What You Need to Know as a Boudoir Photographer
The boudoir portrait is far more than a sexy picture. As a photographer, it's an opportunity for you to show a woman a side of herself she's likely not seen in portraits.
A boudoir portrait is an elegant, intimate, and beautiful image of a woman - no matter the body type or size. To create the best images possible, you need to prepare well in advance of a portrait session.
Before the Boudoir Session
Most women are a bit nervous when they call to ask about boudoir portraits; after all, having their pictures taken in lingerie isn't an everyday occurrence.
Put her at ease during the call. Get to know her a bit (more on this later) and tell her about your work. Answer her questions as thoroughly as possible, or you risk her not scheduling a session.
Once she does schedule a session, you should send her a detailed description of what she can expect before, during, and after her session. Some photographers even provide a questionnaire so they can get to know the client.
You want every client to be well informed and comfortable with her before she arrives for her session. Knowing what to expect helps them to feel less anxious. Besides creating beautiful imagery for them, your job is to make sure that by the time they walk in for their session, they're looking forward to the experience.
And, indeed, that by the time they walk out, they feel like it was an experience they enjoyed and would recommend to friends! If at all possible, schedule a face-to-face meeting before the actual day of the session. It's a great way to build trust and have her feel more at ease with you.
That's a tough thing to do over the phone or through email. At a minimum, you should do a video call with her. Here are some other communication tips to consider before the day of a session:
Get to know your client.
Ask her how she envisions the process and what her vision is for the final photos.
Ask her what she feels are her favorite body features or what she loves about her body.
Discuss lingerie selections.
Be open to answering any questions she might have - and stress that no question or concern is out of bounds.
Lastly, be sure to reach out to her one last time the day before the session in case she has any last-minute questions. Make certain she has the correct address to the location of the shoot. This call doesn't need to be more than a few minutes long unless she has more questions for you.
What to Wear
Boudoir photos are all about the client. Part of your detailed description in advance of their session should discuss what to wear. Encourage women to purchase new beautiful lingerie.
The quality of lingerie can influence the outcome of the images. Be open to answering any questions they might have. If you can recommend a wardrobe consultant or specialty lingerie store, they might find that helpful.
Encourage them to have their make-up and hair done professionally on the day of the photo session. You should be able to recommend someone to them.
Communication During the Session
While you've done a lot of advance prep for the session, including taking time to get to know your client, the actual session itself is critical! Take the time to chat with her for a few minutes before you get started.
Any experienced photographer knows that jumping right into any photo session, let alone a boudoir session, isn't going to put a client at ease. The best pictures are the ones where the client isn't nervous and feels comfortable with the photographer and the camera taking their picture.
Remember to ask them if they're comfortable with the room temperature. Be sure to step out of the room for while they change into their lingerie.
Never underestimate the impact of the moment you reveal the pictures to a client. If this is something you haven't already planned out and put a great deal of thought into, now's the time. You want a client to see their drafts in a relaxing environment.
Create an ambiance they will want to spend time in. Consider having some wine and cheese or other beverages beautifully laid out. Make sure that you also are relaxed and not in a hurry. A client needs to take their time when they're looking at their portraits and the products you can offer them!
A Boudoir Photographer
To build a steady clientele for boudoir portraits, you need to be several things:
A photographer than can create extraordinary and elegant images your clients will love.
Someone they feel very comfortable with since these are very intimate images.
Someone a client will feel proud to recommend to their friends.