5 Business Tips for New Boudoir Photographers
Starting your own photography business can be tough. There are a lot of things you have to consider on the backend, while keeping your clients happy, delivering great photos…and getting some sleep in between it all.
When I first started out (after leaving my job as a dental hygienist) I was so nervous, and definitely had little idea what I was doing. Looking back, I probably could have done some things better, as every business owner will tell you.
But after being a boudoir photographer for 10+ years, and a coach to many new boudoir photographers, I can tell you firsthand a few things I wish I would have known from the go.
Ready to learn what these business tips for boudoir photographers are? Let’s dive in!
Business Tip #1: Know Your Ideal Client
First things first…you need to know exactly who your ideal client is. Otherwise, how will you effectively market yourself?
It starts with pinpointing one specific person you want to help, and knowing them inside and out. What does their typical day look like? What are their hobbies? What can a session with you do for them? Why do they, deep down, really want boudoir photos?
Knowing all of this information can also help you talk about your sessions in a way that helps your ideal client know you’re the right photographer for them too. Because this type of clarity helps you attract the right people.
Business Tip #2: Include Hair and Makeup in Your Sessions
The second tip I have for new boudoir photographers is to include hair and makeup in your sessions, if you can.
First of all, this helps elevate their experience overall. Stunning hair and makeup that looks good and fits your client can make such a big difference in their photos. So why not leave it to a pro?
And maybe you already know all this, which means you may also know that a good makeup artist can be hard to come by. I went through SEVERAL before I found the stylist/makeup artist I’ve used exclusively since 2020.
But if you’re looking for one, start with Instagram! I searched the hashtag #saintlouismua and ended up with someone I LOVE, which was also great because she was local (thanks [NAME]! You’re the best!)
Another thing you could do is start with a local blowout bar that also offers hair and makeup
If you’re renting your studio space by the hour, this can save you some money! You can send them to the salon and won’t have to spend an hour or more of your studio time on hair and makeup! Win win right?
Business Tip #3: Don’t Limit Your Outfit Options
Third, try not to limit your outfit options for your clients.
Wait, won’t this make the session take so much longer? Not necessarily.
Options give more variety, which equals more photos for your clients to fall in love with. And more photos they love increases your chances of having higher sales.
Maybe you think they look stunning in that button-up, but they don’t like the look so much. No problem — because they have plenty more to choose from. People are much more willing to buy photos they feel confident in.
So, I always recommend clients bring anywhere from five to seven different options, but no less than three!
Business Tip #4: Hire a Retoucher ASAP
The reason I say this is because the more clients you book, the busier you will be. But with all those clients comes retouching. And when you have business or photography-related things to do, this can become tedious and even overwhelming.
Instead of spending hours behind the computer you could be photographing more clients OR working on your marketing strategy to book more clients.
But a lot of photographers have a hard time giving up their retouching for two reasons:
- They don’t feel like anyone can do as well as they can.
- They are seeing dollar signs rather than the time it saves, which can help their biz in the long run.
But think about it…as a business owner, you have to make smart decisions with your money AND your time. And I’m telling you…clearing this task from your plat can free up SO MUCH of it.
Clients also aren’t going to notice the difference between your retouching and someone else’s. It’s a technical skill, not an art. And you can teach your retoucher to edit the way you want them to. Or even just start out with someone who has a similar style to yours.
IS IT POSSIBLE TO HIRE A GOOD RETOUCHER?
And if you’re looking for a retoucher, it’s not as difficult as you might think
I actually found mine because she emailed me on the right day. She was super genuine, reaching out to photographers and letting them know she was available to retouch for them.
I was in the weeds with my retouching, so it just came at the perfect time. Sure it took some back and forth for her to get my style, but now I would NEVER go back to retouching my own photos.
Business Tip #5: Have a Flexible Cancelation Policy
And finally, have a flexible cancelation policy. Life happens, and when you’re too strict with yours, it can make people really nervous.
I don’t mean you need to refund if they cancel — we have cancellation policies for a reason!
What I DO mean, though, is to be understanding if something pops up. People have families, work, and all sorts of reasons plans fall through.
And talk them through things if they are nervous. A boudoir session is such an intimate experience! And a lot of clients ARE nervous, but that’s OKAY!
Just this week, a client was such a nervous wreck that she canceled her session. Then, a few hours later, she called me back and rescheduled because there was grace and understanding to do so.
We talked through her nerves, and then she called back and decided to re-book. That’s what I want you to remember — a little compassion goes a long way!
Need help getting booked out?
Even with the tips I mentioned above, it’s not always easy to find the right clients. Online marketing changes so much these days, and you need something that will work, and keep on working. Not something that’s going to cause you a lot of back and forth for little results.
That’s why I want to invite you to watch my FREE on-demand masterclass, the Booked Out Photographer!
In this 30-minute masterclass, you’ll learn the three things you need to fill your schedule full of sessions you LOVE to photograph without paid ads, model calls, or a gimmicky marketing strategy. Simple as that.
Interested? You can access the training here!