Breaking into the world of boudoir photography can be hard for many photographers. The biggest challenge is obtaining the initial boudoir photos for your website. To get noticed and land clients, you need photos of your work on a website. Clients often don’t want these intimate photographs shared freely in public. While you might have an amazing image you want to share, you must respect your clients wishes. What do you do?
Approach women you know. Ask them to pose for you in exchange for a DVD of files from the session. My nieces were some of my first models. They were excited to exchange modeling for free photos. The photos can be tasteful and discreet, showing nothing more than you would see at the beach or pool, but still intimately boudoir. Nieces, sisters, aunts, friends all make great initial models.
There are websites you can join that connect photographers with makeup artists and models. One Model Place and Model Mayhem are two such sites. While the more experienced models will charge for their time, many beginners are willing to trade for prints or files. Look for models that are beginning their portfolio, it’s a win win. As you build your own portfolio, you’ll be able to attract more experienced models. Don’t discount a model with very few photos to share, they are likely the ones that will be willing to work with you as they are probably in need of photos for their own portfolio.
Check with your network of boudoir photographers. Many photographers are happy to recommend models and friends they’ve worked with in the past. Find a boudoir photographer local to you and offer to swap photo sessions. Photographers are often only found behind the camera, this is a great opportunity to lure your photographer friend in front of the camera. Your makeup artist and hairstylist will make great models. Like fellow photographers, they are often not found in front of the camera. Offer them photos in exchange for modeling.
Remember to always treat your model fairly, whether professional, friend or relative. Fully retouch the photos you have promised and send them in a timely manner. Stay professional and do great work and you may find models willing to trade time for photos just because they enjoy working with you. You will find you always have a model on hand and ready for a photo shoot when you want to try a new idea or location.