Updated: Nov 6
You've been thinking about booking a boudoir session. Great! Not only is it a fun experience, it's something that you'll continue to enjoy for years after-- each and every time you view the session images. Once the decision is made to have a shoot, whether the session is for a wedding, a Christmas gift, or just for personal reasons, what comes next? The one thing you may have not considered... all NJ boudoir photographers are not the same. Curious? Read on...
Shopping for a photographer isn't something that you do every day, so where, and how, do you begin? Well, here's a little secret-- most people do this completely wrong. Why? Because most shoppers turn to their innate faulty shopping algorithm, which is exactly what you DON'T want to do.
So, what is this broken shopping system you've been doing your entire life? We'll get to that in a moment. There's one thing that boudoir shoppers need to come to terms with from the start. All boudoir photographers are not the same. Sounds simplistic, but this is a another huge mental faux-paux so many women just don't realize...until it's too late.
What does that mean? Well, let's look at it this way. Is a new Maserati the same as a used Hyundai? Is a stay at a Ritz-Carlton the same as a Holiday Inn Express? Is a steak dinner at a Ponderosa the same as a Ruth's Chris? I think we can all agree that there can be vast difference between these things comparatively... even though they may operate in similar spaces of business.
These differences also exist in photography, but this is often lost in the eyes of the shopper. The sad reality is that people don't see, or don't want to see that photographers can be just as different as Maserati is from a hoop-tee Hyundai.
Following through on that ideal, if you walked into that Maserati dealership, it wouldn't be much of a shock to see that a Maserati Quattroporte would run you a cool, $117,000 decked out with the options you wanted. You understand Maserati is a luxury brand, your paying for a premium luxury product and you're willing to spend for that level of craftsmanship, engineering, and speed. No worries.
You would never go to the Maserati dealer, do some shopping, then head down the road to that Hyundai dealer and think, Wow, I can get a Hyundai for literally $93,000 LESS than a Maserati, and believe you are getting the same exact thing and saving $93,000 and getting a huge bargain or deal. You have a complete understanding that although these two items are both cars... they are quite different and not really comparable in any terms, and no one would really approach shopping for cars with this type of though process.
Likewise, you probably wouldn't also walk in to the Maserati dealer and say, "Well, I like your car, but you have problem, you're charging $93,000 more than Hyundai down the street. If you want me to deal with you guys you'll have to sell me one of your cars for $24,000." Or perhaps talking to a friend, "I was car shopping and went in to this Maserati dealer and they were charging $93,000 more than Hyundai. They're crazy and never will stay in business doing that. Why would anyone spend $117,000 for a car??"
Interestingly, this is exactly what people do and think when they are shopping for photography services.
It may seem a bit odd at first, but just as these differences and qualities exist in most consumer good and products they so exist in photography, as well. Shocking! In the world of photography there are "Used Hyundai" photographers and "Maserati" photographers and they all service different clients and markets.
Let's take a look at this from another perspective. Say it's your anniversary. It's a special occasion. You and your partner and planning a big night out to celebrate your wonderful marriage. You buy a new dress, get your makeup done, and you are super excited to head out and have a great evening. Everyone hops in the car... and it's off to Taco Bell! --Wait, what? Something doesn't exactly seem right there...
What's the problem? Taco Bell is like 20 times cheaper than getting a dinner at a fancy restaurant, so IT MUST BE THE RIGHT CHOICE? Why would you pay $48 for a dinner when you can get one for $2.49? Isn't finding something for the cheapest price the winner? That would be crazy paying so much for a dinner!! Well, in this instance you can see that the cheapest price isn't always the best option in all situations. Hey, nothing wrong with Taco Bell, I'm sure you enjoy a Chalupa every once in a while on the way home from work, but as an anniversary destination... probably not what you had in mind for this occasion.
What's the point here? Well, that's problem number two with how people shop for a boudoir photographer. Somehow, again, boudoir shoppers turn to that same aberrant shopping algorithm they've employed their entire lives-- the one that tells them the winner must always be the one with the lowest price. Well, that's wrong... again.
Although there are definitely shopping situations where comparing prices and choosing the cheaper option is a valid method-- as you can see, that formula isn't best suited for every shopping decision. Boudoir photography isn't a price comparative industry. You may be comparing the Maserati and the Hyundai.
An event like an anniversary dinner, or a wedding, isn't necessarily one where the cheapest option is the best choice in that situation. Why? Well, these are special occasions. Special occasions like anniversaries, weddings, or vacations are about experiences. You don't have a wedding every week... it's an occasion to celebrate and enjoy.
And guess what? A boudoir session is one of these special occasions. It's not a pedestrian purchase. It's not something you do every week. As I always say, it's a time to use your "wedding mindset," enjoy the experience, and get it done in the best way possible.
What does this all have to do with photographers not being the same? Well, it's important to understand these modes of thinking and shopping so when you see a coupon on a social deals site offering a "$45 boudoir session"-- instead of your brain going "Wow! DEAL!" it should be in the mode as seeing that kind of offer as more of a cry for help... or a Taco Bell chalupa. Not necessarily the best choice for your special day.
I know...I know...it takes some self control to break the habit of bargain shopping. It feels good! I understand. Just remember... "special occasion" mindset. Just like you're not going to find a new Maserati for $24,000... you're not going to find an amazing boudoir photographer for $45. Face it.
NOW. I understand everyone has a budget, and this is hardly an article to tell you to go for broke when booking a boudoir session, BUT there has to be a clear understanding that there differences in New Jersey boudoir photographers (just like the cars), and spending hours online searching for the cheapest boudoir offer you can find is more than likely going to leave you with a less than stellar results-- not to mention a potentially marginal overall experience.
Gee, Mike, this isn't as fun as I'd thought it would be... Well, you're right. Shopping for your boudoir photographer is something that will take time and effort. Trust me, though, all the hard work will pay off in the end. Shopping can take some time and if you'd like you can visit this article for boudoir shopping tips.
Here's another big mistake boudoir shopper's make: Comparing pricing between photographers to make a buying decision is useless. Wait, what? Once again, people are just using bad decision making here. Imagine you and your partner were buying a new home and I was your real estate agent. I called you one day and said... "Hi Debbie, Mike here. I've got two homes for you-- one is $425,000 and the other is $475,500.... Which one do you want?" --And not knowing any details, which one is the better deal? You don't know how many bedrooms. You don't know if there's a pool. You don't know if it's near the ocean. You haven't seen the inside. You don't know anything! How can you make that decision? You can't!!! BUT that's exactly how so many people shop for photography! It's crazy. You'd never assume in that home situation that two homes were exactly identical... The price alone means nothing. This very same thing holds true for shopping for a boudoir photographer, so why do you do it!??
After so many years, and seeing so many women make mistakes, I've really become an advocate of helping women make the best choice when shopping.
As for me, I work a bit differently than most. My business has been built from the start around providing a great client experience and offering luxury products. Call me a bit of a stickler, but I've never been one for cutting corners. When I started my business I wasn't certain if others would feel the same way, but to my surprise, and before long, I had a list of brides waiting to create wedding boudoir albums with me.
Along the way, though, I've also had to "fix" some pretty bad boudoir sessions, too. I've had clients who initially went the "bargain" route to be disappointed, then booked with me to get a session re-done. I've heard too many stories which typically start "I should have just come to you first..." I still remember one woman who approached me at a bridal show years ago and held up one of my sample albums and told me that's how she wanted her photos to look, and proceeded to tell me about a debacle session with a "friend of a friend" who just started a boudoir business but offered her a great deal. Yeah, some deal...
...And guess what? There's more to shopping. This is just an overview of a few largely overlooked points. Other important considerations are a boudoir photographer's experience, the type and quality of products being used...and whether or not your actually getting a boudoir session. YES! There are photographers out there selling boudoir, that's, well, not even boudoir!
Hopefully you realize now that all NJ boudoir photographers aren't the same. There are high end boudoir photographers offering amazing client experiences and beautiful custom products, all the way down to super discount budget photographers. Remember, your boudoir session is a special occasion and should be approached as such.
I'll leave you with one final thought. I've photographed countless women over the years. I provide my clients with an incredible experience, but the real service I've learned I provide is the overwhelming joy and heart filling experience each and every time a clients views her images-- and I'm talking five years, ten years into the future. It's a feeling that transcends words. You may not think about it at first, but your session really is a long term investment, and it's worth doing right. You will be rewarded.