By Tammy Porter on | No Comments
Breaking into boudoir photography can be a challenge, but it can also fun and rewarding for both you and your clients. Women crave beautiful images of themselves and having beautiful, sexy images to share with their significant other is especially important.
Here are some great tips that I've utilized with great success in building my local boudoir photography business:
If you are looking to begin this adventure, you'll want to first enlist a few friends or find some “models” to help you put together a boudoir portfolio. If you want to attract clients to your new type of shoot, you will have to show them what you can do and how amazing they can look.
In your portfolio (either printed or online) start with a normal snapshot of your subject in their everyday look. Then follow that up with shots from their session with you. People often don’t realize that we all look pretty similar before the glam, makeup and retouch magic. Once you get a few sessions under your belt, news should spread quickly through word of mouth. When clients see their amazing photos they show ALL their friends!
A great idea I've had a lot of success with is hosting a fun Boudoir Group Mini Day in which you schedule a group of friends who can all come together and cheer each other on. Another option is a Boudoir Mini Session Day where you invite 10 to 15 potential clients to have their own mini session with one outfit. Depending on your price point and promotion you can include prints or digital files. Hopefully, this will help gain their trust and confidence in you, and they will come back and schedule a full Boudoir Session.
One hurdle you may come across when starting out in boudoir is finding a good location that works for you. When I first started in boudoir photography, I often held sessions at my own home, or if the client had sizable room with nice natural light, we would use their home. Friends of both you or your client can also be a good option. You will find that often there's a friend or relative with a perfect space that they will be happy to lend to you (and they might even become your next client).
If your own house or client's home is not an option, a hotel is a perfect place to hold a shoot (Tip: call ahead and ask what dates have the most reasonable rates and schedule out from there).
Last, but certainly not least, you can always do an outdoor boudoir shoot! Don’t let small details get in your way. There's always a way to make it work if you just put your mind to it.
Be prepared for your first few shoots with some posing ideas on your phone to refer back to. I have even taken pictures of poses on my actual camera, so I can scroll back and look at them, and not look unprepared by constantly referring to my phone.
Another important tip is to have your camera with you and ready when you show the client the pose. Very often the first time your client poses will be the most authentic and ends up being a favorite, which translates into sales.
On the day of the shoot be prepared to calm your client's nerves and take charge of the session. One point about boudoir that is non-negotiable: YOU have to be in charge of the session! Your client will be looking to you to help them feel comfortable, attractive, and calm.
One of the first things I like to do is pull out all of the client's clothes they brought and hang them up. This will help keep you on track with outfit changes and prevent you from accidentally forgetting something they brought. Hang the clothing options in the order you would like to shoot them: loosest fitting outfits first, and then the tighter pieces that could potentially leave marks in the skin - these go last.
I also keep quite a few pieces of lingerie and shoes in my studio as well, in case the client forgets something or needs another piece to complete a look.
Before we start with our first set up, I always go and do the actual pose I'm asking the client to do. Once they see that you are willing to show them and do what you are asking them to do, they will feel much more comfortable themselves. Don’t be afraid to laugh or crack jokes during the process - this is supposed to be FUN!
While I'm demonstrating the poses, I will also show them the 4 or 5 faces I would like them to give me for the pose. The ones I like to use most are:
Usually, by the 5th face, the laugh comes easily!
Making your client feel good about how they look and how the session is progressing is extremely important. Every time you look at the back of your camera, you need to complement your client!! They have no idea what you are looking at or how they look. Calm their nerves with a simple “Oh yes, beautiful, just what I was looking for, amazing, perfect.” Put yourself in their shoes! I cannot stress how important your attitude and praise are during a boudoir shoot.
Also, don’t be afraid to direct them, chin up, chin down, less smile, close your mouth, are all things I say repeatedly during a shoot. I always direct their posture as well. Boudoir is all about body shape - your client can’t see themselves during the shoot, so it’s up to you to direct them into the right shape.
I always do IPS (In Person Sales) for boudoir sessions. The client needs your direction and expertise the same as during the shoot and will be looking to you for guidance! I generally choose to show them about 20-30 fully retouched and edited images. By retouch, I mean a full editing run - which for me starts in Lightroom, then into Photoshop and then back to Lightroom for the slideshow. This is the first thing I show in their photo reveal.
Over the years, I have figured out that if I edit the photo - the client will purchase it. It's as simple as that. I show them how beautiful the shot is and how beautiful they look, and they just want it!
Editing is a VERY important part of this process. I think of this as art, and I edit theire photos with perfection in mind.
Last but not least, as with all aspects of photography, do it your way. Your photos don’t need to be just like someone else to be beautiful. Find your style, groove, place, and the clients will come. Think outside the box and bring your unique perspective to the table.
Do you have any questions or comments about starting a Boudoir Photography Business? Leave us a comment below - we would love to hear from you! And PLEASE SHARE our tutorial using the social sharing buttons (we really appreciate it)!
Tammy is a child photographer based in the desert of Arizona. A mother of two, a wife, and a secret lover of interior design. She spends her days juggling a hair salon, a budding children's jewelry line, and her camera. Photography is the driving force behind her relentless need to create beautiful things. You can follow her on Facebook.