Sam and Virginie, a couple of Awards Winning Photographers originally from France. They used to live all around France, but also, Mayotte, New Zealand, and Tahiti before settling on beautiful Vancouver Island in Canada. They chose Canada and Victoria to be home, for many reasons, including safety, amazing landscapes... that makes our favorite cheeses much more expensive, but we are dealing with that addiction. The fact we were lucky enough to receive the Permanent Residency was perhaps also a big part of our decision.
They do not photograph strangers, they like to know people before all and take the time to at least meet on Zoom to have some complicity and to know them more as friend than as numbers on a quote. They are proudly turning local and international clients into friends since 2012 as full-time Photographers... but they do photography since we are kids, starting with film's cameras kind of century ago.
Their goal is to offer memorable experiences and beautiful memories incorporating landscapes and artistic flair into our photography. They don’t consider that we are running a business, they own an art photography company which captures emotions, love, and sweet madness of people from all around the world.
We have asked Samuel & Virgine several questions about Boudoir Photography and here are his answers:
01) What does boudoir photography mean to you?
That's a tricky question and we can see that people are lost about that and the marketing around that word makes it even more confusing.
For us, a boudoir session is an intimate view of a person, man or woman, who is showing more the personality of the person than the body shape. We think the main confusion is between boudoir and glamour photography.
No judgment on that, but glamour is not exclusive and not based on the personality of the person. It's an acting session, where the person will play a character to feet with some marketing and social view of what it is to be "sexy". On that logic, a studio session, with always the same background, same poses, same kind of strong makeup, and even sometimes the same kind of lingerie will be the routine.
In a boudoir session, you have to feel the emotion before seeing a body on the photograph.
Just one more point we care about: dudoir. I know that Photographers are not always francophile and francophone people, but dudoir is a non-sense ethnologically... and boudoir is not a feminine session only. Boudoir for couple and boudoir for man is a reality.
02) Why did you choose to pursue a career as a boudoir / fine art photographer? What got you started in boudoir?
Boudoir is cultural. In France, nude, lingerie is part of the artistic culture, even if the society is sadly changing conservatively, more and more.
We started both as Boudoir Photographers. We did a lot of other kinds of photography as well as jewelry, fashion, and more. Boudoir's what we learned, started with, so it's always being special for us.
We are now Boudoir and Wedding Photographers. Boudoir has a big influence on our way to shoot weddings too and we like to include a bridal boudoir session to our wedding packages.
We do have also a nude-art part, we are starting to only shoot black & white.
03) What kind of creative process is there behind boudoir photography?
Mostly our boudoir concepts are a long time reflection process. We are influenced by classic painting, movies but also artistic research of a few other Photographers from really different backgrounds.
For customers, we will start to think and start to draw a shooting plan after the first meeting. We have to know them, understand them.
Sometimes it's really obvious after a few minutes. The frame and ideas are just coming naturally.
Sometimes it takes time.
04) How do you communicate with a client or model you’ve just met to make them comfortable for boudoir / nude photography?
People are coming to us as they know that we are from France, so basically relaxed about that. Most of our customers just think that all French people are nude all the time... I will perhaps destroy a myth, but that's not true (LoL).
But they can feel that our customers, on our portfolio, are enjoying the session and are relaxed.
The first meeting is the main key. As we are making boudoir, we are here to understand them and not force them to make something who is at the opposite of their view of wish. We are not looking to undress people. We help them to cross a little bit their comfort zone, with a lot of kindness, humor and give them the time and the room they need. Our goal is to see them a few times. So there is no rush and no logic to push them too far than what they think they can do. Also, the boudoir is not about nudity at all. Emotions are not into a leg or a chest, but more on eyes and facial expressions. We are also really careful to don't go to nude-art if the customer looks like not ready or if basically nude-art is not especially the best way to photograph her/him.
There are on the industry, runway's Models, Lingerie Models, legs Models for pantyhose or shoe photos, Beauty Models only for portraits... Why it must be different for Boudoir Photography?
We have a huge responsibility on that.
05) How do you educate yourself to take better photos?
We worked a lot about "tame" and understand the light more especially when we were based in Tahiti and Bora Bora. On tropical islands like that, where there is not a lot of reliefs and hilly areas, clouds are running and the number of clicks between shadow and full-light is just credible. So, it was to feel the light and anticipate it.
Working with at least 1 portative studio light was a big step. Now we are working outdoors with 1-2 Godox ad200 pro with giant Neewer hexagonal softboxes and a lot of sandbags. And up to 5 for inside sessions.
So basically it was about to try, try, and try again.
After that, we shoot the manual mode from the beginning, and we started with a film camera. It took us 10 years before to have our first professional full-frame camera. So I think that perhaps how we educated ourselves... step by step.
We are always open to learning new things and we experiment a lot also...
06) How would you describe your photography style?
Here in Canada, our customers say that we have a European style. It takes us soo long to understand what that means... as for us Europe is huge and all countries are different.
I think we are as young adults. We have like teenagers just before to be adult for good, this provocative style. We like to stay out of codes.
We are also really humanist and care a lot about the relationship with our customers.
I don't know if that's a reply. I will perhaps say Rock&Roll, but as it meant before... anti-conformist, outrageous, sexy and provocative, but focused to respect traditions and our father on Photography.
07) What type of cameras do you shoot with, boudoir and/vs other?
We are all the time with full-frame Canon. Mainly 5D MIII and 6D MII. We tried Sony, but the speed, the power time life, and colors were not what we were looking to have.
We also shoot a lot with Tamron lenses + Sigma Art. I know that a lot of conservatives Photographers will shoot only with Canon L, but Tamron had for years great crystals for pros, with better speed and stability.
08) What kind of other gear do you use for boudoir and/vs other?
Godox ad200 pro with giant Neewer hexagonal softboxes as I said, but also a large number of different bowls with color-gels and other diffusers.
We are also working with one European lingerie brand and a shop in Europe too, to propose great lingerie options to our customers... that not the first thing we will think about, but truly, great lingerie helps a lot.
09) Among your works, which one is your favorite? Why?
There is technically 2. One portrait of a customer from New-Zealand, but originally from the UK during a boudoir shoot. Amazing expression, a lovely ring, and a sweet decolté. She was extremely timid, a lot of jokes and 1 or 2 glasses of Champagne after, she looks spectacular.
The second was made in Moorea, near Tahiti. It's a nude-art shoot. A customer, into the shallow water, who stowaway here hair.
We love this one as the reflection is magic, hair gently hides nipples and the skin is just amazing.
Have a look on the website and let us know if you find them ;)
10) What is the most difficult part of being a boudoir photographer for you?
For us, it's first to treasure peoples as unfortunately, all Photographers are not serious. Also, it's to help people to understand photography and see the difference between an Instagram shoot and Art. With filters, customers are lost and don't know what they like.
Also, there are a lot of hobbyists Photographers and more especially for Boudoir. So to point on that. It's quite complicated for customers to understand that it's our work, for real... and also a lot of customers are afraid about having a session as they had one free or cheap and the result was complicated to understand.
So 70% of our customers who already have a boudoir shoot with another Photographer will need extra time, extra energy and extra chats.
11) What is the most rewarding part of being a boudoir photographer for you?
When a customer comes back for a new session and is ever more motivated about making with us a tailor-made shooting plan as well as when the partner of a customer thanks us. We know that we made the job.
12) Just for fun, if you could shoot in any location, what would it be?
We have a few really specific frames on mind... with dunes and deserts views. So Sahara perhaps, or the Dune du Pilat in France... Into the USA or South America. But sands, like a lot of sands for sure.
13) Do you have any other profession or anything you are passionate about?
I was pastry-chef before, and we have an intimate relationship with great food LoL.
We like gardening, we start to make our flowers and herbs for organic teas.
We enjoy hikes... but we think also about photography during that time lol.
Checkout some of SVPhotograph's galleries of beautiful artwork published in Boudoir Inspiration Magazine down below: