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Marilyn Scavo Interviewed: Capturing Beauty and Empowerment

Updated: Jul 8, 2023

Marilyn Scavo, the talented owner of Boudoir Photo Pros in Miami. In this photographer interview, we learn more about her unique approach to photography, focusing on capturing stunning boudoir subjects while infusing her work with the style and sophistication of high-quality magazine photos. Her expertise lies in mastering lighting techniques, creating diverse and dynamic sets, and utilizing exceptional editing skills. The result? Original, classy, and timeless images that leave a lasting impression.

For nearly 30 years, Marilyn and her dedicated team have been working with everyday women and men of all ages, body types, and sizes. They aim to help these individuals feel like models and look their best during their personalized photoshoot experiences. The studio offers an extensive selection of high-end shoes and lingerie, ensuring clients can access the finest wardrobe options.

Moreover, they have developed their line of photography-specific makeup designed to enhance natural beauty under the lens.

With an all-female team providing expert coaching on posing techniques and a welcoming atmosphere, clients can expect a comfortable and enjoyable journey throughout their session.

At Boudoir Photo Pros, the commitment to client satisfaction goes beyond the photoshoot itself. Immediately following the session, Marilyn and her team sat down with each client, personally reviewing and selecting the most outstanding images together.

This collaborative approach ensures that the final result captures the client’s vision and showcases their unique beauty.

Join us as we delve deeper into Marilyn Scavo’s inspiring journey and gain insights into her passion for creating breathtaking boudoir photography. Q.1 How did you become interested in boudoir photography, and what inspired you to specialize in this genre? Ans. I discovered my love for photography at a young age, but it wasn’t until later that I realized being an artist could be more than just a hobby. Growing up, society often steers us towards conventional career paths like being a doctor, lawyer, or engineer, rarely mentioning the possibility of pursuing art. When I started college at the age of 17, I chose architecture as my major, even though my true passion was photography. Fortunately, the prerequisite courses for architecture involved a lot of art classes. Although photography classes were limited at my college in the early 90s, I was able to enroll in a darkroom developing course, and that’s when I fell in love with the process. The atmosphere, the scent of the chemicals, and the overall mood captivated me. One day, a friend who was part of a modeling agency asked if I could take some black and white headshots for a casting he had. Excitedly, I organized a photoshoot at the beach and developed the photos in the darkroom the next day. When I arrived at my next class with the photos in hand, my classmates were curious and started asking questions. They wanted to know who the guy was, if he was a model, and if I was a photographer. Two of my female classmates, who were international students from Brazil and Colombia, approached me and asked if I would be willing to take individual “sexy” pictures of them to send back home to their boyfriends. We scheduled separate photoshoots, and they even offered to pay me for what we now refer to as boudoir photos. The word spread quickly at the age of seventeen. I unintentionally gained a reputation at school as “the girl who will take sexy pictures for your significant other.” Q2. Apart from boudoir photography, what other types of photography do you specialize in, and how do you approach them differently? Ans. Apart from boudoir photography, my specialization extends to corporate and architectural photography. I like to refer to them as “Bodies & Buildings,” and although they may seem different on the surface, I approach both genres with the same unwavering dedication to excellent lighting, angles, and a deep passion for my craft. My journey into corporate photography began during my college years when I initially delved into architectural photography. It was a natural progression for me, given my background in architecture. At the age of nineteen, I embarked on a transformative adventure by studying abroad at the University of Sevilla in Spain. What was initially planned as a six-week course turned into a year-long exploration of the country’s rich culture and stunning architecture. I traveled extensively, capturing the beauty of Spain’s buildings and exhibiting my work along the way. During that time, I was presented with a remarkable opportunity to work for National Geographic. However, being self-taught and armed with only my trusty old Canon AE-1 camera, I felt I wasn’t quite prepared for such a significant leap. Looking back, I now understand that they recognized a spark in my work that I had yet to fully comprehend. When I returned to the US and began the university, I made a pivotal decision to shift my focus. Architecture took a backseat, and I committed myself to becoming a professional photographer. Since a dedicated photography degree was not available at my university at the time, I pursued a degree in art education. Throughout my twenties, I honed my skills as an artist and built a solid foundation for my photography business while teaching art to others. These experiences in architectural and corporate photography have shaped my artistic vision and technical expertise. They have taught me to appreciate the intricate details of both human form and man-made structures. Whether I am capturing the sensuality and vulnerability of individuals in boudoir photography or showcasing the grandeur and precision of architectural designs, my approach remains rooted in a genuine love for capturing beauty and telling compelling visual stories. Q3. With over two decades of experience, how have you seen boudoir photography evolve and change over the years? Ans. When I first began capturing “boudoir” photos, the genre was incredibly private and rarely discussed openly My inspiration stemmed from renowned photographers like Herb Ritts, Ellen von Unwerth, and Bunny Yeager, who specialized in photographing actors and models. At the time, I didn’t know any other photographers who took such intimate photos for personal use, but I quickly realized there was a demand for it. Over the past three decades, boudoir photography has transformed from a fantasy shoot reserved for superstars to a means of helping anyone feel like a superstar. The evolution of boudoir photography has been remarkable, shifting from a secretive niche to a form of self-expression and empowerment for people from all walks of life.

Q4. Could you share some tips on how you create a welcoming and positive environment for clients during their boudoir photoshoots? Ans. Creating a welcoming and positive environment for my clients is of utmost importance, and it begins with building trust right from our initial communication. I make it a point to let my clients know that I have a judgment-free policy, and the more they share about their desires and expectations for the photoshoot, the happier they will be with the final product. Some clients come to me with self-esteem issues, body dysmorphia, or past traumas, while others may feel that the type of photos they desire is considered taboo. By assuring my clients that their experiences and discussions will remain as private as they desire, I help them relax and open up. I guide my clients through the entire process, from discussing hair, makeup, and wardrobe choices to assisting them in the photo selection and editing phase. I reassure them that I do not share any images publicly unless they have signed a model release granting permission, and in certain cases, I’m even willing to sign non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) to ensure their trust and peace of mind. Q5. Your portfolio consists of some amazing artistic nudes. What techniques do you use to ensure that your clients feel comfortable and confident in front of the camera? Ans. Effective communication with my clients is key to ensuring their comfort and confidence during the photoshoot. Prior to the session, we have thorough discussions about what they should expect, and I show them before-and-after images as examples. We also talk about any physical limitations they may have, such as back issues or flexibility concerns, which I take into account while posing them. To make the experience more enjoyable and lighthearted, I have given amusing names to all of my poses, often accompanied by funny stories behind each one. I share these stories with my clients, personally demonstrating the poses to provide visual examples. Laughing and sharing light-hearted moments about the poses help my clients feel at ease in front of the camera. During the shoot, I frequently show them the images on my camera to build their confidence. Even before any color corrections or editing take place, my clients often react with surprise, exclaiming, “Wow, is that really me?” Q6. How do you approach posing and styling to highlight the best features of different body types during boudoir and nude photoshoots? Ans. When it comes to posing and styling, my approach centers around accentuating the positive aspects of each client’s body while minimizing any areas they may view as less favorable. With an extensive wardrobe collection available to my clients, I carefully select pieces that will best flatter their unique body types. I encourage open dialogue throughout the shoot, welcoming feedback and suggestions from my clients. By working together, we create poses that showcase their best features, employing techniques to enhance their natural beauty and confidence. Q7. How do you ensure that clients feel involved and have a say in selecting their favorite images? Ans. Client involvement and satisfaction are paramount to me. From the beginning, I emphasize the importance of their input in the selection process. I encourage them to express their preferences and provide guidance on what resonates with them the most. By giving my clients a say in the image selection, they feel empowered and truly involved in the creative journey. I consider their feedback invaluable and strive to create a final collection of images that surpasses their expectations. Q8. How do you strike a balance between creating sensual and artistic photographs while maintaining a sense of class and timelessness? Ans. Maintaining a balance between sensuality and artistic expression while preserving a sense of class and timelessness is a delicate art. It’s crucial to approach each photo shoot with respect and a deep understanding of the client’s vision and comfort level. Through open communication and a collaborative approach, I ensure that the boundaries and artistic direction are clearly defined. By using creative lighting techniques, thoughtful composition, and elegant posing, I strive to capture the sensual essence of the subject while preserving a sense of grace and timeless beauty. The goal is to create images that evoke emotion and stand the test of time, capturing the client’s essence in a way that transcends fleeting trends. Q9. What kind of feedback or reactions do you often receive from clients after they see their boudoir or nude photographs? Can you share any memorable testimonials or stories? Ans. The feedback and reactions I receive from clients after they see their boudoir or nude photographs are incredibly rewarding and reaffirming. Many clients express a renewed sense of confidence and self-acceptance, often surprised by how beautiful and empowered they appear in the images. It’s common for clients to tell me that they never imagined they could look and feel so amazing. Witnessing their reactions and hearing their heartfelt stories is what makes my work truly fulfilling. There is one testimonial that stands out in my mind, highlighting the transformative power of boudoir photography. This particular client had endured years of struggling with body image issues, largely due to the emotional abuse she experienced from her former spouse. When she approached me for a boudoir photoshoot, she was filled with apprehension and a deep sense of self-doubt. During the session, we worked together to create a safe and empowering environment where she could shed the weight of negativity and embrace her authentic self. Through skillful lighting, thoughtful poses, and genuine connection, we aimed to capture not just her physicality but also her inner strength and vulnerability. Each image was carefully crafted to reflect her unique beauty and personality. When she received the final photographs, her emotional response was overwhelming. In her testimonial, she shared that she had never imagined feeling such a profound sense of beauty and comfort in her own skin. The experience had shattered her preconceived notions and insecurities, allowing her to see herself in a completely new light. The boudoir photos became a powerful catalyst for her self-transformation. They served as a tangible reminder of her worth and resilience, helping her break free from the shackles of negative self-perception. Through this deeply personal journey, she not only embraced her body but also learned to appreciate its inherent beauty and strength. This testimonial serves as a reminder of the profound impact boudoir photography can have on an individual’s self-esteem and self-acceptance. It is a testament to the therapeutic nature of the experience, allowing clients to reclaim their narratives, heal from past wounds, and step into a newfound sense of empowerment and confidence. Witnessing the transformative journey of clients like her is the most rewarding aspect of my work as a boudoir photographer. Q10. What do you find most rewarding or fulfilling about being a boudoir photographer and helping clients embrace their sensuality and self-confidence? Ans. The most rewarding aspect of being a boudoir photographer is witnessing the transformation that occurs within my clients. It’s a deeply fulfilling experience to guide someone on a journey of self-discovery, helping them embrace their sensuality and rediscover their self-confidence. Through the power of photography, I have the privilege of capturing the beauty and strength that may have been overlooked or underestimated. Seeing my clients radiate with newfound self-love and self-acceptance is an incredibly gratifying feeling, and it fuels my passion to continue empowering others through my art. Q11. What do you like to do in your free time? Ans: In my free time, I love to indulge in various creative pursuits. Photography is not just my profession; it’s my passion and a way of life. So, I’m often exploring new techniques, experimenting with different lighting setups, or conceptualizing fresh ideas for sets and future shoots. I also enjoy teaching photography and immersing myself in the world of art and photography by visiting galleries, attending exhibitions, and studying the works of other talented artists. But it’s not all about work—I believe in finding balance. So, I make sure to spend quality time with my loved ones, whether it’s going on adventures, sharing good food and laughter, or simply cozying up with a great book or movie. Travel and nature are also a great source of inspiration and rejuvenation for me, so whenever possible, I like to escape, soaking in the beauty of the world around me. Ultimately, finding joy in both my professional and personal life is what keeps me motivated and fulfilled. Q12. What are your plans for the next 6 months? Ans. In addition to my work with clients, the next six months will be dedicated to creating a captivating artistic nude photographic art exhibit. This project holds deep significance for me as it provides an opportunity to push the limits of my creativity and delve into the profound beauty and vulnerability of the human form. Drawing inspiration from my previous exhibit during Art Basel in 2011, my ultimate aim for this artistic nude photographic art exhibit is to challenge societal norms, spark thought-provoking conversations, and inspire viewers to embrace their bodies while appreciating the diverse magnificence of the human form. Q13. What advice do you have for someone interested in doing a boudoir photoshoot but may feel hesitant or self-conscious? Ans: My advice for someone who is interested in doing a boudoir photoshoot but feels hesitant or self-conscious is to embrace the opportunity as a celebration of their unique beauty and journey. Remember that boudoir photography is a form of self-expression and empowerment, and it’s entirely normal to feel nervous or uncertain initially. Take the time to research and find a photographer whose work resonates with you and whose approach makes you feel comfortable. Openly communicate your concerns, desires, and boundaries with the photographer, as a professional will always prioritize your comfort and well-being. Remember that boudoir photography is about capturing your essence, and there is no “ideal” body type or standard to adhere to. Embrace your individuality, trust the process, and allow yourself to be vulnerable. You might be surprised by how liberating and transformative the experience can be. And most importantly, be kind to yourself throughout the journey, as self-love and self-acceptance are the foundation for capturing beautiful and authentic images. Marilyn Scavo’s journey as a boudoir photographer involves passion, artistry, and empowerment. She has transformed the boudoir photography genre through her unique approach, making it accessible to individuals of all backgrounds and body types. Marilyn’s commitment to creating a welcoming and positive environment, coupled with her lighting, posing, and styling expertise, ensures that each client’s experience is comfortable and enjoyable. Marilyn Scavo’s inspiring journey as a boudoir photographer showcases her passion for creating breathtaking images and empowering clients. Her dedication to capturing beauty, fostering a welcoming environment, and challenging societal norms sets her apart in the world of boudoir photography.

Check out more of her work, here

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