Professional boudoir photography.

Professional boudoir photography is one of the fastest-growing trends in the photography industry, and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon. If you’re considering this type of niche photography, you’re in luck – there are many ways to get started and make money from your passion. 

This guide will show you how to make money from professional boudoir photography and start doing it yourself.

photography shooting a boudoir image of a woman in lingerie

How much do boudoir photographers make?

Boudoir photography is a service with pay ranges that depend on the quality of your work, experience, location, and reputation. Usually, boudoir photographers charge by session rather than by the hour and can range from $200 to $1200 (and up). 

Some studios provide a set price per session. Photographers should be able to tell clients this before they book a session.

Boudoir photographer salary.

The average boudoir photographer’s salary is approximately $52,000 per year. Those who work in the top 25 percent earn $65,000 or more per year. 

The lowest-paid 10 percent of boudoir photographers make less than $27,800, while the highest-paid 10 percent bring in more than $83,700 yearly.

Boudoir photographers’ salaries vary depending on the size and location of their employer, as well as their experience level. 

Demographic data from survey.

Based on a survey of 2,000 Canadians who have hired a boudoir photographer, demographic data shows that the average salary ranges from $42,000 to over $52,000.

The average cost of a boudoir session is about $1,200 for the entire package — including hair and makeup, photography, and prints — but the average price paid by clients for the photography session itself was around $500. 

The overall salary will reflect the photographer’s reputation, the location, and whether they might be working for an employer that has been in the industry for a long time.

Working as a professional boudoir photographer is no easy feat. If you want to succeed in this business, one thing that will help is ensuring you know how to market your services during the busy holidays. 

Holidays are one of the most popular times of the year for boudoir photography shoots, so you’ll want to amp up your marketing efforts during these periods.

Here are some tips that might be helpful when marketing your services 

  • Offer free consultation sessions before booking a shoot. 
  • Share your photos on social media networks like TikTok, Facebook and Instagram (but make sure they adhere to the platform terms and conditions). 
  • Keep contact information handy for clients who would like to book an appointment with you. 
  • Have convenient payment options such as PayPal or Venmo (many people prefer these). 
  • Offer package deals or discounts to encourage people to book now so they can get great deals on their sessions!

Halloween costume boudoir photo

Halloween boudoir.

Halloween is a popular time of year for boudoir photographers, and this is an excellent time to advertise discounts for people wanting Halloween boudoir photography sessions. 

Here are some of the best ways to make your Halloween boudoir photography campaign a success:

Offer something unique: The more unique and personalized your images are, the more likely they will go viral on social media and spread awareness about your business. Halloween is a great time to do this.

Partner with other creatives: Another great way to boost your visibility is partnering with other creatives in your area (or even across the country). 

For example, if there’s a local makeup artist specializing in gothic-themed makeup that would be perfect for this type of shoot, ask them if they would be willing to include their services as part of the package. You can work together to determine a reasonable price for bundling your services together and creating a unique experience.

Christmas boudoir photo of woman in santa hat and red lingerie

Christmas boudoir.

For Christmas boudoir photography, your marketing efforts will want to be focused on the season. Consider advertising festive photos of Christmas trees, stockings, gingerbread cookies, and snow. 

Christmas is also the time of year when people feel the most giving. Advertise gift cards for your new clients this season, and to network even further, offer referral discounts to clients that end up getting you more clients.

valentines day themed couple boudoir photo in rose petal bath with candles

Valentine’s Day boudoir photoshoot.

Create content on your social media pages centered around Valentine’s Day around a month before the day arises. 

Again, you’ll want your marketing efforts to make your brand sound unique beyond the other boudoir photographers on the market. Always offer something extra for your clients, and make it Valentine’s Day related.

This can be as simple as offering complimentary tea or coffee during the photo shoot or even a glass of wine beforehand to help with the pre-shoot nerves.

Boudoir photography equipment.

Having the right boudoir photography equipment to take high-quality photos for a boudoir photography session is essential. You will need a camera that allows for full control of your settings. For some, starting out it may be easier to shoot on auto, but in the long run you’ll be doing yourself a favor to learn how to shoot in manual.

Either way, there are plenty of cameras that are currently available to suit your needs and each photographer’s individual preference. 

Best lens for boudoir photography.

The best lens for boudoir photography is a lens between 35mm and 85mm. This range captures the subject in ways that are flattering and not too up close, if you have a large enough studio to use the 85mm. 

Using a lens with a wider aperture such as 1.2 or 1.4 is also recommended because it will allow you to stop down, making the background blur out of focus.

A couple of fast prime lenses will give you a lot of flexibility to create stunning, dreamy, sharp boudoir portraits but with prime lenses you have to move around a lot more to get the framing you want. Another alternative is a high quality zoom lens like a 24-70 f/2.8 so you can adjust your framing with the twist of you wrist and still produce incredible images.

Best camera for boudoir photography.

The best camera for boudoir photography depends on your needs and how much you’re willing to spend. You’ll want a DSLR or mirrorless camera with superb autofocus capabilities and a top-notch image sensor. A camera with excellent face detection is icing on the cake.

Ideally, the camera should produce sharp images that are in focus and color-saturated without over-processing so that you don’t have an excess of saturation which can make people look like they have too much makeup on their face. A full frame DSLR or mirrorless camera will give you a lot of flexibility and information to work with, however, there are many cameras on the market, whether full frame, or crop sensor that will really deliver astounding results.

Boudoir lighting equipment.

The right boudoir lighting equipment will help you get beautiful, professional shots, no matter where you shoot. 

For starters, you’ll want a softbox, which is used to soften the light. You typically attach this directly to the tripod holding your strobe, or to the light itself. 

Another piece of equipment you’ll want is called a stripbox. Stripboxes are tall, narrow soft boxes that usually come in two-foot widths. Stripboxes allow for more control over how much of the background shows up in your shot and how much side light you want on your subject’s face.

Lighting gels are another handy tool for boudoir photography. In the blink of an eye, you can completely change the tone and feel of a photo.

Alternatively, you can use natural light which produces stunning results, but may be less consistent. You’re at the mercy of the lighting conditions of the day, so you’ll want to be familiar with what times of day provide the best light for your studio or location. You might also need to make use of reflectors to craft the light and get the look you want. 

How to start a boudoir photography business.

There are a few things to remember when learning how to start a boudoir photography business.

Find your niche: The first step is to define your niche. After that, you’ll want to determine who you want to work with and what skills you’ll use most. Some photographers choose to work with couples in love, some specialize in women’s empowerment, and some love working with brides. 

A boudoir photographer can target many different niches, so take time at this stage and think about what type of clientele would be the best fit for your photography services. 

Learn poses: Once you’ve found your niche, you’ll need to learn the poses that look the best. Browse as many boudoir posing guides as possible so that you’re prepared and appear professional when your first boudoir photography session begins.

Locate your clients: Finding clients can be tough, but there are plenty of ways to find them. You could advertise in community calendars, or create an ad on Facebook. 

Be sure not to limit yourself by posting only in English, as Facebook has apps that will allow you to post on any Facebook page worldwide. Another option is to offer sessions for free and ask for reviews afterward which then turn into testimonials. 

Word of mouth is one of the best marketing tools available, so always consider offering free, or discounted sessions to build up a portfolio of happy customers that refer others your way. 

Marketing: Once you’ve developed a steady and solid base of clients, you’ll want to devote continued time to your marketing plan. Ensure to increase your marketing efforts during the year’s holidays, like Halloween, Christmas, and Valentine’s Day.

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