Getting close to taking the leap out of your comfort zone, and treating yourself to a boudoir photography session?  Awesome!  The success of your boudoir session hinges on finding the right photographer for you. This should be a person that you trust, a person who has a style that you appreciate, a person that makes you feel your best.  To help you navigate the process of finding the right boudoir photographer, I’ve compiled a list of my “5 Tips for Choosing the Best Boudoir Photographer for You”.

Before we dive into the tips, please be sure you are hiring a licensed and insured photographer with a legitimate business.  Research where photographs will be taken.  This can vary quite a bit – indoor/outdoor, commercial studio, home studio, client’s home, hotel room, etc.

On to the tips!

1.  WHAT STYLE OF PHOTOGRAPHY ARE YOU LOOKING FOR?

Have a look at the photographer’s portfolio. Really look at the work.  Typically, a Boudoir Photographer will post samples of their work on their Website, Facebook or Instagram. If they don’t have a website, beware as they may not have the right amount of experience.   You don’t have to be well versed in photography terms to understand their style. It is up to you which style you want for yourself.  Here are some things to look at in a boudoir photographer’s portfolio:

  • Are they conservative or edgy? How sexy are their images? How is their lighting - dark and moody or light and airy, or a mix?
  • What is their retouching style? Do their subjects have flawless skin lacking in texture? Or is it more natural?  The approach at Nova Photography is more natural.  Don’t worry about blemishes, those will be retouched, and if you want to minimize cellulite or stretch marks, we can do that.  Beyond that is counter productive to Nova Photography’s philosophy.  The last thing we would want is for you to be comparing yourself to an unrealistic airbrushed version of yourself.
  • Are their clients normal people? Is there entire portfolio gorgeous models? Can you see yourself in their body of work?  An experienced boudoir photographer will showcase an array of of images featuring a variety of body shapes, ages, sizes, etc. 
  • Do their poses look flattering to their clients body types and do they vary for different body types? Not all poses look great for everyone. If a boudoir photographer has one set of poses that they use for every client, that can be a sign that they may struggle with some body types or physical limitations.



2.   THE PHOTOGRAPHER’S EXPERIENCE WITH BOUDOIR

Experience is an important factor when choosing your photographer.  No two photo sessions are alike just as no two photographers are alike.  Each photographer has their own distinctive style and personality, and uses their skills that they have acquired to bring out the best in their clients.  The seasoned photographer focuses on making the client feel relaxed and comfortable while capturing the beauty in each of us in a way that we have never seen before.

Boudoir as a technical photography skill is very different from family portraits, weddings, newborns, senior portraits, etc. Generally with photography, finding a photographer that has a niche, or specialty, is the way to go.  Not to say that a photographer can not be strong in more than one genre, that is absolutely possible, and in fact most photographers try out a variety of subject matter before choosing their focus.


You want your boudoir photographer to have experience dealing with intimate subjects in a professional manner and posing people of all different shapes and sizes in a way that maintains the intimate nature of a boudoir shoot. You will get a higher quality product and a smoother experience with a boudoir photographer who has the process down to a science and understands the intricacies and nuance of a boudoir session.


3. FEELING COMFORTABLE WITH YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER

Boudoir Photography is a very intimate and vulnerable experience.  While the amount of skin each person chooses to show varies, the experience is so much more than that.  This will be an emotional, somewhat awkward, ideally empowering and confidence building experience.  For all of this to happen in a positive way, you need to be sure the photographer you choose has a personality that you gel with, that makes you feel comfortable and safe, and whom you can trust.  At Nova Photography, the process starts with a pre-session consultation via Zoom video chat.  This gives us a chance to meet virtually, and get to know one another a bit before you’re in studio in your skivvies. 

Many boudoir photographers have private ladies only VIP groups on Facebook.  Though the content of the groups will vary, they are another avenue to gain more insight about the photographer, their philosophy, and give you a chance to interact with previous clients.

Testimonials and reviews are another great resource.  Finding a boudoir photographer with a track record of excellence is a great way to vet what they claim on their website.  Seeing what past clients say about their personal experience working with a specific photographer, is a great way to get a feel for what your boudoir session will be like.   Many photographers offer both written and video testimonials from previous clients, who are eager to rave about their experience, and proudly share their resulting images not only with their partner and closest friends, but with you.  On the Nova Photography website we call them "Love Notes". 

 
4.  UNDERSTAND THEIR PRICING STRUCTURE

Know what you’re purchasing - and how much it costs.  Understanding the financial aspect of deciding the best boudoir photographer for you is a practical one. However, like most services, simply finding the cheapest boudoir photographer is likely a poor choice. Those offering such low prices often do so at the cost of quality or things such as weaker privacy control. Take a moment to consider what things you’re looking at in a boudoir photographer: experience, skill, specialty, privacy, professionalism. The cheapest offer is likely to not have all of these, and conversely the most expensive does not always equal the best experience.  For many this is a life changing experience, and well worth the investment. 

After researching the different Boudoir Photographers, make sure that the prices are spelled out for the various offerings.  Usually, there will be a “session” fee.  What is included in that fee can vary greatly.  At Nova Photography, the session fee covers basically the full creation and execution of your luxury boudoir experience.   The pre-session consultation, hair styling and make-up application, use of the client wardrobe closet, 3 outfits, 45 minute photo shoot, creating your gallery of images.  That means after the photo shoot I go through each photo evaluating, editing and selecting the best images to curate your final gallery, that I share with you during the in-person image reveal session. 
 
Another aspect to consider with the investment is what you are receiving. How do you receive the images? What are your choices? How well made are these choices? Are they destined to be lost on a hard drive somewhere? The products that you choose to purchase may be a la carte or there may be packages that are tailored to different clients needs. If you have time before you need the products, payment plans may be a way to go for you if they are available. 

Prioritize physical products - boudoir sessions are meant to be relived, to sit down with a glass of wine to re-experience your session for years to come. A lovely boudoir album, wall art, or gallery proofs will preserve your images in print that you can enjoy without needing a screen.

 
5.  KNOW THEIR PRIVACY POLICY

Boudoir sessions, by nature, are very intimate experiences where privacy is highly valued. It is important to find a boudoir photographer who values your privacy as much as you do. Professional photographers will require you to sign a contract before the shoot. The contract should cover a variety of things (details of cost, product delivery, cancellation policy, use of images, etc.)  At Nova Photography, your images are always kept private, and you have the option of signing a model release, before or after you've seen your photos. We respect your privacy whatever you choose. 

Here are some things to check for:

  • Do their product providers have strict policies regarding privacy? Your privacy should be maintained through every step of the process, even once the images leave the photographer’s hands.
  • Does the photographer give you a choice in the images that are put online? Do they require you to allow them usage of images, or let you select which ones you’d like to allow? It is important to understand where your images can end up online, so knowing which images will make it online is important.
  • Do they do online proofing? In person reveal and ordering sessions are offline, and inherently more secure than online galleries.


This section is not meant to scare you of your images being on the internet, but to inform you of things that you should be paying attention for with potential boudoir photographers. Please consider allowing them to use at least a few images from your sessions, as social media and portfolios (that you likely are using right now) help future clients decide on which boudoir photographer is best for them. 


Phew!  That was A LOT of information.  Hopefully these 5 tips have helped prepare you for the next exciting step in your boudoir journey - selecting your photographer.  Enjoy the process, and have fun!  I hope to see some of you in my studio soon!