It’s no secret that men love to see their lady a little scantily-clad. Thanks to a man’s visual drive, and more and more women being confident enough to celebrate the uniqueness of their bodies, boudoir photography can be a fun and lucrative option for the professional photographer looking to add services or specializations to their current offerings. 

As a new photographer, I wanted to try everything before I decided what I wanted to specialize in. I wasn’t sure what I’d lovefamily portraits, children, newborns, weddings, boudoir, etc, but I certainly learned a lot trying my hand at everything! Here are a few things I learned from my first set of boudoir mini sessions: 

1. Attracting the Client 

It’s always easier to book sessions when there is some sort of incentive, or value added. For my first boudoir event, I offered 30 minute mini sessions at a Victorian Bed & Breakfast {special location!} that included a photo album filled with metallic prints {value added!}. Because I rented a room, I could only take 5 people which also created a sense of urgency {book now before spots fill!}! I sent an email blast to my subscribed mailing list first, and then promoted on Facebook.  

2. Establish Trust 

Shooting boudoir photos puts your client in a very vulnerable place, and they want to know that not only will you help them look beautiful, but that their privacy will be guarded. As soon as my clients paid their deposit, I sent out an email communicating how the session would go, and that everything would be “top secret” unless they wanted to share on their own.  

3. Provide a comfortable, relaxing environment 

Girls just wanna have fun, right? I turned a little Beyoncé on, poured some glasses of champagne, and made it feel like a girls’ night out, so it seemed more like hanging out together and less like my subjects were on display. I’m a talker, so it was easy to chat as we moved around the room! If you have trouble making conversation or get nervous, don’t be afraid to jot down some questions on your phone. Open-ended questions always lend to easier discussions. “If you could vacation anywhere in the world, where would you go?” for example. 

4. Compliment without empty flattery 

This is so tricky with women. Every single woman I photographed explained her area of insecurity to me before we started. “I am flat-chested.” “Can you keep my thighs out of the shots?” Instead of arguing, {“You have great cleavage” to a girl in an A cup bra is clearly empty flattery…} simply reinforce how lovely they look and that you will do your best to enhance their best features! 

5. It’s the little things 

To add a personal touch, I hand-wrote each woman a card with some of my favorite quotes reminding them that true beauty comes from within. I also included skincare samples, and a gift voucher to my favorite local make-up boutique. Not only was it a great opportunity for cross-promoting, it also made my clients feel special in a sincere, encouraging way. 

6. You won’t know unless you try 

Trying new things can be intimidating! With boudoir sessions, posing was different, communicating and planning with the client was different, lighting was different – everything was new to me, but it was also a lot of fun! I’m convinced that if you specialize in a certain area of photography, that it enables you to perfect your process more easily, but you do have to go through a season of trying new things. The best thing you can do to set yourself up for success is to learn from others, and adjust as you go! Good luck!!  

Shannan Painter is a newbie photographer who has spent the last 5 years working with the left side of her brain helping small businesses organize their accounting and taxes. She decided to take the big step and pursue her dream of becoming a professional photographer in 2013 after adding a third boy to her house that was already full of super heroes, trucks, and sports equipment. She and her husband, who is a local TV meteorologist, play pick-up games of basketball in their free time and like to take road trips to Lake Minnetonka with all 3 boys, and their dog Growler.  Visit her on Facebook!