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