Restrained Elegance is 21 today!

Wow, it feels like a huge achievement. My little website that I launched to help pay for fun bondage photoshoots is 21 years old today.

No, it’s not an April Fool’s joke!

I wouldn’t have chosen April 1st as a launch date – in fact the site was supposed to launch on April 4th. But when I checked how the site set-up was doing, from next to the swimming pool in a Los Angeles motel whilst waiting for Stacy Burke to arrive for what would have been something like my tenth photoshoot, I discovered not only had the site and the billing gone live, but the site already had its first member. So 1st April 2001 it was, a few days early.

I’d spin you a long tale about the adventures we’ve had in those years, from hobby to hobby-covering-costs to second job to making more money than being a physicist to making TWICE as much money as being a physicist. Quitting my academic career and going full-time. Getting a photo studio. Getting rid of the photo studio at the very earliest opportunity. Finding a new partner, running the business together. The friends and colleagues made along the way, location trips and bondage and spanking and BDSM and bastinado and all manner of kinky good things. Government crack-downs, billing company woes, PayPal blocking my business account, ATVOD, credit card company rules, the rise of social media… it’s been quite a ride and it shows no signs of stopping yet.

But I don’t have time to go in to all of that, because I’m backing up everything we shot on a two-day shoot with Lauren Louise and I’m getting ready for a marathon cosplay D&D BDSM shoot next week which I’m SUPER EXCITED about because Zoe posted one of her character/costume creations on Twitter last night and it looks bloody awesome.

So I’ll leave you to look through today’s bumper crop of archives which tell a bit of the story of Restrained Elegance. If you’ve missed out on any of our updates from the last few years, I’m running a 50% off sale on our eStore this weekend only. I’ll run a discount on the Classic store for older sets later on this month.

Thank you all for your help and support and enthusiasm. You’ve made all of this possible, and your continued support is what lets us tie up hot girls and film them for you for a living to this day!

Hywel

2022 Plans – Part One

We always have a January meeting to decide our priorities for Restrained Elegance and Silk Soles. It’s a bit of a weird one this year because of Omicron: we don’t know whether there’s going to be lockdown, or it’s going to burn itself out, or what. So Ariel and I have planned conservatively and are planning on working from home for January at least.

We shot a mountain of material in Autumn/Fall while we could get models in to the house and I’m excited to get stuck in to the editing. You’ll already have seen the first results from the stellar shoot with Alba Zevon, there’s three days’ worth of that shoot to edit. There’s some red-hot footage with Scarlett Foxette, some sultry steel with Bex White, and multi-girl adventures with Lucy Lauren, Chloe Toy, Faye Taylor and Ariel. I’ve still got plenty of Charlie Ten, Stephanie Bonham-Carter and Kitty Quinzell to edit, and a stock of material with people like Sophia Smith, Rachelle Summers, Natalia Forrest, Zoe Page, Anna, Temptress Kate, Lauren Louise, and more.

New Year’s Resolution is to get stuck in to editing the rest of the Cosplay Dungeon D&D film we shot with Lucy Lauren in March 2020. This was the last thing we shot before lockdown, and I’ve been superstitiously sitting on it because it’s really really hot and I’m very proud of it, and for some reason I didn’t want to “lose” it from my stash. Bad Hywel, get it edited and get it out there because it is super – and hopefully we’ll be shooting the next one in a few months!

Alexander Lightspear has been an absolute superstar working machine over the last couple of years, shooting
as many different models as possible to help me keep up the variety of new faces while it’s been tricky for us to schedule so many shoots. So I’ve got literally dozens of sets of Delta, Cheryl, Irene, Nicole, Elaine, Sylvia, Kitty, Agnes, Thelma, Anne, Annette, Peggy and Suzanne to come. Best wishes to him in 2022 especially as he got COVID in the Delta wave – hope Omicron leaves you be, Alexander.

In total I have over 400 stills sets on disk right now- back up to a good couple of years stock, which is what I always liked to run at. It’s a bit short on variety of models and variety of locations (because COVID) but I hope you’ll somehow bear up under the strain of more Delta and Alba Zevon?

Videos we have about 100 – a bit shy of two years’ worth, again not with as wide a variety of models as I’d usually hope for in my on-disk stock. We’re going to book more video shoots with more different models as soon as we can.

I’m excited to expand our video shoots this year because we’ve got more custom requests coming in. We also have an increasing number of sales of videos on video platforms like Clips4Sale and ManyVids. Buying patterns have changed the big platforms now have their own dedicated pool of customers who don’t buy via other routes.

To sell well on these platforms ideally you need to update daily to stay on front pages. You’ve allowed two versions of each clip, so that means a new video every two days. I refuse to sacrifice the hard-won RE technical quality, so that might not be achievable. Ramping up from the current one video per six days to one video every three days seems like a good start!

We’ll see what that means for RE updates as the year goes on. I’ve stuck to two photosets to one video since we changed update schedule, but as I said at the time that may have to change as the industry evolves. So we might experiment with more like a half-and-half mixture once we’ve got more videos coming down the pipeline. I LOVE shooting stills so I’m never going to stop, just adjust the mix.

I’m really excited by the shoots Ariel and I have planned for the start of the year, and getting geared up for the two big multi-model shoots we have in the calendar for April and May already. Fingers crossed they will all go ahead as planned! Then I’ll be fitting in solo model shoots focussing on customs and videos with as many of the RE regulars as possible to fill out the variety on disk, and grab some more of
the rising new bondage stars as soon as I can too. 2022 should be very exciting!

For the moment, SilkSoles is going to stick with its stills format. Confession: I’ve not cracked the formula for shooting SilkSoles videos that sell well. The growth side of the business is clearly bondage videos. I LOVE shooting beautiful barefoot babes but I can’t justify the extra time and editing to do foot fetish videos when a bondage one will sell ten times as many copies.

Elegance Studios has been overtaken by events. When website videos ran to 5 minutes, a 45 minute Elegance Studios video was a real event and quite distinct. Now website videos run to 30 minutes routinely, the lines have become so blurred that almost everything is shot like an Elegance Studios video was back in the day! We’re still doing big productions like the D&D cosplay series but it’s integrated into the video pipeline to go onto clips stores etc. as well as appearing here.

We’re excited for 2022 and we hope to see a lot of you this year!

2022 Custom Video Schedule

UPDATE: See this post

COVID is continuing to confound my attempts to draw up a sensible schedule as we don’t know what measures are going to be brought in to deal with the Omicron variant. I have an absolute ton of editing to catch up on after the last four months of hectic shooting so I was only planning to shoot Ariel over the winter anyway (December, January and February). So that part of the plan still holds.

For March and April I will be booking shoots with models either solo or with Ariel assisting. We have a location shoot booked in May.

Who I book first will depend on the demand for customs with that model. So if you would be interested in a custom with any of the following please let me know.

Solo Shoots

These are the models I am most likely to shoot solo early next year. I’m hoping to book some new models as well. I will add them to this list when I have a shoot pencilled in.

  • Alba Zevon, assuming her planned trip goes ahead
  • Ariel Anderssen
  • Chloe Toy
  • Czech Beauty
  • Faye Taylor
  • Hannah Claydon
  • Lauren Louise
  • Lucy Lauren
  • Natalia Forrest
  • Penny Lee
  • Rachelle Summers
  • Scarlett Foxette
  • Sophia Smith
  • Tillie
  • Zoe Page

Lucky dip customs: 250 UK pounds. You get to specify five details, we fill in the rest. For example you might want her nude (1) in hinged handcuffs (2) and ballgagged (3) part way through the video as she’s a struggling damsel in distress (4) who is forced to strip during the video by her captor (5). You can give us a brief outline of who she’s meant to be etc.. but then let us choose details like which room we film her in. These run 10-30 minutes at the pace the story dictates. We can shoot several of these in a day, which is why we can offer them at such a low price.

Fully-specified customs: typically 400-1000 UK pounds. You get to specify everything, we will do our best to comply. We will require you to provide any costumes, props or bondage gear we don’t already have. These usually take at least half a day to shoot, or a full day if they are multi-scene and complex. Hence the higher price.

Multi-Girl Location Shoots

We have:

  • Ariel Anderssen
  • Lucy Lauren
  • Scarlett Foxette

Farmhouse location shoot in May. Only Lucky dip customs are available as we have to be efficient with our shoot to make the most of the location. But for 250 UK pounds you can get a multi-model video for the same price as a solo one would normally be!

Contact Me

To discuss the details of your custom please email me at webmaster@restrainedelegance.com.

Where are we on customs?

Apologies to the ten or so people waiting on me for a reply on custom video commissions. Just wanted to post a general note as to where we are with them.

All 2021 Restrained Elegance custom slots were filled, the customs have all been shot, edited and have now been delivered. If you’re still waiting on something from me, get in touch because I’ve sent out the links to you and they should already be with you.

We have a small number of custom slots with Ariel (and me) still left available for shoots in December which she is producing. Contact her via AskArielStudio.com if you want to grab one for 2021.

We’re due to do the last big shoot of the year this week with a visiting star model but I don’t want to jinx it by saying who or taking custom requests.

I prefer to work with someone a couple of times to learn their comfort zones and limits before I accept customs with them anyway, and I’ve got MORE than enough ideas of my own to shoot with her.

This is the last in a run of shoots over the last few months trying to squeeze a year’s worth of shoots into 3 months, which we’ve succeeded at really well- we’ve shot over a hundred photosets and 70+ videos (some of which are an hour long) since the summer and I’m blown away by how spectacular some of the performances have been. A lot of us have missed working with creative collaborators. I haven’t shot this many sets in this short a space of time since the very early days of the site, when everything was quicker to shoot because I didn’t know what I was doing and had neither the skill nor the equipment to do it properly.

This shooting schedule has been hectic, which is one of the reasons I’ve been putting off thinking about 2022 customs. The other is that we don’t know what the COVID situation is going to be like over the winter. I’ve booked the first big shoots of 2022 for April and May because I’m reasonably confident they will happen unless the situation deteriorates drastically. It’s a lot easier to schedule one model coming here for three or four days or a location shoot with two or three models for a week in a controlled environment where we can get food delivered and function as a unit than it is to figure out the usual custom-friendly one day here, one day there shoots with lots of different models.

Since I’ve got BIG plans of my own for those first two big shoots in the calendar for 2022, I don’t have many free timeslots for them. I’ll offer some “lucky dip: five elements you choose, the rest we improvise around it” timeslots for the first big location shoot nearer the time when I am more confident that we’ll be able to do it.

What I hope and plan is to do some smaller shoots with other models sooner than that, COVID situation permitting.These shoots with other models will either work on the lucky dip customs, or on the basis that you will have to cover at least half a day’s filming with the model you want, more if she is coming from a long way away. Natalia Forrest might be able to get here for an afternoon, but Penny Lee needs to come for at least two shoot days to make the drive worth her time.

So once I’ve got through this week’s big shoot and caught up a bit, I’ll start to put together the 2022 schedule and post requests for customs with particular models. The more requests we get, the sooner I’ll be able to schedule them to come and shoot. I will reply to everyone waiting for me to get back to them once this big shoot is done, too.

Cheers, Hywel

A quick taste of 2022… and we’re on TV again!

Hi Everyone

With the COVID situation here being much improved because of the vaccines, we’ve been powering through trying to shoot as much of next year’s content as we can in the last month or so. Here are a few quick tasters plucked from the back of the camera to hint at some of the awesome bondage videos and photosets you’ll be able to enjoy as a Restrained Elegance member in 2022.

As always, thank you for your continuing support. For the last 20 years we’ve been able to build a dream and a place to share that dream – the only reason we can do it is your kind support.

Ariel and I are in the very fortunate position that we are both professional BDSM performers and producers, we don’t have kids in school or day jobs and our friends and families are very liberal and supportive. So when the call comes around to represent the BDSM community in various TV shows and so forth, my feeling is “If not us, then who?” (Ariel’s feeling is “Pick meeeeeeeeee! I want to be famous!” of course!)

Which means we’re on TV again tonight: “Sex Actually” with Alice Levine, UK channel 4, 10 pm. It’ll doubtless be available on-demand too. You may have to use a VPN to pretend to be in the UK to stream it from other countries. I’m going to be peeking out at the TV from behind the sofa, hoping the program makers have been kind to us… and I dare say Ariel will be live-tweeting along to it. Join us!

Cheers, Hywel