Well Hello friend, welcome back. We have just been given the go-ahead here in Ontario that we can get back in the studio as of this Friday, June 19th… and I am very excited to get back to shooting, HOWEVER, we are still not allowed to apply makeup… which totally sucks…
I am offering clients to have their hair done with my artist, but they can do their own makeup and I will digitally enhance it via photoshop, including lashes… but most so far are opting to wait till they can have the full experience and have their make up done as well… what about you? Are you fully back where you are?
I also want to mention that my online course is open for enrollment and ready for new members to join!
If you are a boudoir or a portrait photographer and you want to learn how I work less but make more money, you can check out The Profitable Boudoir and Portrait Academy. This is my complete and comprehensive course that teaches you everything you need to build a profitable photography business - from price lists to marketing and everything in between!
Let's get to today's topic which is, how we can share our boudoir images.
This is one of the biggest questions I get from boudoir photographers, especially for those just starting out. “I’ve got a few bookings but none of them will let me share their images!”
How am I supposed to get more boudoir work if no one knows that I shoot boudoir because I can't show any images!!??
We all know that you need to SHOW what you want to shoot, right? That is one of the first things you do when you decide on a genre or a niche….stop showing the stuff you don want to shoot anymore and only show what you want to shoot.
I have students who tell me they want to get out of weddings and just focus on boudoir, but they keep getting booked for weddings. Why do you think that is? Because they keep showing images of the recent weddings they shot.
Stop showing what you don't want to do anymore…. Go ahead and take those gigs if you need them to pay the bills, but don't SHOW them anymore.
So, I got off topic a bit there, but let's get back to HOW to show or share your amazing and beautiful boudoir images if your clients don't let you share!
Believe me, I totally understand the frustration… you do an amazing shoot, the wardrobe was on fire, your clients were fantastic and super bendy, so she nailed all the poses… but at the end of the shoot, she told you that she does not want you sharing her images, that these photos are for her husband's eyes only…. Aaaand you die a bit inside.
As boudoir photogs, we 100% have to respect our client's privacy… no matter how amazing the photos are or how badly we want to share, if a client says no sharing, then it’s no sharing…
We would not have much of a business if we did not honor their wishes, right?
These are the struggles that are unique with boudoir photogs.. Along with getting FB ads rejected all the time and getting shadowbanned from social media. Or shut down altogether!
The struggles as a boudoir photog are REAL!!
And as artists, we want to share our work with the world, and it sucks when we are told we need to keep the images private.
The first thing I want to say is that we have to make sure our clients know that we will always respect their privacy… we do not want to pressure them into sharing or guilt them into it…. We also don't want to “incentivize” them into sharing.
What I mean by that, is offering a discount or more images if they allow you to share...some boudoir photogs will offer some sort of incentive if the client agrees to let them share their images… but that puts the client in a tough situation… if they are wanting to save money, they may feel like there is some pressure to allow you to share, and you do not want that… also, what do you do if a few months down the road the client decided they no longer want you to share…. Now you gave them a discount and you need to pull the images from your website or social media… are you going to refuse (spoiler- no you are not) or are you going to ask them for the discount back or to pay for the extra images? These ideas just create a mess that you don't need to monitor and you don't want to be put in that situation… and neither does your client.
Remember, if you are luxury, you need to give luxury service and that includes NOT pressuring your client into sharing and taking them down if they change their mind.
For those of you wondering if this happens… yes, clients change their minds, and that is totally ok.
Now I can hear your wedding and commercial photogs out there, talking about copyright and the fact that we as photogs OWN our images, and we can share if we want to…. I’ve never actually researched that whole copyright thing...so it may very well be true, but it doesn't matter.
I want you to listen to this carefully:
If you are a boudoir photographer you can NOT share any images without your client's approval… otherwise, you will not have a business. Period.
So yes, even if she says it’s ok to share but changes her mind the next day, you honor that…. Even if she changes her mind next month… or next year. We will honor that because trust is the very biggest part of our business.
Now that we have that out of the way lets get down to the ways we CAN share client’s images.
The biggest tip? They may not want you to share all the images… but they may let you share SOME.
When I started I was so frustrated in the first few years because I asked clients if I could share their images, and 9 times out of 10 it was a no. I was starting to get more clients, but I still could not show the images!
Now, almost 10 years later, pretty much every client lets me share at least some images from their session.
So how do I do it? Here are my top 3 tips to getting your boudoir clients to let you share their images.
Wait till after they see their images before you even ask if you can share. Most women don't want you to share their images because they are not sure how they are going to look in their photos. Wait till you show them at their reveal and ordering session… once they see how good they look, they may change their mind.
Don’t ask till after they have made their order and decided which images they want to purchase. they give you their credit card and pay….THEN you ask if you can share any of their photos.
You pull up the ones they purchased and go through each image asking which ones are ok to share online. There will probably be some they don't want you to share, but I guarantee there are a few that they are good with you sharing.
If you can find any, then make sure you shoot some next time...which brings me to the next tip
Make sure part of your shoot flow is getting some anonymous photos. Ones where you can see their face… those beautiful detail shots that everyone loves, showing the curve of their body, or the lace on their bra… if they are not identifiable in those photos they will probably let you share.
Mark all the sharable images in front of your client and add them to a separate folder called “ok to share” or something similar… let her watch you drag them in there so she knows and feels comfortable that you know which ones are good to share, then talk about the image release. Do not share any until she signs that release, even if she said it’s ok. If you make sure you do this every time there will never be any confusion later down the road.
1 or 2 or 10 years from now, if you want to share those images you can quickly go to her folder and not have to waste time going back and trying to figure out if she signed the contract or which ones were ok to share.
Another tip is on the release of the images, have some different options for her… if she doesn't want you to share online, can you share them in the studio? So you will just be showing them to potential clients who are interested in their own shoot? Most women are good with this option too…
While you cant post to social media or your website, you do have the option to show women in the studio. Even if my clients don't let me share online, most will let me share in the studio.
So what I say is “now let's talk about what images I can share” she might say… mmm, I don't know, then you just go through each one… “ok, let's take a look at which ones you would be ok with me sharing” and go through the ones she bought together.
Start doing it this way and I can pretty much guarantee you will grow your online boudoir portfolio fast.
Ok, great, but what do you do if you want to show boudoir images to get bookings, but you don't have any to show so you cant get bookings. You have no images for ads or promo material and you cant show women the type of images you will shoot for her
I hear you, and I’ve been there.
Start by offering a promo shoot…. Yes, it’s a free shoot, and yes it’s technically a model call, but I don't use either of those terms…. I've already talked about this in another podcast episode, but if you have not listened to it, it’s episode #2 called “why you should never offer free shoots and what you can do instead to grow your portfolio”. Click here to listen to the episode.
Have a listen to that one to get the full idea, but basically you offer a shoot to women. It’s the full experience, including hair and makeup, plus a set amount of images… at no cost to her, HOWEVER, she needs to agree and sign an image release BEFORE you book her shoot. Part of her getting the free shoot is that you will use her images, etc for promo purposes. The idea is that you give the shoot for free, but you put a VALUE on it...so you are giving her a voucher in the amount of $2000.
This shows your worth. But listen to that episode to get the full idea behind it.
You can do this whenever you want, not just when you are building your portfolio… if you get a new set, or you want to shoot a specific theme, like tattoos, wings, shower, etc.
I hope this helps you get more images to share from your boudoir clients. If it did, let me know will ya? I love to hear your successes.