Last updated on January 4, 2023
A few years ago, I took advantage of a Groupon deal to try out a boudoir shoot. I wanted to improve my self-confidence and thought that seeing myself through someone else’s eyes might help. It was a nice experience, and it did what I’d hoped. We still have some of those photos on the wall in our bedroom.
That shoot led me to research boudoir photographers on Instagram, which is how I found Trevor of Provocateur Images. His posts caught my eye. They’re gorgeous! I especially liked seeing that he’s size-inclusive and LGBTQIA+ friendly. And, while it didn’t apply to me, he takes great couples shots.
But, he’s in Toronto. A bit far to travel for a photo shoot. Jim, though, came up with a fabulous idea to combine a trip for the photo shoot with a trip for Scriptus. Brilliant man.
So, we booked a trip for October 2020. And then the world exploded. Thankfully, Trevor allowed me to put my shoot on hold until things got back to normal.
This past May — I think — I got a reminder to re-book my shoot. Thankfully, Scriptus was due to happen again this year — after a two-year hiatus — so we scheduled the same trip to Toronto we’d planned two years ago. My shoot was scheduled for October 29.
About a week before it, I had a Zoom call with Trevor to go over my wardrobe and discuss hair and makeup preferences. I’ll keep my wardrobe to myself — for now. I decided to go with my natural curls and was open to any makeup that would go with red lipstick.
When the day finally arrived, I was nervous. Despite having had a previous boudoir shoot, I wasn’t entirely certain what to expect. The previous photographer was female, no one was allowed to join me — even for moral support — and I did my makeup myself.
This time, my photographer would be male, Jim would be coming with me, and someone else would be doing my makeup.
But I was also excited. Trevor’s photos on Instagram are exquisite, and I looked forward to seeing myself through his lens.
Nikki, who did my makeup, played up my eyes. She gave me a dark, smokey look that made them pop, even with the red lipstick. To be honest, though, I was a bit uncertain about the look to start. It was far more makeup than I’ve ever worn. And, when just looking at myself in the mirror, I felt over-the-top ridiculous.
However, Nikki put me at ease by taking a couple of quick photos on her phone. The difference between looking at myself in the mirror and a photo was nearly unbelievable. I’ve worn stage makeup before, I know how overdone it has to be. And I know that YouTubers often mention how much their lighting setups change how their makeup looks. But, wow! I’d never realized just how different makeup can look.
Makeup done, it was time for the shoot. I changed into my first outfit and, with butterflies in my stomach, made my way onto “set.” The photography studio is divided into two — I’m doing my best to remember, but the layout wasn’t exactly the focus of my attention that day. Two-thirds is comprised of Trevor’s various sets — bed, brick wall, red wall, blue wall, and green wall — and the remaining third is a waiting area with a small changing room, seating area, table with chairs, and a vanity for makeup work. Jim stayed in that waiting area so that the photos would be a surprise later.
From the moment I walked in the door, Trevor put me completely at ease. He’s lighthearted and friendly, with a perfect mix of fun and professional. As he shows in a recent Instagram reel, he gives you directions every step of the way. He explains the reasoning behind certain poses or actions and gives demonstrations as necessary.
Trevor is also very detail-oriented, stopping anytime something isn’t perfect. I’d planned to have my glasses on throughout the shoot, but, the building windows weren’t UV treated, so my lenses darkened. Trevor had me take them off when we were near the windows so that my eyes could show. At another point, he was getting a glare he didn’t like and moved walls and light blockers around until it was eliminated.
I had so much fun working with him. Trevor knows precisely how to be encouraging, making you feel powerful and sexy without ever approaching the “creepy” line. I imagine that’s an easy line to toe, or even cross, with opposing gender photographer/subject shoots. But, while I felt bolstered and appreciated, I was also completely comfortable.
Somehow, Trevor sees your inner beauty and coaxes it out, capturing what you didn’t even know was there. As we made our way through his sets and my outfits, his uplifting encouragement had me forgetting any self-consciousness I felt over my outfits. I could just focus on nailing poses and having fun.
I was disappointed when my time was up, because I’d been having so much fun. But, before I jump to the photos, I want to share Jim’s perspective of the shoot.
The Experience as a Not-Quite-Spectator
Guest-written by Jim Crawford
I originally planned to hang out in a coffee shop while Rachel had her photoshoot. When she asked me to come with her at the last minute, I said yes.
I’m so grateful that I tagged along.
I didn’t participate in the shoot or even watch it. I hung out in the kitchen/staging area, chatting with the makeup artist. Nikki, by the way, is a wonderful person, and very skilled.
While Nikki and I talked, I had half an ear trained on Rachel and Trevor. I was struck by how involved he was in the process.
There’s a preconceived notion of what an artist-photographer is: a stuck-up person who orders you around to create THEIR masterpiece, not yours. That is 180 degrees from Trevor’s approach. He coached Rachel, commented, joked, laughed, and totally invested himself in HER art… bringing out her beauty in a way you don’t see every day.
Having looked at the photos around the studio, I had a feel for Trevor’s aesthetic, but I wasn’t prepared for the sample photo he showed me. I nearly fell over. The image on Trevor’s camera distilled everything I love about my wife and presented it (literally) through a different lens.
He captured her physical beauty, inner strength, humor, and the power of her personality, in a VERY sexy way… a very, very sexy way. And that sums up every photo he showed us when we met to choose images for the collection. That session was almost as fun as the shoot, because Trevor was still about Rachel and her experience (and mine). He was not there to sell, he was there to collaborate, and guide when we wanted him to.
My takeaway from the experience is simple but important. I like him and I trust him as a professional artist, and as a person. He knows his business and he cares about his clients. He is worth the money not only for the quality of his work but for the pleasure of hanging out with him and enjoying how much he loves what he does.
And now back to your regularly scheduled writer.
A couple of days after the shoot, I received my sneek peek photo. All I can say is “damn.” I’m a lot more self confident than I used to be; there are days I know I look damn good. But this was on another level. I had a hard time waiting patiently for my ordering session. And I know Jim was equally eager.
Trevor’s photos did not disappoint. It may sound hard to believe, but, when Trevor shared his screen, it took me a few moments to realize that I was looking at myself. That first photo made me look so glamorous! The others, as Trevor walked us through them, ranged from glamorous, to playful, to sexy.
Beyond making me look awesome, I particularly enjoyed the lighting and composition in the shots. Trevor certainly has an amazing eye.
My ordering session was pretty cool, as Trevor has an app that lays out photos in a book and allows instant updates. So, he removed and reordered images in real time as we went through them.
I ended up ordering a book with 46 images and a framed photo to add to our wall. Those are expected to arrive around Christmas/New Year, depending on holiday delays for international shipping. Trevor sent me the digital versions of the images the day after my ordering session.
Like with the images from my previous boudoir shoot, I’m going to keep these on my phone. They’re an excellent pick-me-up for days I’m not feeling so great about my body.
I can’t recommend Trevor/Provocateur Images highly enough. While I thought my “budget” shoot three years ago was good, this one blew it out of the water. It showed me how worthwhile it is to choose a great photographer.
It is a luxury experience, so you’re looking at a decent outlay of money. But, if it’s something you can afford, it’s so worth it. Trevor doesn’t photoshop his images like they’re going into a magazine, so your final results show you how good you can actually look. You get to see yourself as others do, and that can be eye-opening and uplifting. I just hope Trevor is aware of the non-monetary value of the magic he works.
Thanks for reading to the end, I hope you enjoyed my post. Have you ever had a boudoir shoot? Would you like to have one? Let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear from you.