Updated: Mar 23, 2020
Hi everyone. My name is Michael and I am an expert boudoir photographer who works with wonderful women from all across New Jersey and the NYC area.
Thanks for stopping by. Have you been searching for NJ's top boudoir photographer?
I may be a bit biased with my point of view on the best boudoir photography studio in New Jersey 😀, but I'm guessing if you're visiting this post you are in the process of searching for your perfect match.
Choosing the right photographer can be a daunting task! I know! I've written extensively on the subject of how to shop for a boudoir photographer. I thought I'd take a moment to give you a few simple guidelines from an expert (me!) to help you make the process as smooth as possible.
Whether it's for your wedding, an anniversary, or even just for you-- boudoir sessions are growing in popularity each year. I've photographed hundreds of women, and I've also talked to many women who have had boudoir sessions, and I'll share some valuable insight here for you today.
My obsession is providing a great client experience with unsurpassed results. I really pour my heart into every client to deliver amazing images-- which in my opinion cannot be beat. (Visit my one of my boudoir galleries to see for yourself.) One of my motivations is seeing the smile on clients faces after they see their photos, and that's really the payoff for me.
The tricky part is not all boudoir photographers are created equal, nor do they operate with the same level of quality or dedication to their craft. I've run into my fair share of horror stories, and want to do my best to prevent you from having a boudoir mishap. Below are a few guidelines to help you have a great and memorable session like I enjoy providing my clients.
The first thing is you want to give yourself plenty of time before your gift is needed. How much? Well, that may depend on the time of year. Typically, spring and the time leading up to Christmas are the busiest of the year. If you've had a last moment inspiration to give a boudoir session to your husband two weeks before Christmas... it may get a bit difficult. Likewise, early spring, when lots of women choose to get married, can also be a busy time for boudoir photographers.
If you a planning your session for a wedding, you should be settled on your photographer 2-3 months before you need products in hand. The time leading up to your wedding can be a hectic time, so I personally think it's best to get the session out of the way as early as possible.
Not only that, after your session is completed, it still may take a few weeks to process your images, another week or so or you to make your selections, and don't forget about the time involved in sending out your beautiful wedding album for printing and binding! That, in and of itself, may take another 2 weeks or so before your final product is in hand. It can take a while!
All these little things may add up to 4 - 6 weeks, alone. The last thing you want is to be scrambling to take photos in the week or two before your ceremony and crossing fingers that the starts align and you have the album for your wedding.
Not only that-- brides tend to be more stressed, and seem to be sleeping a lot less with the stresses of work and preparation in full stride. Tired and stressed is not a cute look in a boudoir album! Trust me! I've seen it.
If you are doing the session for an anniversary, or some other purpose, you may not need to give yourself quite as much time, but you can never be too soon for your event. Boudoir albums don't expire-- you can take care of your session early and tuck it away in a safe place until the day of the big surprise.
Ah, budget. How many emails do I get that run along the lines of "All I want to know are your prices... can you send me a price list." The price shopper. I get it.
We are all programmed from a young age to equate a time and energy spent trying to find a low price as a "winning moment."
Not to get too involved in the subject, but price is only one consideration of overall cost.
I know how it works. You walking down the ice cream aisle in the grocery store, just craving some great chocolate ice cream, vigilantly scanning the prices... "$6.49.... $4.79......$5.99.....$2.79...WINNER!" You reach in to the freezer and grab the $2.79 container, throw it in your cart, and move on in your shopping thinking that you've just won the ice cream aisle.
Have you? The funny thing is how people are so programmed to think that somehow the lowest price is the winner-- so much so that they don't even consider any other factors in their purchase.
As a matter of fact, processed food manufacturers have known this for years, and know it so much so, that they will do anything it takes to put the lowest price on the label. That's why your snack chip bag is getting smaller and smaller. That's why your package of ice cream is no longer a half gallon, your yogurt is no longer a cup, etc,, etc., etc. The list goes on and on.
Your grocery food keeps getting smaller and smaller! Not only that, people pay absolutely no attention to what is actually in the box they are buying. I can pretty much guarantee you that $2.79 container of "ice cream", isn't actually even ice cream! You've purchased a bunch of corn syrup, which is infused with so much air and chemical stabilizers to keep it puffed up...that when left on a counter over night....it will be in exactly the same shape the next morning!
Not only that, I can pretty much assure you, you won't even see the term "Ice cream" anywhere on the packaging. You may see "Dairy Treat," or "Dairy Dessert," or something of the kind. That's the sad reality of the American shopping experience, and sly manufacturers use your own ignorance against you to give you literally, stuff that isn't even food (or at least it isn't what you think it is...) ...but I digress.
How does this all apply to boudoir? We'll price should be a consideration in finding your photographer, but price is only one small factor of overall cost.
What does that mean? Everyone wants great results, right? Let's look at it this way. If you were looking to get entertainment for your birthday party, which do you think you could get for less: a local college kid playing John Mayer songs at a local coffee shop, or the real John Mayer? The college kid, right?
The real John Mayer probably isn't going to show up and play for a few hours for a $75... but a college kid might.
Likewise, boudoir photography is a very tricky and difficult art to master. It takes years and years of practice to get right...and few people can actually do it well. (Trust me, I know...) It seems real tempting to have your friend Debbie shoot your boudoir session-- she absolutely loves photography, and gets great comments on her kitten shots on Facebook. Heck, she's even willing to do it for free.
Horror. Don't do it. I've covered this topic in other posts, and for the gory details you can read about why choosing the lowest priced photographer will be your biggest mistake.
Likewise, that amazing Groupon for $49 seems uber-tempting... It's only $49 for that session... with a CD of photos. Whoot! Again, I'll have to remind you, this situation is a hard pass-- like the cheap chemical store-brand ice cream for $2.79.
No photographer worth their salt is going to work for $2 or $3 per hour. (Would you go to your job for $2 an hour?) I've talked to many people getting caught up in these deals, and although they are not all tragedies. in general, you are not getting quite what you expect. The truth is in this day and age, so many people hang the label of "photographer" on themselves and they are not skilled enough technically (or business-wise) to be charging anyone for what they produce.
So, where does that leave you? Very simple. Save and do it right. You want stunning results? You're going to have to pay for them. The truth of the matter is, it's well worth it. I hear from clients years after their sessions who still look at their albums and portraits, and are thrilled by the results.
There's More To Cost Than What You Pay...
I'm the not the type of photographer who refers to the session price as an "investment," nor should it be thought of in that way (because, it's not.) There is a cost, however. As I mentioned earlier, price is only one small part of cost. What are other aspects of cost when dealing with a less than qualified photographer? Well, as we mentioned earlier, the quality of goods delivered.
There is no greater frustration than seeing the results after your session, and them not being quite as you anticipated. This sub-par work leads to remorse on the part of the client, which is a definite mental cost.
I once met a woman who thought her super low priced session was the deal of the year, until the "free album" she was promised in the sales pitch turn out to be nothing more than a plastic photo holder from a dollar store, filled with awful 4x6 snapshots. Not exactly the type of gift to give a loved one.
Other costs are frustration. Things may not go as smoothly as you expect. In a situation where women may be a little anxious to start, the last thing you need is being placed in a awkward situation during or after your session. If a photographer isn't quite sure of what they are doing, or not making you comfortable, that definitely can lead to a bit of unease during your session.
There are many other costs such as booking issues, photographers re-scheduling, or even worse photographer no-shows. Often low budget photographers do not include professionally trained make up artists which has a huge impart on the final session result. The list of "costs" in these situations is large and pressing, and there are many.
The lesson to be learned is that price may be lower in but the overall cost of all these stresses and miscues is definitely something to be avoided. You'll walk away with regret. Your once-in-a-lifetime fabulous boudoir session shouldn't be something relegated to the lowest bidder.
Ah, location. Where is your session taking place? Boudoir photography, as it's name implies traditionally takes place in a bedroom setting. --There's a bit more to it than that, but it surprises me how often women get involved in situations where they are not even shooting boudoir photos!
Imagine, (expanding on our example from above) you get yourself all signed up for your super cheap session and after some time find yourself on session day. You drive to the location and... well... you are in some type of basement studio. Again, rolling back to our ice cream example from earlier-- you're probably not getting boudoir.
Wait...What? As I mentioned, boudoir takes place in beautiful bedroom settings. If you find yourself on an old velvet couch with tons of big flashy lights going off all around you-- that's not boudoir (despite what you've been told.)
Be sure your photographer is using beautiful surroundings for your session. My building has six bedroom vignettes which are cute, have wonderful natural lighting, and promote a relaxing setting for boudoir photography.
Some photographers may have studios with bedroom vignettes and plenty of windows--which is great, as well. Be sure to ask in what type of exact physical setting your session will be taking place.
We'll touch more on exactly what boudoir is in a moment, but it all starts with the setting. If you're not in a bedroom... it's not boudoir. Simple as that.
What Is Boudoir, Then, Actually?
Well, that is a good question. We already discussed a bit about the location, but boudoir is more than that. Photographers show a photo of a women in lingerie on their websites, and label it "boudoir," but more often than not it actually isn't!
I've written extensively on the topic of what really is boudoir on Quora, and if you're interested in checking it out, you can see some of the articles on What Are The Styles of Boudoir Photography, and What Is Boudoir Photography by clicking through the links.
Boudoir is foremost about beauty, passion, and simplicity. Boudoir is photographed in a very simple, organically lit style, and may be beautiful and passionate-- with a bit of voyeurism thrown in the mix.
Without going too far off the rails here, Boudoir is very simple and the main theme is making women look beautiful. It's kind of like the viewer is looking in on your private moments, which may or may not be meant to be seen.
On the part of the photographer, they should be trying to make your experience as seamless as possible-- being a great host and making the session a lot of fun for the participant, despite there being a lot of really hard technical work going on on his/her end. Big giant lights, lots of stands and flashy things really tend to get in the way of that seamless-ness. After all, this session is about you, not a bunch of photo gear.
Most of all boudoir is about having a great time! It's not often that adults get to run around in their undies taking photos!
Still hear...and still reading? Great job! I know you're committed to your session and you will make it a success. Just remember these important points...
Give yourself plenty of time. Don't start shopping for your photographer two weeks before your gift is needed.
Be smart about budget. The best advice is to save (or use those wonderful credit cards) and have your session done properly by an amazing expert.
Be sure you're getting what you expect! Make sure your session is taking place in a bedroom setting, with lots of natural lighting, and your photographer's mission is to make you look beautiful (with a strong side of sexy thrown in for good measure.)
It may take a it of work, but trust me the results will be worth it. You'll have a great time throughout your session. Your "costs" will all be in line, and most importantly you'll have a beautiful results you'll cherish for years to come.
Have a question about what you're getting yourself into? Drop me a note on my website, I'd be happy to talk boudoir with you.
All the best,