How to pick the PERFECT Boudoir Photographer (for you)!

Boudoir photography is a booming industry right now, gaining popularity quickly from sites such as Buzzfeed sharing their experience. It seems there are boudoir photographers popping up all over the place!

As a photographer that has been specializing in Boudoir for over 3 years, I wanted to create a little guide for those looking into getting a boudoir photoshoot done for the first time (or even if it’s not your first rodeo!) to ensure you have the best experience! I am a firm believer that a boudoir experience can make or break your self esteem! A negative experience can make you sink deep into the hole of self-loathing, and a positive experience can make your confidence soar! So it’s imperative that you find the right boudoir photographer FOR YOU, even if it’s not me 😉

Here are some things to consider when booking a boudoir photographer!

Their images:
Obviously a HUGE part of why you want to do a boudoir session is for the images after the photoshoot, these photos should lift you up and empower you for years to come, so you want to make sure you’re picking a photographer that can deliver! Here are the top things to look for in their portfolio!

Do you love most of the images posted on their portfolio?
Photographers will typically *only* share their best images in their portfolio, so be sure that you love most, if not all, of the images they post! Make sure there is a good variety in their images as well. You want to make sure you get a good variety of poses and props in your session, so be sure they showcase that in their portfolio!

Do they show a good variety of women in their portfolio?
When I was looking for a photographer for my own personal session a while ago, I found a photographer whose work was just BEAUTIFUL and I loved it, but I didn’t see many women with my body-type featured, which made me question if the photographer worked with larger women, or if they knew how to pose them? Now, it could definitely just be that the women with larger bodies didn’t authorize her to share the images, but this was very important to me, so I didn’t book her.
Posing is probably the most important, and often most challenging part of boudoir, especially when starting out, so it is imperative that the photographer shows they are comfortable and knowledgeable in posing all body-types, especially if you’re struggling with loving your ever-changing body, like me!

Do the women in their portfolio look comfortable and confident?
An add on to knowing how to pose is being able to coach through facial expressions. This is even something I’m still learning with each session! Posing the body means diddly if the face screams “I’m uncomfortable!”, so look for those subtleties in the photographer’s portfolio! The facial expression should match the pose; sultry poses need sultry faces to make the image “work”, whereas a more playful pose shouldn’t have a “deer in the headlights” face.

Do you like their style?
This one is less important, but still important! Do the photographer’s images make you feel uncomfortable or anxious? Or when you look at the photos do you feel confident and excited? Does the photographer share a lot of sexually suggestive shots? Is that what you’re going for?
Being in the industry, I’m in a lot of education groups with other photographers, and there is a WIDE variety of styles that we offer, just make sure you pick a photographer that posts the type of style you’re going for. Most boudoir photographers don’t like to deviate outside of that style, so if you go to a photographer that shoots Dark and Moody, and you want a Light and Airy look, you may be disappointed. So if you have a specific vision in mind, be sure it matches the photographer’s style, OR take a leap of faith and jump out of your comfort zone and trust that the photographer will give you exactly what you want!

Do you like their editing style?
This is another less important, but still important thing to consider. Do the women in their images look natural or over-edited? Do their eyes look over processed? Do they have texture to their skin? Do they look like they’ve been completely photoshopped? This is a highly debated topic in the boudoir industry, how much is too much when we’re trying to help women love themselves as they are. Do you want to look back at your images and think ‘I looked so good back then, even though I didn’t think so at the time’ or ‘That photographer made me look so good back then, I wish I really looked like that’? So make sure their editing style is what you want your images to look like!

Another thing to consider is the process of setting up a session, prepping you and getting your images to you. Consider the following when searching for your boudoir photography session:

The location.
Depending on the look you’re going for, the location will definitely make a difference! Does the session take place in a private studio? Is their studio in their home? Do they come to you? Do they offer outdoor sessions?
If it’s a private or home studio, do they have a good variety of props?

Do they offer lingerie or accessories for you to borrow?
If you’re not a big lingerie person, you may not want to go spend a bunch of money on outfits you’ll rarely wear! It is becoming more and more popular for photographers to have a client closet/wardrobe full of outfits for you to borrow, so all you have to do is show up with some underwear!

Do they walk you through prepping for your shoot?
This is often a whole new realm for most women, does your photographer hold your hand and walk you through the process? Or do they leave you asking questions to figure it out on your own?

Is hair and makeup included, or do I need to take care of that myself?
I am amazed at how many photographers don’t include hair and makeup in their sessions. It is such a big part of the overall experience and of the final images. If you don’t feel you need help in this department, then it may not be as big of a deal to you, but camera-ready makeup is different than every-day makeup, and it shouldn’t be something the client needs to figure out on their own!

When do I get to see the final images?
Seeing your images after the session is the best part! Though waiting to see them is possibly the most nerve-wracking part! Do you have to wait WEEKS to see your images? Do you get to see them that same day? What’s the turn around time of your photographer? They should go over this with you, so you have clear expectations!

What products do they offer?
This one depends a lot on what you’re looking for! Do you want an album to present to your spouse? Do you just want the digital images? Make sure you find a photographer that offers what you want!

Do I have to share my photos online?
This is a big one that may sometimes be overlooked! If you have a profession that has a morality clause, or you simply don’t want images of you in lingerie to be potentially seen my someone on the internet, you need to make sure your photographer gives you the option to keep them private, completely off the internet! So, if privacy is a concern to you, check with your photographer before you pay or sign anything!

Aside from their images, process and options, the actual photographer you work with will make a BIG difference in the overall outcome of your experience! Here are some things to pay attention to!

Their vibe!
You want your boudoir experience to be positive and leave you loving yourself, so you want to make sure you vibe with your photographer at least a little bit! When you read their website, or join their group, can you get a feel for their personality? Are they confident in themselves, because that will absolutely be reflected in the photos! Do they come across as accepting and non-judgmental? Do they appear to be a stiff professional, or a big goofball? Are they uplifting and empowering, or are they negative and condescending? Are they bold and bossy, or soft and compassionate? If you really like their work, but aren’t sure about their personality, request a phone call or Zoom meeting to get a better idea! It’s easy to fake it through text, but live-action is much harder to pretend!

Their message/mission!
Along with vibing with their personality, you want to make sure you resonate with their message! A good way to determine this is to ask WHY they’re in this business? Are they just trying to make money, or are they passionate about what they do? Do they have a story that’s relatable? Are they consistent in their message across all platforms? Do they practice what they preach? Do they have a mission behind their talent, or is this just a hobby? This *should* be clear on their website and on their social media, but if it’s not, it never hurts to ask!

Their views!
I know it’s often frowned upon to share your views on certain subjects as a professional/business (or at least it used to be that way!), but in this day when more and more people are using their platforms and voices to stand for what they believe in, and the world is so divided, I do think it is worthwhile to make sure you and the photographer you choose can agree on the topics that matter most to you! Are they an LGBTQ+ Ally (or community member)? Do they stand in solidarity with the black communities? How awkward would it be to be mid-session and have the photographer make a statement that goes against everything you believe in? Yikes! If you don’t have strong beliefs, then you’re probably okay to skip this piece!

Their gender…
While this *shouldn’t* matter, unfortunately it does. Now, let me preface this one by saying that there are some amazing male boudoir photographers in the industry that are truly a gem (like this one, and this guy, and him), and this is in no way a bash against male-identifying photographers! However, in a post I made in my group, many of the babes said they simply wouldn’t work with a male photographer. If you’re choosing a photographer and they happen to be a male, I would recommend reviewing their work and making sure they meet the criteria above, and also setting up a zoom meeting so you can really get a feel for their personality. There are, unfortunately, some REALLY bad male photographers in the industry, too, and they kinda ruin it for all the men.

Of course, budget should be considered. But it shouldn’t be the only thing you look at when looking for the perfect boudoir photographer.

Check all the things listed above first, then factor in budget. It’s good to find a few photographers that meet all your qualifications first, then reach out and see if it’s a good fit and within your budget (or if you’re willing to expand your budget to get the photos you want)!

Do they offer payment options?
Most boudoir photographers offer a full-service luxury experience and charge accordingly. We realize this isn’t something everybody can jump right into and drop a ton of money all at once. But, as with most anything, you get what you pay for. If it’s out of your budget, check to see if they offer payment options to fit your needs and timeline! Most photographers are happy to work with you, and if they’re not, they may simply not be the photographer for you!

No matter which Denver Boudoir Photographer you decide on, how you feel after the session should be the most important factor to consider. It’s always a good idea to check their reviews and make sure the things said about what’s offered match what you’re looking for!

I hope you found this helpful! Feel free to share with any friends that may be wanting a boudoir photoshoot done, and if you’re interested in working together, I’d love to chat! Set up your complimentary phone consultation here to see if we’re a good fit!

Belle Amour Boudoir, ltd.