**In honor of Cupid, this blog post is the third and final post in our February series on Boudoir photography. See more posts on Boudoir photography…**
Boudoir photography is definitely a very intimate form of photography. The majority of my female clients do not want me to share their intimate photos with the world. In fact, I’ve specifically had women make it very clear that they want their photos for their husbands eyes only. So what do you do when you can’t show your awesome work in order to gain new clients?!
First ask yourself as a photographer why you want to offer these sessions. Then use the passion you have about boudoir photography in your marketing.
I love these sessions for so many different reasons! I personally love that these images can be used to redeem marriage. We are bombarded on a daily basis with sexy imagery; what a gift it is for a husband to capture his own wife’s sexiness through photos! Not only that, but how many times as photographers do we hear “I can’t believe that’s me!” These sessions can help build up a woman’s self confidence. I love speaking about the excitement of the photo shoot with my clients – from the shopping for outfits, to getting their make-up professionally done, to getting to feel glamorous for the day! It’s just as much about the experience as it is the end result. These are the things I share with my boudoir clients – redeemed sexy images for the husband and a glamorous experience for the wife.
How to gain boudoir clients without showing their intimate photos on your website or blog:
We don’t share any intimate photos on the website or the blog. This can seem like a real roadblock when you’re trying to grow your business. My approach to gaining boudoir clients definitely differs from my approach to gaining portrait clients. I actually have never posted an intimate photo on my blog or website that showed any intimate skin, and I’ve been able to gain many boudoir clients! My personal approach is focusing on gaining the trust of my clients through referrals from their friends, and also with the way that I summarize my sessions. I call my boudoir sessions, “Glam” sessions. The word immediately puts my very conservative clients at ease. Many of them, unfortunately, don’t identify themselves with “sexy” so when they hear “boudoir” they might quickly dismiss it as something for them. If a woman has a friend that has used me for her Glam session she undoubtedly heard how comfortable she felt, and what a fun experience it was! Calling it a Glam session to me also means that it’s not so much about lingerie as it is about the woman feeling glamorous and sexy. If she doesn’t feel comfortable wearing lingerie she doesn’t have to. I also personally love that only the husband gets to partake in his wife’s sexy gift! No other person will view his wife the way he will with the thoughtfulness of a Glam session.
Plan a studio special:
Send out a mass email to your past/current female clients advertising the studio special. (Don’t forget to include your current brides!) By offering a studio special you are encouraging a prompt response because the special will end. How many times do you hear women say that they want to do something like this after they lose some weight? You want to light a fire under these gals! This will get the word out quickly and you’ll begin to receive more clients because you photographed many clients in a day instead of just one. Hopefully those ladies will go on and help spread the word for you. If you don’t have a studio space that you can use, then you might be able to rent a space, or book a hotel room for your special.
Include products in your special:
My take on package deals is including products that have value to your client but don’t cost your business a load of time and money. For example: offering a set number of prints along with an image box. I personally love coffee table books, but choose not to include them in this special because they take me a great deal of time to design. As we know, time is money. If you do choose to offer a coffee table book just be sure to charge accordingly for your special. Many of your clients may choose to purchase additional prints to the package deal you’re offering. Studio specials can greatly increase your clientele, which of course increases your work-flow. Packages help to cut down on client correspondence, and overall simplifies things for the both of you.
Include a friend referral offer:
Through my marketing email announcing the special I also encourage the ladies to bring a friend. For example: include a print credit for every women that refers a friend who books with you. I may even speak of what fun it would be to do the Glam session with their friends. The idea of having a friend partake in the same type of shoot makes the women feel more at ease and less uptight because they are not alone. A girls day if you will.
Make the experience light and comfortable:
I play music that makes me want to get up and dance! I also offer light snacks (what woman getting photographed in her skivvies wants to down a dozen chocolate chip cookies during her shoot?) and with the snacks I offer wine or champagne. A little bubbly to help put them at ease…I try to make the atmosphere feel like a couple of girlfriends just hanging out, and not taking on the posture of serious-working-photographer. And one thing I am sure to tell my clients is that it’s totally normal to feel awkward at first. I make sure they know that by the end of the session they will feel like a super-model. There’s just something about covering a females objections about not knowing how to be sexy. This reassures her that she doesn’t have to know exactly how to pose. That’s what you’re there for!
Consider contacting a make-up artist and asking them to be a part of your studio special. Many make-up artists offer a group discount on their services. See if they would be willing to give you a discount on their services and include this in your special price. Explain to your clients that this is a part of their experience of feeling glamorous! Not only that but make-up artists know how to professionally apply make-up for photos which greatly benefits you and your client. You could even go as far as to offering a hair stylist. Or perhaps using this service as an upgrade or add-on to your special.
There is no need to publicly advertise your amazing boudoir work in order to gain clients. Your clients will love you, will trust you, and will surely tell their friends about their great experience! Although times are changing, not many women google “boudoir photography” in hopes to finding a photographer they trust. Hearing from a friend about your work is all they need.
Written by Heather Essian
Heather is passionate about helping others discover their unique gifting and giving them the encouragement to pursue what they love! Creativity is simply a part of Heather and always has been. From her days sketching while in grade school, to her first darkroom photography class in college she’s known all along that her longing was to create. Her love of people and relationships is what has drawn her to photography.
Heather and her husband, Jim, currently run their photography business out of a gorgeous boutique style studio in downtown Fort Worth, Texas. The creative products she offers take her boutique photography studio to a unique level in a highly competitive market.