Holly Randall says she entered her photography career in a “Suze bubble.” The daughter of renowned erotic photographer, Suze Randall, Holly may have entered the vocation at the top, but spend a short while chatting with her or perusing her work and you’ll see that while her mother’s reputation may have opened doors, her passion, talent and skill would’ve undoubtedly made her a success regardless. (You can find her site, which features lots of sultry nudes, here.)
I had the pleasure of interviewing Holly for a second time last week on Girl Boner Radio. We explored her unique childhood, what she looks for in models, tips for taking your best sexy photos, her new podcast Holly Randall Unfiltered and more! I especially loved what she shared about working with women in the industry, which has also been influenced by her upbringing:
My parents are very much about thinking for yourself and making your own decisions and not letting people bully you into doing things you don’t want to do… We kind of take that idea into our work, where we believe that people should always do what makes them feel comfortable and not be bullied into a scene they don’t want to do or doing a shoot they don’t want to do. It’s very important to us that women feel empowered, that they feel safe and that they feel good about the kind of work they’re doing with us.”
3 Tips for a Sexy and Safe Erotic Photoshoot
1. Work with a professional photographer.
There’s a huge difference between sleazy or predatory photographers and true pros who take their work seriously as an art form and respect clients and models.
“There are definitely predatory photographers out there, but I think that if somebody is a professional and they’ve been doing it for a while, their work probably speaks of their level of professionalism,” said Holly. “If you’re a predatory photographer or a creepy guy, you’re not going to get very far, because the modeling industry is a small one, and girls talk….It’s going to get around and girls aren’t going to want to work with you.”
Does the photographer have a professional website and portfolio? How long have they been working? If the information isn’t easily accessible or the person denies you the info, that’s a red flag. I’d also make sure you on the same page as far as rights to the photos. Will they share them? Would you rather they don’t? Will you own them in full? Work these details out in advance. A signed agreement is wise, too.
2. Ask for referrals.
If you’re not sure whether a photographer is legit and wonderful to work with, talk to their models or clients. And don’t be afraid to ask for referrals. When Holly approaches a potential model for a shoot and they don’t recognize her, she offers them referrals.
“I don’t even choose the referrals specifically because it’s easy to choose people who are going to say nice things about you,” she said. “I say, ‘Look. You can contact anybody I’ve shot and ask them about their experience was and I’m pretty confident you’re going to get a positive response, because I try to treat all of my models with respect and make sure that they have a good experience.”
Any photographer who criticizes you for asking or refuses to help out probably isn’t worth your time, trust or energy.
3. Focus on what makes you feel sexy and confident.
Leading up to the shoot, make healthy choices—and we’re not talking about starving yourself, which is the opposite of healthy. Aim to sleep well, eat foods that nourish you, exercise for energy and take deep breaths to stay relaxed as you warm up into the shoot once it happens.
“I shot a model who was PMSing, so she was bloated anyway, then she decided to gorge on a hamburger the night before,” said Holly. “So she showed up to set the next day kind of bloated and she was so self-conscious about it all day.”
Self-consciousness is a surefire way to less sexy, so do what feels great to you. If you’re concerned about certain body areas, Holly suggests choosing wardrobe pieces that conceal them while bringing light to those you’re inclined to celebrate. Your comfort and ease matter most, as Dr. Megan Fleming pointed out, and make for the most stunning photos.