Just like weddings, if you want to get in on the business of boudoir photography you are going to have to find a way get potential clients. When I first started boudoir photography I naturally just advertised to my brides. But with only an average of 30 brides a year I was barely able to get enough clients to make my venture worthwhile, especially when being a bride doesn’t automatically make you a candidate for a boudoir session.
So I had to ask myself “if I was looking to get boudoir images done of myself, where would I look?” The answer came pretty easily…go to where a woman would go to prepare for her boudoir sessions! So my next stop was the local lingerie boutique. I personally made the decision to only network with limited stores, this way I could develop a stronger relationship with them and potentially get more clients than if I were to give my promotional material to every store in town.
One thing I think we often forget is that networking is not one-sided, so for networking to work, the company we are working with needs to benefit from our services as well. Just giving your promotional materials to a lingerie store is not mutually beneficial for them. One idea I came up with was that every time a client books a boudoir session with us they receive a small gift certificate to the lingerie store as part of their package. This gives them the opportunity to get some great new lingerie before their session and the lingerie store benefits as well.
Since I started offering gift certificates to the lingerie store as part of package I have found that my boudoir inquiries have increased tremendously. Additionally, what often happens is that the client returns to the store for future lingerie purchases and at that time gives the storeowner feedback about how great their session was. Although the lingerie store has books of several boudoir photographers, because of this feedback the storeowner has mentioned to me that she feels more comfortable recommending me to her clients.
Once I realized how beneficial mutual networking could be, I started including it in other aspects of my boudoir business. I now also include professional hair and make up with all of my sessions. I have the fee of the hair & make up artist figured into the price of the session. Because of the large amount of referrals my make up artist is receiving she also gives me a slight discount on her fee. Including professional hair and make up has been a win – win situation for everyone. My hair and make up artist gets extra referrals, my client feels like she just received a mini makeover, and I have less post-production!
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What other networking relationships have you found work for you? Share your comments below.
Written by Kelly Segre
Kelly’s photography career started many years ago in her father’s darkroom. With a love for film and timeless, classic images, she strives to bring this style into every session she shoots.
By creating an environment that allows her clients to feel sexy and glamorous before ever stepping in front of her camera, Kelly is able to get the most out of each and every session. Using simple techniques and literally showing her clients how to pose, Kelly is able to set a fun, playful and sexy mood for her clients, turning a girls night out into a sexy boudoir session!
Kelly will be leading shooting workshops at Pictage U- San Diego, May 25 and 26. See pictageu.com for more information. Only 5 spots left!