Building Supporters of Boudoir Photography
So by having a strong light created champions for us and champions of our work and our company it took our business from just doing boudoir here and there for our brides to doing one hundred a year thank you andi around the world and when it becomes about more than just making money your clients will connect with you and your clients will get your why and they will become your champions when they connect if you take a look at tom's shoes I own a pair so I say this with love but tom shoes they're kind of ugly they're wearing sari if anybody's worry them it's like wearing slippers out in public but the reason that people wear them is because of their tom's why the message behind it it's one for one when you buy a pair of toms they send a pair somebody in need so people buying that product are actually a walking advertisement for tom's why they're hoping share that message so it catches attention you see somebody go hey you care about more than just the shoes you care about why you're wea...
ring them and your clients will then become your walking advertisement they will carry your why with um and take that forward and share it with others story tom shoes sam you pair and I'll wear them oh thanks so we've talked about this and uh so we we talked about bringing boudoir into your business a lot of people watching today are going to be primarily wedding photographers or portrait photographers looking to bring boudoir into their company so you need to think about it as a new business you can't just go out there and think I'm a wedding photographer I'm gonna throw boudoir in the mix and it's gonna work you have to start over you have to start from the beginning again um as wedding photographers first we started introducing it really slowly and you and talked about how we were a little bit more conservative with it we were shy to show our full message because we do come from a conservative area and just shot a few here and there but it got lost that got muddled the message got lost the work got lost so what we had to do when we realized is we had to go back to square one and start over so to make it a new business the first thing you have to do you have to have any website you have to have a new block you have tohave have new social media for this element of your company it's very confusing confusing for your clients who are coming to book you for baby photos and then to see a naked butt on the screen next to it so separate them have a new website for your work and by having a dedicated space for your boudoir you're also showing that you specialize in this genre, you're not a catchall photographer, you're not just picking it up your taking the time to research, learn how to do it and do it properly and that you were specializing in it. Through the use of your website, you also need to have a fairly substantial portfolio when you're starting bringing boudoir into your company when you're shooting weddings. It's fairly easy to only put up a couple and for people to book you because they say, yeah, he can shoot a bride yet you can shoot a groom. Great, I'm gonna book you so with this, but with boudoir, you need to have an extensive amount of work to show the people a no, they contrast, you be that it's acceptable and see so that they can see what you were talking about when you say things like, yes, you're going to be nude, but you're maybe not actually going to be see any seeing anything, so one of the most common concerns we get, and whenever we talk about portfolio with people say, well, how do you get people to let you show work? How do you? Is that a problem? I see a lot of nodding heads here answer is go out and get it practice, and I know that seems silly, it seems like a simple thing but it's not like a wedding where your bride says yeah go ahead throw it up online boudoir you're gonna have to hunt a little bit harder go ask your friends hire models make sure you have a release form do everything you can to build up that large portfolio and make sure that you're protecting yourself at the same time by having the release form to have that out there the more work you have the more your client I trust you so you need to have a decent size portfolio for that to happen. Um one amazing thing about boudoir is the spread of referral it's very much a big referral based business if you think about it a bride at a wedding maybe conservative really knows two or three other brides getting married that year who she can pass your name along too your boudoir client is going to tell five ten, fifteen, twenty women she knows about that experience. So with that portfolio as well you need to be able tio have your clients out there showing off their work becoming your champions becoming your referral system and is the more people more clients you could get into your portfolio the more pride they feel as well trying a face your client let use facial is shot in your portfolio because then they're going to pull up the website and say to their front I look awesome! I'm on dumare where less dot com or whatever your company name is they're going to feel that pride that there in their portfolio in your portfolio yes, the biggest question that I'm getting online right now for people how do you get your clients to agree two for you two share their images on your social media are there certain people that are okay with it certain not like what is the process that you go through with clients? I think that the fact of what our messages is the main reason why people are comfortable because they realize we're not just taking photos and throwing porn up online there's ah method and a meaning behind what we're shooting we also do have a huge chunk of people giving us permission that to show that to show the photos online so more people can say yeah okay it must be acceptable it must be comfortable because other people are doing it we flat out ask and we give people the option of your lawyer we're not going to share your photos anywhere you're a doctor you're a teacher you work with nursery school even if they want to share them we aren't going to just for safety security reasons for their sake but we'll give different level so you can show where it's not obvious who it is or just from chin down or no nudity we have people kind of give different levels it's within our contract it's something that they have to sign on dh there's a point that they have to initial beside the options of what they so they can choose? No, you're not showing in like brianna said, we say no to people we had a teacher who bugged us for six months to put her photos up online and we wouldn't do it teachers of morality clauses and she would've got fired and I don't know if she wanted us to do that, so if you get fired but we wouldn't do it, and so there are people we do say no to and it's not we don't push for it when they do say yes, we asked what their job is. We ask if there's gonna be a problem with that job if it's ever going to come back and bite them in any way? Because once those photos do go online, they're online. I found photos of mine on tumbler that have been reposted a million times and they don't have a source for them anymore, eso it just once they're out, they're they're out there that can't be taken down, so we very much have that conversation with, um we're not begging them for the photos like they're in a state building the portfolio fellow canadian day bro sha he shoots twice a month just for himself and vicki's in greenland right now sweet um and we're the same way now I don't always have the opportunity to shoot twice a month for myself because I do have kids and we work a lot, but I try and shoot for myself as much as possible and when you're building a profile that might seem strange like someone could be in business here for ten years and the idea of doing free shoots again might seem insane to you, but don't think of it it was your giving free product away think of it as you get to shoot what you want to shoot with no limitations the client if they don't like the photos really doesn't matter, they're there for you, you're getting a release, form it and you get to show what you want to shoot, so it allows you to show the stuff you want to shoot a bill to get to the point of if you want to be shooting nudes a lot or I want to be doing bottomless or topless or whatever, we're pushing it more that you can show that work and it allows you just freedom to just shoot what you want because we tend how many of us you know, I've been shooting for eleven years it's not very often I take out my camera unless it's for work, so it allows you to shoot and reconnect again reconnect with the art of it reconnect why you fell in love with photography in the first place and fell in love with being creative I'm kind of on that too I think it's really, really important if you are asking your client's permission to share the photos, make sure you have your about covered with the release form and that it's in your contract and that it states where the photos can show up and consequences of what happens if they want them taken down and state that you're not responsible for the fact that once they're online they're out there something that's important to us in the loop the legal side of things as well. So we created contracts to make sure that photographers they're out there getting your back end's covered to make sure that they're safe so it isn't all raindrops and lowly bob's um so I made the comment before we have a lot of haters uh anybody that follows the same social media I am now on my fourth instagram account I've been shut down multiple times. Brianna is on her second facebook account because she's been shut down and so it does happen I wish I could say it's great everybody understands what you're doing here that's not the case, so you kinda have to develop a tough skin in doing this uh that's where the unapologetic part comes in you will have in the beginning if you put it on your normal blawg you'll have angry ants that right to you and tell you how dare you put those photos beside my daughter's wedding for mice nieces wedding uh you will have competitors who start false rumors about you and try and keep those rumors up for ten years you will have competitors that get you cut kicked off of social media and get other photographers to help them do that you'll get other people in the industry that just screw you over it happens um you will also have brianna's family told me that I was going to hell and which is fine because I don't believe in house, so it didn't really make a difference to me, but it was just a funny thing for them to say I've been told that I'm going to hell a lot I get emails that I'm going to help a lot that's fine um and brianna comes from a very small town two thousand people I would say I felt really bad for her mom for the first oh five years of me shooting because I was called the pornographer and that she was asked how's your pornographer son in law doing and she would have to defend me all the time um but now those saying people that said that our people that come in hire us uh lots of people from small towns come back s o people white not understand but we ticket as we don't mind it um yes sometimes it gets in your skin yes it's a knowing that I'm on my first fourth instagram account but um we take it as opportunity to educate people yes oh well I just just wanted to jump in because that is the next biggest question that folks are asking you did mention that you're from a small town conservative town and so people were wondering if it's possible to have a successful boudoir photography business in this place is but then also how did you overcome uh changing people's mindsets like you did so that those people now sort of come to you as as your client um so how do we overcome that? Um one our personalities allowed us to teo wait the message yeah, the message are why we got out there we were on local news stations on we were in local magazines actually I was making a joke of stairs talking about how we had all those interviews for like speed and often posts and all that stuff and then by like the fifth interview was a local local they said it was a magazine on dh by that point I was like I said I get blunt I was just very blunt about all my answers and didn't really hide and it was like my most straightforward interview and it ended up being like a penny saver that went in everybody's mailbox and my neighbors were like, hey you in the paper? So yeah, it's we just took it as an opportunity to educate people, so you really just have to get your message out there you have to look at instead of advertising go to the news go you know, there's, different opportunities there's breast cancer awareness month that's a great opportunity to get out there and get a message out there why women should be a part of this and also for the people asking that question even with a small time, you just need to get champions behind you. You need to have people who are out there talking about what you do, helping you spread the message you can't do it on your own, so we actually have a lot of people come to our workshops from very, very conservative american cities and even our me, a lot of army wives who've come in and what they've done after the workshop is they've gone out and rallied and they found champions and that's how you get it toe work in a small city reality is, um the majority of our hate actually comes from men, not women if you go and look at my instagram it's mostly women that follow it's mostly women that comment on the instagram because men see it as ownership, that these women should not be sharing their photos, and we get e mails like that of why air these women showing the photos that air further husband or their partner first, then making the assumption that there straight second they're making the assumption that they do have a partner? A lot of our clients don't have partners, they come and do it for themselves and third there making the assumption that they these women are owned by their husbands. And so, um, but for a lot of our clients, like the question becomes when they understand our y and understand what we're fighting for and become champions of it, they want their photos online it's part of the experience it's part of them saying I'm proud of this on dh they want to stand behind it and they're proud of what they did and they're not ashamed of it. So yes, these are a lot of, um, very, very heavy things to deal with. It has been eleven years and still I'm not getting you. There are some competitors that we've been dealing with since day one that air stole harassing us, andi just it's what is part of the business, but on the other thing of that is like brando said, you get huge champions out of it, we have clients that hire us when every time my instagram account got shut down, I got at least ten clients out of that because they wanted to come and support us. Um and you have other people you have people like creative life who are here letting a share a message, pp I range finder, their huge champions of us other photographers become huge champions for you because they I want you to fight for something and you're doing something that you're fighting for. Like I said, so many questions do you find it easier because there's two of you to be able to kind of deal with hate? And what would you suggest for people who are doing something like that on their own and are really feeling the hate and don't have anyone to share it with? I actually think sometimes it's harder because we feed off of each other. If I'm having a really crappy day, you could be in a great mood and then it rubs off on you or, um, if somebody in the industry has done something to piss one of us off it's hard for just one person to be mad because you share that that person you want to go to vent to is the person who's in it with you? Um, I think that I'm going to mention it here in a minute, but I think that you really need to connect act with your community. You need to be in forms. You need to be in facebook groups. You need to be connecting with people who get it and understand so that when you have somebody who calls you a pornographer, you can go in the group and say, hey, this just happened. Can I look for some support, or can I find some support from people who've been in it? Yeah. Finance support system is huge in anything in life. You need a support system on it. So, yeah, just finding one eyes huge and sometimes it's hard and you have to sort of look beyond your local industry to find a sports system. Because, like we said, the local industry sometimes wants to spend ten years attacking you. Why we love you too are we love teaching that's? Actually, how we both met was going through school to be teachers and history and english, which have nothing to do with what we do now in any way whatsoever but putting them together. I'm like a bird with a french rice. So we created a forum for the community for the boudoir community. So it's www dot do more forum dot com and what that is is people can come who are new and boudoir. We have people in there have been shooting it for fifteen years. You can share work this critiques there's platforms for learning there's video tutorials. I really think it's important that you find a community for boudoir boudoir is something that is newer in the mainstream. And there are people who are going to hit major hurdles and not know how to handle it, and having it community to help you through that is a big deal, and the boudoir community is very sort of scattered right now. It is sort of in its infancy like, yes, boudoir has been around for a very long time, but it went through very big law ls and it's sort of just picking up steam again now. So that's one reason we er with the forum we have a facebook group of what was happening was even in that facebook group we were getting inflect and the group was gonna get shut down. So that's, why we created form because it sort of sucks to never be able to post nudes anywhere. Um, so we wanted somewhere where it was completely open, completely free and people could post whatever they want on dh to bring the community together better if you want to join the facebook group like even said it secret because we had people flagging things do you have to just send me granda failing a little note on facebook and I will add you to it when I can vet that you're not a creepy guy in the basement doing that, but I think community is something you really need to take away from this part of what we're talking about is that it will help make this so much easier for you and if you have any questions in the audience, please let us know I was just curious when you first started, was it a little? Was that the two of you together? You know, when you're working with a woman because I could see if it was just you just starting that you might feel uncomfortable, you may want her presence there to make the other woman feel comfortable. Yeah, it wasn't uh, brianna did sit through I think two of my first shoots and was just like this, the most boring thing ever. I don't wanna do this anymore, and it was just like sort of insurance thing. We were very young, like we started this business when we were I was twenty two think when we started this business, so we were very young s o it was a bit of an insurance thing, we didn't have a great contract a now our contract, like brianna says, I do more wear less dot com we sell our contracts now we have one of the stronger contracts in the industry because we've had to. We've never dealt ever in eleven years never been sued, never been accused of anything, but yeah, definitely in the beginning, the first few times, it was very uncomfortable for me. But once you yeah, once you sort of get into it and start doing a couple times, honestly, it just becomes like nothing. I make a joke that I've seen more nipples and vagina than anybody I know, and it means nothing to you guys could all be naked here right now, and I would make eye contact with every single one of you. There are actually times during shoots where the woman will be naked and we will talk for five minutes and she's just standing there naked. It just becomes second nature after a while. I think that your clients need to know that coming in because it's a male asking the question I don't know if the audience could see that I think they need to know. If it's just you shooting so that they're comfortable with that were very clear about that from the very beginning that you ends the photographer that's who will be there and if somebody wants to bring a friend for support we don't we don't allow them in the room there absolutely welcome to come and be there for moral support and to enjoy while they're doing hair and makeup together but they hang out in the lounge during the actual shoot people pay money to learn how you and shoots so we don't want people in there watching for free but also just there's no way for your client to really relax and fully get into it if her girlfriends there giggling next er yeah, they really need to connect with you and connect with the camera to be able to kind of go beyond just having sort of this boring photo so I think just to follow up on that and feel pretty but mike, that was another question that had come in this one from desire e gardner who said what do you do if when your clients don't open up when it's time when they come to the shoot to the moon, you've done all the console to you've done all of the sort of everything that they know in advance but then they get there and they're just kind of freeze um talking yeah, one thing is, um I speak very softly when I shoot I matched their tone of voice, so I'm non threatening I'm not a very tall guy as well, I'm on your six foot unfortunately on dh, so I'm not a threatening presence to him and so it's, really you just talk to them, you find something to connect with, um, on even talk about the why once I talked about the y as well, that really gets from to relax and say, ok, it's ok, that I'm here and I'm doing this and it's all about through the posing like I gave an example earlier, put them in a dress and get them to pump it up and it's also in positions like if you want them, if you're finding that they're stalling and they're not getting into it, you know, put them on all force and you'll see a big change and immediately, once they get into some of the positions, then they really get into the shoot. Um, ok, so your husband does the photographs. What is your rule? Everything else. So I do all the emails, all the phone calls, all the meetings in person album designed all client contact getting him prepped for the shoot album design. After the fact advert, we do advertising together a lot of the social media do all of theseus, shal networking it's a full time job doing that other half of things? I don't know how somebody runs a company on their own if you guys, if anybody in the audience here is doing it on their own, hats off to you because it's both full of it's full time hours for both of us, and for me, it allows me to stay creative if I had to do weaponry and this's thing, yeah, I couldn't like I would it would kill all my creativity, so it allows me to only think about creative. We always break it down like anybody that watches mad men like I would be, you know, the don draper, I'm creative, and brianna is everybody else and she running the company and we broke it up that way, one because we had to have suffered spheres. Yes, there are things we talk about and make decisions together, but we can't be micromanaging each other because it does not work as a married couple, and it does not work has any business partners to micromanage each other. So one of the biggest questions coming through is about finding new clients. When we're just getting started, they talked a little bit about that, but more tips or we're going to be covering that we are going to talk about it after we come back from the break you is going to be doing a chunk composing and you're asking about my role in the business I love sales I'm a dork about sales on goingto have a large chunk where I'm talking about sales and clients and the back end side of things with business but won a quick answer to that is when you're building your portfolio we still get referrals from very early model that we got typically when we say models do not go out and get the typical model one they are convey a real pain toe work with they don't show up on time they're flaky the demand things they don't bring the right stuff and so just finding normal people because that's what not that they're not normal but you know what I mean? Um because and it's also you need to know if you bring a model in and she already knows how to pose that's not a challenge for you you need to be able to learn how to pose somebody and get the best out of somebody the question here want to stand up? How many times did you have attorneys vet your contracts so so I can answer that one we actually worked with a lawyer who is canadian, canadian born and educated but moved to the states. So the amazing thing about it is that she was able to give us the canadian and the american background to that. And then we have had everything written up so that it is legal. However, you I still recommend everybody contact your personal lawyer, because laws are different from even state to state and province to province. So the basics are there for you there, customizable. Fill in the blank, just dropping your own information and photography. Legal basics. Air there. But make sure you back it up and make sure that your lawyer looks at it because I don't know what iowa laws are. Or, you know, different provinces in canada are for that. So they have been vetted by lawyers. Yes.