Since the dawn of cameras, photographers, it would seem, have found more joy (and business) turning the lens more frequently on the faces and bodies of the fairer sex. (Hello, ladies!)
But an emerging trend in photography has guys stripping down to reveal all.
Meet the dudes of “Dudeoir.”
“Boudoir” means “bedroom,” or “private room,” in French, and in the photography world, the phrase “boudoir photography,” which has been around for ages, highlights women in various stages of undress—often in sultry poses. Seductive, artistic, but never pornographic, these images have long given women a confidence boost, and have given their partners a little something hot to remember them by.
After all, who doesn’t like seeing herself in literally her best lighting and lingerie, shot by a pro?
Well, now it looks like guys want to start preserving some of their hot days for posterity, too. And that’s where “dudeoir” comes in. A combination of the words “dude” and “boudoir,” it describes a trend in photography that’s seeing guys get a little more, well, personal with their pictures.
And let’s face it: Seeing oneself through the eyes—or rather, lens—of a professional photographer can give a guy just the kind of confidence boost he needs to take on the brave new world of app dating… or just to surprise his honey with.
Sarah Chillson, a professional photographer from Pittsburgh, was kind enough to answer for me a few questions about Dudeoir—what it is, how it started, and how she gets all those guys to be so comfortable in their skivvies.
Sonni: Okay, Sarah, so this one is new to me. The term “dudeoir” itself is just… incredible and maybe a touch hysterical. Tell me more!
Sarah: “Dude-doir” is a clever moniker bestowed for boudoir photography of which a man is the subject (I can’t take credit for it but I wish I could). Boudoir is French for ‘bedroom’ or ‘private room’ to be technical. It translates into a style of intimate or romantic photography. I think most people know this but I’ve had to awkwardly explain this to my grandmother when she asked what I do.
I personally don’t know any photographers doing male boudoir but I guarantee I’m not the first to try this out. I purposefully don’t seek other photographers’ images for this genre because I don’t want to become accidentally influenced or subconsciously copying, which is easy to do when you see a beautiful photo!
My style has worked so well for my women clients—naturally lit, guided but unposed (I do not pose my clients), and catching that shot when she doesn’t realize that she’s doing something beautiful—that I figured it could work with the guys too. And it really has!
This is the part where I ask you who the “typical” dudeoir client is. Is there even one?
The male boudoir side of my business just started to gain attention this year so I haven’t established a “typical” yet, but what surprised me is how varied my client base is so far—straight, gay, coupled, single men.
I think the stigma of men who want portrait or boudoir as being an expression of excess vanity is being lifted, and it absolutely should. They usually offer their motives before I can ask, but it’s universal: we all want our photos captured at the time we feel great about ourselves and are happy.
I’d spent all my time as a boudoir photographer for women, and had ignored the other half of the population. I’ll be honest, photographing men didn’t even hit my radar. It wasn’t until the first guy had contacted me requesting portrait/boudoir for himself that I thought… “Really? YES!”
Of my clientele, a little more than half aren’t single, but they aren’t doing it for their girlfriend or boyfriend. This aligns with the women I photograph. About half are single and are just feeling confident (or even sometimes not!) and it’s my goal to make them look the best they’ve ever looked in a photograph.
So, have you noticed any difference in comfort level between your male and female clients? Budoir, and I would imagine, dudeoir, can be intimidating!
There is little difference so far with men and women’s comfort level shooting boudoir photography. It’s also part of my job to make it comfortable. So I joke around alot, have my clients bring a playlist, and I always have some whiskey or bubbles on hand, because a little sip can help some clients take the edge off.
Do you think dudeoir is going to catch on?
I hope so!!! There are so many beautiful men walking around, I hope we photographers can capture it right, and men would be wanting to do this!! I also have been commissioned to shoot couple’s boudoir in the next month and I’m really excited that people are wanting to expand on this.
(Sarah adds: )
Common questions client questions answered:
Clients can keep clothes on to their comfort level and I can still make it look boudoir.
With men, one of my favorite places to shoot is The Allegheny Inn in Pittsburgh’s North Side, and shoots wrap up in under 2 hours.
I don’t share clients’ images unless they’ve signed a release or request that I share.
So what does it feel like to be the subject in one of these images? Will Walker (the right riiiiight above this paragraph), was so kind as to offer this about his experience:
“I did the photo shoot as a 27th birthday present for myself. At the time, I was very down on myself and my self-esteem. A lot was going on in my life that I didn’t feel too great about: I was feeling the mid-20’s blues and constantly being told my stature wasn’t good enough for dates (I’m 5’5). I wanted to see myself professionally lit and photographed in a sexy light. I wanted to feel good about myself for a change. I always had a great admiration for Sarah Chillson’s work, especially seeing how she really made a couple of my friends look like professional models, bathed in sultry, smoky light. She had never shot a male boudoir model before, but I figured I’d inquire anyway, since I had never posed nude for anyone before, haha. Thankfully, she accepted, and I was so excited to work with such a talented photographer.The entire experience was so much fun. I had known Sarah for a couple of years at this point, and it made the whole thing easy breezy. We joked and laughed, talked about traveling, music, work…just whatever. I specifically remember us hearing a cover of a song by Chet Faker and freaking out about it. I love talking about it when showing people the pictures, because you wouldn’t get that goofy vibe from them at all. Maybe they were all just her Jedi mind tricks to get me in a relaxed place, which I think comes through. I’m very comfortable with my naked body to begin with, but she really captured facial expressions that, I think, were both convivial and seductive.I remember receiving the photos a couple of weeks later, after I left a Sunday Pirates game. I remember this so vividly because I was out at the bar with friends, and got so excited, I ran to the bathroom to look at them. I was so overwhelmed with joy, look at me! I looked gorgeous! I wanted to share them with everyone! I had never seen myself like that through someone else’s lens, and it really made me feel confident and beautiful. Sarah had uplifted my spirits so much, I was walking on air for the next couple of weeks. I can’t thank her enough for the experience, and I honestly can’t wait to do it all again!”
Enjoy. And feel free to pass on the good word about Dudeoir. And if you have a dude that wants to book a session, reach out to Sarah right here.
In the words of Forrest Gump, that’s all I have to say about that. 😉