Breaking the Myth of the Ideal Boudoir Client [NSFW]

Breaking the Myth of the Ideal Boudoir Client [NSFW]

A common misconception is that boudoir is for younger women. I have heard prospective clients think it is only for brides, for newlyweds, or for 20-somethings. A boudoir photographer in New Jersey is working to bring light to all the clients 50 and older who book sessions. 

Cate Scaglione of Life as Fine Art has built a thriving studio serving the mature client, the 50-plus woman: "They are among my favorite clients to work with. I even teach and mentor other photographers about serving this amazing group of women," Scaglione writes. She believes that today's mature woman is not like those of past decades. Scaglione says: "she is young-minded and with a lifestyle very different than I’d remember my grandmother at that same age".


Today's 50-plus generation are from Generation X. This generation marked with a bit of rebellion, independent, and self-sufficient. Scaglione feels this generation values freedom and responsibility in the workplace. They are women with established careers and know how to work hard so they can play hard. 

To Scaglione, this is an ideal clientele. This client is not afraid to show who she is and values rewarding herself as well. This client has a baseline of confidence with "enough life experience to back up their strength," she says. Marketing to this audience is usually through Google search, a steady Facebook presence, and a strong referral program among the 50-plus clients. These clients tend to be her highest-investing clients, choosing albums and wall art for display. This client, she says, confidently appreciates themselves as art.

She feels this generation seem to be more fit than ever. They value body positivity and fitness regardless of shape or size. With their children raised, they focus on their self-esteem and health. She says this age range values authenticity rather than those younger requesting a heavier editing process. 

Photographers have contacted Scaglione on how she does so well with this client segment and how she shoots or markets differently. She said, like all women, they want to feel beautiful and desirable: "But it’s different: they want to know that they can still look desirable without looking overtly sexual (most of the time) while still maintaining their realistic looks." She admits this is an observation and not a a generalization by any means. She finds their quality standards high in terms of service and experience at the studio. They require full disclosures about the process and updates. However, they are very easy-going about body positivity and their realistic expectations on business polices and retouching. 

When it comes to photographing, she says that flattering light and posing is essential. "While flat, head-on lighting is a chosen preference among many beauty and boudoir photographers, I often find that this gives my mature clients a rounder, fleshier look with less definition" she writes. She feels sharper lines give them a more angular and less flattering look. Her goal is to help them see the tonality of their bodies and contours while minimizing lines. To achieve this, she prefers natural diffused window lighting that offers a softer quality. She exposes for shadows, so the highlights are a bit heavier to achieve the fill-in on skin. 

When is comes to posing, she considers age and fitness level in how she works with her clients. She gauges flexibility early on in the session, checking on back arching and balance in heels. It helps her determine how she can pose without making the clients feel as if they have failed the pose. She admits some younger clients cannot achieve the flexibility of her older clients, so it is something she does with all age ranges. She is very mindful of how gravity works with age, so she is careful with laying poses to accentuate the body. She works with supportive lingerie or uses standing poses as well to flatter the body. 

All image with permission and courtesy of Cate Scaglione 

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18 Comments

Alex Cooke's picture

I absolutely love this.

Rob Mitchell's picture

Lovely images and article.

(If that’s NSFW, I’d find another job.)

You must not understand what NSFW means... This is indeed NSFW

Rob Mitchell's picture

Not Safe For Work?
And as I said, if that’s NSFW, I’d find another job.

I agree... this is pretty tame stuff for sure. But in today's world people seem to get bent out of shape over nothing.

Rob Mitchell's picture

Thankfully, Not my world.

Ben Bezuidenhout's picture

Small stats to follow:
How many wives will be content that their husbands do boudoir photos? How many husbands will want their wifes doing a boudoir shoot with a man?

C Fisher's picture

If you're in a mature committed relationship it shouldn't be a problem. It's just like any other workplace.

Anete Lusina's picture

Why wouldn't husbands want to treat their wives to a beautiful boudoir session?

Ben Bezuidenhout's picture

They would prefer a women Photographer.

Marko Medić's picture

I got double personality, so, as a man, i'm happy to see my wife doin boudoir in front of my other me - photographer :-)

Alec Kinnear's picture

Are we talking about a boudoir shoot with a gigolo holding a camera or with a photographer? More seriously, depends on the reputation of the photographer. Surely 50+ women know how to take care of themselves at this point and any trouble they get in is probably at their own instigation.

Ian Oliver's picture

Ben, that can be an issue. I know several psychologists who do pre-marital and post-marriage counseling. Something that has cropped up as a major issue in just the past 5 years is if she has sent nude sexts to other guys (prior to meeting/dating current guy). Many guys are bothered, some a lot, by other guys having nude photos of their soon to be or current wife. So yes, it's an issue.

That said, I think that there is a huge difference in her sexting nude photos to a BF or some other guy and having professional photos taken. The first is quite intimate, the latter professional and artistic. Many guys do seem to recognize this.

I'm an older male and occasionally shoot boudoir and nudes. This is an issue I always bring up with perspective clients because I do not want this to be an issue in their relationship. I want to make sure that if she has a significant other that he will be OK with it. Some guys are, some are not. Neither is right or wrong and I understand if he's uncomfortable with it. I know a couple of female photogs as well as a terrific wife+husband team that I can recommend them to if SO will be uncomfortable with me shooting her.

Ansel Spear's picture

A genre that I've always considered rather sleazy.

David Stephen Kalonick's picture

Really? Not judging, just wondering. Are you religious or conservative?

Ansel Spear's picture

Neither. In the 60/70s it always seemed to be the 'dirty mac' brigade who joined the local amateur photographic groups so that they could oggle at scantily clad women in the name of art.

That image has remained with me.

David Stephen Kalonick's picture

True, but you're lumping in the majority of people that aren't. So that's shitty for those that create a fun/sexy product for those that want it for themselves​/loved ones etc.

Stas Aleksandersson's picture

Not safe for work. While I understand that it’s implied that looking at women half dressed while working is not so cool, but isn’t any article not safe for work. I mean you should be working and not reading articles online.