You’re an experienced photographer and have run the gamut of photography styles — portraits, family photos, weddings, and other events. You’re ready to dive into a new creative style and give boudoir photography a try.
Even with your prior success and experience, though — if you’re honest with yourself — boudoir photography is a little intimidating and may require some skills you don’t yet possess.
Or maybe you’re a novice photographer with a particular interest in boudoir photography, but you don’t know where to start.
This guide will provide valuable tips on how to become a boudoir photographer, whether you’re an experienced boudoir photographer looking for ways to bring new life to your creative spirit, a veteran photographer who’s ready to move into the boudoir photography arena, or a newbie hoping to get your boudoir photography business off the ground.
Table of Contents
- How Do I Become a Successful Boudoir Photographer?
- Evgenia Ribinik Studios Provides the Ultimate Boudoir Photography Experience in New York City
How Do I Become a Successful Boudoir Photographer?
To become a successful boudoir photographer — or any type of photographer, for that matter — prioritize utilizing your creative abilities and then practice, practice, practice.
For boudoir photography, in particular, use your creative genius to develop your style, experiment with different poses and lighting, and try your hand at different types of equipment to find what’s best for you, your business, and your clients.
Beyond your skill, business savvy, or expensive equipment, perseverance may be the greatest asset to possess when it comes to finding success as a boudoir photographer. Improving at anything takes time, consistency, repetition, trial and error, and an attitude that doesn’t give up or get buried in discouragement.
Armed with an abundance of perseverance, take advantage of the following 12 tips to help you grow into the exceptional boudoir photographer you desire to be.
12 Tips To Help You Become a Boudoir Photographer
I was once where you are now — a new boudoir photographer wondering how to step into a new photographic art, get experience, market myself, and practice my skills. Growing as an artist takes time, skill, and a little help from those who are further down the road. That’s why I’ve created this list of 12 tips that helped me succeed in boudoir photography and now pass them on to you.
#1: Develop Your Style
Styles of boudoir photography are as numerous as the photographers who shoot the boudoir sessions. Some common styles include:
- And more
Finding your own personal style is important, and it likely won’t happen until you try a variety of techniques to find what works best for you and what will define your approach, methods, and techniques.
To help give you some ideas, consider attending some workshops and conferences to see what others are doing and what’s trending. Then, go back to your creative space and see how you can meld those new ideas with your personality to create a style that’s all your own.
Once you find the style that defines your boudoir photography brand, stick with it and be consistent. This might mean using the same kinds of filters, working with the same lighting, and making notes about how to use your equipment the most effectively with each session. This consistency of style shows you’re an experienced photographer and is what will help you and your work stand out from the competition.
#2: Perfect the Art of Boudoir Posing
Boudoir photography is a genuine niche — very different from traditional portraiture, family sessions, engagement and bridal shoots, etc. Getting experience with these traditional methods may be a great way to start and then expand to boudoir photography from there.
It takes time and practice to build and improve the unique skills used in boudoir photography, like:
Honing these skills before setting up your boudoir photography business is crucial. I can’t stress this enough. Jumping into this photography niche without the technical abilities and experience necessary can leave you scrambling and may limit your ability to grow your client base in the long run.
Time well spent on the front end will more than pay off on the back end.
#3: Build Your Portfolio
With your unique style created, you can now start building your portfolio. This also takes time, but there are some creative ways to build a portfolio even while you are a beginner.
Here are some of the things that helped me build my portfolio when I was getting started:
- Ask friends or models to pose for you to give you some practice.
- Stick to your style so your portfolio is consistent. For my portfolio, I wanted to create dark, moody, sensual images that were tasteful and empowering.
- Reach out to models who may be willing to pose in exchange for images that they can use for their own portfolios.
- Use models of all sizes for a larger audience and clientele opportunities.
- Make sure you are covered legally to secure the appropriate permissions to use your images for your portfolio.
#4: Find a Place To Shoot
Having your own studio to do your boudoir shoots may be ideal, but for those starting out, this may not be feasible. Buying your own studio or renting a space is an investment — an investment you may not be able to afford until you have a solid client base.
Until you get a space of your own, consider these options for location alternatives:
- Use your own home or bedroom, or set up a spare bedroom in your home for boudoir photo shoots.
- Use the client’s home. The familiarity of the space can make the images that much more personal and meaningful.
- Book a hotel room for photography sessions. If possible, scope out the hotel and rooms to determine if the lighting, furniture, and decor will fit your style and your clients’ wishes.
Once you have a solid business with a steady clientele, you may want a space of your own, wholly dedicated and outfitted for boudoir sessions for a variety of clients. When you get to that milestone, keep these pointers in mind:
- Look for an ideal location with parking that is easily accessible.
- Store equipment where it’s handy and practical.
- Consider lighting equipment and utilize softboxes, umbrellas, strip lights, and other lighting options when appropriate.
- For the times you’d like to shoot images without adding extra lighting, look for a location with natural lighting that will work for your needs.
- Make your clients comfortable by making your space warm and welcoming with high-end furnishings and elegant decor.
- Set aside spaces for make-up and changing clothing. Make sure to have classy and well-decorated restrooms available.
- Take care to make sure your studio matches your unique style.
#5: Get the Right Equipment
It goes without saying that any boudoir photographer needs equipment. However, choosing the right equipment is critical, and knowing how to aptly use the equipment is just as crucial.
A boudoir photographer will want to invest in some of the following equipment:
- Lighting equipment
- Software for editing and studio management
- Backup equipment in case of equipment that fails to work properly
Finding the best equipment for boudoir photography is an individual pursuit. Practice using different tools and equipment until you find what you’re comfortable with to get the results you’re looking for.
Just remember — skill and equipment go hand in hand — and you need them both.
Expensive equipment isn’t going to help an unskilled photographer create stunning boudoir photos. You need the expertise first in order to use the equipment appropriately.
Sure, it’s nice to have the newest camera or state-of-the-art equipment, but it’s not the equipment that perfects your craft. As your boudoir photography skills improve, you’ll know better how to maximize the use of all sorts of equipment and may even decide that the simple and minimal approach delivers the best results.
#6: Find an Established Mentor
Being able to work with an established and experienced mentor is extremely valuable. A mentor can help a beginner:
- Understand how the boudoir photography business works
- Learn the steps to becoming a profitable photographer
- Piece together all the parameters involved in boudoir photography, like
- How to contact clients
- How to build a client base
- How to shoot in different lighting
- How to experiment with different styles
- And more
You can do this and much more from a mentor, but remember that your unique style is what will separate you from other boudoir photographers. Be careful not to copy the mentor exactly, but take advantage of their experience, skill, and instruction to apply it to your craft in a way that works for you.
#7: Make Your Presence Known Online
To attract clients, they need to know who you are, what you do, and how to find you. And in our 21st-century digital age, creating an online presence is a must.
Your online presence should include your:
- Social media accounts
Focus on creating a website that is aesthetically pleasing to the eye, easy to navigate, aligned with your brand, and mobile-friendly. Your website should not only showcase your work, but it should include:
- The services you offer
- Pricing information
- Contact and location information
- Blog content to optimize your site
Regular activity on social media keeps your business and your photos in front of your audience. Social media outlets like Instagram enable you to:
- Increase visibility
- Attract potential clients
- Build a loyal customer base
- Share testimonials
- And more
#8: Use a Variety of Marketing Tools
Marketing tools abound. Though social media and websites are some of the most effective tools to get your name and brand before the public, using those tools in tandem with other strategies can help you market to an even broader audience.
Try using some of these ideas to further your marketing endeavors:
- Attend photography networking events.
- Join in on photography collaboration projects.
- Attend bridal shows and advertise your services as a booth.
- Optimize your website for SEO marketing.
- Take advantage of pay-per-click (PPC) advertising.
- Use business cards, and keep them handy to share with potential clients wherever you are.
Many of these marketing tools are simple and easy to use, but for those that are out of your wheelhouse (SEO, web design, etc.) you may want to pay a marketing company to do that for you.
#9: Provide Sample Products To Show Your Clients
Most boudoir photography clients will likely be looking for discreet ways to display their photos — a huge boudoir canvas will probably not be their first choice.
As a boudoir photographer, make sure the products you offer are easy to view on your website. You should also provide samples in your studio or office so that potential clients can choose how they want their photos displayed and know exactly what they’ll receive.
Some popular boudoir photography products include:
- Folio boxes
- Digital collections
- Gift prints
- Custom framing
#10: Establish Your Boudoir Sessions as a Luxury Experience
Boudoir photography sessions aren’t ordinary or basic. Clients wanting boudoir photographs expect a high-class experience. As a boudoir photographer, you’ll be charging a fee for this service that is commensurate with the services provided. Therefore, you’ll want to advertise a luxurious experience and deliver in every possible way.
To set your boudoir photography experience apart, utilize:
- The most stylish and high-quality wardrobe
- Classy props
- Makeup artists
- Hair stylists
When you book a boudoir session at Evgenia Ribinik Studios, you can rest assured that your experience will be luxurious, comfortable, and designed with your desires in mind.
#11: Promote Your Boudoir Sessions for Women of All Ages and Sizes
Boudoir photography is for everyone — no matter your age or size.
Make sure all women know that boudoir photography is for them by advertising that information when you list your services, and remember to include photos of plus-size and older women in your portfolio and on your website.
Boudoir photography is all about female empowerment, so you can feel strong and unstoppable.
#12: Once You’re Established in Basic Boudoir, Consider Branching Out
Boudoir photography isn’t limited to intimate individual photography sessions. Once you’ve got plenty of practice and steady business, consider adding other boudoir services like:
- Bridal boudoir
- Maternity boudoir
- Couples boudoir
We provide all those services at Evgenia Ribinik Studios. Check out my gallery to see examples of these styles.
Evgenia Ribinik Studios Provides the Ultimate Boudoir Photography Experience in New York City
If boudoir photography interests you, either as a client or a photographer, Evgenia Ribinik Studios is the premier studio in New York City for elegance and luxury.
If you’re not sure if boudoir photography is for you, or you’re nervous about such an intimate experience, let us answer your questions and help you learn how boudoir photography can be an experience that fosters a sense of self-love and worth.
If you’re a new boudoir photographer, look to Evgenia Ribinik Studios as a great model as you aspire to create a boudoir photography business of your own.