5 Maternity Photography Ideas for Expecting Clients

Becoming a mother is a special, special time in the life of a woman who chooses to walk that path. As cliché as it might sound, women who want a child and manage to become pregnant with one are truly experiencing a touch of the miraculous in their lives, and expecting couples are often so touched by this experience that working with them as a photographer can be the source of great inspiration. It is very often that these couples – or women – want to immortalize the special time they are currently experience through a beautiful photo shoot, and this is where you come in. If you take these few maternity photography ideas into account when you get contacted by expecting clients, the results will surely make them happy, and make you a better photographer in the process.

1. Combine the maternity photography niche with the boudoir photography niche.

1

Sometimes, the altered body appearance of a pregnant woman is the main thing which she wants to immortalize in the special photo session, and posing semi-naked for it almost comes naturally. Although for most photography outsiders, the ideas of maternity and of boudoir photography don’t mix very well, in professional practice they mix perfectly, and quite often (as we’ve shown you before in a post about boudoir photography). If you think about it, it actually makes perfect sense: a woman who wants to document her journey with professional photographs wants to beam with joy over her swollen belly, but wants to feel feminine and attractive too. Therefore, nude or semi-nude photos (perhaps just with a silhouette) are one of the best maternity photography ideas ever.

2. Make the belly important, but don’t make it your sole focus.

Styled maternity session at the Propel Workshop 2013

One of the most common novice mistakes when it comes to experimenting with maternity photography ideas is making the belly the main focus of each photo. Sure, the unborn baby is sort of the main point of the shoot, but if you center your photos on it, all of them will end up looking the same, and you will have missed other crucial aspects which should have been captured. Try alternating the focus and concentrate on other things like the people’s facial expressions, how your props are making the whole setting change and so on. Speaking of props, when shooting indoors in your studio (though it shouldn’t be a must, as we’ll develop further on later), some of the best maternity photography ideas include using unlikely pieces of furniture for comfortable poses. If the woman feels very comfy in an armchair, try creating the same pose with her in a kid’s wagon, for example, and so on.

3. When photographing couples, make the other partner feel important as well.

Butter Media Inc.

Another potential mistake you could make is to overlook the other partner or make them just a supporting character within the photos. Maternity photography ideas should be more than simply photographing the pregnant woman with her partner behind her and holding her or her belly. Ask them to play around until you find the potential for something funny, like the partner’s surprised facial expression being the focus of the photo, right next to the pregnancy itself. In real life as well as in photographs, the non-pregnant partner of expecting couples can sometimes feel like the third wheel, and it’s part of your job to counteract this effect in the photographs and make everyone feel like the united family they are.

4. Help your subjects relax and feel attractive.

4

Keep in mind that your subjects are not only non-professionals who don’t know how to pose and how to not get tired by it, but they are also pregnant women who may have some trouble feeling attractive during this delicate time. The better they feel while posing, the better will the photos be, so do our best to help them feel relaxed, to prevent exhaustion and to keep their spirits up.

5. Don’t settle for classic poses and try something creative.

5

Your first two or three couples who come to you for this kind of photos may challenge you enough just by requiring a classic maternity photo shoot, but after you become a bit more experienced in the field, you will soon notice how all studio photos will start looking more or less the same. After gaining a steady hand, try a more creative approach. Your artistry and your customers will both have to gain from the fresh view. For example, go outside the studio: try shooting the photos on the beach, if conditions will allow it, or simply somewhere outdoors. Some of the most creative maternity photography ideas we’ve seen around often involved being outdoors, so don’t be afraid to experiment. Have fun and good luck!

5 Sensible Ideas for Couples Boudoir Photography

During your career as a photographer working with people, if you manage to successfully transition from doing this as a hobby to becoming a pro, you will be approached by couples quite often. When two people feel happy together, when they are at the beginning or when they have simply reached a new relationship milestone, it is quite often that they want to celebrate that feeling by commissioning a series of couple photography. But on that note, you shouldn’t be surprised that sometimes they want to try couples boudoir photography, since it’s one of the most popular commercial trends of the present. It can’t be all wedding photography or classic portraits; but on the other hand you shouldn’t feel queasy about it: boudoir photography is by no means erotic photography, which is much more explicit or debatable. To prepare a bit for the time when you’ll receive a request like this, here are 5 sensible ideas for couples’ boudoir photography to achieve the ideal balance between enticing and tasteful.

1. Combine the niches of boudoir photography with maternity photography.

1

Sometimes, pregnant mothers want to contract a photographer to help them immortalize their new bodies in a beautiful light. It is a way for them to feel beautiful at a time when their bodies are going through miraculous and tremendous change, and you need to be highly imaginative as a photographer to be able to capture the exact angle that will produce a suitable photo. The final result must be neither too revealing or overtly sexy, nor too abstract, as if you don’t want to show the body at all, nor focusing entirely on the belly. The good news is that if you get this right, your client will love it, and you will add a very desirable niche to your portfolio.

2. Use lights and shadows to highlight only one area or shape of your subjects’ bodies.

2

When photographing bodies in a delicate and non-overtly erotic manner, the play of lights and shadows can be your friend. In the example above, the shadows help make the photo not too explicit, while the lights make the contours stand out in an alluring way. Tasteful boudoir photography can be easily achieved through light and shadow play, so it’s a trick you should keep in mind for every such photo shoot.

3. In couples’ boudoir photography, your people skills must be extra sharp.

3

Brushing up on your people skills to make sure your subjects are relaxed enough to pose and to also prevent their exhaustion is an important part of any kind of photography work, but in the case of boudoir photography, perhaps it is even more so. A person’s body is the thing they often are the most self-conscious about, and it is your job to make them feel as relaxed and comfortable as possible. They must feel so throughout the photo shoot, and the results have to make them feel beautiful. Perhaps a talk with your subjects about the body parts they feel most self-conscious about or the body parts which they are proud of and would like to bring into focus can prove itself useful, if you are as tactful about it a possible.

4. Try shooting the photos from partially concealing angles.

4

If you manage to tactfully find out what areas of their bodies your clients are comfortable with and what areas they would like concealed, you can use this as a guide. If there isn’t anything to be concealed for this reason, then just try to follow this rule of revealing something and concealing something else, in order to make sure the final result is tasteful and just slightly erotic. In couple’s boudoir photography, you have to deliver a result which will make your clients happy with their decision of posing for you even after a long while has passed.

5. As much of a cliché as it sounds, focus on the feeling of the overall setting than on the bodies per se.

5

The décor is very important in couple’s boudoir photography, as it will set the whole feeling for the entire series of photos. Not only will this feeling be visible to the viewer of the photos, but the subjects themselves must be successfully be immersed in it to relax properly and glow. This setting includes not only the objects in the room, but also the way you choose to frame the image you want to capture.

If you manage to apply these few ideas for couples’ boudoir photography, your clients should feel very happy with both the shooting experience and the results of your work, and your reputation as a reliable photographer will have nothing but to gain from it.

The Best Photographers We’ve Encountered Online in 2013-2014

Talking about something as definite as “best photographers “ can be more than a little bold, if truth be told, since the visual arts in general and photography in particular are so highly subjective that picking absolutes is impossible. But since we’re not claiming to choose the best photographers of all time, but only a few select ones which caught our eye since last year and the months that passed from this one, we dared to give it a go.

1. Davina Palik and Daniel Kudish

1

This couple of photographers, based in Montreal and Ottawa, specialize in wedding photography, taking beautiful pictures of couples around the world on their big day. Although wedding photography seem to be a field where you can’t improvise all that much, at least not in a completely innovate or shocking way, these two are some of the best photographers out there precisely because they can demonstrate the contrary.

Take a look at their superb portfolio here and see for yourself how fresh wedding photography can actually be with Davina and Daniel behind the camera. We especially love the occasionally funny moments captured, because one rarely gets to see something funny and romantic at the same time.

2. Spencer Murphy

2

For the portrait photography niche, our favorite is Spencer Murphy, one of the best photographers in Britain, in our humble opinion. We especially like the serious air of his portraits, because sometimes, there’s just more to the realm of photography themes than autumn foliage (not that there’s anything wrong with being into that). Pictured above, you can admire the portrait of a female jump jockey right after the jump (part of a wider series of specialized portrait, which won him impressive awards).

You can take a better look at this photo series of his here.

3. Rafael Marchante

3

This brilliant photographer from Portugal has reached a famous professional status on numerous websites after this iconic photograph of his was widely distributed in the aftermath of Nelson Mandela’s death. He managed to capture the spirit of the African leader’s legacy in a unique photograph of a well-made graffiti that was serious and playful and full of great impact all at the same time. His niche is taking pictures of seemingly banal street situations and homeless people, as opposed to most of our visitors who are mostly taking pictures of clients, but his images are a great inspiration nonetheless.

Take a look at his Facebook page here to browse some of the most amazing portraits you’ll ever see.

4. Camilla de Mafei

4

This brilliant Italian lady truly deserves a spot in the best photographers of recent years. Her work is hard to put into just one box, as she seems to move effortlessly through landscape photography, sad and eerie portrait photography or still life shots.

Her official website, where you can browse more of her photos, is here.

5. Michael Roud

5

One of the best photographers of Los Angeles, Michael Roud isn’t exactly a recent entry in the field of famous photography, but his works remain so edgy and impeccable that we couldn’t finish this list without him. Mostly into headshots (but also into wedding photography), he also impresses with his work as a director and with collaborations with celebrities. The one certainty about the work of this incredibly talented guy is that getting photographed by him is certainly an honor and privilege.

His official website and portfolio can be admired at will here.

These were, according to us, the best photographers of the recent years which you should check out every now and then for an inspiration bonus. All in all, there’s no improving your own skills without also getting familiarized with the work of as many photographers as possible, and they might as well be worthy of the attention.

A Short Guide to Interacting with Your Models

Becoming a professional photographer is a hard enough job as it is if you only focus on the technical aspects of the work, but throwing the human relations part into the equation can sometimes make things more complicated. As we mentioned earlier, keep in mind that most of your models (meaning clients) are not professional models and are not trained to find their own focus point without a bit of help on your behalf. Also, they might not be comfortable in front of the camera, especially if this is the first or second time they see you, nor will they know how to properly pose.

photographer

In addition to all this, a pushy attitude on your behalf might disturb the delicate balance within your working relationship and cause them to retract (first by not cooperating properly and then perhaps completely). So, what can you do to make sure your relationship with your models is as productive as possible for both you and them? First of all, abstain from being pushy or too firm and remember that these are either volunteers or even paying customers, so you can’t treat them like they’re your employees. Second of all, take a deep breath and try to follow these three tips or guidelines on interacting with your models.

Have one or two meetings before the shoot, explain the process and negotiate some rules.

Since these people or this person aren’t accustomed to being models on a regular basis, there are a whole number of things related to this lack of experience that can transform into draw-backs during the shoot. Your best way to prevent it is by meeting up with them once or twice before the actual photo shoot and try to discuss these aspects and inform them on what will take place. You can present the meeting as an opportunity for you to explain the process to them in order to create more comfort, and also ask them what it is they expect and want exactly. In addition to this, you can also use this opportunity to negotiate some ground rules which will activate during the shoot.

For example, let’s say that one of your customers wants a boudoir photo shoot. You can have a meeting in which she will outline her preferences and expectancies, and you will tell her how the basic posing takes place, how long will it take, that you can help her pose better by suggesting adjustments and movements and so on. Also let her know that there are some things that will not come naturally – like how to focalize her look – and that you will need to tell her what to do during the shoot. This way, she will know what to expect and won’t feel taken by surprise in a bad way when these things happen.

Show them the pose you want in a printed photo, and then gently guide them into it.

If you feel like your model misunderstood a pose suggestion after you told them the first time, don’t insist verbally the second time, as it will make them feel awkward for not getting it and perhaps they will even see you as pushy. Instead, if you feel like the subject is having a difficult time grasping exactly the pose you would want them to try, show them a picture of other models in the position you want them. It’s not only more efficient, but it’s more delicate to their ego and to the overall atmosphere.

Contribute to their confidence, but don’t exaggerate with the compliments.

If you’re dealing with a particularly shy subject, you can try punctuating the photo shoot with a few discreet compliments every now and then, especially when you intuitively feel it would be needed most. But make sure you don’t splurge on the compliments, or you risk giving off a creepy or at least unprofessional vibe. The point of working with a customer is precisely to make them feel as confident and amazing as actual models, at least for a day.

Take Precautions to Prevent Your Subject’s Exhaustion

As most of our readers are amateur photographer trying to make the transition to professional ones, we address this post to them as part of the things one must learn at the beginning of the journey. There are many things to learn, it seems, so many that at times all the effort you’re making can feel a little overwhelming. While no one can guarantee that you’re going to make it as a pro in the business, what we can promise is that if you do, things will get easier, and they only seem overwhelming for now, when paid gigs come in very rarely if they do at all. To most of us in the beginner days, putting that much effort and money into something that is still only a hobby can seem hopeless at times (especially if you also need to maintain an unrelated job for the time being). Since this post is about exhaustion, this is a point when you can feel a sort of exhaustion yourself, but if you persevere, better things will come, eventually.

best-practices-for-wedding-and-event-photography01

The point we are trying to make is that amidst all this info which you’re supposed to acquire, it’s easy to get lost in the technical details of ISO and lighting and forget the people skills which a good photographer needs. Helping your clients relax while you photograph them is very important, both for preventing exhaustion and for making sure the photos are actually good and don’t feel artificial or forced. The so-called bedside manner is indeed a requirement in many professions and photography is definitely one of them. Moreover, if you lack this quality or skill as a photographer, this can modify your whole work for the worse, unlike the other professions who only require it to make the people you work with be comfortable. Not that we’re implying that’s optional or anything.

The one thing to keep in mind is that most of the people you will photograph will not be professional models, familiar with the whole drill. They will be people hiring you to help immortalize a precious moment of their lives, like, for example, if you will become a wedding photographer. Since they are not used to the routine of posing, exhaustion will catch up with them rather quickly, leading to the portraits being less good than they could be, leading in turn to a lessened satisfaction with your services. But the good news is that you can keep this in mind throughout the photo shoot and take little precautions at all times to prevent your subjects from getting too tired too fast.

These precautions you can take would depend a bit on your personal style too, but an example of a good strategy you could develop is this: spend the first 10 minutes or so helping them relax and feel comfortable enough to pose, then ask for the poses you want in a series of more intense minutes, then tone down the rhythm and suggest breaks.

During the breaks, you could suggest refreshments like water or juice, then, after removing the drinks from the scene, you could allow a semi-break by telling them to act more natural or pose whichever way they feel like it. This may lead to very good photos (which is a win-win situation), or to not that good photos, which are still useful for the respite and for allowing you subjects to become more and more comfortable with posing. Few things beat exhaustion better than being allowed to pose however you want to every now and then, so if you only take one tip out of this post, take this one.

Making the Most of Your Wedding Portrait Photos: 3 Trends in 2014

As many artists will tell you, wedding portrait photos are an art in and of themselves. They are very important to the clients, of course, and can also greatly enrich your portfolio and enhance its overall value. That’s why, for today’s post, we’re taking a look at three trends that have been dictating the rules for this segment over the past months. They’ve been confirmed enough for us to assume that they’ll also be around until the end of the year; so, pay heed and make sure you’re doing everything right, in order to make the most of your wedding portrait photos.

1. Posed shots are the past

01-wedding-portrait-photo-trends-2014

It’s not just wedding portrait photos that have become more dynamic and focused on storytelling. In fact, as seasoned family or pet photographers will confirm, the entire niche of photographic portraiture has become far more focused on natural settings and dynamism. Most photographers nowadays choose to photograph their clients in natural outdoor environments, thus lending an air of freshness and vivacity to their shots. It also helps place the subjects in a setting they love, since this will help them feel far more relaxed in front of the camera.

Another trend, which only comes to complete the above, is that of wedding portrait photos that could easily pass for photojournalism. What does this mean, in terms of actual images? It means that both the photographer and the clients take on a more candid approach. The end images are more natural and raw, less processed, more creative, and with a more ‘in the moment’ feel to them than ever before. Since photojournalism is all about spontaneity and capturing a good story within an instant, it goes without saying that the photos created like this are far more unique, fun for everyone involved and creative.

2. Pricing goes up with experience

behind-scenes-wedding-portrait-role-reversal

Given today’s rather harsh economic climate, many wedding photographers are reluctant to increase the pricing of their services overall – and of their portrait sessions in particular. However, as seasoned pros will tell you, this is not necessarily a good approach. After all, if you’re investing in your business, it’s only natural to expect the prices to match your level of experience. What’s more, portrait photography can even be regarded as a separate niche within the wedding photography segment. It requires specialized equipment and technical skills. If you’re committed to creating ever better wedding portrait photos, you’re probably also investing in this. Classes, lenses, accessories and other investments should be reflected in your pricing options. What’s more, as you continue to grow your wedding photography business, it’s probably also a good idea to book more clients – in the long run, this increasing roster of customers will also act as an argument in your favor, when it comes to asking for higher fees.

3. Don’t underestimate the power of the print

03-wedding-portrait-photo-trends-2014

Sure, everyone is online these days: wedding portrait photos garner impressive amounts of likes on Facebook, they’re shared by your clients over Instagram, and maybe even featured on Pinterest. But the problem is that they all too often end up forgotten on a CD or DVD somewhere. To help your wedding portrait photos enjoy a longer lifespan, but also to help increase your business, you should perhaps try offering a special print as a bonus to your clients, thus encouraging them to print more photos.

Also, one clear 2014 trend is experimenting with print materials. Canvas is very popular at the moment, but there are so many options the list is virtually endless. Some photographers over shadow boxes, others print on glass or wood, while others are experimenting with artwork products like metal and acrylic.

A Few Tips on Shooting Great Family Portraits

1

Many of you aspiring professionals have a hard time choosing a photography niche, but some of you already decided to have portrait photography as one of your main go-tos. And the rest of you striving to make it in this transition from an amateur photographer to a pro haven’t really wholeheartedly decided for portrait photography, but you end up doing portrait gigs once in a while because this is what is most often offered to you. Since building a portfolio always requires you to show off your paid gigs, it’s only natural to accept most of the employment offers coming your way even if you don’t need the money that bad (you have another main job) or even if the subject isn’t really your cup of tea. And this is how the matter of family portraits arises.

The customers employing you to take photos for them want portraits most often than not, obviously, so there you have it: sooner or later, every aspiring photographer needs to deal with portrait photography no matter how much or little they like it. But perhaps we’re getting ahead of ourselves and you really have a genuine interest for this kind of photography, well, even better in that case. You’ll need all the enthusiasm you can muster, just as in any other photography niche. We’ve previously shared with you a general outline about the dos and don’ts of portrait photography, but this field has its own subfields which can be very different from each other, like wedding photography, artistic nudes, mother and child photography and so on. Today we’re going to talk about what it takes to shoot really wonderful pictures in the subfield of family portraits, so that you hopefully end up with a product that satisfies both the client and your own artistic and professional exigencies.

1. Be as relaxed as you want your subject to be

Photographers complaining about how some subjects just can’t pose and how they freeze in front of the camera often forget that the subject’s attitude is very often dependent on theirs. Talk to clients beforehand about any previous experiences with photographers and, if they trust you, they’ll confess that photographers freeze too behind the camera and start fidgeting. The manner in which a photographer fidgets is something like this: continuously changing camera settings and lighting, giving contradictory instructions for the subject’s posing, seeming unsure of themselves and of what to do next, and generally conveying a discontent vibe about the whole thing. If you make your subject(s) uncomfortable and general

2. Adjust your lens to the group’s size

The lens you equip dictates what kind of angle your camera will be capable to sustain, as well as opening up a whole array of focusing options. If you’re taking the portrait of a large group, like multiple generations of one family or more than 4-5 people, you need to equip a wide-angle lens of about 18 mm, allowing more people to fit in your shot. A telephoto lens (greater than 70 mm) works, as the name implies, better at a distance, but don’t allow a great angle. If you’re shooting a group sitting further away, this could be a good option. Just climb on something that gives you a bit of an altitude and shoot away for some of the best family portraits ever; the distance will prevent you of missing the angle.

3. Use Exposure Compensation to get the skin tones right

The Exposure Compensation feature is something landscape photographers often use to brighten or darken up skies in order to obtain more realistic or dramatic images. When shooting family portraits, this feature can be used as a trick to make sure that the lighting isn’t tampering with your subjects’ natural skin tone. You can dial up this functionality (the exact place to find it depends on your camera so search it in the manual) by positive or negative ¼ measures until you feel that the skin tone is now just right.

4. Increase your ISO to counteract your subjects’ movement

People tend to move around quite a bit when they have their portraits taken and this is true especially of large groups. Imagine many generations and kids and pets all crammed up together in a tight group and having to wait for multiple shots to be taken. But don’t worry, this can actually work to your advantage, as they will be more relaxed and natural if they’re allowed to move and you may be able to capture some very fun family portraits. The only downside to all this is that movement can make the pictures blurred, depending on your camera’s aperture and shutter. To prevent the blurring, you should increase your ISO and bump up your shutter speed up to 400, and even higher in low light. This might produce a little bit of a grain effect (at higher ISO values like 3200), but even so the pictures will still look better.

Remember to practice patience and friendliness and keep researching and experimenting with various camera settings. Your portrait photography skills and photography skills in general will get better for it.

Combine Two Photography Niches to Be Unique

photographer-photography--005Struggling to make the transition from an amateur photographer to a pro can be a tough job as it is. Creating a compelling portfolio, acquiring a client pool and managing it properly, creating a name for yourself, struggling to get new gigs and the credibility that comes with them… it’s already hard, right? But besides this manager and marketing business, you are expected to be an exceptional artist as well. To be original and stand out from the crowd as much as possible – that’s quite some pressure, actually. But there’s a neat trick you can use if you’re still confused about which path to take and you don’t know how to create your own individual voice: go two ways. Combine two photography niches to be unique and you’ll really stand a chance of doing memorable work and working on projects which people could actually remember. Let’s explore this thought further and hopefully this will inspire you to further define your photography strategy.

First of all, let’s clarify for a bit what it would mean to combine two photography niches to be unique. It’s not about doing twice the work in two separate sub-fields to see which one works out better, no. It means choosing a main niche in which you plan to exercise your skills and combine it with a secondary one which is perhaps even rarer than the first. Let’s say, for the sake of example, that you plan to be a portrait photographer as the main choice. It’s a good option, especially if you’re passionate about it, but any amateur photographer aspiring to make the transition to a pro knows that it can be hard and not what you initially expect out of it. Think about choosing something even more specialized for a secondary niche; let’s say that you have an eye out for culinary photography, how about making a regular thing out of that as well? It might work out better than you think.

Following the logic of this example, since the portrait photography niche tends to pay better when you’re a beginner, this is obviously the main choice. But if you would also be into culinary photos, you could get in contact with people who own food blogs and who generally take their own pictures of food, and offer to take their portraits (for free, in the initial stage).  They would get some more promoting out of it, and you would probably create a unique project of portraits of the main food bloggers in your city and this will get you known as the only photographer who did this. It won’t get you immediately paid, probably, but it will contribute to creating a more recognizable photographic identity.

If you would do it the other way around, choose the culinary niche as the main specialization and the portrait photography as the secondary niche, then your project would look different as well. Instead of creating a series of portraits of people working in the food business or somehow iconic for the foodie culture, you could think about taking photos of plates of masterfully created dishes with their author in the background. It may look similar, but the presence of food and the change of focus would express better your primary-secondary niche dynamic. See where we’re getting at? Now think of your main choice, it’s probably the same kind of photography you’re pursuing right now, and then think of something else, maybe a little more specific, that you would like to have an interest in. Create your own choices and combine two photography niches in order to take a big step towards a better contoured professional identity. If there are plenty of other pursuers of your main niche, there wouldn’t be a lot of other photographers in the two combined ones. Consider your options and good luck with creating a more unique artistic voice.

Being a Portrait Photographer: the Dos and Don’ts

professional-photographer

In many lines of work where you have to deal with people, having special people skills is a must. The famous “bedside manner” of doctors is just the tip of the iceberg, since many, many jobs involve having an adaptable and light social touch, especially when the job is a serving one. But being a photographer isn’t really regarded in professional mediums as being one of those serving jobs where your diplomacy and people skills are that important, since being a photographer, as we all know, equates more or less to being an artist. While that last statement is by all means true enough, the corollary is that it’s the type of artistry where those sometimes dreaded people skills do matter, since you need to negotiate with people (your present and potential clients) the exact vision they are looking for and the point of view you are trying to convert them to. This couldn’t be truer than in the case of portrait photography: not only do you work with people that commissioned the photos to deliver what they paid for, but sentient humans are the subject(s) you have to actually shoot in those photos as well. To make sure you don’t leave any kind of bitter after-taste, make sure you take these dos and don’ts into consideration when interacting with people as a portrait photographer.

 Be extra careful to promote a positive body image for your subjects

People who want their portrait taken want to feel pretty, and some of them might even be a bit extra sensitive about how they look or have bodily image issues. Be careful not to make anyone feel uncomfortable (not on purpose, of course) by suggesting they would look better in a different pose or angle, in a way that reminds them of their potential flaws. On the other hand, you can’t allow someone to really pose in a way that brings out their flaws, because then the bad result would be on you anyway, so keep in mind that it’s a thin line and you must keep the balance in the most pleasant manner possible.

Don’t be afraid to suggest spontaneous changes of plans

If during a photo shoot for a series of portrait you suddenly get an idea to do something that wasn’t originally part of the plan, suggest it right away. Maybe you’d like to invite someone else in the client’s circle to join the client in the photo frame, or maybe you want to get out of the frame altogether and try shooting in another environment, even one that hasn’t been prepped for the shoot. Whatever your idea is, try voicing it out, with confidence and tempered enthusiasm, you don’t know what good may come out of it, and the people you work with will appreciate your dedication and creativity. If they don’t seem open to the idea, don’t push it, of course; but even so, it still strengthens your professional image even if they don’t resonate with your proposal.

Try your luck with strangers (in a non-awkward way)

If being a portrait photographer is your thing, then you probably agree that people are a fascinating thing to watch and make for the most interesting subjects. Why don’t you try out your luck the next time you go for a long walk and, if you find someone interesting to take a picture of, approach them? It will not only be a good chance to further develop your people skills, but you may be surprised of the good works that can come out of a spontaneous thing like that. Take a look at the Humans of New York photo project, if you don’t know it already, and you’ll know what we mean by it. The more you try to talk to people about it, even if you get rejected, the more you can explore what kind of approach makes them uncomfortable, or work out a more reassuring and trustworthy professional persona.

Don’t neglect your social media presence

Since being a portrait photographer means working with the public and directly with clients even more so than other branches of professional photography, it’s important to brush up on your people skills in other areas as well. Your overall reputation and business card-like things, for instance. Brush up on your skills of amplifying your impact and image within social media hubs, work towards making the people who are satisfied with your work be more visible as well, while tagging you directly, and you’ll attract more potential customers than in any other way.

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.