Diamond Moon Boudoir | Lexington, Kentucky
Boudoir photography is becoming increasingly popular with women of all ages, shapes and sizes – especially brides! A boudoir album and breathtaking wall art make a perfect gift, but the timing for your session needs to be planned right so that you achieve your goals and get everything in time. Here are some simple guidelines to make your boudoir session a success!
1. The Pre-Game Plan ~ Choosing a Boudoir Photographer
When you started considering a boudoir session, you probably scoured the Internet, looking at photographs on social media, and comparing prices. True boudoir photography takes skill, experience, the right gear, good lighting, and a great personality, so this is NOT the type of photography to skimp on. You want gorgeous images and a really good, professional boudoir photographer, so you’re going to pay a decent amount of money. My average boudoir client spends around $1,800 – my collections start at $599 and some clients invest thousands. I’ve yet to hear any of them voice regret. Occasionally, I’ll get a call from a prospective client who doesn’t want to spend more than $250, because her friend did a session she bought on Groupon. My response is: “You get what you pay for, and I wouldn’t take my clothes off for someone who only charges $250.” For real.
So what are the things you should look for in a boudoir photographer?
First, visit their website and check out the work. Does their style match what you’re looking for? Do their clients look gorgeous? Is their photography flattering (do their clients look curvy and sensual, or frumpy and chubby)? What about wardrobe, hair and makeup? If you don’t like the styling… if everyone looks like it’s 1993 and you’re getting the feeling something isn’t right, move on.
Next, read their reviews. Check out their web site for testimonials,. Ideally, you have a friend who worked with an awesome boudoir photographer and can get a referral.
Then, set up a consultation. I encourage every boudoir client to come into my studio for a full, complimentary consultation. It’s the best way to get a feel for personality and creative approach, and I can really help them start planning their session. I ask questions like, “What’s your/your partner’s favorite part of your body?” “What would you like to down-play; what would you like to accentuate?” We also talk in depth about wardrobe–what would look best on them, styles to achieve their goal of how they want to look, and how to bring both personality and emotion to their photos, as well as the kind of music you like, to fully customize your session.
Boudoir is an incredibly personal type of photography, so you really need to be comfortable with your photographer. A consultation will give you a chance to get to know them and decide if you want to work with them. Be sure to sign a contract. NEVER work with a photographer that doesn’t have a contract. That opens you up to legal problems. You don’t have protection of privacy, and it’s unprofessional. I require contracts so everyone knows what to expect and is protected.
2. Timing Your Boudoir Session
When doing a boudoir session as a gift–groom’s gift, anniversary gift, holiday gift, etc–timing is very important. If you need your album in two weeks and you haven’t had your session yet, it’s not going to happen. Most boudoir photographers need six to eight weeks from the time of the session to album and wall art delivery. I require a minimum of six weeks. So ask your photographer what they need, then work with them on choosing a date. If you’re hiring a stylist for hair and makeup, decide if you’re going to use the photographer’s stylist, or if you’re going to use someone else, and book them as well. Be sure to ask your photographer if they allow outside stylists in their studio. My clients approach professional hair and makeup in a lot of different ways, so I’m very flexible and I allow them to bring their own stylist to my studio. Allow for two hours in the hair and makeup chair.
3. Planning the Perfect Boudoir Wardrobe & Styling
Once you’ve chosen a date, it’s time to pick out what you’re going to wear and how you’re going to have your hair and makeup done! This is the fun part! I mean, what woman doesn’t like to play on Pinterest and shop?
I have several tools to help clients style their session. First, I start a Pinterest board for each client, and I invite her to pin to it (I make the board private). I pin a ton of outfit ideas I’ve collected from Pinterest that will work for HER body. For instance, if my client is a mother of four and her mid-section is her problem area, I’ll pin shape wear, corsets and bustiers, which will cinch that waist in, give an hourglass figure, and hide any stretchmarks or imperfections. I’m also going to pin “Must Haves,” such as nude heels, black undies, etc. Then they can pin hair and makeup ideas, as well as anything else that inspires them, to this custom Pinterest board. (For more ideas about outfit planning, check out my previous BLOG posts.)
4. Two Days Before Your Boudoir Session
This is the time for personal grooming. Here’s a list of things to consider:
Waxing – you know if you need more time for your skin to calm down, so plan accordingly
Spray tanning (optional – be sure to get a very natural color, and go to someone good! I generally say No. Spray. Tan. Allow enough time so that your “tan” doesn’t rub off on your photographer’s set. Mine are mostly white, so this is important. I will charge you if you stain my sets.)
Manicure/Pedicure (show your nail artist photos of your outfits) Pale, neutral colors are best, and short, manicured nails are perfect.
Root touch up on hair color if needed
Start drinking a ton of water with lemon juice to get rid of bloat
Make sure you have all your outfits, shoes, and accessories; do any last-minute shopping.
5. The Day of Your Boudoir Session
Here’s a checklist of what to do right before your boudoir session:
Shave unwanted body hair – do this the day before, if you know your skin needs a little extra time to settle down.
Exfoliate and moisturize face and body
Wash and dry hair, no product other than leave-in conditioner
Wear loose-fitting clothes and avoid anything that can leave lines, like tight socks.
Pack your wardrobe; plan on bringing more outfits, shoes, and accessories than you’ll need.
Be on time.
Expect to be very nervous. When I did my boudoir session, I was so nervous I couldn’t stop sweating! It was terrible and I didn’t know what was happening until my photographer said, “It’s just your nerves. It’s okay, it’ll stop.” And it did. Once we started shooting, I totally relaxed and got into it. That always happens with my clients. Everyone says within fifteen minutes of shooting, they got comfortable and started having a fun.
Many clients say, “I don’t know how to pose… Will you guide me?” Yes! It’s your photographer’s job to pose you so you look your best. Your job is to have fun! Expect to have a two hour session, including outfit changes. The poses can hurt, especially when you’re on tippy toes, arching your back, and engaging your ab muscles while in heels. There’s a saying in the business, “The more it hurts, the better it looks!” My clients tell me it feels like doing Yoga, but you’ll never have to hold a pose for very long, and you’ll notice the difference in you images.
6. What to Expect After Your Boudoir Session
Every photographer has different policies and timelines, so be sure to ask your photographer what to expect after your session. I’m going to explain how I do things so you get a general idea of the process.
The day of your boudoir session, I shoot with my digital camera tethered to my laptop or iPad, which means you get to immediately see what we’re creating! (When you see how great you look, it’s an incredible boost for your confidence!)
When we’re done shooting, you get dressed in the bedroom and pack your things. Then we sit down and look at your unedited images for the first time. This is a quick run-through of your images, where you simply tell me “yes” or “no”. Then we schedule your ordering appointment. This is generally about a week after your photo session.
After you leave, I go through your images again to eliminate any frames that are duplicates/similar. Then I begin the process of retouching your images, which I do personally.
The day of your ordering appointment you’ll view a slideshow of a selection of your images, and then we will go through them, one by one, until we’ve reached your final selections. From there, we’ll look at all the album collections, folio boxes and wall art available to you and I’ll help you make a decision on your investment.
Within a few days, I’ll provide a proof of your album, and then I’ll order all of your products from my suppliers. Albums and wall art generally take about three weeks to be delivered.
7. Now That You Know…
You’ve got the roadmap to a successful boudoir session, so let’s get going! Stop putting it off, thinking, “If I could just lose this last ten pounds…” Boudoir is about celebrating your natural beauty, not perfection. Every woman is beautiful…right now. Go for it!
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