Laura has worked with a wide variety of clientele. She's taken photos for things from weddings to sporting events and dealt with people from all ages and walks of life. Babies and children always presented an issue, and then there were the people who always demanded things that showed they knew nothing about photography or lighting or composition, but she always managed to get the perfect shot by the end of the day while staying professional.
When she had gotten the call offering her a job for a small lingerie company's website, her gut agreed before her mind could remind her she's never done a job like this before. There was that one shoot the local fire department had commissioned her to do for their calendar, which involved a lot of attractive shirtless men. She'd had fun with it, but let's just say men weren't really on Laura's radar.
This new job was for scantily clad women, which was a completely different animal. As she lay in bed the night before thinking about it, she told herself that she could keep a level head. She wasn't too subject to distraction or reaction.
Or so she thought.
Because there she was, in a top-floor penthouse, making a strong effort to keep her gaze away from the group of models casually chatting with one another in frilly, lacy underwear. And sure, this was just for an online store. It's not like they'd be in any... compromising poses. It was all going to be professional and completely not sexual. There's nothing inherently sexual about a woman in her underwear.
It's just like a bathing suit, and Laura had done a swimsuit shoot before.
Yet, her knuckles are white as she grips her camera and focuses on the crew setting up the lighting and backdrop (a simple charcoal fabric screen).
“Ms. Hollis?” Laura's eyes flit over to the models and then to the woman who hired her.
“Hi! Yes?” She laughs awkwardly.
“We're ready when you are. We basically just need simple shots of each of the models who are all wearing the new products, and then maybe a few more creative ones for some advertising?”
Laura's stomach does a flip and she mentally cusses for jinxing herself. “Yeah, no problem.” She manages to say. The other woman gives her an odd look and then calls the first model over.
A deep breath in and a slow exhale later, Laura looks at the model in front of her. She turns her camera for a vertical shot and looks through the viewfinder and clicks a few shots before asking the model for a different position and angle. After she's sure she got a few good photos, she dismisses the blonde.
It goes on like that for a bit, and Laura discovers some of the pieces are quite nice and actually something she would wear. She makes a mental note to ask her client when they would be up for order.
Just as she settles into a groove and manages to only hesitate and stare a bit too long at two of the other models, the last girl struts up. Beautiful, dark, curly hair and a bone structure Laura feels like she should worship to set her apart from the eight other girls Laura had just photographed. The fact that she is much shorter than the rest of them didn't even matter. She was far more aesthetically attractive.
She doesn't immediately fall into a pose, but instead gives Laura a quirked eyebrow and crossed arms.
“What do you want me to do?” the model asks, and if the fact that this gorgeous woman is in thin, black lace isn't enough to render Laura speechless, her smooth voice definitely is.
“Uhh...” Laura croaks out before shaking her head to clear her mind. “Just whatever feels natural to you. Keep in mind these first shots are about the... lingerie.”
The model smirks and puts her hands on her hips, shifting her weight onto one leg. She turns her head to the side and looks at Laura out of the corner of her eye. Laura reminds herself to take a deep breath, and she takes a few pictures before realizing she hadn't let the breath go. She gives the dark haired girl a few different suggestions, and then they're done.
The client calls for a break as she approaches Laura. “That looks like there will be some wonderful ones in there. Do you have any ideas for what you want to do for this next part? I know we didn't discuss this over the phone, but it was just pitched to me this morning, and I'll pay extra.”
“Judy, right?” Laura asks. The woman nods. “Just tell me what it is you're looking for.”
After a bit of brainstorming and shooting ideas back and forth, they agree on a few group shots. Just as they're about to call the models back, though, Judy's eyes light up.
“Oh! I just thought of something excellent!”
Laura opens her mouth to ask a question, but the other woman walks away before she gets a chance. When she returns, she's followed by the dark haired model that had caught the most of Laura's attention.
“Ms. Hollis, this is Carmilla. I want her to be the focal point of a few glamour shots of sorts.”
Laura's eyes shoot wide open and her voice catches in her throat. “Wh-what do you mean?”
“I know that makes it sound dirty, but...” Judy trails off. “I mean, sex sells, you know? Carmilla here is just going to do a few poses after the group shots, which are going to be more casual than what she is going to do. She's not wearing anything new, but I want to take advantage of your high quality camera.”
Carmilla's eyes pierce through any veils of calmness that Laura tries to put up, and Laura lets out an awkward laugh. “Yeah, okay.”
The group shots are a breeze; the girls simply lounge around a couch that the crew drags in front of the back drop, and like Judy said, it is all very casual. Laura vaguely remembers something about one of those photos being used for the scrolling bar on the home page advertising the new pieces. As the sofa is carried away and replaced with an armchair, Laura's heart rate increases significantly. She has no idea what to expect with Judy's other idea.
As she waits, she looks at the digital display on her camera and scrolls through the photos she has, deleting ones that are fuzzy or have weird angles that seemed good at the time. She doesn't notice when Carmilla comes back on set until the model clears her throat. The noise makes Laura's head snap up, and immediately a blush floods her cheeks.
Carmilla is sitting in the chair and has changed into an ensemble of a dark red bustier, thong, garter, and thigh-high stockings.
If it weren't for the strap around Laura's neck, the camera would have dropped to the ground. Instead, it thumps against her stomach and there's a twist in her gut. Her mouth is dry and she feels like she hasn't blinked in the past two minutes.
“You okay there, sweetheart?” Carmilla voice drags her back into reality and somehow she manages to answer 'yes'. She wipes her palms on her jeans before grabbing her camera again. Her breathing exercises aren't working and she's very aware of the spike in her body temperature.
She runs poses that incorporate the chair through her mind, and asks Carmilla to turn and lay her legs over one arm of it. She does so in one fluid movement, crossing her ankles and leaning her elbow on the opposite arm.
Laura blows out a quivering sigh, snaps a few quick shots, and then tells Carmilla to turn again so her back is on the seat and her legs stretch up the back of the chair. When the model looks back at her, her head is hanging over the edge, her hair dropping to the floor. She has a look in her eyes that sends another damned rush of heat to both Laura's cheeks and between her legs.
“What should I do with my arms?”
“Run one hand back through your hair and just rest the other casually where you like.” Laura practically whispers. It's all she's really capable of.
Without really meaning to, Laura's suggestions become more and more... what was Judy's word?
In a some shots, Carmilla has one leg hitched up on the chair, her back arched, her eyes half closed, and her bottom lip drawn between her teeth.
Laura quickly realizes that she is most likely projecting too much of her preferences and not being subtle about it at all, but she can't bring herself to care. There is a knowing look in Carmilla eyes as she follows all of Laura's directions to a tee.
Once they exhaust everything Laura can think of and Judy calls a wrap, the photographer stares down at the camera in her hands as if she is holding a holy treasure. And really, she is.
Judy asks if she can see the photos, and before Laura responds, she glances up at Carmilla who is walking away, giving Laura a small smirk.
They plug Laura's camera up to her laptop and Judy goes through the shots, writing down the numbers of her favorites. Once Judy is happy with her choices, Laura walks over to her bags to pack up her gear. She notices a slip of paper on her camera case.
Written on it in a loopy script is a phone number, three x's, and a note:
“The models get to keep what they wear. Maybe you can get a closer look at that last outfit sometime. -Carmilla”.