important part of this medium, it also adds a considerable amount of depth to boudoir/nude photography . You don't have to worry as much about this when you're capturing lifestyle portraits or editorial fashion. For those mediums, being clothed plays a big part in our societies definition of comfort and expression. For many of us it's a symbol of protection, sass and confidence. If you walk out the door with stains on your shirt people are likely to judge your appearance, now imagine walking out the door fully naked… For many people that would be absurd or unprofessional. My approach is to flip that perspective on its head. I'm trying to show people nudity is normal. It's just skin!
Body positivity and especially nude photography gives a voice to the subject and only the subject. There aren't any outside voices, brands or designers involved. The beauty of the subject isn't going to be overlooked by a stunning gown they're wearing. I make sure to tell my subjects this. This is for you and only you, I'm just the guy you trust to do a great job.
When a subject walks into the studio I treat them like they're fully clothed, like any normal person I'd talk to on the day to day. Many times the subject and I are just having normal conversation, even banter. Anything from parts of our lives that piss us off, the tea on a new Netflix special or what their plans are in the coming months. Often times a subject might tell me they're nervous and with honesty, I tell them I'm nervous too. We laugh and work through it.
Many people I shoot with aren't models, they're just everyday people wanting beautiful photos for themselves, their partners or something for them to look back on down the road. A few months back I had two clients that were close friends. They'd both graduated from their masters program and this was going to be one of the last times they'd be together before moving back home. In a funny way this was a taboo graduation shoot. They were really nervous, as expected. I just chose to crack some jokes and share with them how the photos were turning out. That helped give them the confidence they needed. There's humour in almost everything and there's nothing better than some laughs to kick off a successful shoot.
05) How do you educate yourself to take better photos?
I'm constantly inspired by other people. Painters, programmers, musicians and those behind the camera. Social media has made it easier than ever to consume a diverse array of knowledge. Almost everyday I'm on Pinterest, Boudoir Inspiration and various sites learning from others. I personally believe European art and photography is where it is at so I focus my attention on rising work from Europe.
In my opinion camera skills and camera theory (settings, lighting) are linear, it rarely ever changes in terms of what to look for. I'm lucky enough to have started young, questioning certain techniques while looking for alternative ways to do the same thing. Fast forward to 2020 I'm I feel blessed being able to rely on my arsenal of technical experience. This helps me focus more on concepts, styles and trends.
06) How would you describe your photography style?
Visually I think my body positivity photography has indie/contemporary vintage + experimental traits. I enjoy creating out of the box ideas. Much of the content I post are candids. While I share the rest the posed photos with the subject I often try and share images on my own page that feel like you're experiencing a pure moment, photos that make you think as a viewer what it would've been like to be there.
I often see photographers share images with very similar poses or edits as their peers. My goal is to stand out as much as possible and hopefully push the bar. It can be hard sometimes but that's what's I find so exciting as a visual creator.
Here's a fun example! https://www.instagram.com/p/B38N8x2HZAt/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link model: Faith Demond
07) What type of cameras do you shoot with, boudoir and/vs other?
Right now I'm primarily working with a Canon 70D with my goto 35mm 1.4 Sigma Art lens. This Summer I will be investing in a 6D Mark 2, 24-70 F2.8 and an 85mm F2.8. I'm very excited!
08) What kind of other gear do you use for boudoir and/vs other?
Majority of my work is done under natural light but I do work with studio lighting from time to time. Natural lighting allows me to get creative with the environment and angles. Studio work involves more traditional posing which is fun but not my first choice.
09) Among your works, which one is your favourite? Why?
My favourite photos are those that celebrate firsts. My first successful studio session, first publication and such. Below are my three favourite body positivity images. They we're all eureka moments. A first successful male shoot, a first studio success and my first publication with Boudoir Inspiration.
Model: Hannah West
Model: Ty Haley
Model: Emma Bonang
10) What is the most difficult part of being a boudoir photographer for you?
From 2015 till late 2017 my greatest challenge was learning the technical skills, the importance of angles and adapting to soft vs harsh light conditions. Today it has nothing to do with the camera, it has to do with the business side of boudoir and body positivity. In just five years this style of portraiture has blown up and so has the rise of marketing and entrepreneurship. Apps like OnlyFans have become a revenue stream for many models which I equally support and criticize. If you're in the top 10 percent of creators you can earn as much as $2,500, 5,000 or even 10,000 a month, depending on your subscription rates and number of fans.
As a body positivity photographer my focus has been to inspire people on their journey as they find their best self. My goals have been to show that you don't have to answer or please anyone. With the rise of OnlyFans I've been struggling with the reality that my work is being used in a pornographic way for subscribers pleasure and models revenue, revenue that I as the content creator don't get to see. I could charge a subject a few hundred dollars for an extensive photoshoot that's Onlyfans motivated but they could make double or even triple that and I'd never know. While I enjoy getting paid for what I do, money doesn't inspire me, creating does. This internal conflict became a growing distraction for my work. While I have nothing personal against it I had to figure out a way to move forward without the distraction or any disagreement with models.
This January, I had to make a difficult decision to stop shooting with subjects running OnlyFans until there's a day photographers gain more rights within these kinds of apps. I won't be holding my breathe though lol. It's not easy having to turn down people that want to work with me. It's nothing personal but rather the best option to avoid collaborative drama.
11) What is the most rewarding part of being a boudoir photographer for you?
Personally the most rewarding moments come from the responses of gratitude from clients, especially those who didn’t believe they look as good as they do. That honesty and acknowledgment is so gratifying as a photographer. I don’t expect any of that but when people go out of their way to reach me then I know what I’m doing is real, it’s important.
12) Just for fun, if you could shoot in any location, what would it be?
Ahhh, that’s surprisingly a hard question… My list is ever-long and growing. In terms of growth as a visual artist, if I could drop everything right now it you have to be Milan, Italy. The fashion, food and architectural culture there is beyond rich. It checks off the all the requirements for any intermediate or pro photographer. It's also the home of my favourite creative, Nicholas Fols. The way he's able to capture women through nude, fashion and beauty photography is like nothing I've seen before, angelic to say the least. I'm a strong believer styles are built upon the geographical area you're living in. I'm looking forward to immersing myself in different styles throughout different cultures.
13) Do you have any other profession or anything you are passionate about?
On the day to day I'm a freelance journalist and writer. I've actually just graduated with a degree in journalism which I'm happy about. We won't be having a graduation but the milestone still means the same to me. I'm also an avid movie goer and amateur cook! You can check out more of my creations @cookingwtrav on Instagram!
Please go ahead and checkout Travis Devonport's galleries of beautiful artwork published in Boudoir Inspiration Magazine down below: