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Why Is Boudoir Photography So Expensive?

Updated: Apr 24

I'm a bit of an introvert. From time to time I'll be out and find myself in a social situation where I'll be surrounded by normal everyday-type people chatting it up and having a good time. I do my best to politely avoid the small-talk, but the odds are stacked against me. Like one of those baby turtles who just emerged from their egg, and instinctively starts heading across the open beach to the sanctuary of the sea, I typically find myself scurrying across the party room to try to make my way to a quiet corner. Also like the baby turtle, I, too, run the high risk of getting picked off by another attendee and would be confronted by the standard party conversation that would begin-- "So, what do you do?"

When it comes to talking about boudoir photography-- I'm fairly prolific. Between my website, blog posts, Instagram account, and (retired) podcast, I have produced tons of content over the years. Talking about boudoir is just a thing that comes along with the job.

In a social situation, however, I become a different me. I'm not much into talking about myself, because for some reason it's just awkward. I tend to be quite reticent in group situations. One of those standard questions in this type of situation that people ask is typically about your work. I'll answer that I am a professional boudoir photographer and the follow up is often like, "Oh, that sounds interesting... what is that like?" Which means I have to go further into detail... In some situations this even leads to a question that makes me even a bit more uncomfortable, "I've always thought about doing that! What does something like that cost?" **cue the scratching record sound**

--This is the point where I pause knowing exactly what will come next. Sort of like a distant summer thunderstorm-- you see the lightening flash... and you know the thunder will follow a few seconds later... So I tell them.

black and white boudoir photo of a woman pushing up her booty

Although the person questioning me may not outwardly act surprised, I can see it in their eyes. At that point their curiosity typically piqued-- either one way or the other, and they want to know more... and why is boudoir photography so expensive... (and they want to see boudoir photos, and they want to know boudoir stories.... )

Boudoir photography is expensive to the average person on the street. I get it. I don't see it that way, though. Perhaps because I'm on the inside and I know the inner workings of how everything comes together, and all the time, energy and effort involved. To an outsider, they just see (and hear) dollar signs and think that's a lot of money for clicking a few photos on a camera. Everything else is lost in the fog. That's a completely fair reaction, though.

A typical "person on the street" wouldn't know what's involved in producing a boudoir photography session. Why would they? If they are thinking about doing a boudoir session for a anniversary or wedding gift, women are often a bit surprised at some of the pricing they receive-- after all, its only a couple of digital photos. It really doesn't cost anything to press a camera button, does it? So why the big price?

The process of shopping for a boudoir photographer, is indeed a process in and of itself that can take a bit of work to do properly. That aside, boudoir photography prices can, and will, vary based on quite a few factors. Some of these include: Geographic region, Skill/experience of the photographer, The type of products or items purchased, and location used for the session.

I thought I'd put together a detailed article that may explain it all a bit and to help see why things may seem "expensive." If you've been searching around for why boudoir photography is so expensive, hopefully this article will shed of bit of light on the subject for you.

Let's look at some of the factors of why is boudoir photography is so expensive...

A Professional Boudoir Photographer Has Standard Business Expenses

If a boudoir photographer is using a work space like a studio she/he has a big nut to make each month. In the Northeast, where I am located, retail space is enormously expensive... probably too expensive for a photographer. Office/Loft/Studio type space isn't much less. If a boudoir photographer is renting a work space-- they are strapped with not only rent, but other standard overhead costs such as electric, gas, water, insurance, etc. On top of that, if they have an assistant or other workers, there are additional payroll expenses added on top of that that need to be met, as well.

Depending on the part of the country, and the location of the studio, these expenses can amount to thousands of dollars per month. A studio space is a big commitment for a boudoir photographer. The studio provides a reliable work space, but studio expenses will be added on to any boudoir sessions cost.

Photographers Have To Eat!

Photographers have to eat, too! 😀 Some photographers choose to work in photography only part time. They may have a full time career and shoot weddings, etc., on weekends for some extra money. This is great. Photography is a wonderful part time job. Other photographers may have a spouse/partner that works a full time career to provide a steady income to help pay the bills.

There are a group of photographers, as well, that work full time at photography, and the business is their primary source of income.

Think about all the bills anyone has to pay... There are food, clothing, medical expenses, rent/mortgage and other household expenses that need to paid monthly. That can be-- ugh, expensive! Living expenses can vary from locality to locality across the country, but in the New York metro area where am located, you aren't existing for less than $50K - $60K per year (If you are a single income provider.)

Those are living costs that definitely will factor in to your photo shoot.