How to Build a Boudoir Portfolio from Scratch


If you’re new to boudoir photography or wanting to change the style of your photography this is the blog post for you.

I’m going to share with you exactly how to build your boudoir portfolio from scratch, ziltch, zip, nada.

Having a solid boudoir portfolio is mega important. You want to be able to showcase a strong body of boudoir photography work in order to book clients and feel confident in your work.

The thing that most photographers struggle with though, is getting started. I mean, how do you get started in boudoir photography when you’re starting from scratch?

Step 1) Create a Pinterest board (or collage): I want you to create a Pinterest board of images that inspire you…but listen up. I don’t want ANY of them to be boudoir images. I think you will gain more if you have to choose non-boudoir images that inspire you and then really reflect on how they make you feel. How does the lighting, composition, setting, wardrobe, etc make you feel?

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Step 2) Create another pinterest board (or collage): Create second pinterest board (or collage) using images you find to showcase your brand and shooting style. Let ANYTHING be your inspiration, and remember, the sky's the limit, so go for it!

Step 3) Schedule some shoots! If you’re brand spankin’ new to photography I’d highly recommend you do some practice shoots before you start booking clients. Ask friends if they’d be willing to model for you. Since you have no work to show them, show them your brand/inspiration board so they understand more about the type of photo shoot you’ll be doing. Pro makeup isn’t needed at the practice stage, but once you’re ready to take images for your portfolio, I’d 100% recommend having pro makeup for all of your shots, it will take your work to the next level.

Step 4) Set up portfolio building shoots: Once you’ve practiced it’s time to start building your portfolio. One thing most photographers struggle with is waiting too long between the practice stage and the portfolio building stage. I think most photographers think they have to be as good as those who’ve been shooting 10+ years in order to even start charging for photo shoots, but that’s 100% untrue. Once you’ve practiced enough with your gear, start charging. Unsure if you’re good enough to be charging? The best tool I can recommend for this is my Model Call System.

modelcallModel Call tells you step by step how to get real women models in front of  your camera by offering them a complimentary shoot but by allowing them to purchase the photos they love. Not everyone will purchase but if you do 5 photo shoots and nobody purchases chances are it’s not them, it’s you and you may need to perfect your craft more. On the other hand if you get lots of buyers you know you’re good to go 🙂 This isn’t the only way, the perfect way, or the tell all but it’s something I think would be really helpful for you if you’re struggling with this.

Step 5) Culling: Once you have a number of portfolio building shoots go through and cull them down to your absolute favorite images!! Be sure to keep your ideal client in mind: age variety, weight variety, etc., as well. If you’re struggling with knowing which images appeal to your ideal client, seek somebody out who matches your ideal client profile and simply ask them. I heard of a photographer inviting ideal clients to her studio, feeding them dinner, and getting their opinions on her portfolio. That’s not a bad idea, hey? Just remember quality over quantity, and less is more.

Step 6) Sharing your Portfolio: Now it’s time to get your artwork out there for the world to see! Be sure to host your portfolio on your website, on social media, on Sticky Album and on your phone for when you run into interests peeps at the grocery store, etc. I would even recommend making a separate portfolio of just 5-10 images and storing that on your desktop. That way when you need to make a marketing piece or submit an image for an article about your business, etc., you have the best of the best in one location.

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Now let me ask you, are you new to boudoir photography? What has been the hardest task for you so far? Comment below, I’d love to hear from you!

Love & High Fives!

Molly Marie

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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.