So, you've decided that you're ready to have your very own boudoir session. Amazing! You can do this. If you're not sure how to choose a boudoir photographer, it can feel daunting. There are a lot of options out there, and knowing how to choose someone to photograph your boudoir session can be overwhelming. I've outlined a few factors that you should consider when choosing a boudoir photographer, I hope you find this post helpful!
Is the quality of their work consistent?
This is the most important thing to consider. While your images won't look identical to someone else's, a portfolio with images that all have a similar look is an excellent sign that this photographer is experienced and has defined their style. Properly exposed, in-focus images are key. Do the images look like they were created with intention or do they look like snapshots?
Another important factor to consider is if their editing style is going to stand the test of time.
Back when I started photography, there was a (god awful) trend still making its rounds - selective colour. So many photographers were sharing those black and white photos with one coloured element..yuck! To this day, I can still see those black and white images of women in lingerie laying in a pile of red rose petals and cringe.
A good question to ask yourself as you browse their portfolio - do you think their photographic style will age well? Do they use trendy filters? Skin tones are a good indicator of style longevity - the more 'true to life' the colors are, the better. Of course this is my professional opinion, and while I do like some of the cool filters out there right now, I don't think it will be long before you can look back and think "Wow that looks SO 2020's".
Do they retouch their images in a way that I would like to see on myself?
You may be asking, what's the difference between editing and retouching? My definition is that editing refers to the colour and contrast of a photo, and retouching is an editing technique used to manipulate an image. More specifically and simply; skin clean-up!
Retouching is a hot topic these days. Many photographers (myself included) retouch their images to remove non-permanent things like zits, bruises, etc, and smooth out the lines of the body for a more polished silhouette. Some photographers choose not to retouch their images to encourage self-acceptance and the normalization of our bodies (awesome!), and some photographers retouch their images with a heavy hand.
Everyone has a style preference, and I personally prefer to be like 'Goldilocks' when it comes to retouching. Not too much, not too little, juuuust right 🙂 I give clients an option of what level of skin retouching they would like; none, basic smooth and polish, or full tuck/smooth and enhance. Most clients choose to be somewhere in the middle so their images still look like them, on their best day.
When reviewing a photographer's boudoir portfolio, keep these things in mind: does the skin texture look heavily airbrushed? Not edited at all? Somewhere in between? More importantly, how would you like your images to look? In another post, I shared examples of my retouching style with some before/after images, you can check that out here.
Do they show a variety of different women in their portfolio?
You should employ some critical thinking for this part; do the people in their portfolio look like everyday women or do they look like they are professional models? Do you see bodies similar to yours in a variety of different images?
As someone who's been a boudoir photographer since 2008, I can tell you that working with a woman who has been in front of a camera multiple times is much easier than a first-time client. If you're feeling especially anxious about doing a boudoir photo shoot, you should choose an experienced photographer who knows how to calm your nerves and help you look your very best. A photographer who shows incredible images of women from all walks of life is someone that can create beautiful images for you, no matter what you perceive your 'imperfections' to be.
Working with models is not a bad thing; it allows the freedom to explore creatively and develop new techniques without the pressure to produce, and also share the resulting images freely without privacy concerns. However, I know my ideal clients are regular everyday women, just like you and me, so it's important for to have examples in my portfolio that women like you can relate to.
Reviews - do they have any?
I am definitely the kind of person that reads reviews before trying something; I like to feel like I can get a good idea of what to expect, good and bad. Google reviews are always my first go-to..and I usually will check their Facebook and Instagram profiles for customer feedback.. Review platforms like Yelp are ok, however they have been known to manipulate how the reviews are shown as to encourage the business to pay a fee to show their positive reviews first. Don't forget to read the bad reviews too; is there a theme to customer feedback? Use your best judgement to choose the right photographer for your special shoot.
So many photographers don't have a photo of themselves on their about page, or if they do, their face is covered by their camera. It's no secret that a great deal of photographers prefer being behind the camera, rather than in front of it. However, when you are providing a very personal and intimate service such as boudoir photography, I believe it's important to feel like you can get to know the photographer a little bit before committing to booking a photo shoot. Can you get a feel for the photographer's personality based on their about page bio, or does it feel fairly generic? Everyone loves coffee, kittens and rainbows. Why do they shoot boudoir, what is their connection to it?
This may seem obvious but it's worth asking yourself - how do I want my images to look and feel? Racy? Romantic? Glam? Boho? Hop on Pinterest and collect a few inspiration photos and see if you notice a theme. Are your favourite images voyeuristic or posed? Raw or soft and pretty? Detail shots or portraits? Having a better understanding of the style of images you love will make it easier to identify that style in a photographer's boudoir portfolio.
I hope this article was helpful to you, and now you feel confident in how to choose a boudoir photographer that's right for you. I hope you have an incredible shoot with whomever you choose! Got questions about shooting with me? Send me a message!
Some other posts you may find helpful in your decision to book a boudoir session:
I believe that boudoir photography is an incredible experience every woman should have in her lifetime.
What sets me apart from other boudoir photographers is my commitment to providing a safe and encouraging environment where my clients can learn to let go of self judgement and appreciate the person they see in the mirror.