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7 Steps to a Successful Boudoir Session

Though boudoir photography has become increasingly popular in the last few years, this style has been around for a very long time. During the Golden Age of Hollywood, actresses were often photographed in glamorous lingerie, robes, dramatic makeup and high heels, in a way that, most often, was something more glamorous than a standard glamour photo, but did not fall into the category of nude photography, either.

Boudoir photography has developed over the years and become popular for a variety of occasions – wedding and anniversary gifts, being two of the most common.

Now, if you are interested in exploring the world of boudoir photography, there are a few things you need to keep in mind which will guarantee that your clients, and you, will have a positive experience:

1. Get together (in person!) with your client beforehand to discuss what she (or he) wants out of the shoot. This is a good rule of thumb with any of your clients for various types of shoots, but with a boudoir shoot, establishing trust with your client is extremely important. You also want to make sure that you, as a photographer, are very clear on your client’s comfort level, and what type of shots they do/do no want.

2. Choose a comfortable location. Many boudoir shoots take place in either a studio, or a very nice hotel, but consider photographing the client in their home, especially if they are a bit nervous. Being in familiar surroundings will help them relax.

3. Give your client genuine compliments, but don’t over do it. If they have approached you and have signed up for the shoot, then they obviously want to be doing the photos, but sometimes, we can all be a little bit insecure in front of the camera. Telling your client what they are doing right and what poses are working best will instill confidence in them, and also, small, completely genuine compliments here and there will go a long way in getting them to relax and have fun.

4. Reassure them that their photos are 100% confidential, and that you will never, ever use them on your website without permission. If they do agree to let you use one of their photos in your portfolio, make sure they sign a release allowing you to display the photo on your website. This will reassure them that they have total control over how the photos are used.

5. You may find that your boudoir clients will ask you to do a lot of editing in post-processing. How you approach this is entirely up to you, though. One of the really neat things about boudoir photography, and why women tend to love it so much, is that it is fun to dress up and embody that glamorous, old Hollywood style. So, consider doing a bit more processing to give the photos that glamorous vibe that your clients are after!

6. When you present your client with the photos, take packaging into consideration, because this will make their photos seem more personalized and special, rather than dropping some prints or CD’s in a mailing envelope. Most likely, your client’s boudoir shoot was important to them for one reason or another, so by putting extra effort into your packaging, even if it means just getting a nice envelope and sealing it off with a pretty seal or ribbon, your client will see that you did your best to make the experience memorable and special.

7. Finally, always have in your mind that this is supposed to be a fun, positive and empowering experience for your client. From the time you meet them, until you present them with your photos, remember how important this is to them, and always stay upbeat, positive and relaxed!

Anna Gay is a portrait photographer based in Athens, GA and the author of the dPS ebook The Art of Self-Portraiture. She also designs actions and textures for Photoshop. When she is not shooting or writing, she enjoys spending time with her husband, and their two cats, Elphie and Fat Cat. 

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