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Why I Add Boudoir Photography To My Service Portfolio

Why I Add Boudoir Photography To My Service Portfolio

Connecting with female clients and providing them invaluable memories in form of photographs has always fascinated me on a personal level. Actually, ever since I started following a new photography career path 15 years ago.

In order to turn my personal preferences into a business case, I am considering opening a neat, specialized boutique portrait studio here in Prague. Entering a very weak economic situation here, it certainly will be a challenge. But I am very confident that I will be able to succeed, mostly because quality photography that serves a purpose will always be sought after and make good money.

In my case, I am planning to fully concentrate my service on offering specific women photography “only”. No families, no maternity, no weddings – pure, attractive portrayal in clearly defined, various styles and looks. I want to have a real-world outlet for private client assignments, complementing my business in the glam/nude industry.

I am currently preparing all necessary components to start such an adventure soon.

1 - Portrait Style On Location - Starting A Boudoir Photography Business

Knowing Styles Is Crucial

A few of you participated in my last two webinars (live photo shoots, actually) where I explored and showcased Contemporary Allure and Artistic Nudes. Those two projects offered me the framework to delve deeper into a wide range of aspects regarding the respective topic. Not only the image look and style itself, but also all facets that come along with the business side of things.

In fact, I started to examine and explain the business aspects (spending vs. earning money) a while ago. For example, in the training SMOOTH Portfolio Building where I showcase various styles and how they need to be implemented properly. Or in Creative Nudes On A Budget where I created and follow along the formula/matrix of Time vs. Money and Private Shoots vs. Models vs. Business.

But until now I haven’t had the real desire to gift and apply those styles to private clients. This definitely changed during this year when I started to feel that I need to get more real with my daily photography routine. So, instead of shooting for a self-owned adult website (for example), I decided to make the venue of private assignments my path to be.

2 - Portrait Style in Studio - Starting A Boudoir Photography Business

Boudoir As Part Of A Service Portfolio

I am planning to offer a few selected styles. However, one that will go strong for sure, have its very own branding and receive special marketing attention is Classic Boudoir.

Yes, “Boudoir” has been pushed (and abused) hard as a marketing term. Quite a lot of photographers declare just anything as being Boudoir only to lure some (uneducated) clients into their studios for making a quick buck. While I am very open in the belief that everybody should do their own thing, I would just like to add that women actually have quite a clear sense and opinion of what Boudoir Photography is meant to be. Sometimes it seems more like the photographers don’t get what it really is about.

So if you are up for mixing styles (always assuming you shoot for a private client who pays you), you better discuss style and look variations with your client before you shoot. But first things first…:

3 - Classic Boudoir - Starting A Boudoir Photography Business

Boudoir IS A STYLE

Some say Boudoir is a genre or an approach . I disagree. Boudoir is a style. Let’s look at the bigger picture: You might hire a model to shoot with (= you pay) or you get to shoot for a private assignment (= you get paid). For both occasions you are planning a look or – as I define it in a broader sense – a style.

Boudoir shots range from lingerie to implied nudes utilizing soft lighting, sensual observation, romanticizing the moment, following subtle “posing”. It is all about the “Essence of a Woman (in Lingerie)”. It is a “Soul Business”.
(Read more basics about Boudoir Photography in my 101 Jumpstart article.)

Glamour style, however, feels frisky, uses catchier lighting design, and is all about connection as well as interaction with the camera/viewer, striking poses, creating a suggestive sexually aroused atmosphere. It is all about the “Essence of Suggestive Play”. It is a “Body Business”.

Both Glamour and Boudoir styles can be shot with/applied to models, your partner or a private client. Meaning in terms of money: you pay, you do it for free or – in a business case – you get paid.

That’s why I am defining Boudoir as a style and not as an approach (at all).

4 - Boudoir Shot BTS - Starting A Boudoir Photography Business

Male Photographer + Boudoir?!?

Isn’t Boudoir Photography a female business? Do we stand a chance as male photographers? Aren’t female clients loathing the thought of getting intimately portrayed by a male stranger?
Those are all perfectly legitimate questions because it does not only feel like the Boudoir Business is led by women in general – it actually is the case.

But – and this is the surprising fact – it’s not because the female clients are (too) hesitant in front of male photographers per se, no, it’s because we, the male photographers, feel rather uncomfortable with this style – we think we don’t understand it thoroughly. This might be true in a few cases such as:

  • We, the straight (alpha) males, love (and understand) the view through our glamour glasses. The sense for female attraction was instilled into us since the day we were born.
  • We interpret the artistic aspects of a nude female body conveying curves and shapes the way that our spirits get lifted into unchartered heights.
  • We blatantly stick to Pinup or Cosplay styles in which we can fling our clichéd fantasies from the one and only perspective we have: our male one.
    Of course, they are creations like “Wonder Woman”, “Superwoman”, “Captain Marvel”, “Batgirl” (“girl”, sic!) and so forth. But the sketchy characteristics are turning us on, right? Because after all it is (literally) about a well-shaped Body Business.

Whereas Boudoir underlies a completely different component: the psychological aspect and sense of a woman – and not the one of a man (in case you missed that part until now).

5 - Boudoir Portraiture & Beyond - Starting A Boudoir Photography Business

Adapt. Seriously.

For us male photographers, it is all about understanding the internal “soul business” a woman is living with. As male it’s hard to get that, no doubt. And make no mistake: Of course it is (also) about your client’s body, shapes and painting attractive curves.
But it is her body, her inner confidence, her pairing of feeling strong and looking beautiful. Hers! Not your view of the World of Women. It’s neither connected to the realms of Playboy’s playground nor to Marvel’s/DC’s comic universe.

On a practical note, shortly and abstract… – the tricks are:

  1. Act like a gentleman (be gallant, schmooze a wee bit, lead the shoot like you would lead a dance)
  2. Feel like a woman (styling, mood, light, atmosphere, psychology)
  3. Have a female assistant on location (for example, MUHA/Stylist)

Yup. That’s the whole “secret”. Doesn’t look like much but for most of us it means hard work to get there – especially regarding #2.

I will extensively elaborate the above notes (1-3) in upcoming articles/videos once my “Portrait Studio Adventure” starts to get off the ground. At that point in time, I will have hard proof and thousands of side notes to share with you. These topics will accompany me – and you if you are up to the task – over the next few years.

Related Reading

Tutorial “Boudoir Photography & Beyond”

LIVE Replay: ‘Boudoir Photography & Beyond’

LIVE Replay: ‘Boudoir Photography & Beyond’

5 Films. 110 Min Runtime. FullHD
Starring Busty Czech Hottie Nikola.
Boudoir photography is the art of creating charming, sensual, and attractive images of women. Dan will work through variations of Boudoir settings, all shot in a private tight-spaced bedroom, using simple speedlights, the proper light former and some specific add-ons. You will be taking a tour through a series of shots all the way from dreamy romantic to fresh attractive to highly seductive.

A traveler at heart, inspired by women, working along Swiss precision. Dan is a mediapreneur, photographer, author of several books and founder + Editor in Chief of Being a successful photographer for more than 15 years Dan got internationally published and featured on/in GQ Online, The India Times, FashionONE TV, FotoTV, GoodLight Mag, amongst many others. Dan is currently residing and working in Prague, CZ. Dan will talk about his projects, provide insights in shootings & concepts, produce webinars, create Academy content, explain styles, emphasize the importance of working with models and any other exciting topic he discovers along the way.

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Interesting take on Boudoir photography Dan. With regards to men shooting Boudoir, I think its all about building up trust and a comfort level with your subject, just like it is with professional models. Once you’ve had those first few clients, word of mouth about how you put your subject at ease, etc, other clients will follow. Secondly, if Boudoir photography is a “soul business,” and I think you’re right that it is, that light fetish Theme you referenced as a bit beyond Boudoir really isn’t. A few years ago, the novel “Fifty Shades of Gray,” which explored a woman’s… Read more »

For those of you who missed the first two episodes of Dan’s Live webinar series, you don’t want to miss out on this one. Getting a chance to see how an experienced photographer approaches a shoot and interacts with the model and gives her direction is invaluable. Even as an experienced photographer who has worked with loads of different models over the years, I never fail to learn something new each time I watch (and study) how another experienced photographer works.