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Potential clients have many questions and concerns about boudoir photography. As a photographer, I believe my job is not just to provide them ample information; it is HOW I present it. As I have mentioned in previous posts, boudoir photography, when done properly, is a classy art form, but the line can be blurred in perception. Women are cautious about what I advertise and what I might actually do, and although I am woman, too, it does not automatically recuse me from nefarious intentions. Being respectful of that lens (pun intended!) is necessary and I take no insult. I am actually relieved that clients are doing their due diligence.
I usually provide a brief summary of my professional background and references, and even direct them to the local chamber of commerce link. It is tempting to make a joke about being seedy, but don’t do it! Until you know your client, you shouldn’t risk turning them off with what they may consider offensive humor.
I also encourage potential clients to bring a spouse or friend with them to the session. This goes a long way to alleviate their concerns as well as have a second “eye” when we are staging the poses. One of my favorite sessions was when a client brought her best friend. She was helpful and funny which caused the client to relax and produce beautiful results. As an added benefit, I gained another client and some wonderful word-of-mouth advertising.
I remind myself constantly not to make assumptions, yet I am still pleasantly surprised at how many clients have prepped themselves for the session. Some clients are natural models and I barely get the instructions out of my mouth and they instinctively respond to with a picturesque pose. Others need more coaching, and this is where providing resources of poses, examples, clothing, and style are important. I direct them to my boards on Pinterest (linked on my website) and I also e-mail a document of some ideas. I advise them to look over these resources and select a few ideas they would like to try or a style they wish to emulate. This can be a good starting point since they have something visual to reference at the session. From there, we go into the natural flow and experiment, but having some example to fall back on is always a great way to incorporate their preferences with your own photographic style.
After that first “costume” set-up, I often have a feel for their style and we choose outfits that both complement and contrast their personality. Putting a simple country girl in a fancy outfit or a tough girl into something simple and soft make for some very dynamic pictures! After the initial set-up, most clients really enjoy being eased out of their comfort zone and into something that taps into a different look or self-perception.
Always let the client know what to expect. You should provide her with a list of items of both what she should bring and what she might consider.
Here is a brief check-list of information you may want to include:
I have found the more information the client has, the more smoothly the session flows. Ultimately, your presentation and personality will finalize the deal. If you are not outgoing, find a way to connect to your clients, because you are not just selling them pictures, you are selling them an experience. (More on that later!)