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91. How to Run a Boudoir Photography Business

How to Run a Boudoir Photography Business | Tracy Lynn Coaching | See more at tracylynncoaching.com/podcast

10 Reasons Why You Need to Run Your Boudoir Photography Business Differently From Other Photographers

Listen…I LOVE being a boudoir photographer but I have to be honest. This industry does come with a little bit of stigma. When I first started out, I was judged a lot by people who knew me, and people who didn’t, about the work I did. 

I wasn’t taken very seriously…until people saw the money I was bringing in from it. 

Here’s the thing — boudoir is ART. And people are willing to pay for that art. A lot of people can’t see past their own judgments to realize that, though. 

And as a boudoir photographer yourself, I KNOW you understand! You’ve likely ran into the same situation plenty of times. Boudoir photographers don’t often get taken as seriously as other photographers do. 

But that’s not the only way a boudoir photography business differs from other styles of photography. There are LOADS more where that came from! So in this episode, we’re going to be talking about ten of them. 

Ready? Let’s dig in!

RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

Difference #1: The Lighting

Most boudoir photography business owners photograph their sessions indoors, with the occasional outdoor setting. 

The great thing about this is you have so much more control over the lighting when you photograph indoors. If it rains, sleets, or snows, if it’s overcast, or cold outside, you can still photograph the session. The weather really doesn’t matter.

But that all means you need to understand basic lighting principles and how to use them to your advantage. Broad light, short light, flat light…all of it! And you even need to know when to call in some lighting backup in case you run into a day where natural light isn’t the best. 

Most other styles of photography don’t have to think about lighting that extensively. 

Difference #2: Setup and Location

Again, most boudoir sessions are indoors, which means you need to have a place to capture those photos — like a studio. 

But you can’t have a studio or set just anywhere — the space needs to be private. Your clients aren’t going to want to be seen by the public, ya know? 

Also — even if you have your own studio, that will mean you need to have the right setup

For boudoir, that’s typically bedroom sets, and maybe a couch or two. Some photographers even like to have air mattresses on the floor that are easy to move. Whatever is best for you and your business is best! 

Just make sure you’ve got something to work with!

Difference #3: Knowing Your Ideal Client

Regardless of the style you photograph, you NEED to know your ideal client. But I think it’s even more important for boudoir than other styles because your clients need to feel like you’re the best photographer for them.

They need to feel a connection to you. They need to feel confident in your ability to photograph them well. And they need to know that they can trust you — they’re going to be in a pretty intimate setting after all.

Difference #4: Posing Your Clients

Sure, posing is important to know for all photographers. But boudoir is a lot more stylized. You’re not just trying to capture a smile. You’re also trying to work with the natural curves of your clients’ bodies.

As the photographer, you need to take every care you can to make sure your clients feel comfortable. That’s why you need to be on your A-game when it comes to posing.

Plus, every client is going to have something about their bodies that they don’t like. But knowing how to pose like a professional means you can highlight their body and natural curves in the best way possible!

Difference #5: You Need to be More Confident in Yourself

You need to go into your sessions with so much confidence that your clients can FEEL the confidence.

They want to know that you know what you’re doing. I’ve already said it, but this is such an intimate form of photography. Your clients are basically naked in front of a complete stranger. They need to trust you!

And when you have trust, you have AMAZING photos. So be confident in yourself, and your clients will follow. 

Difference #6: Client Galleries

With boudoir photography, it will always be harder to build your portfolio. In other forms of photography, most clients sign a release form and let you use their photos anywhere and anyway that you want.

It’s not like that with boudoir. Some clients will happily show off their photos, but most clients just want to keep their photos private.

And that’s fine! But make sure they know their images are safe with you in a private gallery where THEY have control over who sees it, and who doesn’t. 

Difference #7: The Way You Share Content

Along the lines of what I said above, boudoir photos tend to be private so you won’t always be able to share your work on social media. 

But a boudoir photographer still needs content, right? That’s where model sessions come in handy! These sessions ensure you’re still able to show off work to your potential clients online, while also respecting the privacy of your current clients. 

Plus, model sessions also give you more control over the content you create and publish than actual client photos. You can control the entire vibe, from backdrops all the way down to outfit choices. 

With other styles of photography, you DO have more opportunities to post client work. But you don’t necessarily have that much control over every detail.

Difference #8: Printing Labs

If you’re a boudoir photographer, you’re going to need a printing lab that offers a higher-end product. Your clients are paying for a luxury, one-of-a-kind experience, so their prints should be too!

However, if that’s not an expense you can justify right now, that’s totally fine! You can still order regular prints, and then work your way up to the luxury ones. They make a difference, but rest assured that the real magic is in WHAT you capture, not the paper it’s printed on. 

BTW — I’m a huge fan of White House Custom Color. It’s been my go-to my entire career. Their customer service and turnaround time are unreal.

Difference #9: The Booking Process

Other styles of photography often have additional steps in the booking process. For example, wedding photographers need to discuss bridal parties, wedding venues, reception halls, etc. And then turnaround and make sure their clients have appropriately booked them for each one.  

Boudoir photography business tends to be a lot more straightforward. Clients can book their sessions, sign the contract, and pay their invoices at once. It’s seriously that easy to automate. And because the process is so easy, they’re more likely to book again in the future — so you stay booked out!

Difference #10: Your Ordering Sessions

Most styles of photography can do short and burn just fine, but boudoir really thrives off of the in-person sales (IPS) model. Most clients want to order an album rather than having their photos digitally. 

Physical photos in a beautiful, high-quality album tend to match the vibe of boudoir a little bit more than something like brand photos or headshots. It’s all about creating that luxury experience. 

This is also great because it’s highly profitable! In-person album sales have a higher sales average than shoot and burn models. Hint hint: That’s why boudoir is considered one of the most profitable styles of photography!

Make it Easier With THIS TLC Resource!

If you’re a new photographer looking to niche down, you need to keep all of this in mind as you’re setting up your boudoir photography business. You’re delivering a MUCH different final product to your clients, and going about each part of your business differently, too. 

I know this was a lot of information to take in, so if you want a little extra support and guidance, the TLC Boudoir Photographers Playbook can help!

This will guide you in creating an unbelievable and luxurious experience for each of your clients. It lays out the entire session experience from start to finish, so you know exactly how to set yours up, including pricing with a business foundation in mind, session consults, sales sessions, and more!

I’ve even included a posing guide, too!

If you’re interested, you can grab the playbook here.

tracy

Tracy Lynn is a boudoir photogapher for brides-to-be in the St. Louis area, and a mentor + coach for photographers looking to level up their businesses with better systems and processes.

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