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The Definitive Guide on How to Shop for a Boudoir Photographer.

Updated: Apr 24

boudoir pose in fishnet stockings
How To Shop For A Boudoir Photographer

Hi everyone. My name is Michael, and I'm an boudoir photographer who works with women from all over New Jersey, NYC and the Philadelphia metro area.

Every women starts shopping for their boudoir session with the expectation of getting an album of amazing images (like the one above!) The sad reality is it's not an easy and straight road from beginning to end-- and there many potential pitfalls along the way.

I've been photographing women for years, and have completed hundreds of sessions. Along the way, I've talked to many women who were either thinking about having a boudoir session, or who have done so at some point with other photographers.

I've always been curious about people's experiences, and I'm eager to hear the factors in their decision process in selecting their photographer. My very unscientific survey of these accounts has brought to light some very interesting results-- not only with the differences in how the quality of work varies from photographer to photographer, but also with the search process individuals use to shop for their boudoir photographer.

All in all, it is a bit of a mess out there, which can make it a bit difficult for shoppers to find the best fit for their needs. I've taken some of the faux pas I've heard others make and used that information to help make sure my client's experiences are better, and make the process as smooth as possible for them.

There is a lot of good information in this article. Every prospect that contacts me via my own website automatically gets a link to this. That's how important it is to me that women make a safe and smart choice when choosing their boudoir photographer.

First and foremost, boudoir is about having a great time. What I've learned is that in a lot of cases people stumble through the process of finding someone to work with, and they really don't know how to shop properly! This can not only end in low quality results, but can also create and awkward and unpleasant experience for the client-- leaving a bad taste in their mouth about the business.

This article is going to focus on some important expert points on shopping for a boudoir photographer, and to help you from avoiding a major mistake--

Let Google give you a hand.

female boudoir photographer

So you've been doing some searching online for boudoir photographers. The first steps can be done rather quickly and easily. It is simply a matter of separating the wheat from the chaff.

The ultimate goal of your session is the have a great time, and to have superior results that you can look back on for years and enjoy.

Start your search by determining your maximum travel radius, and it's really as simple as entering a Google search such as "boudoir photographers near me," "boudoir photography New Jersey," and substitute your metro area for what's relevant to you. You'll typically get a search map showing the names and locations of the photographers in your area.

At this point I am going to show you how to quickly discard a big chunk of the possibles by eliminating the bad, the "Boudoir Boomers," and the "Cupcake Queens."

Learn how to spot great work.

Start with the website.

Is it clean and professional looking? Does it look like someone invested money to get a polished look, or does it look like a bit of a mish-mosh? Appearance is everything. Most importantly, does the photographer specialize in boudoir?

All photographers will have a gallery of their work online, and some may even have several. That's where you want to go first. The simplest way to start weeding through your prospects is right here. What you're are looking for are high quality, polished, professional looking boudoir images. (No! Don't worry about prices, yet!)

The exact specifics of what defines a quality image is a bit beyond the scope of this article, but if you have time and want to do a bit of reading on the subject you can take a peek at an article on the subject by long time photography writer Ken Rockwell. Although his article is not directed at boudoir photography, you can still get an idea of some of the basics. Additionally, I'm in the process of writing that exact article on what makes a great boudoir photo, and I'll link to it as soon as I'm finished!

Image quality is everything.

I can look at a photo, and in a split second know whether the photographer is a pro and knows what they're doing, or is a rank amateur with no business taking hard earned money for their services. Although you may not be as adept as me in spotting "boudoir greatness," I'm sure you can certainly tell when something doesn't look quite the way it should.

This skill is vital, and will save you lots of time and future aggravation. It is the first part in steering yourself in the right direction for success. Are the images professionally edited and natural looking? Do they have good composition? Are they telling a story? Are they making the subject look beautiful, alluring, or even sexy?

Keep digging.

These days, its easy to get a wide sampling of a photographers work. Most host social media accounts on sites like Facebook or Instagram where there may be hundreds of sample photos for you to look through.

What you are looking for is not one cute photo-- but a deep catalog of well composed and edited boudoir photos that focus on beauty. --And make sure what you are actually looking at is boudoir photography! One of the biggest things I've discovered is that many women do not even know how to spot a real boudoir photo.

Are you actually looking at boudoir photography?

Are the photos mostly outside? That's not boudoir. Are the photos on some velvety couch in a dark studio? That's not boudoir. Contrary to what you may think-- the mere fact that a women may be in undies or lingerie has nothing to do with whether a photo is boudoir photography, or not!

As it's name implies, boudoir photography primarily takes place in a woman's "boudoir" or bedroom. The focus of boudoir is beauty, and often has voyeuristic overtones as the viewer is looking at a woman caught in her private moments. Now, there can certainly be a bit of variation on this theme, but make sure all the photos you are viewing generally fit that description. I have an extensive article on the definition of boudoir photography here. Make sure what you're looking at is boudoir!

See something that grabs your eye and appears to be high quality work? Great. Make note of the name and web address and add it to your list for further investigation. Depending on your geographic area, you may come up with a few options for further study. Keep this list handy, we'll use it for reference, and to help with your final selection.

NOTE: If you're stuck at this point, and not sure if you're looking at great boudoir work, I'm here to help! I sincerely want you to have a great experience. Please send me an email with the links of what you're looking at, and I'll help you out as to whether it's good boudoir- bad boudoir, or maybe not even boudoir at all!

Ditch the Cupcake Queens

wedding ring boudoir pose

OK, so know we know we're searching for excellent image quality, and a photographer who is actually taking boudoir photos. What's next? See who has the lowest price, right?!! Hold on there, tiger, that's exactly wrong. That approach will surely yield a poor results. Actually, don't even look at or request any pricing info at this point. You don't need to. Before we get to the budget and cost part there's still more chaff to weed out and refine our selections.

Take your time and do your homework at this step-- it's important. I know it's the opposite of how you are programmed to shop-- but with boudoir focus on shopping by results and quality, not the lowest price you can find. Hunting around hours to find the lowest session price in your area doesn't make you the "winner"... and sadly you will often wind up the "loser" in many such situations. Why? You can read some of my extensive advice on