Tessa's Photoshoot

The Boudoir’s Photoshoots are one of the services that we are most proud of and also that we most enjoy doing. I (Jodie Lynn - Owner) team up with my father Mike (Boudoir resident photographer), for the day to create a truly fabulous and memorable occasion and this always results in a set of beautiful photos for the client. One such occasion which we really feel is worth documenting was a recent shoot that we did with Miss Tessa Stevenson. Tessa has been a client at The Boudoir for quite a few years now and we have got to know her very well throughout that time, so I guess you could say that we had a head start as we know her personality, and her likes and dislikes. Tessa had informed me some time before she actually booked that it would be a themed shoot, that the four looks that she had chosen were all very different from each other and that they were all very strong images. I liked the idea of this as some people do tend to play safe with shoots, and just go for the daytime casual look followed by a glamorous evening style. Tessa had put an awful lot of planning into hers and had really thought about the images she wanted to create, the props to use, and the kind of mindsets that she would have to get into to really make the looks seem authentic.

 

I liaised with Tessa quite extensively in the time between her booking and the actual day, and together we came up with a number of props and visual aids that would enhance her shoot. We also had to carefully plan the order of the different styles around her hair!! Tessa has her own shoulder length blonde hair which is in reasonably good condition and she wanted to use it for at least three of the four different photo sets. Because of the extreme difference between the desired images, a hairstyle that was suitable for one may be totally unsuitable for the next look. It is not as easy as just plonking (not that we ever literally plonk, but you know what I mean) a new wig on for a change of appearance.

The first one that Tessa and I decided to do was the 1950s dress. She wore the most beautiful bright pink dress complete with underskirts to give the skirt part of the dress a nice, full appearance. She also had some delicate white lace gloves and a pink headscarf. I added a pair of Chanel sunglasses, a pearl necklace and earrings and a Wire Haired Fox Terrier called Charlie (my parent’s dog). Tessa also had a lovely pair of round-toed pink shoes that were also reminiscent of that era. The hair was put in curlers and set for at least and hour to give it a slightly Marilyn Monroe/actress of the silver screen look. We concentrated on mainly full-length pictures on a white background with a soft pink filter on the lights to give the whole thing a delicate hue. The various props came in and out to give each picture something different. Charlie was added to the equation sporting a pink feather boa as a lead. Both Charlie and Tessa really got into the mindset that was needed to make this look work. Tessa was very soft in her facial expressions (another thing that must be thought of!!), feminine and exuded class and style as a lady from this era would have done. At that point I just knew that this set was going to be stunning.

 Tessa - Pretty in 1950s pink

The look that seemed logical to do next was the Victorian look. We swept Tessa’s hair back into a French pleat with a few curly tendrils falling down at the sides - very neat and formal. She had spent over a year putting this outfit together as it had been made by two different dressmakers. The first gave up the job halfway through and the incomplete outfit was passed onto someone else who finished it off. It was very complicated and consisted of the following parts: A blue over-the-bust corset, a bustle, bloomers, a full length skirt with flounces of netting, a waisted jacket made from a beautiful blue material with gold sleeves, a petticoat, custom made Victorian boots from America, a handbag made from the same material as the jacket and skirt and a Victorian-style parasol bought from eBay. Tessa’s ultimate prop for this shoot was, wait for it... me!! I was dressed in a pair of Victorian-style bloomers, a cream coloured corset and flat ballerina pumps. Tessa quickly got into character, with her as the elegant, well-to-do Victorian Lady of the Manor and with yours truly as the lowly maid!! Again, we concentrated on full-length photos to capture the beauty and workmanship that had gone into this creation. We photographed this outfit in the various stages required to create the final look - firstly, with Tessa in just the bloomers, corset and boots and then eventually with the complete outfit. The parasol was brought in for a few photos and we did a lovely close up with her holding the parasol opened out and over one shoulder. I was brought into the shots that were to look unposed, i.e. me tying the laces of Tessa’s corset or helping her dress with her looking snootily down at me. Tessa had also decided that she would like these pictures printed with faded edges and with a vintage-style sepia tone to make them look even more authentic.

Tessa in Victorian OutfitA Victorian Dressing Service? Tessa in Victorian Outfit (Sepia Version)

The third outfit was a burlesque style affair. I straightened Tessa’s hair with GHD irons to create a really sleek and sophisticated style. Tessa started out in a pencil skirt with a white fitted-shirt and a blue corset over the top of the shirt. She also wore black seamed stockings and classic black stilettos. We did a few shots of this look where the mood was serious and striking before Tessa removed the shirt and skirt to reveal the blue corset, a black satin bra, black ruffled panties, black suspenders, the black seamed stockings and shoes. The mood for these photos was slightly cheekier and a bit naughty. We used the parasol again from the Victorian outfit as a prop in some of the photos and also had Tessa lying on the floor on a giant leopard print rug in various poses in others. Yet again a hugely different and very strong image that was completely different from the previous two.

Tessa loves Dita von Teese you know!Burlesque Beauty

Tessa awaits John Steed

The last look that we did was the Emma Peel leather catsuit creation. Again, this was an outfit that had been custom made for Tessa and fitted her beautifully. The only props for this look were a cat o’nine tails leather whip and my beautiful Siamese cat, Spike. We decided that Tessa’s own hair really had been through enough for one day so we decided to see how she looked with a wig that was a complete change from her usual hair colour and style. I opted for a dark, shoulder length wig with a slight curl and fringe. It looked amazing and totally transformed her face into a completely different person. Tessa loved it too and gave me the go ahead to style it for the last set of photos. The emphasis here was on shape and the strength of character that needs to come across to carry this whole look off. Tessa being the great actress that she is, very quickly got into character and the final set were just as successful as the previous three. We added Spike for just one photo as he loves posing on his own but hates to share the limelight with anyone else. He gets edgy if he is held by someone against his will for too long. So the final take was the stunning catsuited lady with the most beautiful cat in the world….a striking combination.

The catsuited Tessa with the catsuited Spike!

The reason why I wanted to feature this photoshoot in depth on my website is because I hope not only will it inspire others to take the plunge and book a shoot themselves, but also I wanted those that are thinking about them to see how much planning and thinking Tessa put in before she even arrived at The Boudoir. It’s not just about the clothes; it’s also about the mindset, the acting, the getting into the role and the making it real. The planning and the gathering of props beforehand are also very important. I also want people to maybe think outside of just glamourous evening looks, and realise that the fantasy look that they had always admired need not just be a fantasy. It can be immortalised in a photoshoot and you will have great pictures to enjoy forever. Well done Tessa on being so very, very clever and I am so thrilled that your shoot was exactly how you wanted it to be!!

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