What I Learned in my 1st Year of Shooting Boudoir

When I first decided to birth my photography business 4 years ago, I really didn’t know what I wanted to “specialize” in. There are so many talented photographers out there that shoot a variety of genres and it is daunting to think about what you should shoot when you first start. So I just shot everything. I shot weddings, bands, military parades, the ocean, plants, animals, landscapes, maternity, families, kids, and events. It was all fine and dandy but none of that really spoke to my heart. Then I found Boudoir photography. I had found my niche. I decided in April of 2018 that I was a Boudoir photographer. I had shot a whole 1 session but I knew that was my calling with my camera. The empowerment that my lens gave to my first client was all I needed to know that I was on the right track. I wish I could say it was easy and I knew all I needed to know out of the chute…that was not the case. So, in normal fashion, grab your favorite adult beverage and sit back, relax, and enjoy the read.

I finally found my calling with photography. But how on earth was I going to do it and be good at it? Practice, trial and error, some good laughs, a reshoot or two, lots of editing, and tons of note-taking and watching online classes on the subject. Surfing Pinterest for pose ideas was very helpful although now I try not to rely on Pinterest but rather to guide my clients into poses that are comfortable for them and that flatter their bodies in the best possible way. Just as there are hundreds of different body types, shapes, and sizes, there are equally as many poses that those bodies can rock. However, I didn’t have a clue how to properly pose, so I studied and stalked my favorite boudie photographers on social media and finally developed a sense of what poses to use in individual shoots.

After several months of study and a shoot or two under my belt, I decided that 2019 was going to be my year to totally step up my game and get out there to do this thing that spoke to me so strongly. I did a 4 hour promotional shoot with an amazing model (who is also one of the most amazing people I have come to know) and shot all of my promotional material for the whole year except for Halloween and Christmas and I decided I was going to host a Valentine’s Day Boudoir minis event. I was terrified. But I was also committed.

I spent the money to do some hard core advertising and then I waited. And then the inquiries started coming in…and then one person booked, and then another, and another, and another. I had 6 bookings and was thrilled. I had 10 spots to fill so decided to go back through the inquiries and follow up with everyone that had messaged me. I did that 3 days before the big day, not expecting to fill all 10 sessions. Within 30 minutes of reaching out, I had the remaining 4 spots booked and paid for and there was no turning back!!

I hired my lovely model mentioned above as an assistant/pose coach for the day and off we went. Here is what I learned from that day alone that will definitely guide me as I move forward and solidified my resolve that this is the photography niche I need to pursue.

The first thing I learned is that no matter how well you plan, things will change. You gotta roll with it and make shit happen regardless. Also, wine is a must.

I learned that I absolutely cannot, no matter awesome I think I am, do 10 back to back sessions in one day ever again. Next time, I will schedule breaks for myself and not cram every session into one day!

I also learned that if I want to sleep at all the week following a mini event, I need to give myself more time to edit between the shoot date and the guaranteed delivery date. 10 days to edit and deliver 10 galleries, along with working a full-time job, kids, and grad school, is just NOT enough time. I did it though, and I delivered all galleries the night before Valentine’s Day. In addition, I learned that weird weather events, such as this years polar vortex, can and will delay the delivery of items…if the labs are not able to run and the post office can’t function, nothing gets delivered, such is life. Thankfully my clients are AMAZING and they all understood. Of course, regular communication and updates helped them all feel important and let them know that I wanted to keep them informed. Communication is key to EVERYTHING. Don’t believe me? Let’s chat…(my graduate program is in communications…but that’s another post for another day).

Anyway, back to the point. I learned that I truly enjoy editing boudoir sessions. Honestly, I usually dislike editing. It requires me to pay attention for way too long and gets a little monotonous. However, I love editing my boudoir sessions. I think it is because I love seeing that moment when the beautiful lady on the other side of my camera realizes that she is a beautiful, badass force of nature and in that moment, NOTHING can stop her. That moment is THE BEST moment! Lucky me, I get to experience it over and over with all the amazing women I work with.

I learned that flash is my friend. I also learned that using a giant white umbrella to diffuse the flash creates the most amazing lighting, especially in the white studio that I love to shoot in. I am very simplistic in my approach to boudoir photography. I like minimal distractions in the negative space and I like the eye to be drawn directly to the beautiful subject.

Of all the things that I learned as a rookie boudoir photographer, the most significant thing is that I realized just how amazing women are. I spent the day with 13 of the most amazing women (hair and make up artist and assistant plus 10 clients) and learned so much about empowerment, encouragement, and emotion. I learned the stories of 10 women who came from ALL walks of life (seriously, one of them drives a 40-ton rock truck!) some from abusive relationships, one about ready to pop with her first baby (who was born just 4 days later and is seriously such a beautiful baby girl!), business owners, moms, and wives just looking to have a little time for themselves and to recapture that which makes them unique. I learned that empowered women, empower women. Read that again: EMPOWERED WOMEN EMPOWER WOMEN. Ladies, there is so much in this world that tries to tear us down and make us feel like we are less than. Please for the love of all of that is holy, lift each other up. In doing so, you will lift yourself and also all of womankind.

Wow, this is a really long post. If you have read this far, go get some more wine…and maybe a cookie, you deserve it! I’ll wrap it up even though I think there were other things I learned but just can’t remember at this moment haha!! If you or someone you know has been considering or even just wondering about a boudoir photo session, hit me up. You can email me directly at realshotsphoto@gmail.com. Your inner badass needs a boudoir session…so don’t wait, book now! I can’t wait to meet you and create the boudoir experience that will empower you and remind why you should be proud to be a fearless, undeniable force of a woman!

Until next time,

Keep it Real! <3

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.