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The Adventures of Beyond Boudoir!

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Can you teach me photography skills?

December 16, 2023

Can You Teach Me Photography Skills?


Quite a few people have contacted me for assistance after they've purchased a nice camera they don't know how to use. Others have asked me to tell them which camera to buy that will allow them to create photos like mine.

I like the idea of passing along my knowledge. I've actually tried teaching photography skills to several people, but it has never worked out very well. The reason is that none have been willing to put in the necessary time and stick to an organized learning plan. When I started explaining the basic principles they'd need to learn, their eyes glazed over.  High level photography is a lot more complex than most people realize.  Maybe we are spoiled by plug and play technology that makes complex things appear easy.

Everyone I've tried to teach thinks I can show them a few tricks or hacks that will suddenly make them a good photographer. Sadly, it doesn't work that way. It takes years and hundreds of hours. It can also eat money, as you will want to buy more and more gear.

Learning to take good photos with a good interchangeable-lens camera is a lot like learning to play a musical instrument. It takes a lot of time and practice. It helps to be a little obsessed.

For most people, it's better to take pictures with their phones or low end consumer cameras that make all the technical decisions for you. If you have already purchased an expensive, interchangeable-lens camera, you can simply leave it set on "AUTO." It will produce images roughly similar to what you get with a phone, but you'll look like a serious photographer!

If you do have the drive to really learn photography and prefer self-directed learning, you can find everything you need to know on YouTube. Just remember to start with the basics before you try to learn pro-level techniques.

You can also find many video series for sale that will start at the beginning and take you through the whole process at your own speed. If you would do better with a teacher to keep you on the best learning path, I suggest an actual photography class at a community college or local photography organization.

Hopefully this little message will help someone avoid disappointment and wasted energy.

Take Care,

Dr. Mike


My May 2023 Road Trip to Phoenix

October 29, 2023  •  Leave a Comment

My May 2023 Road Trip to Phoenix & Vegas

Dear Friends,

The summer of 2023 was incredibly busy for me and I've neglected my blog posts for the last four months.  Time to catch up!  

My May road trip to Phoenix and Vegas turned out well.  I did several great shoots with pro models to create photosets for my Bentbox sales.  I also did a couple of private shoots which of course I can't say much about because they are private!

Here are pix of some of the models I worked with.  If you'd like to see more of them, you'll need to hop over to my Bentbox page and take a look at the huge photosets which I've published for sale there.











































Should We Have our Erotic Photoshoot In the Photo Studio or a Hotel Room?

March 21, 2023

Should We have our erotic photoshoot in the photo studio or in a hotel room?

Updated: March 22, 2023

That is the question I am frequently asked by out-of-town couples who are seeking an erotic couple's photoshoot.

In order to decide which is best, I often have to exchange a few emails with potential clients.  So to save time I've created this blog post to help you decide for yourself.  You can still ask me questions, of course!

Before we start, let me remind those who live in the Portland region that I do make house calls.  If you have a nice bedroom at your place and a few hours of privacy, that may be your best option.   Now, on to the main question.

My studio offers certain advantages, so let's discuss that first.  

The studio allows us to control the light and the background which allows us greater freedom to create certain classic artistic looks that affect the feel of the photos.   For example, we can use strong lighting and a white backdrop to create what is called a "high key" image, like this one:

I like using the high key technique for models with dark skin or dark hair.  Pale models tend to look a bit lost, so I will often pose them against a black backdrop like this:

There are many lighting options in the studio, such as backlighting to highlight the smoke in this photo:

Some people don't like photos posed in front of fabric backdrops.  They'd rather see the model (or themselves) in a real room, so the photo seems more real to them.  In that case, I don't put up a fabric backdrop at all.  The end of my studio often has interesting objects which are rendered slightly out of focus to help give a sense of depth and reality.


My studio has another window in addition to the one you see above.  This one faces South, which gives us a number of fun options with natural sunlight.  If the day is sunny, the blinds can be adjusted to give interesting striped shadows like this:


I can also pose my subject very close to the window to take advantage of the soft natural daylight.  This works best on cloudy days.

I could go on forever about this, but I think it's time to point out the most important thing the studio lacks -  a bed!  That may not be a big problem for a solo shoot, but for couples who want to get intimate, it's a serious limitation.

That's why I've gotten very good at shooting in vacation rental homes and hotel rooms.  This hotel shot was lit with two Godox AD200 portable strobe units using soft light diffusers called "shoot through" umbrellas.

I have had very good results shooting in larger vacation rental homes.  Avoid the little apartments and single rooms, you want a full size house.  Here are a few examples: 

I really can't create these exact looks in my studio, because the settings are unique.

In the last couple of years, I've upgraded my portable lighting system to the point that I can essentially duplicate my sophisticated studio lighting effects in any indoor location.  I also like to shoot during the day to take advantage of flattering window light, if there is any.

So the choice is yours!  It depends on what activities you wish to do in front of the camera and what kind of look you want.  My experience suggests that in general, solo shoots work a little better in the studio and intimate couple's shoots are best done in an upscale Airbnb home or their own home.

Whatever you choose, I will make sure you get great photos to give to your lover or to create archival evidence of your passion for each other.  Use the contact form or email me at:  [email protected]  to schedule your own private photoshoot.


This Is The Original Beyond Boudoir Photo

March 17, 2023


Yes, This is the Original Beyond Boudoir Photo

Beware of Imitators!


I've been doing nude photography for roughly a quarter century and first started using the name "Beyond Boudoir Photo" in 2009.   I started my profile on Model Mayhem on March 12, 2010 and registered this URL shortly thereafter.


One thing I liked about the name BeyondBoudoirPhoto.com was that nobody else was using anything close.  A few years later, I saw that one fellow was using "BetterThanBoudoir" which I thought was funny.  But time marches on and now a simple web search will find many websites that include the words Beyond Boudoir.   I suppose I should be flattered at the imitation!


Back in 2010 I learned all about search engine optimization and made sure to include the phrase "erotic couples photoshoot" on several of my site's pages.  It worked surprisingly well.  When I searched on that phrase or Beyond Boudoir, my site would come up as the first three or four choices on Google.


Today, those searches will turn up a number of imitators.  Some of them are apparently paying Google Ads to give them preferential placement.  I've decided not to do that.  I'd rather rely on the images and information I offer on this site to attract clients.    


If you feel confused about why so many photographers are using Beyond Boudoir in their business name, the explanation is simple.  They are simply imitating the original concept and hoping you won't notice.


To contact me, please use the contact link at the top of every page and follow the instructions you will find there.


Thanks for reading!






How and Why I Interview My Clients

February 18, 2023  •  Leave a Comment


How and Why I Interview My Clients Before a Private Erotic Photoshoot


My Friends!

I'm not a very active blogger when the weather is nice, but here in the Pacific Northwest, Winter is made for staying indoors and catching up on your writing and reading.  It's pretty gloomy outside today, so it's a good time for me to talk about another aspect of my private photoshoots.   Read on after the sexy photo!



When doing private erotic photoshoots, my goal isn't just to create pretty pictures.  I want to photograph activities, expressions and interactions that capture the erotic spirit of my clients.  One important element in this process is talking to the client(s) before the shoot to learn about their relationship and their sexuality. I also ask questions to determine how best to deliver the images to them in a way that meets their expectations.


I love being able to meet clients for coffee and have a nice chat a day or more before their photoshoot, but that isn't always possible.  Often my clients are on a tight schedule and prefer to dispense with the pre-shoot meetup.  So I've learned to condense my interview into about a ten minute discussion in the studio.  In order to do that I've had to make a mental list of the important questions I need to ask.  These will vary between couple's shoots and solo shoots.  To give you a rough idea of how it works, here are some typical questions in no particular order:


Who is the intended audience for the photos?

This usually comes down to the gender of the person who's expected to view the photos.  If a woman is creating images for her man, I'm more likely to use my "men's magazine" style of photography.  If a straight man is creating photos for his woman or let's say for dating sites, I will try to build images that spark a favorable response in women.


How do the two partners interact sexually?

Starting at the most basic level, who is the sexually dominant partner and who is submissive?  Obviously that will affect how I pose client(s).


What are your favorite sexual acts?

This one is pretty obvious.  If a couple really loves a particular form of sex play, that can be the centerpiece or climax (pun intended) of the shoot.


Do you or the intended viewer(s) have any fetishes that are important to you?

For example, if someone wants dating photos to find partners interested in a particular fetish, we'd want to build that fetish into the shoot in some way.


Will you be viewing the photos on screens or will you make prints?

This will affect how I format the photos into their final JPG form for the client.  It can also affect how I compose the photos both in the camera and in post-processing.  FYI: very few people make prints of their intimate photos these days.


Do you want me to cull all the unflattering photos so you don't have to see them, or do you want me to send almost all the photos and let you decide?

This depends a lot on how comfortable folks are with their own body.  


How do you wish to receive your photos?

Usually I send edited photos via Google Drive or a similar file sharing service.  However, some clients have high level privacy concerns and prefer that I hand them the memory card at the end of the shoot.  If I'm not going to have a chance to edit the images, I will try to shoot in such a way that less editing will be needed.


Private Shoots vs Shoots With Pro Models

February 16, 2023  •  Leave a Comment


My Private Shoots vs My Shoots With Pro Models

One thing about my work can be a bit confusing for potential clients when they first discover me.  As you probably know, my art has two branches.  My core mission is to provide totally private, intimate photoshoots to paying clients, mostly erotic couples photoshoots, but singles too.  Since the images are private, I usually can't put them in my portfolio for you to see.   That would defeat the purpose of a private shoot!


My secondary gig involves doing sexy shoots with pro models to create photosets that I sell online.  These shoots are a great way to keep my skills sharp.  Since I'm usually paying the model by the hour, I'm under time pressure and have to deal quickly with surprises like equipment problems or sudden bursts of creativity.  This kind of experience allows me to give my full attention to my private clients and keep the shoot energy flowing without interruption.  No matter what surprises are thrown at me, I always complete the shoot with lots of great photos.


Another big benefit of my model shoots is that I own those images and can include them in my portfolio for potential clients to see when you visit my website.


One of the minor benefits is that I get to test out new equipment and techniques with models that I wouldn't want to try with paying clients.


I like to think of my model shoots like the kind of practice a musician does between concerts.  The time spent practicing is greater than the time spent performing, but you can't have one without the other.


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Yes, I finally raised my private erotic photoshoot rates - here's why.

January 23, 2023  •  Leave a Comment

Yes, I finally raised my private erotic photoshoot rates - here's why!


My friends!  Many of you have been telling me for a long time that I'm not charging enough for my private erotic photoshoots.  I did appreciate all the nice things you said about me, including my ability to produce a large number of near-perfect photos within three days.  I'm very proud of my technical skills.


But it's that other thing I had a hard time internalizing.  You've all told me how I have a gift for making naked and nervous people feel comfortable and encouraging them to act out their fantasies.  And you like the way I "interview" my clients before the shoot in order to understand what kind of style and poses will create images they will love.  I guess I didn't understand how special that is until recently.  Many of my clients have told me stories about other "erotic boudoir" photographers who wouldn't shoot what the client wanted, made them feel uncomfortable, or the finished images just weren't very good.  


I recently did a hotel shoot for a really nice couple who had a great time and loved the large number of photos they received.  By the time we finished the shoot we felt like old friends, so they told me about another erotic couple's shoot they'd done last year in Las Vegas.  They described the young female photographer who came to their hotel room as being detached and not willing to interact with them.  After the shoot, they received a relatively small number of photos that were not of the quality they wanted.  To top it off, the photographer's fee was about $2,000.  They said I need to be charging a LOT more for my services.


That's what started me thinking hard about my rates.  So I began to look around at other photographer's websites and quickly realized that I should probably be charging more.  I continued to think about this until I happened to watch a video by a wedding photographer I follow on YouTube, Katelyn James,  who advises other photographers. I like her because she uses the same camera that I do and wedding photography is similar in many ways to my work.


Katelyn said two things that hit home for me.  She said that if your rates are too low compared to other similar photographers, people will think there is something wrong and avoid you. She also said that if your clients tell you that you aren't charging enough, you need to listen.  That is a very strong signal that your rates are too low.


So the evidence has finally piled up to the point where I am ready to raise my rates.  I realize that I have a unique service to offer.  The combination of my technical skills and easygoing, reassuring personality are very rare in this small niche market.  Another thing to consider is that I've been keeping client's images private for over a decade. I don't know of anyone else in this field who can say that.   It's time.


Thanks for all your support!  If we have already talked about doing a shoot at my old rates, you are grandfathered in, so just remind me please.

Famous model St. Merrique, playing pool on red satin.Famous model St. Merrique, playing pool on red satin.




Instagram Sucks For Photographers

July 04, 2022  •  Leave a Comment


Why Instagram Sucks for Photographers and Models



Once upon a time, all models and photographers who did nude work could be found on a website called Model Mayhem.  It was designed from the ground up to help these two groups find each other and arrange photoshoots that would benefit them both.  Each subscriber filled out a profile that stated their location and what kind of work they were interested in.  There were many boxes you could click, or not, to indicate your preferences for nude work, paid or trade work, artistic genres and other factors.  Models could enter their age, measurements, hair color, eye color, ethnicity and lots more.  Effective search functions allowed people to find each other.  


If you were travelling to another area, you could post something called a "travel notice" that would alert subscribers in that area.   If you were looking for gigs in your home area you could post something called an "availability notice" that would be visible to anyone who wished to check.


Both photographers and models could post lots of fully nude photos.  Paying for a higher level subscription allowed you to post more as well as giving you more extensive search functions.


Model Mayhem gave a huge boost to the nude photography genre.  It's appearance on the scene coincided with the rise of digital photography, so you no longer needed a photo lab to process your nude images.   Most of the photographers on MM were hobbyists, I believe, but most models were paid to pose.  MM also included lively discussion forums which allowed a nude photography culture to develop.  This helped to standardize customs and useful terminology.  A new species of model quickly evolved, the travelling nude model, who would go on tour around the country from paid gig to paid gig.



At this point you may be wondering why a blog post about Instagram starts with a description of Model Mayhem.  Sadly, Model Mayhem has been slowly declining as a useful platform for several years, and most of the models have migrated to Instagram and other modern social media platforms.  The reasons for the decline of MM are too complex for this discussion, so let me move on to Instagram, or IG as I will call it.


The biggest problem with IG is that it was never designed as a platform for models and photographers to mingle.  When I as a photographer see a profile of someone who looks like they might be a model, I often can't tell for sure if they are interested in modeling or if they are just posting nice pix to impress their friends.  Usually, I have to reach out and risk angering them by asking if they are a (nude) model or perhaps a nude dancer who might be interested in modeling as a side gig.


In some cases, a profile will make it clear that the individual is a model, but it will leave out other important information.  Many models don't include their city, their age or their genre preferences.  Very few include such things as their measurements, their nudity limits, their modeling rates and other important details that were commonly available on MM.  IG offers only a very superficial look at potential models and the same is true when models are looking for photographers.   It's up to you to strike up a conversation and ferret out the needed details.  Of course most IG subscribers are using their phones, so long messages are unpopular.  You need to keep them short and to the point.  Even then, it's easy to have misunderstandings, especially when chatting with inexperienced models.


One thing you can count on is that models on IG who have an OnlyFans account will always include a link!  That is good to know since I like to offer content-trade shoots to OnlyFans models.  It also strongly suggests that they won't be horrified if I ask them about their possible interest in nude modeling.


Let's move on to the next reason that Instagram sucks.  It's the way that IG forces people to post photos that conform to their limited choices of aspect ratios.  The biggest complaint is with vertically cropped photos, which are a high percentage of nude images, like the example below:



IG has forced photographers to change their artistic style to conform to the demands of the platform. That sucks. Supposedly the 9x16 vertical format will be allowed soon and it will be a huge help.  Long horizontal crops, like the one below, are displayed as very small images on most people's screens.  You have to keep your images close to square for them to be seen as you intended.



Instagram also sucks compared to MM in the good old days, because models can't post nude pix.  This is a very real problem for nude photographers, because you need to know what a model looks like nude before you agree to pay her for a shoot.  If you have to ask a model to provide nude photos it tends to make you look like a creep - that is not fun.



The last reason I will mention is the very poorly managed censorship of photos.  This task is performed by some kind of bot(s) governed by "The Algorithm."   It's not unreasonable to expect a social media platform to censor images with nudity.  The problem is that the definition of nudity is tricky and The Algorithm is unstable.  I think the programmers tweak it whenever subscribers have figured out exactly what is allowed and what isn't.  This has resulted in many viable IG accounts being terminated by The Algorithm.  For reasons I don't fully understand, this affects nude models a lot more than photographers.  Practically every model I work with mentions that her IG account got deleted at [tens of thousands] of followers.


All that being said, IG is currently an important way for me to find models.  Sadly, it takes an insane amount of time and it forces me to distort my artistic style when I choose which photos to post.  The fact that I have to trade messages with people who may not be comfortable with nude modeling creates stress.  Trying to arrange a successful shoot with a model who doesn't know the relevant terminology is also time consuming and stressful.


Fortunately I also do private shoots for paying clients and that helps keep me sane.


One of the ways I deal with the suck we call Instagram is to use the one and only link you are allowed to include in your profile.  I have it pointing to a page on my own website which is optimized for models coming from IG.  They quickly get a good idea of my style and how I operate.   If it weren't for that, IG would be unusable for me.


I will include a few photos here from my recent expedition to Tacoma where I did seven shoots with local models in an amazing house.  The results will be showing up on my Bentbox page over the next few weeks.


@Lola123blush dropped in for a baby bump shoot@Lola123blush dropped in for a baby bump shoot@Lola123blush dropped in for a baby bump shoot



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