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Step by Step How to Get Started in Boudoir Photography


Are you looking to get started in Boudoir Photography?

Starting out in Boudoir Photography is exciting- you’re doing something that you’re passionate about while helping women feel beautiful in the process!

But here’s the hard truth- there may come a point when you question what you’re doing and how you’re doing it. You’ll ask yourself if doing boudoir photography can give you the steady income that you need, and you’ll wonder if you live in a city that has a large enough market for this niche of photography . . . IF you don’t have a plan!

You MUST have a clear, actionable plan. If you have a step by step plan in place, you won’t have to doubt yourself- you will be able to focus your attention on perfecting your craft and providing top of the line service.

So, here it goes- 5 Steps to get started in Boudoir!

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1. Build a Portfolio

You may know that you have the ability to create gorgeous portraits, but your potential clients may not know that yet. The first step in getting started in Boudoir Photography is creating a portfolio. There are a few different ways to do this. When you’re first starting out, you may ask friends and family to pose with you for free just to create multiple examples of your work. Think about who your ideal client is for your business, and make sure you have pictures of someone she can relate with.

Not sure who your ideal client is? Check out my post on Ideal Clients [HERE].

Another way to build your portfolio WHILE making money, is to do a Model Call. Model Call is a marketing tool that I use to get women to model for me and create marketing content while being paid. After reading the rest of these steps, please checkout more info on the Model Call ebook available for purchase [HERE].

Here’s another thing that’s important about building your portfolio- while you’re doing photography, you are perfecting your craft. You may be a great photographer technically, but a lot of boudoir is about learning the most flattering boudoir poses. Sure, I knew a ton about photography before I started doing boudoir, but it took a while to get to the point where I was posing well and using proper lighting. You need practice! If you haven’t already, you can sign up AND receive my Top-Selling Boudoir Poses for free, as part of my Break Into Boudoir Kit.

Finally, when you start building your portfolio, don’t be discouraged! You don’t have to wait until you think you’re good enough to start creating a portfolio- you will get better with each and every photo shoot you do! Everybody starts sometime, and your sometime is NOW! Start rockin’ it 😉

Portfolio Tip: It isn’t enough for your clients to tell you that you can use their pictures. You MUST have them sign a model release. The last thing you want is to just get started with your business and have someone try to sue you for using their pictures! My friends over at Law Togs have some amazing resources to equip you for the contract side of photography. Take a peek at their boudoir contracts, [HERE].

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2. Create Your Boudoir Business Plan & Pricing

Once you have some sample work, your next step will be to create a plan.

There are 5 components to a business plan:

1. The Mission Statement
2. Products and Services
3. Financials
4. Shoot Goals
5. Vision

This is a HUGE part of getting started in Boudoir. You need to know where you’re going in order to have the motivation to keep going. Take a solid day to devote to your business plan. I cannot emphasize enough how important this is if you really want to make a business out of your boudoir photography. Besides- business plans are fun! They help you to make your goals and dreams come true by taking actionable steps. Please take a look at my post on my Top 5 Tips for a Killer Business Plan [HERE].

Molly Marie Photography boudoir floral backdrop

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3. Session Location

When you’re just starting out in boudoir photography, chances are you don’t have the funds saved up to buy a studio outright. Don’t worry! You do NOT need a studio to have a business in boudoir. However, you should have a plan. (Part of your business plan in Step 2 is making decisions about your long term goals, one of which may be having a studio.)

Everyone’s situation is different, so you need to determine what works best for you, your budget, and your future goals. The important thing is to start small because you can always expand. It’s too easy to sink your business if you start out too big. Don’t worry so much about impressing your clients with your posh studio or complimentary champagne- focus on giving them a quality portrait service and product. That’s what they will tell their friends about and that’s how you’ll earn more clients!

No Studio? No problem! Here are several places you can host a photo shoot:

-in a hotel
-home studio
-camp site
-share studio space to cut down on rent (Any local yoga or dance studios you can work with?)
-in the client’s home
-etc. get creative!


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4. Create a Web Platform

After you figure out where your photo shoots will take place, it’s time to tell the world about your business and give them a place online to find out about your services. Potential clients who have heard about you will Google your name or business name, so you should have either a website, a page on your website, or Facebook page they can visit to see your portfolio and learn about your services.

Note: If you already have a photography business and are adding boudoir to your services, it is up to you whether or not you have a separate page for boudoir. Only you know your current clients and audience! However, if your goal is to exclusively do boudoir someday, my suggestion would be to create a separate website or Facebook page so you can easily switch over when you have enough clients. It may seem more time consuming-feeling like you have to stay on top of two businesses-but if that is your goal, you should know approximately how long you’ll have to do it for anyhow 😉

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5. Marketing

You have a portfolio, a business plan, a place to shoot, and a web platform- it is time to get some ideal paying clients in front of your camera!

It isn’t enough to be a great boudoir photographer, you need to be able to sell yourself and your services! There are lots of ways to do this. One great free thing to do when you’re starting out is networking. Find out about other local businesses that have something in common with you, such as an ideal client! Brainstorm different ways you can work together, maybe even give a complimentary shoot to a business owner so she can tell all her clients about you. I wrote a post about Booking Clients at Networking Groups– you can read more about the power of networking and marketing [HERE]!

Another thing you can do is attend various expos and Ladies’ Events. When you shoot boudoir, there is no better place to go than a place where many women are gathered. Don’t limit yourself to talking to guests- mingle with the other vendors! There are so many ways to maximize your opportunities at these types of events. Check out my post on Successful Expos [HERE]!


If you are really serious about getting a jump start on your boudoir business, take a look at my Boudoir Marketing Camp. I have been doing boudoir photographer for years while ironing out the kinks in my business- you don’t have to make the same mistakes I made; start out on the right foot and propel your business forward by implementing the most effective marketing strategies immediately! Take a few minutes to look at all the amazing tools and resources included in my Marketing Camp [HERE]. You can’t market boudoir the same way you market any other niche of photography, and I don’t want you to waste time trying techniques that give you minimal results. Use the expertise I’ve gained from years in the business to bypass the months of waiting for inquiries, offering discounts, and doing shoots for free- be successful now!

I’m so happy for you that you’ve found what you love to do- some people wait their whole life to find their calling, and you’re getting started on yours today!

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Tell Me About Yourself so I Can Better Help You

 I’ve set up a short survey for you to fill out that will tell me more about you, where you are in your photo journey, and more about what you’re looking to learn. Once you’ve filled it out I’ll know exactly what info will be most helpful to you so I can email it to you! Tell me about yourself and your business by filling out the survey below.



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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.