The word “boudoir” invokes images of elegance and sensuality. Women have always been drawn to this classy and intimate form of photography, which has been growing in popularity over the past three decades. Photographers in turn have been drawn into the boudoir photography business to celebrate their subjects.

Keep in mind that your client is a sure and powerful woman who wishes to be treated with professionalism and respect.

As you start your career in boudoir photography, ask yourself why you are interested in the niche. If it is because you wish to work with young, gorgeous models, perhaps you should be considering glamour photography instead. The average client for boudoir photography is 25-65, non-professional girlfriends or wives who wish to give a sexy set of photos to their significant others.

In the boudoir photography business, the ability to identify your client base will make it easier to market your work. In addition to this understanding, here are five pieces of advice to help in the launch of your new business.

1. Equipment

Lights, camera action! Well, almost. A benefit to boudoir photography is that you do not need a studio. ‘Boudoir’ means ‘bedroom’ in French, and you can create a luxurious setting in nearly any room.

Since you will not be working with flawless professional models, having quality lighting is important. Two lights are the minimum you need when starting out; one for background separation and one for highlighting the face/body. Working up to three or five lights is ideal.

Lenses are key as well. If you are going on location, you’ll need a 24 to 70 to accommodate small rooms and less for perfect setups. If you have the luxury of a large space, a 70 to 200 is best, since it is flattering for close-ups.

A successful, sexy boudoir photo shoot requires a variety of props. Providing your client with things like backdrops, boas, and simple jewelry options will greatly enhance the mood of your photos. Wraps and shawls are also a good addition to your prop collection as these help in hiding your client’s flaws.

One important piece not to underestimate is a good heater. A warm inviting environment will help your client feel more at ease and show that her comfort is of the utmost importance.

These are suggestions for the bare bones equipment that would be required to begin your career in the boudoir photography. It is important to remember that you should continue to expand upon your kit with new gear to so you may further your creative options.

2. Portfolio and Marketing

Your portfolio is the best advertising you have when starting out. Focusing exclusively on a quality representation of your work will provide you with a strong initial customer base.

When putting your portfolio together, do not cut corners. When clients flip through the silky pages of your high standard book, your work will sell itself. This is the most powerful tool you have to get customers in the beginning and throughout your career.

One issue you may encounter, is that the clients you work with early in your career may not feel comfortable allowing their photos to be used in your portfolio. For the majority of your example photographs you will need to hire models. Modeling fees may seem like a big expense when you are first starting out, but this is a necessary investment.

Once you have made your hard copy portfolio it is time to create your online presence. Concentrate on developing a digital portfolio and website that has SEO heavy content. This is your platform to express to the world your vision, method, and personal story.

At first, marketing shouldn’t be something on which you concentrate too heavily. The best P.R. you can receive will come from the early customers who recognize your hard work and professional presentation. The average client you will be attracting with your business has a lot of friends, and their word of mouth publicity is an invaluable asset.

3. You and Your Subject

Knowing the type of women who will be attracted to your boudoir photography business is imperative.

Woman who are interested in boudoir photography are not models. Typically they are working women around 25 to 65 who wish to document a milestone in their life, whether it is physical or mental.

Your photographs are gifts generally, received by husbands, fiancés, and boyfriends. However, she is not solely interested in boudoir photography to surprise her man; she is also rewarding herself. Boudoir photography can be seen as an indulgence and one your client base feels they deserve. So keep in mind that your subject is not going to be a delicate ingénue, that this is a sure and powerful woman who wishes to be treated with professionalism and respect.

Some woman may feel uncomfortable at first. Communicating your vision clearly and letting them know that you are there to make them look their best will help them feel more at ease. Occasionally, clients will be self-conscious and have doubts about what they are doing. Help them through encouragement and reassurance.

4. Rates

Thankfully, this area of your business is pretty cut and dry. Doing some basic research will greatly assist you in figuring out your rates.

Observe the rates of fellow boudoir photographers, this will provide a base for you to work with. In addition, be sure you compare costs with photographers who are local to you.

Boudoir photography is a generally considered a local business and by paying close attention to your surrounding competition you can develop competitive pricing.

Know what your overhead costs currently are and how they may change.

Start out with providing clients with sample package rates that vary in the length and complexity of a shoot. Like in any type of new freelance business, it’s important to remember that at first your effort and your revenue will not be equal…at all. The passion and love you have for the photography is where this balances out. However, you are just starting out and once you start moving in a good direction there is no limit to what you can achieve.

5. Don’t Stop

The first step is the scariest. Once you have momentum, each small step will feel simpler and easier. A major difference between mediocre and sought after photographers is their willingness to learn. Observe new trends locally and around the world. Play with new ideas, such as pinup, artistic, or burlesque, but staying true to your vision is important since it is your personal visual signature that women are paying you for.

What is truly amazing about owning your style is that you can apply it to anything.

Book tip

The Art Of Boudoir Photography With Speedlights

Michael shows in a simple and comprehensive way how you can realize great Boudoir Shots with speedlights in any (bed)room. 'Hands on' advices about choosing lingerie, setting up light, model posing, shooting interesting angels and more.


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