FINDING YOUR VOICE IN BOUDOIR
For Los Angeles photographer Cherie Steinberg, who, with partner Hedley Jones, owns CherieFoto and The Boudoir Cafe, the increased interest
in boudoir has been a big boon to business. Says
Steinberg, “I started shooting boudoir 20 years ago but
at the time there was no name for what I was doing.
Some people called it glamour, some called it pin-up,
some called it fine-art nude, but no one understood
the term 'boudoir.' Naming boudoir as an art form has
allowed people to connect with it, and that’s been a
huge part of bringing it to the mainstream.”
Success, for Steinberg and Jones, has come from
honing their artistic style and creating a dynamic
team of photographers and business associates
that help to support their boudoir business. As the
lead photographers for The Boudoir Cafe, they
create one-of-a kind photographs that range from
sultry minimalist images in black and white to totally
outside-the-box photos of women with wings, masks
and stiletto heels. Says Steinberg, “We just want to
make images that look amazing and work with people
who vibe with what we do, so that they will trust us to
play in whatever way we see fit.”
Steinberg's clients are generally women in their late
20s to early 40s who feel confident about their looks
and want to document how beautiful they are—mainly
actresses, models and professionals. They often come
in with their own clothing and The Boudoir Cafe team
designs their hair, makeup and accessories for each
look, adding props and jewelry as inspiration takes over.
Employing every kind of lighting imaginable, including
flashes, gobos, bounces and even flashlights, Steinberg
and Jones (who shoot mainly with a Nikon D750 and
85mm f/1.4, 50mm f/1.4 and 24-70mm lenses) tend
to use classic posing techniques—like positioning the
hands to be relaxed, moving the head forward and
down to eliminate wrinkles in the neck, and placing the
hips to create an hourglass figure—but many of their
clients come in with their own poses in mind as well.
Albums, prints and carefully sourced, personalized
products make up a big part of their profit, though
Steinberg admits she isn't that into sales, so she has a
kind, thoughtful salesperson on staff who guides clients
through the product offerings, including large prints with
custom frames, lacquered wall art and an array of album
styles from five different outsourced companies.
TOP: Steinberg lights her client with a ProFoto
Monolight in back and a large umbrella and reflector
in the front using her 24-70mm lens.
BOTTOM: Capturing the allure of a masked woman,
using natural window light and an 85mm lens.
"Practice until you perfect your craft so you
play in the moment. Having fun with your clients
and being spontaneous is how the magic happens."