A few months back I decided to take on a bit of a challenge. At the request of a previous client, I popped my couples cherry AND my BDSM couples cherry. Cuz if you're going to go big, go really big! I think it is best shared by the subjects in question. Read on...
I am not sure many of you know about the adventure I took recently. Krista took on a project that was new for her and pushed the limit of her skills. My Husband and I were her first couples shoot. Here is the journey from a male's perspective. It's a bit of a read :)
A Dominant’s Perspective on a Boudoir Photography Session
My memory is a bit fuzzy on how it started. Like most couples, my sub and I took pictures of our excursions, to share with friends and family. Geocaching in the Dragoons. Hand Grenades in New Orleans. Nights at the opera, a visit to the Air and Space museum.
Later, we hired a close friend to take our engagement pictures at an abandoned greyhound track.
So when my sub mentioned that she had met a boudoir photographer and was interested in having a couple’s shoot, I didn’t voice any concerns. After all, it’s easier to agree to something if there isn’t any sort of deadline. Ladies, take note.
Weeks passed, and I noticed that my sub was requesting more and more time to spend with her friend Krista, the elusive photographer. Eventually, my sub showed samples of her work; it was simply stunning and made me reconsider what I had tentatively agreed to. This went far beyond playing dress up and posing. What I saw in those pictures was raw emotion, a piece of someone’s most vulnerable side exposed and captured to perfection. Their nature and essence immortalized in high-definition format.
We met up with Krista for drinks and to discuss what the shoot would entail. I’ll admit to being a bit apprehensive, as I’m not one to trust easily. That goes double when the topic involves the relationship with my sub and my sexual preferences. Krista, fortunately, made it easy. She explained that she was looking to start doing couple shoots and asked if my sub and I would be willing to help develop some new techniques. Her attitude, somewhere between easygoing professional and carefree artist, won me over. I picked a date for the shoot, several months out to give myself some time to prepare.
Let’s be honest: at forty-one, I’m a bit past my prime. I started out by hitting the gym more aggressively, often up to 6 times a week. My sub introduced more meal replacement shakes into her diet, and I followed suit by limiting my sugar intake. After a couple months of lifting, watching my diet, and a regimen of supplements, I felt strong.
However, as the deadline approached, I realized that I had neglected to prepare myself emotionally. I am not what most members of the BDSM community would consider a “traditional Dominant”. I don’t bark orders, rule through fear, or humiliate. It is not enough to believe that you should be served; one must strive to show that they are worthy of service. To me, the bondage and sexual elements are only a small part of our relationship. Important, but not as much as the sense of mutual respect and dedication. I wasn’t sure how to convey this to Krista. Photography naturally places an emphasis on the physical realm; it takes real skill to convey true emotion as well.
On the day of the shoot, I settled on a dark suit (yes, a bit cliché but I’m comfortable wearing one) and a simple pair of jeans with a white t-shirt. My sub packed a few suitcases worth of outfits and shoes. From my collection, I picked a few favorites: a double loop flogger, a crop, a nice bullwhip (just for show), handcuffs, manacles, and some stocks that I had made from leopardwood.
I was impressed with Krista’s small but elegant studio, which offered a variety of backgrounds, textures, furniture, and lighting options. I set to rigging up a hook in the ceiling and running some chain while my sub got her make up done in the other room. It was also a great opportunity to talk with Krista about what she was looking for, and how my sub and I usually interact. One thing that I wasn’t comfortable with was the term “scene”. To me, a scene implies something staged, something inherently false. What I do with my sub isn’t acting, it is very real. She suffers because pain brings a sense of tranquility. She suffers because it pleases me. And on very rare occasions, she suffers because her behavior requires it.
It was initially difficult for me to strike a balance between accurately representing our lifestyle and giving Krista some good material to work with. Fortunately, she’s a pro, and was able to work around me while making some suggestions that would yield a better picture. Eventually, I got used to the occasional pause, shifting positions, changing implements and restraints. My sub took it all in stride and provided the emotional element that is so critical to good art. We learned to improvise, and even though it didn’t quite qualify as a real pain session, it was fun. My sub and I left the studio physically and emotionally exhausted, but content.
A few weeks later, we gathered in the studio again for the reveal. Krista presented us with a nice variety of packages, which included choices for an album or pieces of wall art. She had already done a great deal of work, reducing thousands of images down to a hundred or so for us to choose from. This proved to be much harder than I had anticipated, as every one of them was excellent. We opted for a leather-bound album of about 40 pictures, and a gorgeous piece of metallic wall art.
Looking back, I wouldn’t change a thing. The process was physically and emotionally draining, but Krista’s work turned out to be priceless. She was able to capture the true nature of our relationship, from a perspective that I couldn’t have seen any other way. Each photo represents a unique facet of our relationship, for us to reflect on and appreciate as we continue our journey together.