Updated: May 17
So, you've been thinking about a boudoir session for a while now. What's holding you back? Not only is a boudoir sessions a great time, it's an experience that will reward you with feelings of joy for years as you enjoy your photos.
Hi. I'm Michael. I'm a boudoir photographer from NJ that works with brides from Bergen County to Hoboken down to Monmouth County looking to create amazing gifts for their special day. Boudoir just isn't for brides, however. It's a great treat for an anniversary, Christmas....or maybe the best reason...just because.
Finding the right boudoir photographer can take some work, however. It can be a bit like finding your perfect wedding venue... It can take some searching! Armed with the right knowledge, and a bit of clever shopping, you can make the smart decision when selecting your photographer and get the results you deserve.
Every year I answer lots of questions about boudoir photography, and below are a few popular of the most popular. Have a question for me? Send me a note on my Contact Page. I'm happy to help.
Do guys really like boudoir photography?
In all honesty, yes. I continually hear positive feedback from brides of how much their husbands loved their gift. Giving a boudoir album as a wedding gift is something beautiful that will be treasured for years.
I even have first-hand proof! I was once at a wedding myself, and a woman approached me "Hey, Mike!" I didn't recognize her at first (her hair was a different color) but it was a previous client. We chatted for a few moments and she said, "My husband is here, he'd love to meet you." Eeek! Should I run? Duck? I spoke to the husband for a minute or two and he genuinely expressed how much he loved the gift and how special it was not just to him, but to both of then. What a nice sentiment.
The little secret of boudoir, of course, is that what typically starts as a gift for a husband, ends up being the ultimate gift for you!
I really, really, would love to do a boudoir session, but it's all so expensive. Why?
This is a really good question, and I'll do the best I can with the answer. Boudoir is a great experience for women, and it's really difficult to explain the feeling until you've experienced it yourself. It's invigorating, and one of those experiences that will make you feel so glad you did it. On another level... it really is just a lot of fun.
Why is boudoir photography so expensive? Well, first, you have to understand boudoir is a bit of an indulgence. It's a special occasion, much like a wedding. When you were planning your wedding what was your process? You wanted it to be special. You wanted it to be memorable. Everyone has a budget, of course, but odds are for your wedding you weren't searching Amazon for the cheapest wedding dress you could find. You didn't find a $28 wedding dress and exclaim "Winner! $28!" and go walking down the aisle in a wonky strange dress...solely because of the price. Odds are, your wedding dress was expensive -- but why? Additionally, your wedding venue was also likely "expensive"-- but why? Because these things made your day special and in your mind you imaged what your wedding day would be like, and these items were necessary to complete that ideal. There are certain situations in life where the lowest bidder isn't always the best choice. It's not every day you go and pay $95/per person and buy meals for 200 of your closest friends... but having your friends and family together to celebrate a special occasion is well worth it. Boudoir has to be thought of in that "wedding mindset."
Boudoir is about the experience, as well. It is expensive if you look at it in isolation, but it's not any different than any of the examples above. I love fancy restaurants, but I don't go out and eat at Nobu every day. For a special occasion, such as an anniversary, it's a great place to celebrate and enjoy the occasion. Get it?
Aside from that, there are lots of costs involved in running a boudoir business... just like any other enterprise. There are expenses like rent, utilities, insurance. In addition many photographers will have makeup artists on site, or assistants to help with the session. Not only that. You are paying for a beautiful result, which is really a personalized work of art created just for you! This creation takes many hours of time, the unique talents of the photographer, and experience.
The best thing is the factor in the cost of your session as part of your wedding planning. Some photographers will also have payments available to make the purchase more manageable.
Honestly, if I can find a boudoir session for $300 why would I pay three, four, or five times that for the same thing?
I get it. Odds are, it's not the same thing. At this point I can't say paying more may necessarily be the right thing for you, though. I'd need more information. There is a difference, however, and I'll explain. This may not be an apples for apples comparison, but it may help. Remember your wedding we were talking about a few questions ago? Well, was there ever a discussion in your wedding planning that you could feed guests at your wedding for $2.79/per person from Taco Bell? So why in the world would you pay $95/per person from your upscale wedding venue? Probably not. On the surface, this is a true fact. Taco Bell is indeed less, but is it really the same? They're both meals? Not really, right? Your wedding is not about finding the cheapest option, that wouldn't win in this case.
Restaurants are a great example to indicate these differences. Are all restaurants the same? No. Would you expect them to all be the same? No. You have an understanding that restaurants come in all price points, levels of dining, and quality. Is Taco Bell the same as Nobu? It's all food, right? How can one place charge $2.79 for a meal, and the other may charge $65 for a meal? That's crazy, right. Of course, people are only going to go to the place that's $2.79!! It's cheaper! No one would ever pay $65 for a meal when they can get a meal for so much less!!! This isn't the case though, right?
Just like there are different price points and levels of qualities of restaurants (or lots of other goods such as handbags, cars,... the list goes on and on...) there are these same differences in photographers. Just like dining, photography isn't a price comparative industry. There is this basic level of understanding that the expectation of what you'd receive from a meal at Taco Bell would be indeed different that what you'd get from Nobu. Likewise, what you'd receive at a $1500 boudoir session would be quite different than a $300 one.
It was always interesting to me why this was a difficult for people to see. Many things would separate a $300 photographer from a $1500 one. Experience. Level of work. Type of products offered. Location. ...and more. It is just like the Taco Bell vs Nobu situation.
Which is right for you? Well, that comes down a bit of a personal decision. With the understanding that they are not the same...when it would come down to a meal for a special occasion which would you prefer Taco Bell or Nobu?
I've looked at boudoir photos online, and this is sort of embarrassing to ask, but do any women do "wilder" photos with nudity or sexuality or is it all just more "cutesy" type photos? Thanks.
The great thing about boudoir photography is that it is so adaptable to every client. Additionally, boudoir photography has changed over the past seven or eight years and the boundaries have really been broadened.
"Wild" of course, is a relative term and what my be "wild" to one person, could be the other's "every day routine." Many women are completely content doing a boudoir session in just a tank top and undies-- which is there comfort zone and what they want. That's fine. Other women do express more sexuality and may have nudity as a part of their session. And that's fine too.
There really is no strict rule here...we're just trying to keep photos within some basic boundaries and keep things... "sophisticated." Personally, I don't feel being super graphic is necessary...or really ever works out quite how the client imagines. You can always discuss your photo ideas with your photographer for honest feedback. The important thing is that a boudoir session is a safe judgement-free space to express yourself.
I want to do boudoir photography for my wedding gift. I've moved my wedding to April 2021, when should I start planning for my boudoir session?
Good question, and in this current universe our lives seem to be changing day to day. In a "normal" universe you'd really want to start considering getting your session booked at least 2-3 months before you'll need your gift. Lately, however, it has been the case where wedding dates have moved...even more than once.
I've had spring 2020 weddings move to fall 2020...and then, again, get moved to spring 2021. It can get confusing. In my case, I have brides that reserve and book dates up to a year ahead-- but this is not necessary in all cases. One thing to keep in mind, though, is there are certain time of year, namely spring and fall, which can be busier for boudoir photography. If you were wedding is scheduled during one of these times you may want to consider scheduling a bit earlier.
One thing to note: Even after your session, it can still take a four - eight weeks to get your products in hand. After your session is when all the work begins. There is a lot of time involved in editing and preparation of photos... then there is the time involved in picking your favorites, and sending out your album for printing & binding, which alone may take two weeks-- based on your album provider. So, you can see there is some time involved in delivering your item.
This is why the earlier, the better. One thing is that your session will be a bit of a break from your bridal grind. It's like a mini spa day, or vacation. If you are confident in being able to keep a secret (it's hard!) you can do your session early, and either hide your album, or ask your photographer to hold up the printing process until time when it's needed.