New Workshop: Photographing Group Portraits!

News & Insight

How To Start A Boudoir Photography Business (NSFW)

By Guest Contributor on September 1st 2017

About the author:

Molly Marie is a boudoir photographer and business advisor with a passion and focus on empowering women. With a compelling story about how her career began as a broke graduate who took any photography job she could to a six figure photographer, Molly has the first hand experience of building up a photography business from the ground up. She has been featured in Inc., HuffPost, and The Rising Tide Society, among others. You can find more about and from Molly and her business, Boudie Shorts, here.

Molly:

When I first started my photography business, I took every opportunity I could to gain experience. It was completely by accident that I got into boudoir photography when one of my bridal clients asked me to take some “sexy” photos of her for her husband-to-be. That one shoot changed my business, and my life.

I was successful photographing weddings and family portraits, but I wasn’t happy, but with boudoir photography I found what I’m passionate about and I’m helping women feel beautiful in the process. I love how they walk out of my studio with confidence after a shoot.

Adding boudoir photography to your current services can be beneficial for all types of photographers. Interested in getting started? Here’s an overview:

1. Build a Portfolio

You may know that you have the ability to create gorgeous boudoir portraits, but do your potential clients know that? Enlist family or friends to pose for you for free to create examples of your work. If you’d like to build your portfolio while making money, try a model call. I do this to get women to model for me and create marketing content while being paid. Either way, think about your ideal client and have pictures in your portfolio of someone she, your potential client, can relate to.

Don’t forget to have your clients/models sign a photo release. The last thing you want is to get started with your new boudoir photo business and have someone try to sue you for using their pictures.

Keep in mind that while you’re building you portfolio, you’re perfecting your craft. A lot of boudoir photography is learning the most flattering poses and lighting. Practice makes perfect.

[REWIND: Create Amazing Composite Portraits In 7 Steps]

2. Create Your Boudoir Business Plan

Once you’ve built a portfolio, it’s time to create a business plan. Don’t rush through this part. It’s an important way to help you make your goals and dreams come true with actionable steps. Include the following in your plan:

  • Mission statement: This will help you stay on track and guide your business.
  • Vision: Describe where your business is, where you want it to be in the next year, and where you see it in the future.
  • Products and services: Describe what you want to offer to clients that best fits your mission and vision.
  • Financials: Don’t dread numbers! This is a way to set financial goals for yourself. Be sure to include all financial information including office expenses, a marketing budget, and rent.
  • Shoot goals: List the different shoots or services you’ll offer and how many of those you want to book each year. This is an opportunity to create measurable goals for the business.

After you’ve started your business, don’t forget to keep your business plan in mind and review it regularly.

3. Session Locations

When you’re just starting out in boudoir photography, chances are you won’t have the funds to buy a studio outright. Don’t worry; there are plenty of boudoir photographers who make it work without a studio. There are several places that could host a shoot such as a hotel, camp site, workout studio, or client’s home.

Everyone’s situation is different so it’s important to determine what works best for you, your budget, and your future goals (see step 2) when selecting shoot locations. If you are going to buy your own space, consider starting small because you can always expand. Don’t worry about impressing your clients with a posh studio or complimentary champagne. Focus on giving them a quality portrait service and product; that’s what they will tell their friends about, and word of mouth is a great way to earn more clients.

4. Start Marketing

After you’ve built your portfolio, completed your business plan, and determined where your photo shoots will take place, it’s time to start telling the world about your boudoir photography business. Potential clients will Google your name or business name, so be sure you have a web presence, be it a web site or Facebook page, or both.

If you have an existing photography business and are adding boudoir to your services, consider adding a separate boudoir section to your web site. However, if your goal is to exclusively do boudoir someday, my suggestion is to create a separate site or Facebook page that you can easily switch over when you have enough clients.

One way to market your business is networking. Find out about other local businesses that have something in common with you, such as an ideal client. Brainstorm different ways you can work together, and consider giving a complimentary shoot to a business owner so she can tell her clients about your service.

Another thing you can do is attend various expos and ladies’ events. When you shoot boudoir, there is no better place to go than where women gather. Don’t limit yourself to talking to guests; mingle with the other vendors as well.
Don’t be afraid to venture into boudoir photography. Use the steps above to get started and your business will be flourishing in no time!

Find more from Molly here at Boudie Shorts.


 

If you’re interested in becoming a guest contributor, contact us!

No Comments

Please or register to post a comment.

[i]
[i]