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Getting Started: Can You Make It As A Male Boudoir Photographer?

You want to be a male boudoir photographer? Sounds like an interesting job! Can a man make it in boudoir? In this post we'll take a look at a few important points that can help determine if you have what it takes. Before we begin (and despite what you've read) you need to know boudoir is hard. Boudoir is real hard. It requires an immense amount of practice to do well. --Not only that, as a man you're going to lose a percentage of your potential client base because you're a guy. Phew! This article isn't getting off to a very positive start, is it? Still reading? Well, let's take a look...

Hi, I'm Michael. I'm a boudoir photographer from New Jersey that has worked with hundreds of women throughout my career in photography. Some may think that boudoir is strictly the domain of female photographers. That is simply just not the case. It may take a bit of searching, but there are men out there doing high quality work.

Boudoir photography may seem to be in a bit of a boom over the past several years with lots of people jumping in the pool. Around 2012 or so, people suddenly appeared out of the woodwork and headed into boudoir photography in apparent droves. The stories are fairly similar... they suddenly awoke one morning to realize their life's goal was to make women beautiful. They headed to Amazon and bought the fanciest DSLR camera they find, subscribed to some cheap web hosting for a website, and *BOOM* they were "Pros." It's that simple! Right?!

The mantra of this group, a.k.a. the Boudoir Boomers, is/was "We are empowering the world!" They littered their websites and Instagram profiles with endless slogans and quotes about being "fierce," "self love," and "owning it!" To a casual viewer, you'd hardly guess they were photographers at first glance. It looked more like the promotion work of a life coach... and that is what they positioned themselves to be. This approach is definitely way too heavy on the rhetoric for me, but in the end I'm all for people helping people. Their hearts are in the right place.

There's one small thing this group forgot about the process. The photography part. A camera and a credo does not beautiful photography make. It's been an interesting thing to watch, though. As these Boudoir Boomers slowly fizzle out I'd suspect there are some good deals on used DLSRs on Ebay right about now.

Whether male or female, there's one thing to know about boudoir-- Boudoir is just a small subset of photography. Despite what you hear, boudoir is a niche business. Here's some more bad news: Photography, as a whole. is on the decline. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts the photography industry will be hit hard over the next decade, losing thousands of jobs. With everyone walking around today with a great camera in their hands 24/7 in the form of a smartphone why do you they need you?

Despite all this, as a male boudoir photographer, you can have success! Whether you are a man, or a women, it takes lots of work, however. You have to be smart. Target your market. Learn a bit about business. Most of all, you have to be at a level of proficiency way beyond average. You have to create something worth paying for.

You're Going To Lose Jobs... Just Because You're You

A certain percentage of women are just going to prefer a women photographer. There is nothing you can do about that. It's impossible to know what that percentage is, so I won't try to venture a guess. These are women who would feel more comfortable with a photographer of the same sex, and that's OK.

In boudoir photography, women are putting themselves in situation in opposition to some common social mores-- which is uncovering their bodies. It can be awkward. With a man involved, sometimes it can be doubly awkward.

If a women wants to complete a boudoir session, and feels more confident doing it with a women, then by all means she should do what works best for her. People should take a path that works best for them.

I've had an information request in the past from a women (who was probably busy contacting every person in the area and not paying attention...) and when I responded to her email she responded, "You're a man? I was looking women photographer."

It's the reality you have to live with, and you'll learn to make the most of your audience that is attracted to your business. Typically, you will not even be aware this pre-selection process is happening unless you are using a business name such as "Amazing Boudoir," and the client isn't certain the gender of the photographer.

You Have To Be Better Than Everyone Else

There is no way around it. The business world is eat or be eaten. It's survival of the fittest. Starting a photography business with little or no skills is just asking for defeat. It never ceases to amaze me what people do, or perhaps I should say don't do... (meaning: put in the hard work.)

Getting involved in boudoir is great. In some respects I would liken it to opening an restaurant. You may have always dreamed of owning your own restaurant. --That's a great aspiration! Opening one, however, with no restaurant experience or cooking skills is just asking for trouble. In a business where you already start with two strikes against yourself, you're sort of sealing your fate before you get started. Yeah, you may have a great decorating idea for the joint, but if the food sucks and you lack restaurant management skills... you'll be out of business before you know it.

According to data cited in a CNBC and Business Insider article most restaurants fail (quickly) just for those reasons.

I would liken to Kitchen Nightmares. There's always a restaurant owner who is haplessly wondering why their business is failing... because in their eyes they have the best seafood in the area! Chef Ramsay sits down, ta