7 Things To Help You Improve Your Boudoir Photography Sessions

One of the fastest growing niches in the photography industry is boudoir, and with good reason.

Have you ever tried to take a boudoir selfie? Nope, it just doesn’t work.

There’s a special art form to creating a really great boudoir image. Yes, anyone can say they shoot boudoir and snap a few images outside. But to get really creative and have your work stand out from the crowd, it takes time and commitment to the art form.

What can you do to improve your images?

Study Boudoir Photography

With the Internet at your disposal, its easy to find very good photographers within this industry. Dedicate an hour or two to research and head out and find sites with the images you love and are comfortable taking and presenting to your clients. Yes, you can create a “hidden” board on Pinterest to mark your favorites and have immediate access to them at any time. And in fact, this is a great way to have your cheat sheet with you on your shoots. Just pull up your Pinterest app on your iPad, pull up your hidden board, and have inspiration at your fingertips as you shoot. Don’t be afraid to use those images as inspiration as you set up your own images – your style will come as you gain confidence and discover what works for you.

Don’t Assume Your Clients Know What To Do

When a client books a boudoir session, they have some understanding of what they want. But they still need direction. Instead of a quick conversation – bring this and that – establish a marketing kit that provides them with the details. You can provide guidebooks on how to get comfortable in front of the camera. You can provide ideas for clothes and props to bring. You can provide sample images from other clients. Make it distinct for each individual client. This alone will give you an edge on looking and acting professional – your clients will love it.

Set Your Rules From The Beginning

Will you shoot in your studio or your clients’ homes? Will you shoot outside? Will you work with nudity? Will you work with individuals or couples? Just because you define boudoir photography in one manner doesn’t mean your potential clients might not have a different definition. And it can be very uncomfortable if you aren’t working towards the same goal. Be very specific about what is acceptable and what isn’t. Don’t be afraid to have guidelines available – share them before you book with a client, and consider placing them on your website for anyone to see before they decide to book with you.

Have Options

Does your client want the full treatment for her special day? Why not work with a makeup artist and a hair stylist who can come together with you for a complete package deal. Give her the royal queen treatment! Not only will she feel great, she’ll look happier and sexier for her final images too.

What’s The Final Product?

Sure she wants a boudoir session. But the session itself is only half of your service. What will she be taking home? A few images on a CD won’t cut it here. This is where you should have many options available for her to present her “surprise” to her significant other. A secret photo album? A framed image she can unveil? You can set the scene – and the excitement – by teaching your prospects what the outcome of a session will be.

Teach The Session

While many women love the concept of boudoir photography, some will definitely be more comfortable than others with the actual process. As a photographer, it’s your job to put your client at ease from the beginning. Can you create special videos to showcase the process? Can you show them the experience before they book with you? How do you talk with them when they first connect with you? How much detail can you put into your sales process to show them they can be comfortable every moment of the shoot? Boudoir isn’t like a family portrait. You can’t just show up and wing it. Put time into every aspect of it and it will improve your process immensely.

Boudoir Photography: The Quick Start Guide For Professional Photographers.

Understand Your Clients

Instead of reaching out to “all” women, choose a specific niche to work with. Maybe you live in an area where you can work with military wives wanting something extra special for their husbands’ homecoming. Maybe you work with cancer patients wanting to feel sexy with their bodies again. There are many directions you can take with boudoir photography, and it all can stretch beyond “every woman”. The more specific you are from the beginning, the easier it will be to create your marketing materials and reach out to your niche market.

Want More Family Portraits? Target New Home Sales

Looking for a way to bring in more family portraits to your photography business? It may be as easy as knocking on the doors of brand new home owners.

While the economy has been down globally for a while now, things change all the time. Even where you currently live, I’m willing to bet there are people moving to new homes all the time. They make an excellent target for a new family portrait. Here’s why.

A recent survey published in Deliver Magazine showed that:

  • New homeowners purchase more products and service in the first 6 months after moving than an established resident spends in 2 years.
  • The average new homeowner spends more than $9,000 on purchases within the first few months of a move.
  • 50 percent of new homeowners purchase home decorations and accents.
  • 35 percent of families plan to or will move into a new home after having their first child.

And if you think about it, it makes sense. If you are doing well enough to make a move into a new home – and anymore it also means you’re doing well if you can get a new mortgage, as the requirements are higher than ever – you probably have discretionary income to spend.

Why not target them for a family portrait?

Specific campaigns will always work better than generic. If you send out thousands of postcards around the holidays advertising portraits, you’re basing it all on zip codes. You may be reaching singles, married, married with children, grandparents, families with newborns, different ethnic groups, etc. Whatever you showcase, its probably not an exact match to the majority of the population. They are busy. And the majority end up in the trash. [Read more...]

Year Round Sales With Baby Portrait Plans

Babies. They are only little for a very short time. And while a new mom may be counting down the days until her child sleeps through the night, just as quickly she will be wishing she could hold her child in her arms again as they race from school to soccer practice.

Because babies grow so fast, its one of the easiest and most lucrative business models to get into.

Babies are born every day of the year. And because new moms understand how fast the first year will be, they are also the easiest to sell to on emotion.

Ready to put baby plans into your business model? Here is a step by step guide to get you started today.

Step 1: Set up your pricing

Baby plans aren’t set up with one session. Instead, they comprise of three or four sessions, possibly with add-ons. A typical baby plan may include:

  • Maternity session
  • Newborn session
  • Three month
  • Six month
  • Nine months
  • One year

Get your client into the door while they are still pregnant. Because your plan should include a newborn image that is taken during the first few weeks of life, its important to sell the plan before the baby is born.

Package plans should include one image from each session placed in a wall collage or montage frame – which they won’t receive until all sessions are completed. This gives the client a reason to finish all sessions. [Read more...]

3 Tips To Getting More Qualified, Better Paying High School Senior Portrait Sessions

My daughter brought home her high school year book yesterday. As a photographer, the first thing I did is pick it up and start scanning the senior portraits. I know things are different now, but I’m always amazed – and a little shocked too – at how many truly “bad” photographs are within the pages of this keepsake.

Twenty years ago, you had to use pre-established photographers that had the measurements of the specified image, and would conform to the requirements. When you looked through a yearbook, the seniors’ images were all relatively the same. Which meant you focused on looking at the kids.

Now anything goes. Around one third of the kids use the image taken for their school ID. You can tell by the “infamous” blue background and the lackluster smiles. Then you have another one third with quality high school senior portraits – you can tell they went to a professional, and in some cases I can even tell who the professional is by the props and poses. Then there is the final one third.

  • I saw images with overexposed backgrounds and dark, washed out faces.
  • I saw images that were out of focus.
  • I saw snapshots from family vacations where the senior was so small it was hard to see.
  • I saw some of the craziest poses and angles – I couldn’t believe anyone thought they were good images.

Yep, many of them were truly bad.

In today’s society, people are forgetting what real photography is all about. Real photography is now associated with “new”. The last picture you snapped goes up on Facebook, and that becomes your newest image to share. Chances are it will be “good” – you wouldn’t put up a bad one. But it isn’t great. It isn’t beautiful and it won’t stand the test of time. Look at it a year from now and it will simply be a snapshot marking a moment in time.

Dig Deeper: Filling Your Portrait Studio With High School Seniors
A real photograph is more than that. It not only marks a moment in time, it captures the essence of who the person is. And that’s where a professional comes in.

 

by Sam Attal


Professionals learn a lot of things over the years. [Read more...]

Filling Your Portrait Studio With High School Seniors

I had a question come through yesterday on the high school senior market and how you build a list of qualified prospects. And since the high school senior market is coming up in full force here in the States, I thought it would be the perfect time to create a new post and look at how you can fill your portrait studio up with high school seniors.

Like other niches within the photography industry, the high school senior market has become a cutthroat business. Years ago, many high schools in our area had a pre-select group of photographers to choose from. You had to go with one of them to be included in the yearbook. So of course all high school seniors selected from those few photographers. Then things changed.

Now any photograph can be included in the yearbook. A child simply has to get it into the yearbook office before the deadline. There are very few restrictions, which means if you look at a yearbook, you’ll see the good, the bad, and everything in between.

Dig Deeper: 7 Tips To Take Better Senior Portraits

Because people are looking for extra money, the high school senior market seems to be the one area that is easy to jump in. With no requirements from the schools, its just a matter of offering a low enough price to gain some business, or so a lot of photographers seem to think. And in reality, it works. [Read more...]

3 Reasons Boudoir Photography May Be Your Ticket To Profits

Looking for something new for your photography business? I’ve mentioned before on this blog how much I love the concept of boudoir photography. It’s a niche that sells well, is customizable, and allows you to add all of your creativity to create a final product your clients will love.

Why should you consider boudoir?

Women Like To Feel Special

Want to know the real reason women love weddings? Its one day in our lives we can look forward to, dream about, and plan for years on end. It’s the one day we can wear a dress like no other, and really enjoy the feeling of being someone special. Boudoir can give that same feeling on a different scale. It allows a woman to look inside, and find out whom she really is. It can make her feel special, and share her sensuality with that someone special in her life.

Women Will Pay For Things That Create A New Experience

People may not be able to afford a new car, or the trip they’ve been planning for years. But they can save up and invest in a daylong experience that will help them escape reality for a time.

It’s a Niche That The Big Box Stores Won’t Offer

It’s getting more difficult to compete with the big box stores on the average photography. In fact, they are getting pretty good at creativity with what they have. But if you stretch beyond what they can do, you’ll have more luck within your community, and become more recognizable for what you do. Big box stores like the “repetition” model. Come in, wait in line, stand on the X, snap the picture, buy your prints, and leave. What they can’t do is offer exceptional service and creativity. Boudoir gives you that edge; that option of offering something they simply can’t get anywhere else.

Don’t like the word “boudoir”? (I have had people tell me that they don’t feel comfortable promoting that type of photography.) Then change the name.

  • Intimate Portraiture
  • Maternity Memories
  • Love Stories

Get creative, and find a way to niche the idea of boudoir even further.

And if you’re looking for a way to learn more about turning this into a lucrative niche for your photography business, check out Ed Verosky’s newest release, Boudoir Photography: The Quick Start Guide For Professional Photographers. I’ve followed Ed for a number of years now, and I can tell you without a doubt that his books are packed full of useful tips, great how-to ideas, and many step by step strategies that will have you up and running with boudoir photography in no time. It’s a great investment in your future if you’ve decided to add this to your services.

Photographing Baby: A Quick Primer

A guest post by Susan Black

Babies have the transformative power of kryptonite.  There is nothing funnier than watching a tough, leather-clad, motorcycle riding hulk, suddenly morph into a cooing, grinning, nonsense-spouting hulk, in the presence of a toddler.  Or how about the completely un-self conscious “face pulling” performed by strangers in line at the grocery store in an effort to entertain a child in a cart?  Seeing a baby smile makes everyone happy, and in everyday situations, as long as the little person is not too tired or uncomfortable in some other way, babies will smile repeatedly.  So why is it so difficult to get them to smile when you want to take their photograph?  Capturing that perfect still image with your offspring can be a truly frustrating experience, both for you and your baby.  Here are a few tips to help you and your child smile through the whole process.

1.  Natural Light is Your Friend

Bright lights, loud noise, and sudden movement, especially in the first few months of any child’s life, can be very disturbing.  The new world that they have emerged into is a lot to take.  Consequently, as a new parent photographing a baby, avoid using your flash bulb at all times.  Instead, find areas of natural light.  Areas where the light shifts over time are preferable.  That way, you can leave your little person in one place, while reaping the photographic rewards of an environment that is subtly shifting over time, as the sun changes position.

2.  Bigger is Better

Go in close with your photographs or try an entire session in macro mode.  Work with a long lens, so you do not have to impose the camera on your child’s space.  As the great architect Mies van der Rohe once said, “God is in the details”.  Whether you believe in God or not, there is no denying that the little parts that make up your little person are as wonderful as the whole.  While everyone wants that perfect smiling shot, remember to take photographs of other body parts as well.  They sometimes make for the most compositionally interesting shots, and they can also serve as a great chronicle of your child’s growth.  Shooting body parts close-up can also serve as practice for more portrait-style photographs. [Read more...]

10 Myths About Becoming A Portrait Photographer

One of the easiest businesses to set up is a portrait photography business. With a camera and a business card, you can start finding clients anywhere in your community. Right?

Actually, it’s not quite that simple. While many photographers get started that way, and can find a handful of clients just with the people they know, the tough part comes after those first few clients. How do you find more? How do you build a sustainable business?

If you’ve been struggling with building your own portrait studio, see if you are falling into one of the traps below.

Myth #1 One camera is all I need

When you first got into photography, chances are it was with one camera body, and maybe a lens or two. That works when you don’t have to rely on it. But what if it quits working in the middle of a paid shoot? Or what if you leave your camera and a lens on a tripod to move in and adjust your client … and the entire thing collapses, leaving pieces scattering everywhere? Backups are mandatory when you are a professional.

Myth #2 I’m a natural light photographer and don’t need flash

Have you ever seen people advertise they are a natural light photographer? What does that really mean? We personally built our business off of natural light photographs too – in fact I highly prefer the look. But there are many times when you simply don’t have the natural light you need for a professional shot. An on camera flash won’t cut it. You need to be able to separate the flash, use flash in a variety of ways, and use it to highlight and amplify the look of your work. And you have to know how to use it.

Myth #3 Everyone will see the difference between me and my competition

When you look at your work, you view it through your own eyes, and see it with all the love and passion it took to create it. Yet most of your potential customers get lost when they view your work and try to compare it to the next guy. If you build a website just like everyone else; if you put a handful of images into a gallery portfolio just like everyone else; if you use the same words in your advertising just like everyone else; your prospects won’t be able to separate you from your competition. [Read more...]

An easy portrait profit center

A Guest Article By Andrew Funderburg

High-end portrait sales are a great source of income for studios. But sometimes the big ticket items create sticker shock for the client.

Using Finao 3ditions (three albums exactly the same in a matching box) is a great way to bring profits into you studio. Watch this video with Fundy explaining a simple payment plan concept with three albums.

**(Prices in this video are for illustration purposes only. Make sure you price for your profitability.)

5 Posing Tips For The Perfect Beach Portrait

A while back I posted 7 Tips For Taking The Perfect Beach Portrait.

And while choosing the perfect location and the best time of day are important, there is one thing that matters even more.

Posing.

Even with a great location, if your subjects are just standing there with no connection, you’ll never give your clients the “experience” that makes them want to invest in everything you capture.

1. Frame the image first, then drop your subjects in

The more you photograph, the more you can look at an area and pick out the perfect background. Set you camera up on a tripod and visualize what you want the scene to convey. Then drop your subjects into the perfect location. When you “see” it first, its easy to direct them in a pose. Have them kick the water with their toes. Or hold hands walking down the beach. This makes the portrait session quick, and keeps your clients motivated and happy.

2. Let your subjects connect on their own

Your subjects love each other, and will automatically connect with just a little direction. If they are an engaged couple, with just a little encouragement they will hug and kiss even without your nudge. And a family with young kids will automatically start having fun in the water and the sand. Just let them do what comes naturally. Not only will it look better to the camera, it will look equally pleasing in the final photograph – they will see it as a natural extension of who they are.

3. Repeat the posing

When your subjects are doing something right, tell them. “I love the way you are holding her hand.” or “Leaning in like that really makes this a WOW image.” will cause your subject to focus in on what they are doing, and they’ll remember how it feels. When you ask for a similar pose 10 minutes later, they will automatically repeat that feeling.

4. Add angles

If you’ve ever looked at a portrait where everyone in it is stiff as a board, you know how uncomfortable it can make you feel. People have lines and curves – accentuate it. Bend the arms and legs. Separate people just a bit and have them lean in. You’ll be amazed at the difference you see.

5. Get the best image you can the first time

One of the biggest problems with digital is the “spray and pray” method. You place a subject in an area, shoot dozens of images from all different angles, then head back into the studio to play with Photoshop to make it look good. That method takes away the creativity of creating the perfect photograph the first time around. See your image through the lens first, and use Photoshop later to enhance. You’ll see a big difference in your final photograph.

[None of these environmental beach images are enhanced through Photoshop - these are the original film image files directly from the shoot. ]