Image of a woman with red hair and tattoo

A lot has changed since I came on the scene, circa 2008!

Back then, it was a relatively unknown genre, with only a handful of photographers offering this empowering experience, almost exclusively, to brides. Styles were often similar, with dreadful damask backgrounds and an abundance of cringe-worthy poses.

Fast forward to today, and the landscape has changed dramatically. The boudoir photography industry is booming, with a plethora of photographers to choose from. However, with so many options, finding the right person can be tricky. But don’t worry—I got you! Here are some pointers to help guide you and narrow your search.

1. Identify Your Style

Boudoir photography is deeply personal, and every photographer has a unique style. Spend some time exploring portfolios to identify what resonates with you. Do you prefer a classic, timeless look, or something more edgy and modern? Look for consistency in their work to ensure they can deliver the style you love.

How is their lighting and is it (a) flattering to the person in the image and (b) is it interesting? When looking over their work do you want to stay a while and admire or are you scrolling or clicking through fairly quickly? The longer you want to stay the more likely that you feel some sort of connection to their work.

How are you finding their posing? What are the expressions on the clients’ faces like? If they look overly stiff or uncomfortable, chances are they’re not fully guiding the client to look their best. You want to look your best and not just be in a static pose. You look the best when your expression matches the pose and looks genuine.

Are the images white and bright or dark and moody? Some people (like me) offer a mix of both, while others are heavy, if not exclusive, on one or the other.

Once you narrow down to a few photographers whose work you love, write down a few words that come to mind while looking at their work. Perhaps things like tasteful, elegant, raunchy, dramatic, simple, sultry, etc. and see which combo aligns most with you and what you want to say about your photos.

How is their retouching? Most photographers retouch their work, but some, in my opinion, are too heavy handed where it’s very obvious. To be fair, I’ve been seeing less and less of that, but still good to keep in mind as you’re pouring over all the galleries.

How does the hair and makeup look on their clients in the images?

2. Check Their Experience and Expertise

Experience matters, especially in boudoir photography. An experienced photographer will know how to make you feel comfortable and guide you through poses that highlight your best features. Does the photographer you’re looking at shoot women, men, couples and is what you’re looking for represented on their site?

Things to Look For:

  • Years in Business: More years often mean more refined skills.
  • Specialization: A photographer who specializes in boudoir will likely be more skilled than one who dabbles in weddings, headshots, newborns, pet photography, senior sessions, school photos, etc.
  • Client Testimonials: Look for reviews that mention comfort, professionalism, and satisfaction with the final product.

3. Evaluate Their Professionalism

Professionalism goes beyond taking great photos. It includes how they handle communication, consultations, and the entire process from booking to the final delivery.

Red Flags:

  • Slow Response Times: This might indicate disorganization or lack of professionalism.
  • Vague Communication: Clear, transparent communication is crucial for setting expectations.

4. Consider Comfort and Connection

Feeling at ease with your photographer is vital for a successful boudoir session. This personal connection can make or break your experience. What types of questions are they asking you? How enthusiastic are they in your conversations? Will you be required to sign a model release so that they can post your images to their website and/or social media. It always surprises me to know there are some photographers who will turn down clients who refuse to sign their model release.

Tips for Gauging Comfort:

  • Initial Consultation: Use this meeting to ask questions and see how they respond.
  • Gut Feeling: Trust your instincts about whether you feel comfortable and safe.
  • Client Interactions: Look for clues in reviews about how past clients felt during their sessions.

5. Discuss Pricing and Packages

Boudoir photography can be a significant investment, but it’s worth it for quality images. Understand what is included in the pricing and ensure there are no hidden costs. Many photographers will share at least a starting price on their website, but you should know all the prices/packages prior to booking and don’t assume anything.

Key Questions to Ask:

  • What is included in the package? Albums, prints, digital images?
  • Are there options for payment plans?
  • What is the policy for rescheduling or cancellations?
  • How long is your entire session vs how much time is the shoot itself?
  • Do they help guide you on what to wear? Do they offer things for you to wear and if so, is that something that you would feel comfortable with? Personally, I couldn’t imagine wearing something intimate after someone else wore it, even if it gets washed in between. Maybe that’s just me though.

6. Where will your session take place?

Some photographers have dedicated photography studios (like me prior to covid), some have home studios where a spare bedroom is turned into their shooting space and others rent studios for sessions (like me now). Is their space natural light only? If so, what do they do if your session falls on a dark and rainy day?

Aspects to Consider:

  • Privacy: Is the studio set up to ensure your privacy during the shoot?
  • Amenities: Are there places to change, touch-up makeup, and relax?

Choosing the right boudoir photographer involves more than just admiring their portfolio. It’s about finding someone whose style aligns with your vision, who has the experience to back up their skills, and with whom you feel a genuine connection. By considering these factors, you can ensure that your boudoir session will be a positive, empowering experience that results in stunning images you’ll cherish forever.

Ready to find your perfect boudoir photographer? Start your journey today and embrace the beautiful, confident, empowered YOU!

How to Find the Perfect Boudoir Photographer for YOU

May 23, 2024