Updated: Jun 8, 2019
Wonderful! You're getting married. Somewhere in the countless hours of wedding planning and research you stumbled across the idea of a boudoir session as a gift. As you recall, your friend Ashley did it for her wedding and she had a blast. Hmmm, that seems fun. I've always want to try that, you thought. You're right! It is fun, and a great wedding gift, but it takes a bit of planning to get things done right the right way-- just like your wedding.
Boudoir is a great gift for weddings-- and becoming more popular every year. Not only is it an amazingly fun gift idea, its possibly the best time you can have creating a gift. Women tend to walk away from their sessions walking on air, and the session is definitely a welcome escape from the hectic wedding schedule.
So, now that you're seriously considering the idea-- What's next? About a hundred questions just popped in your mind. How far ahead do I need to get this done? Do I have to get naked? And how much does all of this cost, anyway?
Those are some valid questions, and well worth investigating. All boudoir photographers are not created equal, but with a bit of knowledge and some homework you can come out on top in your hunt.
Boudoir isn't as straight forward as you may think, so let's take a look at some great tips to help make your bridal session a success.
You Spend Lots Of Time Planning Your Wedding... Do The Same For Your Boudoir Photographer
Just because there is a wedding venue nearby, doesn't mean its the right (or best) one for your big day. Likewise, Googling "boudoir photographers near me" isn't necessarily going to give you the right photographer for the job.
Boudoir photography has exploded over the past six or seven years... and not necessarily for the better, Here's why--
Let's say I woke up one morning and decided I wanted to become a PGA Golf Pro! I set off to my local golf store to buy a set of the same golf clubs Tiger Woods uses. Just because I bought the same clubs he uses doesn't qualify me as a pro golfer. Right? I can't walk on to a local PGA golf event and declare myself a "pro" because I'm sporting some new fancy golf clubs.
In this recent "boudoir boom" over the past few years many self-proclaimed "pros" have done just exactly that-- woke up one morning and decided it was their destiny to make women beautiful and hopped on Amazon to buy a camera...and suddenly proclaimed themselves a "pro." --Be prepared to do a bit of investigation.
Just like you've investigated wedding venues, a bit of research goes a long way toward finding the right photographer. You don't find the best person for the job because they are the closest, or the cheapest. Someone who is selling themselves as a "pro" may have only picked up a camera for the first time a few short weeks ago. (And let me tell you this-- boudoir photography is hard. Very hard. It takes years of practice to do well.)
You must look a bit deeper. Learn a bit about what good boudoir photography is. Study a photographers galleries to see if it is quality work. What is the social media world saying? How long has she/he being doing their job? Do they have a following? Are they mentioned on any popular photography blogs? Additionally, use friends as a guide: Maybe a friend of a friend went for a session and you can use her experience as a guideline. Word of mouth is an invaluable resource.
These are a few of things that may be worth considering as you start your search. Think you may have found a contender or two? Great. You may want to send them an email to set up a call.
Even though I keep loads of educational info online, and my pricing info freely available on my website, I often still get requests to set up a call with a potential client to answer any questions they may have about booking with me. No problem. Ask away!
This step if vital. If your unsure if what you're looking at is top quality, don't hesitate to send me a note and ask. I'll help you out.
Would You Think A Wedding Venue At $6 Per Head Is Going To Give You A Gourmet Experience?
Probably not. The lowest price doesn't win. (And probably doesn't get you a edible meal, either.) Likewise, shopping for your boudoir photography by the lowest price is also likely to get you the boudoir version of processed TVP rubber chicken.
A word of advice here: Like a wedding venue-- Good photographers aren't cheap, and cheap photographers aren't good.
Would the fanciest, marble clad wedding venue in the area with unbelievable gourmet chefs most likely be offering a rock bottom price per guest? Definitely not. After touring the venue and tasting the food, you can understand why they charge the rates they do. That type of venue isn't for every budget, nor are they trying to be.
Similarly, boudoir is mostly a once-in-a-lifetime type of activity. That being said, its best to save up a bit and get it done the right way. Do you have to select the highest priced option for beautiful bridal boudoir? No, but I can tell you with great certainty that choosing the lowest priced option will leave you, well, a bit disappointed. I've heard the story more times than I care to remember...
It's not easy to give an exact price point where the sweet spot will be because boudoir pricing can vary depending on your geographic location. Not only that, photographers can use all kinds of quirky packages that make it nearly impossible to compare one to another. --And you shouldn't. Boudoir photography is not a comparative industry.
Let's use another example: Not knowing anything else-- if I told you I knew of two homes for sale and one home was $150,000 and another was $275,000 and asked which one was the better deal-- What would the correct answer be? Well, not knowing location, home size, neighborhood, or any other information about the homes, the question is impossibly to answer correctly. Likewise, comparing two prices between photographers is meaningless-- not knowing any other data about the sessions.
You're going to have to do something completely unnatural here-- and suspend your innate American duty to bargain shop. (Keep that rubber chicken in mind if it helps!)
People shop strange. You would be a bit suspicious at a claim of a gourmet weddings at $6 per head, right? Especially if other gourmet events came in at nearly $95 per plate. Something isn't quite right.
This kind of logic, sadly, is not used by people in every buying situation. People will see a $49 Groupon for a boudoir session and think "What a deal!" when in actuality they should be thinking "something isn't quite right..."
Just like there is no $6 gourmet wedding, there is no such thing as a $49 "Fine Art" boudoir session.
Everyone has a budget and needs to work within it, of course. In photography, however, you will get what you pay for. For $49, I can assure you will get rubber chicken. Take the time to shop smart. --And use a bit of your critical wedding planning abilities to make the right choice.
As I stated earlier, prices for quality photographers across the country can vary, but you can certainly expect to spend $500-$600-$750+ on your session if you are including a high quality album to give your groom.
You Spend Hours And Hours Shopping For The Perfect Wedding Dress
How long did it take you to find the right wedding dress? Probably quite a while.
Take care to put some of that same energy into picking out the outfits for your bridal boudoir session. What makes you glamorous? Beautiful veils, white lace bras and undies, stockings, garters... think pretty!
Picking beautiful well thought out outfits will help lead to beautiful results.
Do you have to only wear white in your bridal session? Absolutely not. It's your session, and you can wear what you like. If you are planning on doing bridal shots (and you should!)-- be sure to leave the white cotton undies at home!
Yes. On more than one occasion, I've had brides come in sporting a veil and white cotton discount store briefs. I understand not everyone is a lingerie fanatic, but don't dress like you're lounging on your couch for a Sunday Netflix binge. You're a beautiful bride. Dress like one!
Think pretty, and be pretty. Your boudoir photos will be around for yeaaarrssss. Be at your best. Another big sin I see these days is plenty of cheap Amazon lingerie. Although you don't need to spend a lot to look cute, be mindful of what you're buying.
Some items people purchase on Amazon, are, well, a bit cheap looking. I understand they were inexpensive, but as we stated in the section above, invest a bit in your appearance, because those photos will be around for a long time.
Another little secret about boudoir is that you don't need tons of things for a successful session. I understand people like variety, but opt for quality instead of having tons if different choices. I can shoot an entire album with a cute white lace bridal