Prepare for boudoir photoshoots.
Before you dive into this art form, get ready to answer a myriad of questions about the boudoir experience. It can help to write out some policies and suggestions on your website and to have a consultation phone call or video chat with clients before their shoot.
“The hardest part for the client is booking the shoot,” says Johnson. She recommends including a nonrefundable retainer fee in your policy to help prevent clients from canceling at the last minute out of nervousness. “People will say, ‘I wish I had the bravery to book a shoot,’ and I’ll say, ‘It only takes 30 seconds of bravery, and then you’re set, because if you don’t come, you lose your money.”
Wardrobe and styling
You may choose to work with a hair and makeup artist as part of your package or leave that up to the client. The important thing is for your client to feel happy with their look. “If somebody doesn’t like their hair and makeup, they’re not going to like their photos,” says O’Connor.
The same goes for wardrobe. Confidence is key. Offer basic tips for dressing on your website or via email before you get started. “I like clients to bring in five to seven outfits. We usually shoot about four,” says O’Connor. “It’s good to have more options than we need in case something doesn’t photograph well.” Some more wardrobe tips from O’Connor? Give bodysuits a try, and never underestimate the power of a good pair of shoes.
Setting and props
Many boudoir photographers work out of a home studio. All you need is a private room, some natural light, a piece of furniture, and music to lighten the mood. Some helpful items include a bed or air mattress, a couch, a chair, and some wall art or a tapestry for the background. Shoot in a room with windows to take advantage of natural light. But have a scrim on hand to help diffuse the sunlight when it’s too intense.
An air mattress is a great option, since you can easily move it around the room and they’re often quite firm. But be sure it looks like a real bed when it’s made. If you’re using a real mattress, try putting a piece of plywood under the bedding to make it easier for your subject to pose on it without sinking in.
Have fun with your props but remember that simple is best and fancy isn’t a requirement. “Don’t be too concerned with having the perfect furniture,” says Johnson. “No one’s coming to me because they like my couch. Clients will come to you because they see that you make people feel amazing.”