Updated: Oct 23, 2020
Ah, the Golden Age of the "Influencer." What a glorious time... The big question, of course is to ask... or not ask a boudoir photographer to work for "exposure" --THAT is the question!
The short answer here is don't do it-- but you're welcome read on if you'd like...
If you are a photographer, it is simply just a matter of time before you will receive one of these inquiries in your inbox. I think I received my first one perhaps three or four years ago. After a quick curiosity read and head scratch, it pretty much immediately went into the trash bin with no reply. Since then, like weeds, they keep popping up every so often.
If you are a potential boudoir client, I understand the allure is sooo tempting. It seems everyone is doing it. Essentially, everyone is an "Influencer" these days... so why not!? Got a few followers online? That ought to be really enough to garner $1000 - $2000 worth of services, right?
The truth is depending on which side of the coin you are on, your perspective may be very different than the other.
These requests don't anger or annoy me-- It's just one more piece of "junk" in my inbox to be removed. As someone who operates a business, you are a constant target of attack from people trying to get money out of you in one way or another. From advertising people, sales people, marketing companies, etc... they're all out there trying to get their piece of flesh and explain how you can't exist without them, or how your business is missing something without them. Like mosquitoes on a summer evening while you are sitting on your porch-- these inquiries are the constant buzzing around you while you slap at your thigh trying to keep them away-- "Got it!" Like the mosquitoes, too, it never stops-- via calls...via emails, and if you have a storefront-- via people walking in.
Influencers, or perhaps better stated, self-proclaimed Influencers, are just one more group looking for a piece of your pie. One more insect looking for a bite of flesh. As a group they are currently feeling empowered, but as we all know Instagram certainly isn't reality, and I suspect a few years from now this will run it's course and become a memory.
I guess from the Influencer point of view... what's the worst thing that can happen? Just a no response, or a "no thanks." The upside is getting all, or part of what you request, for free. I would imagine wedding photographers are probably the main targets of attack by Influencers. If you can wrangle $2.5K - $5K worth of services for nothing... that can amount to a big savings on a wedding day. Sadly, there have been some examples of entitled Influencers not taking "no" very well and going after photographers who refuse to donate services. This is where it starts to get messy. -And this type of behavior is all to common, unfortunately.
The thing is, on a basal level I get it. There can be an equitable trade in a rare situation where there actually may be a person of real "influence"-- the real disconnect here is that followers do not equal "influence." I'd guess 99% of those who claim the title of "Influencer," well... just aren't what they think they are. The truth is, in large, the Influencer industry is mostly a smoke and mirrors situation founded on a broken core. Someone...somewhere decided traditional advertising was dead, and companies now needed to chase shady Instagrammers with imaginary followers, paid comments and fake likes to sell their goods for them.
This hype train is on auto pilot and doomed for a derailment.
What has happened is the "Influencer" title has been over-adapted and watered down where people with essentially no influence adapt the title and try to milk it for all its worth. Now there are "Micro Influencers," and even "Nano Influencers," if you can believe it.