by Jennifer Loizzi
Boudoir photography can be intimidating for both the photographer and the client. Since boudoir photography is a more intimate style of portraiture, nine out of ten clients are nervous and often apprehensive. It is our job to make our clients feel at ease and have a memorable and enjoyable experience. Here are a few tips that will prepare your clients for a successful boudoir shoot.
Get to know your client. A great and easy way to get to know your client is to send them a booking questionnaire with a list of questions. For example, ask them how revealing they want to go (nudes, implied nudes), or what feature they would like to emphasize or deemphasize. You will also spend some time chatting with your client before the shoot in order to get to know them a little better but also make them feel comfortable. Find out the reason they chose to have a boudoir shoot done and if there is a certain date they need the photos by as well. Spending a few minutes to get to know your client will help calm their nerves and make for an overall better experience.
Prepare your client. The better prepared your client is, the better their experience will be. You want to let your client what to expect the day of the photoshoot. Where and what time they should arrive for the photoshoot, as well as how long the shoot will last. Also, if you work with a specific makeup artist or hairstylist, I would refer them to your clients.
Wardrobe. Having the right wardrobe is definitely important and critical to the success of the shoot. When we first began photographing boudoir shoots, I neglected to advice my clients on what wardrobe they should bring. Because of this, they would walk in with an assortment of undergarments and unsure of the looks they wanted for their photos. We learned from our mistakes, and now we advice are clients either through a phone call or an email on what attire they should bring with them. We suggest that they bring 3-4 outfits (as we will be photographing 3 different sets.). The fourth outfit is not necessary but it is nice to have options. We advice our clients against bringing too many outfits because it causes uncertainty and they often have a hard time choosing. We ask that they bring at least one pair of heels, stockings, jewelry, or any items that they might want to use in the photograph. If you have a local boutique you work with, I would recommend them your clients. If you do not, it is a great idea to start visiting local lingerie boutiques and introduce your services. They may need artwork for their walls and its always a plus if you have your work and business cards on display.
Provide a positive atmosphere. Knowing that boudoir photography is a more intimate form of portraiture, your clients will oftentimes be nervous. Therefore, it is important that you make them feel at ease from the moment they step foot in your door. Greet them with a smile. Offer them a beverage (water, wine, etc.). I always open the wine bottle and pour it into their glass in their presence. Sit down with them and chat with them about the shoot for a few minutes. You don’t want them to feel rushed and you want them to begin feeling comfortable with you. During this time I ask to see their outfits and start planning out which outfit we will begin with. For example, I’ll tell my client, “I love this pink bodysuit, I think this will look beautiful with the white bed set.” Doing this will build some excitement and help your client relax.
Posing and Communication. 99% of your clients will most likely not have modeling experience. This being said, we are responsible for posing our clients and making sure they look and feel their best. I always take time to explain to my clients that I will be posing them and coaching them throughout the entire shoot. I will ask them if they have a side they prefer to be photographed on (good side) and I will adjust my lights accordingly. I let them know that I will be asking them to arch their back, offset their shoulders and I demonstrate how its done. I also go over the different facial expressions that I will be asking of them. One being a laughing and smiling expression and the other being a more serious and seductive expression. Lastly and most importantly, I tell my clients to relax and just have fun!
Boudoir photography does not have to be intimidating or stressful. It should and can be enjoyable for both you and your client if you prepare accordingly. By implementing my 5 tips you are well on your way to having happy clients that will sing your praises!