by Jennifer Loizzi
As a boudoir photographer I have the opportunity of photographing women with a variety of different body types, ethnicities, and backgrounds. No matter how different each boudoir client is, these women do share something in common. Each one of them wants to feel and look their absolute best during their boudoir photoshoot. It is our job to make sure that they not only feel comfortable, but beautiful as well. We have to learn how to work with all types of varying personalities and know the proper questions to ask and words to say to make them feel beautiful and have an enjoyable experience. Not only is it our job to create beautiful imagery for our clients, but we also have to provide them with an incredible experience. Boudoir photography can be an intimidating experience to most women and it is up to us to help inspire some confidence.
How do you inspire confidence? I have laid out 5 easy ways for you to instill some confidence within your client.
I don’t know about you but whenever I get my hair and makeup professionally done my self esteem sky rockets! Chances are that your client will end up feeling glamorous too and that will be conveyed in the photos. We have a professional hair and makeup team that we work with and refer to our clients. In return they offer our clients a special discounted rate. You can also charge your clients a higher session fee and include hair and makeup. Believe me, it makes a huge difference not only in their images but in the overall experience.
We always suggest that our clients bring 3-4 outfits even if we only end up using 2 or 3 out of the 4. Here is why. We want options! When I talk to them about the lingerie and clothing I ask them which one they like the best and why. I’m getting to know their personality and I’m getting a feel of what they might be insecure about. For instance, she might say, “I love this babydoll because it hides my stomach.” I now have an idea of this insecurity and I will deemphasize attention to this particular area throughout the shoot. It is also a good idea to reach out to local lingerie boutiques and build relationships with them. They may allow you to display your work in their shop along with business cards and in return you can refer them out to your clients. It’s a win win situation for you, the boutique and your clients!
After choosing their final outfits, I create a vision for what we are going to do. For example, I will say something along the lines, “I love this red teddy with the pearls! It will pair beautifully with vanity design set and really give it a sexy old Hollywood feel.” I then go on to explain to them that I will pose them and coach them throughout the shoot. I explain my lighting set up vaguely so that they understand why I am posing them in certain ways. Doing this makes them feel comfortable and confident with my ability to provide them with good images. They know that they are working with a professional and that they are in good hands. The last thing you want to do is throw your client in front of the camera without any direction and expect them to know what to do. Doing that will not only leave them feeling uncomfortable, but they will lose confidence in you as well. The best advice I can give you is to understand that you are selling an EXPERIENCE more so than photos.
I understand that some people take compliments better than others but we would be fools to believe that not everyone feels great after receiving a compliment. That being said, please go ahead and compliment their wardrobe, hair and makeup, etc. But there is a fine line. A very fine line. You don't want to be creepy. Men, I’m talking to you. Let’s be honest here, it is a lot easier for women photographers to bond with most of their clients and make them feel comfortable. That’s not saying you can’t do it. You just have to be more thoughtful with your choice of words and demeanor.
Don’t let that discourage you. Your client booked you knowing you were a male and they trust you, it’s up to you to reinforce that confidence in you. If your client seems uncomfortable you can compliment them in other ways. For instance, say “I love the way these images are turning out!” Seeing you light up about the images will give them confidence and provide them with a better experience. One final note on this topic, male or female, always ask if it is okay to touch them (fix their hair, position their hands). Never assume that it is ok.
Boudoir photography can be challenging at times and I hope these four tips will help the process be smoother for both you and your clients. I have had a lot of success implementing these tips into my workflow. Clients will often tell me how much fun they had and how they felt at ease and enjoyed the session. Remember, we want our clients to have confidence in our ability to provide good imagery and a positive experience as well as confidence in themselves. So go out there, have fun, get creative, and make that money doing what you love!