Providing your clients with a memorable experience is the most important part of boudoir photography.
Yes, you can learn a lot about the technical aspects of your camera, how to price your packages, market your work, pose your clients, or edit files through online education. All of these things are important when you’re trying to build a successful boudoir photography business – but if your client doesn’t enjoy the experience, where does that leave you?
Boudoir is an incredibly intimate experience, and it’s important that your client trusts you and loves the session. If your client is uncomfortable during the photo session, they’ll remember that feeling and associate it with the final images. If your client has an amazing experience, the photos will trigger that same confidence.
If you want to give your clients an unforgettable experience and increase your profits at the same time, read on to learn these 9 boudoir photography tips for creating the perfect client experience.
Before The Photo Session
When a client reaches out about a boudoir session, the first thing I do is ask the best time to reach them by phone. While I know in today’s society not everyone wants to talk on the phone, it is important in the boudoir industry for your client to know that their photographer is a real person.
Phone consultations allow you to better understand why your client wants to do a boudoir session and gives you an opportunity to highlight the areas of your business that make you unique.
Connect With Your Client
Once on the phone, spend some time getting to know your prospective client before you launch into your process and pricing. Your potential client is much more likely to book when they’re excited about the session, so talk to them about their vision for the photoshoot and give them all the fun details about their experience.
When you’re on the phone with your client, take the time to collaborate with them. Oftentimes, they may not know how to verbalize what they’re looking for, but they might know it when they see it or when prompted by specific questions.
Consider sending out a survey for potential clients to fill out. You can even ask them to create a Pinterest mood board with images they’re drawn to – but be sure to tell them the board is just for inspiration and you won’t be recreating those exact photos.
Before we end the call, I always ask if we can book a date and take their session fee over the phone with a credit card.
I want my clients to be excited and confident when they walks into the studio for their photo session, so one to two weeks before our photo session, I have a planning session with them either on the phone or in person. We talk about wardrobe, go over the mood and feel of the session, and address any questions or concerns.
When I first receive an inquiry, I add the contact to my general mailing list on Flodesk so they’ll receive updates and content about their session over time. This allows me to keep in touch with clients who might decide not to book on the phone or who I was never able to contact by phone. It also allows my booked clients to get to know my studio a little better.
When a client first books with me, their info is entered into my client management system. I use Dubsado as my CRM, but there are many systems that allow you to automate emails, send contracts and surveys, track payments, and even more.
I send my clients a series of 15 emails between the time of booking and the actual photo session to help them prepare for their experience. These emails tell my clients everything they need to know to walk into the session feeling confident and knowing what to expect.
I also mail out a Welcome Guide and Lingerie Guide through Magcloud, which allows small batch magazine printing. While this is an extra cost for my business ($15 per client with shipping), it’s a personal touch I think is important. My guides set the stage for my studio as a luxury brand, and clients receive a little gift in the mail, too, which is always exciting.
Day Of The Photo Session
It’s important that your client feels welcomed and comfortable as soon as they arrive at the session. There are several steps you can take to ensure your client trusts you from the moment they step into your studio.
Pay Attention To The Details
When my client first arrives, I help them carry their bags upstairs and give them a quick tour of the space. I always point out the bathroom and the space we’ll be shooting in.
I also have snacks and drinks available. I start all my sessions in the morning, so I go to the bakery for pastries and set out fruit just in case. I offer a variety of hot and cold drinks, too.
While most clients don’t eat until after the session, it’s still important that you have something available since it will be a long day.
Remember that your client is wearing substantially less clothing than you, so ask about the temperature in the space and make sure they’re comfortable.
Try jazzing the session up with some music! I use Spotify to play music on a portable speaker. You can always ask your client if they have a music preference or a playlist beforehand, or you can make your own badass boudoir playlist for when clients say they don’t have a preference.
Provide your client with a private area to change. It might seem ridiculous since they’re going to be half-naked in front of the camera, but they’ll likely be nervous, and having a private space before starting up can make them feel more comfortable.
If you don’t have a separate room, use curtains to create a private changing area.
Cleanliness is also important. Make sure all the spaces your client accesses are spotlessly clean.
If you photograph your client on the floor, mop the floor so they feel comfortable on it. Also remember that if they are barefoot, any dirt on the floor will transfer to their feet which will show in the photos. Make sure they know that bedding is freshly washed if you are shooting in a bed.
If you offer hair and makeup services, understand that some clients may not wear make-up regularly, so it’s important that your make-up artist is versatile and can create everything from the most natural to the most glamorous look.
Communicate During The Shoot
Communication is key during the photo session. You need to talk and be confident throughout the day.
Be present during hair and make-up so that you can get to know your client better. Personally, I always ask if my client has any physical limitations I should know about. The goal is to make sure your client knows they’re in a safe space.
During the photoshoot itself, offer posing guidance and demonstrate different expressions so that your client knows what to do and doesn’t feel too awkward. Breathe, have fun, and laugh together.
Early in the session, I always show my client a gorgeous image on the back of the camera to build confidence, but I always ask first because not everyone wants to see those.
When our photo session is done, I help the client pack up, carry their bags, and walk them out. I make sure to tell my client their photos will be amazing and I can’t wait to see them back in the studio for their ordering appointment.
After The Photo Session
There is still work to be done even after the photo session! Your job isn’t over just yet. To provide the full luxury experience and increase your sales, you have to follow through.
Keep Reaching Out
Within 24 hours of the photo session, send a text or an email letting your client know that they did an incredible job and how much fun you had working with them. Tell them you’re editing their photos and they are gorgeous!
Set up an in-person ordering appointment as soon as your schedule allows, preferably within a week of the photo session (so your client’s excitement doesn’t fade!).
During this time, I enter the client into another email automation with reminders, pricing and payment information, and referral information that they receive between the photo session and ordering appointment. I also send a text message to confirm the appointment one day beforehand.
Put The Photos On The Big Screen
Display your client’s images on a large screen so that they can view the images side-by-side. This is an extension of the luxury service you’re providing.
Reveal the best images of each outfit on a slideshow, and then go through the images one by one. After you’ve shown all of the images, review package pricing and offer examples of the different albums and wall art sizes.
As a high-end brand, I think it’s important to offer quality products, so all my albums and boxes are leather-bound. I use the Riveli album line with ACI. I absolutely love this company!
About half of my clients choose to purchase products via a payment plan, so I believe it’s important to offer payment plans or pre-payment options for large purchases.
If you do offer payment options to your clients, review them with your client at the ordering appointment. I recommend saving their credit card information and setting up recurring payments with your credit card processing company.
Never give your clients the final products until you receive the last payment!
After The Ordering Appointment
Even if your client paid for their products in full, you still have an opportunity to impress them after the ordering appointment.
Design your client’s album and order the prints as soon as possible so you can give your client their beautiful images! Always tell your client that it will take longer than you expect it to so they’re pleasantly surprised when their products are ready ahead of schedule.
When the products arrive, request that your client comes to the studio to go over their order together with you. If possible, record the product reveal so that you can save those stunning moments for future use on Facebook or Instagram.
Make A Lasting Impression
Consider delivering your products in branded bags and boxes. I use Tyndell for all of my photography packages to make a lasting impression on my client.
Include a handwritten thank-you note and a small gift with each order. Scented candles, bath bombs, and branded water bottles make great gifts.
When everything is wrapped up, walk your client out of the studio and personally thank them.
Then, ask if they’re willing to write a review. Explain how important is for people searching online for a boudoir photographer to see what other clients think. Later, send your client a link to your Google and Facebook review pages so they can easily access it.
Keep In Touch
Keep in touch with your clients even after their boudoir experience. Some will return to your studio for another boudoir session and many will refer their friends.
I have another email sequence that goes out to my past clients. I keep them informed about what is happening in the studio and share photos and stories from new sessions.
I also host special events or projects once a year for past clients. There are many ways to structure events, but the idea is to do something where you see your past clients in person and they can bring a friend. This nurtures the relationship and introduces you to new prospective clients.
I make sure my clients know about my referral program. I offer a $100 credit in the studio for my past client and a $100 discount on the session fee for the person they refer to. The credits accumulate, so a client who refers several friends can use her credit towards a new session.
Finally, I mail out a small gift to past clients a few months after their photo experience is completed. What you send is not important, but rather that you send it. Keeping in touch extends the amazing client experience and helps you grow your business through referrals.
What This Means For You
Regardless of how you run your boudoir photography business, providing a top-notch experience for your clients is an important part of it. Implementing some of these simple, common-sense tips can help your clients feel comfortable before, during, and after a boudoir session so you can increase your average sale and bring in more clients with referrals.
Best of luck!