Does Your Boudoir Photography Marketing Send the Wrong Message to Women?

Today my breakfast wasn’t Instagram worthy.

My outfit and home weren’t pinterest worthy.

…and my thoughts weren’t exciting enough for Facebook.

This morning I read an article called, “I Actually Woke up Like This by Jenna Kutcher,” and it stopped me in my tracks.

Do you ever feel this enormous pressure to be perfect?

To be skinnier? Healthier? Prettier?

…that should be pretty easy to answer, I think we’ve all been there.

As Boudoir Photographers we’re always selling boudoir as a confidence boosting, empowering, and life changing experience. An experience to help end these negative thoughts we have about ourselves.

But are we truly delivering the message we’re preaching?

Do our clients leave feeling better about themselves going forward or now only when they then have their perfect self on?

Is including professional hair and makeup services sending the message that our clients are not beautiful enough already, the way they are naturally, to be photographed?

I love this quote from Jenna’s article, “I struggle with the fact that women usually do boudoir photos for men, not for themselves. They show up at my doorstep with gorgeous hair and beautiful makeup and they look absolutely stunning in their fancy lingerie and they leave feeling great, but sometimes I just want to tell their real story, which for me looks nothing like lace or lashes.” Quote source

I think this brings up a great point. Not just about us trying to be pleasing to men but to everyone around us.

As I sit here in my gym clothes (it’s 2pm and I haven’t gotten ready for the day yet), at my computer, trying to plan for the upcoming year, trying to be my best self, deciding what I’m going to wear so I can look presentable in my video I’m about to record, the amount of pressure is weighing on me to be and look presentable (“perfect”).

I think it’s time we all take a step back.

I whole heatedly believe that boudoir photography (with makeup, lingerie, pro retouching) is a confidence boosting, empowering, life changing experience.

I see it with my clients every day. I see them hop out giggly and beaming ear to ear with confidence when they leave my studio.


Image by Lori Lewis.

I saw it when I went behind the camera and did my very own boudoir shoot.

So, why does it make our clients feel that way? Why did it make me feel that way?

It’s so nice to truly take some time for ourselves. It’s fun to get all dolled up for a fun photo shoot and to see yourself in another light. Whether you’re gifting it to your man or not the point is to step out of your comfort zone, have some fun, and leave with gorgeous images of yourself. Oh and… most my clients just say it’s for their man but it’s really something they want to do for themselves 😉 Can you blame them? It’s a blast!

So do I think that we should get rid of including professional hair and makeup in our boudoir photography services? No.

But perhaps we should give them the option to opt out of makeup….perhaps we should give them the option to opt out of retouching?

If you’re always marketing images of women who are 100% done up perhaps you could also be including messages about how beautiful we are naturally, as ourselves. Show them how beautiful boudoir can be without makeup and pro retouching as well!

Perhaps instead of showing a before & after marketing pieces as better after we could show how beautiful they are in both lights!

We don’t want women to think they’re inferior and imperfect.

Now is a great time for us to take a step back and look at how our marketing and messages are being perceived.

We don’t want women to think they’re not worthy of a boudoir shoot or that they’re not beautiful now, as their natural self.

message-boudoir-photography-sends-to-womenJenna mentions in her article, “I want to document people when they wake up. No planned lingerie, only what you have on, packed, or really wear when you go to bed. No makeup, no retouching, no shame. No negative body talk.” Quote Source.

Perhaps Jenna is unto something?

Could natural boudoir photography sessions be something you could add to your services at your boudoir photography studio?

So what do you think?

Are we sending the right message as boudoir photographers including professional hair & makeup in our boudoir photography services?

Do you think Natural Boudoir Sessions would be a hit?

I’d LOVE to hear any and all of your thoughts in the comments below, let’s discuss!

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Molly Keyser

Boudoir photographer and business coach, I am dedicated to changing the world with the power of a camera. Originally from Wisconsin, I'm now in Texas, but I help photographers around the world learn how to go full-time with boudoir photography.