Have you been searching for a boudoir photographer? It not as easy as it may appear at first... I know! In New Jersey there are many photographers that offer "boudoir photography" services, so how do you make the right choice? Let's find out...
Boudoir is a great time... no doubt. Whether is for an event such a wedding, a Christmas gift, or even just for yourself, the afterglow of a boudoir session can last for years.
Who am I? Hi. My name is Michael and I am an elite fancy-schmancy boudoir photographer from New Jersey who has photographed countless women throughout my career... I may know a thing or two about the subject! 😀 I've built my business around creating the best-- in terms of results, client experience, products...you name it. You may say, I was never one willing to compromise. Long ago I had an idea of how a boudoir photography business should be run, and I followed through.
I work a bit differently than most... I work with a limited number of clients each month who want the best of boudoir...and are willing to pay for it. Back when I started, I wasn't sure if women would-- or could-- see the difference, but I was wrong. Before long, I was working with women from not just all around New Jersey, but New York City, Pennsylvania, and beyond! Eventually, I found myself with a wait-list of clients, and had (and still have) brides securing their spots up to year ahead for their bridal boudoir sessions.
Listen to Mike On the "Your I Do Crew" Podcast
I love what I do, and you may say I'm a bit of an expert. The unfortunate thing that I witness sometimes is woman not shopping smartly for their boudoir photographer and winding up with...well... not quite what they expected. Today I'm going to outline 5 tips to help you shop smarter for your boudoir photographer. Let's get started...
This may sound painfully obvious, but for a lot of brides doing a bridal boudoir session seems to be a last minute choice. You see boudoir photography is not a great last minute decision. During certain times of the year, namely wedding season in spring or Christmastime, photographers can be busy.
What does that mean for you? Well, I see this one all the time, and it's a situation where you may be forced into settling for your second or maybe even third choice for a photographer. Booked! I turn away brides every spring who wind up contacting me two or three weeks before a wedding date.
Another thing many women do not account for is that a boudoir session takes time. Not just the time for your photos... but it may takes weeks after your session for editing, selections, and printing and binding of your album.
What's early, then? 2-3 months. Perhaps even earlier if you are planning during a busy time of the year. HEY! How far ahead did you book your wedding venue??? Yeah, start thinking of it along those lines.... and you'll wind up with a lot smoother sailing.
SHOP WITH YOUR "WEDDING" MINDSET
This may be the HUGEST miscue by brides...and women in general shopping for a boudoir photographer. I mean HUGE. You are a bad shopper, face it. It's not necessarily your fault, though. You've been programmed your entire life to shop poorly. You've been programmed to shop by the lowest price...and lead to believe that by following that formula you'll always come out "a winner!" BZZZZZZ... Wrong.
If you plan to attack your boudoir shopping like a trip to the discount grocery store-- "Oooh... what ice cream is on sale this week," you're surely wind up maybe not quite getting what you expected. Walking down the ice cream aisle going "$5.79....$6.29....$4.39....$2.49 WINNER!" is a poor shopping strategy in general-- but that's a topic for another discussion. That $2.49 ice cream is not the winner. It may be the "cheapest" but what are you really getting?? The package is smaller. The ingredients are a bunch of words you really can't even pronounce-- hydrogenated oils & emulsifiers-- in ice cream? Sadly, yes...
Somehow, if my grandmother were making ice cream, I don't think she'd be adding soy lecithin emulsifiers to it... Technically, I don't even think that $2.49 carton can even legally call itself "ice cream." I think they need to use a word like "frozen dessert" or something. So, have you really "won" by grabbing this "deal?" Probably not. It may be the cheapest... but you certainly haven't won the ice cream aisle.
Price is just one small part of overall cost... and if you want to come out on top with your session YOU'VE GOT TO STOP THINKING LIKE THAT NOW. Phew, I'm bossy. 😂
So, what do you do? Well, you start shopping for your boudoir photography with your "wedding mindset." Your wedding was one of the most special days of your life, right? Did you leave it in the hands of the lowest bidders? There probably wasn't a discussion with your partner about feeding your wedding guests Taco Bell because it was only $2.49/person while your wedding venue may have been north of $95/person. SO WHY WOULDN'T YOU HAVE BEEN CONSIDERING TACO BELL FOR YOUR WEDDING DINNER...ITS CHEAPER! Doesn't that mean it's the best choice? OMG. That would be strange, huh? On the surface it's true, but cheaper isn't the best choice for every occasion.
Jusssss stop with the cheaper is better when shopping for boudoir, because it isn't. Great photographers aren't going to be cheap, and cheap photographers aren't going to be very good. Price, of course, is always a consideration when finding your photographer, but don't let it be the only factor in making your decision.
Boudoir photography is an indulgence, like your wedding, so treat it like one. You want great results you're going to cherish for years? --You're going to pay for them. Don't cheap out.
BEWARE OF "FAKE" BOUDOIR SESSIONS
Oh, this is a fun one. Why? Because it's so true. What am I speaking about? Well, sadly, there are a photographers out selling selling sessions as "boudoir," that, well, aren't...
As it's name implies boudoir photography takes place in a bedroom or "boudoir" setting. --And not anywhere else. Not in someone's basement. Not in a dark photography studio. Not outside... NOOOOOOO.
Boudoir is all about a window into a woman's world where she may, or may not, realize someone is watching. It's about a woman's private moments. It's about beauty. Boudoir is photographed in a simple organic flowing manner. It tells a story. It's a simple things that can be quite difficult to pull off.
Look at it this way. If I took a photo of you in a bikini standing in your driveway, would that be a beach photo? Of course not! Why? Because a bikini is not the defining element of a beach photo. There's a bit more to it (like needing a beach.) Likewise, wearing underwear is not the defining element of boudoir photography.
So, how does this happen? Why are photographers doing this? Well, the truth is, they probably don't know what real boudoir is. I know... I know... you saw a photographer advertising "outdoor boudoir" session so it must be! No, it's not. They just don't understand what they are doing... which leads me to the next point...
STAY AWAY FROM THE AMATEURS
Here’s a dirty little secret about boudoir photographers. Many are bad. Boudoir photography is an alluring sounding job for those wishing to get into photography, but there are only a (really) small number that are super skilled at it and succeed. Why? Because it's quite difficult. ...And-- like any art form it takes a combination of natural talent, and years of dedicated practice to develop.
I hear stories from time to time from clients who have a co-worker that knows someone that “just started” a boudoir business and would be happy to do your wedding boudoir photos… She's all about "empowerment," "body positivity," and "making you look FIERCE." ...Yeah, I get it. I've heard the story before-- dozens of times. ...Stay away.
This, again, is one of these simple points that people constantly overlook, and wind up regretting it. Boudoir photography is a field that has a low barrier to entry, but a high barrier to success. It's hard. Let me repeat that. It's hard. While we appreciate your co-worker's friend's offer, and I'm sure she's well intentioned, you are best to avoid amateurs and inexperienced photographers--
Boudoir photography sessions typically take place for wedding gifts or other special occasions. There are no do-overs for these special times. Not only that, it's something that many women will take part in once... so is that something you really want to put in the hands of an amateur that only a few weeks ago was hell-bent on becoming a beauty blogger on Instagram, and suddenly pivoted to wanting the change the world of women's beauty photography? Probably not.
Ever hear the phrase reach out and touch someone? This is an important step in making sure you're booking with the right person for you. Looking at a website is great-- but you really should be taking a few more steps before making a decision.
Ask questions. Reach out via email and contact the photographer with any questions you may have-- better yet, and what I recommend is pick up the phone and call! --WHAT! you're thinking. You mean you want me to talk to someone? Well, yes. Yes I do.
You see, it's probably not something do you every day-- by that I mean taking your clothes off and letting a stranger take photos of you. It's worth a ten or fifteen minute conversation with your photographer to hear a bit about they way they work, and also, you'll get a sense of them and their personality.
What you don't want is to commit to a session, and on session day find yourself with someone who maybe isn't the best fit for you. The results can suffer. Make that call. Better yet, if you are considering someone local ask for a meetup. Meet up at a nearby coffee shop or restaurant and ask the photographer to bring along some sample work. The photographer would be happy to do that...and it's a more common thing than you may think.
You can even take this one step further. Check them out on their social media profiles. Most photographers are active on Instagram, and may have extra content on there not featured on their website, or even behind the scenes type videos, as well, which can give you further insight into working with them.
So, there! How about that? Yes, it is a bit of work, but as I mentioned, your boudoir session is going to be something that you are going to treasure for years... so invest the time up front to ensure great results.
Remember: Start your search, and book early to be sure you get the session you want with the photographer you like best. Shop with your "wedding" mindset-- and don't make your decision using price as your main criterion. Shop smart and be sure your looking at a photographer who shoots true boudoir and is an experienced pro. Finally, have a conversation with your contenders before booking to ensure a good fit.
Follow these these and you're one step closer to that amazing boudoir session you've always dreamed about.
Hey, what about me? Well, I'm happy to answer any questions you may have in your boudoir search-- even if I'm not your final photographer. The most important this is that everyone stays safe and has a great time. Got a question? No worries. Send me a note on my Contact Page, and I'll be happy to get back to you.