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Boudoir Photography

Lesson 23 of 28

Business Practices: How We Do It

Rachel Stephens

Boudoir Photography

Rachel Stephens

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Lesson Info

23. Business Practices: How We Do It

Lesson Info

Business Practices: How We Do It

talking about pricing. I'm happy to go over specifics and again, the specifics. I'll do in a general sense. I'll hit some of the print prices, then Rachel's most popular products or books. They start at this price. They go up to this price. I'm happy to do that and with it within the framework of that conversation. Um, because they've taken so much effort to get to me, it's they should they should know what to expect. And I'm a big fan of being up front. I'm not a big fan of hey spoken mirrors at the end. You gotta be. You gotta be up front. I think I think in our industry that is one thing that prospects have seen. I went to this one place. They told me this one thing, and it really ended up being this price. I don't think that's fair. I don't like that as a consumer. I don't want people to think that of me. So without going into specific pricing, I'm gonna let you know you're looking it Roughead $1800. And Rachel and I part of my script off script. But on my script, Rachel and I live...

in this economy just like you do. So what we've done for for image orders, it's kind of like a classic layaway plan. Place your order, tell me how long you want to pay over, and then I'll split it into that many payments. And then, once the images air paid for, we'll go to Rachel for processing. That increased our business a lot by offering that, and it's so simple to do. You said it said it in your outlook that this one person is paying once on the 28th a certain amount of money and they're going to be done in December. So your outlook will remind you that this person's payments done. Why am I not checking every month? Because I've got that set up in my credit card processor that on the 21st of every month debit such and such a card for $ for six months. So it's all automated, automated, automated, automated were all about the automation of it, and I've talked to other other photographers that they've started implementing this because the economy is even if it's better. People still think it's not right. All right, so let's get back forward again. Any questions that I can answer that way? I'm just curious. What else is in that script? Excuse me. Because I know a lot of photographers. That's like, the scariest part is getting that client on the phone and what, what? What I'm gonna say. So what are some of the other things that you hit? That's okay. I'll do it if you want to do it. So let me go over this so that you have a good understanding of everything that Rachel is doing. So session is two hours. It includes hair and makeup. Not only in the time but in the price. You'll be with hair and make up roughly 45 minutes to an hour. And then that's when you and Rachel will go over the outfits that you bring in this session. Rachel recommends that you bring three outfits. You're only going to get into two of them. But it's better to have a little more than a little less. And that's where the client goes. Oh, yeah, it is it. Then I got him because 99% of time they'll go. Oh, yeah, it is. Um Well, is it true, Um so a little more than a little less. And then once you start shooting, it's about 45 minutes of hard shooting time. And in that time you'll get two outfits and a nude or an implied nude, which is kind of the sheet strategically wrapped around you. So nothing is showing. That's the session. Two weeks after your session, you're going to receive your online proofing gallery. It's in a password protected secured site. Attached to that email is what Rachel calls her teaser image. If you look on Facebook on her Facebook page, all of those are actual client teasers that clients have allowed us to use. So now I've answered the question before the question is asked. Clients have allowed us to use right, um, and those air those air fully retouched, ready to go to the printer. And they're designed to show you this is how Rachel sees doing your retouching, because when you open your gallery, you're going to see lightly retouched images, and on average, you'll you'll be proving between and 50 images at time of proofing. So in Honolulu, she's got a morning session and an afternoon's session, which would you prefer, but I'm into the contract. Always closing. Well, you know what? That's a That's a 90 you know, like a 98% closing right on that. What question? Didn't I answer? I give you the time. Hair makeups included. You're bringing your own clubs. How many closes you bringing? How many you're going to get into? Do I have to get naked or an implied nude? All the image that you see, clients have allowed us to use the amount of images when you're going to receive it. What time would you like? Boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom. That's awesome. Done it. Yeah, it's really cool. So figure out what your script is. Why is the script work? One. It just works. How many phone? You know, if it didn't work, you wouldn't get those annoying phone calls trying to sell you stuff. They work, and what's the best thing about him is when a client comes back and says, You never told me that like I'm sorry, but I certainly did, because I talked to Rachel's 500 plus clients a year and I say the exact same thing. Why? Because I have to I can't say something different to each different client I'd never remember. So I can fall back on that and say, I know you're wrong. Um, I have no problem arguing people. I'm quite good at it. I have no, I have no problem with people getting in my face and telling me No, you didn't. Well, I did, and I'll show you in a minute. I have an email for that as well, any other? Yes, that's a good question. Good question. So earlier on I said, Keep the general And what I mean that by that all that list of email like RSP Honolulu RSP That's just means Rachel seems photography Honolulu Now a Wherever. If I'm doing a big announcement, we have that. We recently had a session price change. Everybody gets that, Um, her e book is still number one on photographers A to Z on amazon dot com. Um, I'll, that's pretty cool thing to be able to say. I mean, it's a real subgroup, but hey, it's number one. How many else? How many other people have a number one book on Amazon? Probably a bunch, because it's but that's a pretty cool announcement I thought, you know or hey, we're gonna be on creative life. That's cool. Let's tell everybody about it so that I'll even if and I'll get a lot of people's, you know, I don't want that information could get lost. I don't want you either. Not everybody, even on your email list, should be on your email list. Um, they are. And then eventually I did a scary thing. Last year we had an email list of upwards of 25,000 people, but to send to that amount of people is really expensive. So I re sent to say, Look, if you want to still get information from us, you need to re subscribe. We now have a list of 5000 people, but it only costs me $20 a month to send it and its 5000 people who reaffirmed email addresses. People go through on the exchange rate on those, I'd say 30 to 40% a year, so you want to pare it down once you even if you've got a big list, don't say, Oh, it's so big. I don't want it to get small again. Well, you do, because you're just wasting money, but I don't want to do that. You had a question. Yeah, the conversation like you just went over. I heard Rachel mentioned the other day that she has her clients bring their own sheets. Do you touch on that during the phone conversation that's in the That's in another email. They'll ask, and I'll say, Um because now she's using private homes. I'll say Yeah, and especially a colored sheet or bring a flat sheet. And then I also let them know moving down into the, um, the clothes that that's an email that you'll get winter what your client and booked. We also don't give out locations of where we're shooting, and that's a security issue, right? I mean, you've got people in a very vulnerable situation. I got my wife there by herself with a makeup artist. I'm not telling que where it is until you've given me money until I know everything about you. I won't give you any information about the location, because what if you're oh, crazy girlfriend of the clients boyfriend? You know, there there's weird. Some weird stuff happens, so cover your just make sure you're covered at all times and It's always about the security and comfort of your client. Always about that. And also it's about letting your client note way. We're not pushovers, either. This is a business, and we want you to have a great experience. But don't if you're fired clients before. So here's your money back. We don't do business with you. If you're being a pain in the neck to me. Rachel is not gonna want to shoot you one, cause I'm awesome. But that's an indication of your just kind of a pain in the neck. And she doesn't want to shoot that. She is at a level where, but I wanna have I want to enjoy everything I'm doing. So this was my follow up email, and I've got a couple of links. Facebook Page A YouTube video testimonial page. Hey, Rachel was in shape magazine That gives you that streak red, you know, and it's that stuff you build on to get that outside Third party credibility. The work stands for itself, but it sure never hurts to go after other stuff. And that's my I go. After that, I hit. Um, hey, they should do this or press releases or whatever. We got contacted by shape after I sent out a press release about Rachel doing something else. And that was just ask the expert kind of column. But it's, you know, that's a Madison Avenue magazine. Yeah, to shape magazine. Do you make a landing page on your own? Or do you really sent him a video? I sent him there because this is an email. This is already on their computer, so I've already got them is they've already given me information. So now I'm not worried about them going to click out and find the whole world on the interwebs. I don't mind, because I'm I'm living on their computer now and I've got their information. They'll continually get stuff from May. Yeah, but you structure the links in the email. Yeah, so that in order So they would first go to your own stuff, right? Yes, yes, absolutely. Sometimes I'll even this is off. You know, this is automatic. It has been updated even in the signature. I mean, in our signature. Now we have the beautiful creativelive. What boudoir means to me video that Rachel did. It's just a great piece. Why not share it with people, So put a lot of stuff in your signature as well. Not a lot of stuff. Put two or three links in your signature. Um, yeah. I always put our Facebook page in our signature. My other email address in our signature, our main one. And it's sometimes they'll be something just above here, but not in my form email. Because then I'd have to go in and change it all the time if it's not working. If my emails aren't working, constantly monitor your stuff. I like a client rate of 6% from my email marketing. 6% I'm doing well. That's a good That's a good number. And that's paring it down, paring it down, paring it down because that's somebody who really wants to do business. As I said, Rachel schedules weird. Different. It's different, so we don't use traditional booking software. I use a shopping cart. This is branded for us. It's done by big commerce. I figure out How many sessions is she shooting in the morning? She can shoot forward. How many in the afternoon she can shoot. Step in how maney At night she can shoot seven, so I just make an inventory. Four morning. Seven afternoon, seven evening. And then as they come in, I just booked a client in the time that's available. Client doesn't tell me when They just told me. I want one in the morning. Well, they want it in the morning. No problem. Put it in. And one has left my inventory to have left my inventory. Morning. Sold out. Right, So I don't have to follow it. I don't have toe your it'll shut it off. You can't add anymore. The products no longer available. So it's It's the session is sold like a product again. We automate, automate, automate, automate, automate. And then this will send me an email invoice telling me that has been booked that a client has purchased a session that will be able to go into my back end, see who the client is. Fill out a contract, send them another receipt, even though they've got one with their time. And then our receive email which looks like this. Your client Thank you for sharing your place on our client list for the event in this city on this day at this time, I've sent them the time they don't it doesn't matter. They know they'll be in the afternoon. They'll know they've been evening. Sometimes we'll get somebody coming back saying that really doesn't work for me. Well, if there's another spot available, I'll move him. If there's not all, refund them or give them the option of using it as a credit for the next time she's back. But I'm not gonna try and move everybody else around that. I've already got booked and sent confirmations to to try, and I confirmed this one person when I know I'll be able to sell the spot anyway, I'm happy to refund in that situation, but nerves and jitters, We don't refund it all. But I've got a cold. Their flu get going, You gotta go. Rachel's there, you gotta go, and we'll hold him to That will hold him to an order minimum if they don't show up, and that's all in the policy. That's all in stuff that's been agreed to. Um, as with everything, having attorney go over it, somebody who's good, our attorneys awesome. So I like her all right. This is what they get. There's some there, some links here that are proprietary that I'm not sharing on. That's toe online forms and things like that that people can put information in. And I obviously don't want people to start clicking and clawing me up. Um, so this is from me to a client to say, Hey, we've got everything. This is when you're gonna be there, you're gonna get more information more, probably more than you want, but you're gonna get more information, just not right at this second, it's coming in the future, and I've let them know that on the phone. And if I haven't talked to him than this email tells him that one of links, which is in the bonus material, is what we call our sessions information packet. I always let clients note you're going to get this is gonna answer most of your questions. A lot of technical ones like don't wear body glitter, which always gets a little chuckle out of them like who would ever wear body glitter? And then that's opening up a friendly conversation in a business transaction. When I'm talking to people. Um, so this just this is about six pages. It's got helpful links to It's got helpful links. Teoh wardrobe and and what to expect. And as Rachel was saying yesterday, she's all business up front and fund in the back. Well, this is like a mullet. She was saying, I think. Right, Um, this is more fun. This is her in her voice. This is I mean, it said you had me at hello. I'm Rachel Stevens, the gal behind the can't. So it's all very, very personal, because now you want to cultivate that friendly client experience. You want to start building the experience, even in an email. What to expect to be awesome. I know we had to show you all the policy stuff. That's boring. And don't do this. Don't do that. Reason policies were there is because people did it. People showed up hammered. You got to go. We're not going to shoot you one. You're not gonna like your pictures, but this is This is a business. Come on now. Um, so this is her all her fun stuff, and then this is more the technical. This will go out a couple of weeks, maybe two weeks before the session. It's just confirming it shows more into actual product pricing. I'm happy I'll show pricing earlier. People never asked for it because I've already let them know what to expect. I rarely, rarely, rarely get a pre shoot ask for a price list. Why? Because I've told you you're going to spend this amount. Why do you need to know the prices I'm happy to send? I'm happy to share it with you, but I've already told you that. And clients it's We've dealt with pricing without dealing with, Price says. I understand that deal with pricing without doing with prices, because then it's about shopping. You wanna shop Goto go to a big box store? So that's our welcome email. And it tells a client where to go This It was our proofing gallery email and let's get back and you've already had the experience. But you're about to have another good one, but we got to be a little jerky up front. We've got to let you know this is what we expect of you now because you have to fulfill your end of a business transaction so we'll let him know you're Gallery is live seven days. That's it. If you need more time, let me know. Um, we'll extend it for $50 for another week. Here's a side note. I never charged that $50. I want to be magnanimous. Don't worry. Life happens. We understand you go over a week, then we'll charge it. So always build things in that you can back off. So build in what? You you know, they're like, Oh, I've got to do this and they'll say, Hey, just charge of 50 bucks. Now, don't worry about it, but don't let him do it again. Do it. Do it the one time so build in. But understand where you're gonna back down to to allow yourself as the business person toe look magnanimous and helpful and wonderful, because again you're trying to get money. You're tryingto have somebody purchase something. You don't want them to have a bad taste in their mouth before they've done it right. You don't want to feel like you've nickeled and dimed him because then your order, that order is going to go down. If you if you charge them the $50 for the first time, the order will go down. Guarantee guarantee it. Um, well, I don't know. After 30 days, we're going to report you to a credit agency. If you have not placed your order, you signed a contract. This is a contractual obligation that you've agreed to not only in policy first, then a signed contract. So then we're going to do it. Now make sure that you follow all the applicable laws. When reporting someone to a credit agency, contact an attorney to make sure you're doing it correctly. I'm not an attorney, and I'm not giving you any legal advice on how to do that. Okay, but what's wrong with doing that? If you miss A If you miss a contractual obligation with Sprint or a company, a large organization, they're gonna report and they should. You're on the hut. You agreed to something. Product and ordering policy is different than the main product Main Policy page. It tells you how toward it order what to do, what's expected, how to use the software stuff like that and then down. Then it starts getting a little more friendly as we get closer and closer and closer to the link to their gallery with the password. So it starts off merit murmur, and then it gets friendly, friendly, Freddie, Now go do it, Have fun. And then the order comes in questions right now, Just one. Kind of as we're going through here from Christie, 38 who just commented, Wow, I don't know if I would like to be photographed with this aggressive approach, and it is very it is much more explicit about all of the business aspects than a lot of people that we see here on creative life. Do you want to talk about that? How that kind of ties in with the experience of what you're creating, that's a good question, and it really never comes up. I think it's come up once where someone Oh, it's so me. And I don't want to do it. Then don't. I'm good. You don't you don't need to, but I think it's only fair to let your client No, this is how we do business. This is what to expect on the business part of it. That's why we did sprinkled with light and happy. But you don't. I think you're doing a disservice. Oh, it's puppy dogs and feather pillows all the time. That this is This is how I'm feeding my kids. So if you're in a contract with me. I'm gonna enforce that. I've had people say, Well, I didn't know I was supposed to read it. What? You put your name on it, Of course you read it. Make sure of that. If you're doing it, if you're doing, let's say different part of business. A wedding. There's a contract. The bride's gonna hurt somebody's pan. And that photographer sure is gonna. And it's not a friendly, happy puppy dog contract, Right? If you don't, if if you're if the groom doesn't show up. You think the photographers getting paid? Yeah. Photographers getting paid. Don't Don't be afraid of don't be afraid of your client. Yeah, your contract. Do you actually have ah ri a contract and they sign it with a pen? I do. They do the all in the in the sales call or the call where they go to the contract. I'll fill it out and then it goes with Rachel to the location and the makeup artist when they see the contract, when they see the client, here's a contract signing done so, but they get a copy beforehand so they know what is going to be in the way that our policy is. It's in the policy. If you want the contract, you can have the contract. Rarely do I get asked for the contract beforehand and rarely not really. Never has nobody signed that once they're there, it's a nice contract. It just says, Look, you're agreeing to these things done. No, I don't worry about it too much, but worry about it, You know what I mean? Don't worry about what the clients thinking worry about you as a business owner. This is what's gonna happen and always make sure that you have a contract if it's not signed. Whatever the client says is right. So how do you deal with clients when they see the seven days again for me being a siren? When I got my link, I looked at it immediately. You know, you excited. So you want to buy E Think I purchased my like the same day? Wasted no time. So when you're excited, you know you don't tend to let it linger, but I have had clients like in my link. Time is way too long days. I think it's perfect, but then they wanted still out for three weeks. They still want. What can I get to move? How are your orders at that time? All the blush of it is gone. Right, right. All the blush of it right going. That's that's too long. You need to You need to knock that down. And that's because the client is a fire under their ass, right? Oh, I've only got this amount of time. Your orders will go better if you have a short time limit because they and you let them know this. I let them know in the sales call, I let them know earlier you can be magnanimous and allow it to go a few more days. Um, it Day six. If people haven't ordered, I'll say, Hey, I hope you're enjoying a gallery. Remember, It's about to expire, and they'll be like, Oh, yeah, I totally forgot. And then the Lord will come in. And if it goes on and on and on, you know that something is going on with the client that they're not They're not communicating with you, OK, But you don't are for them the option to pay a certain fee to come back. You know later it's that seven days. Oh, Well, okay, so that's a good question somebody hasn't ordered within seven days, we're gonna extend it a little, but they still haven't ordered at 30 days within the contract, we're gonna process the order minimum. Okay, if the order minimum does not. And what I'll do is you're on the hook for the order minimum. So it'll be. It'll now be a credit in your cart that you'll just add when you place your order. So I'm still getting paid my minimum if the payment information doesn't go through. If it's declined that I wait another 30 days still trying to contact that client to get it taken care of. Hey, we can do payment plans. Hate We can do this. Hey, we can do that. I'm really friendly. Everything is awesome. But at some point, you have tow Say, OK, that's it. That's this is food out of the mouth of my Children. Done. I Then I don't have a problem for where they ask to not have their gallery open to them for that seven day period until a certain pay check is coming. Yeah, Yeah, that's fine. A lot of times that paychecks going to be within one or two days. So I'll say, Well, just open it or I'm going on a trip or I'm on a trip. Yeah, Hold it. Doesn't I'm not. I'm just This is just our general rules. Rules are there for you to fall back on. And that's when somebody is being a jerk. We got very, very, very few jerks, so I'm I'm I'm like young tree are banned. I'll move because life happens. Life happens to me. What happens to you? So this is our proven gallery email again. It starts off very, very where we're Yeah. Yeah. Hey, use your gallery. Who, you know, so build into it. Build into it. Also, the client's already had the experience certain. You know how many times they're reading this first zero? Because they're Lincoln Password is down here there. Scrolling to see how to get to their gallery Doesn't mean I didn't send it. Doesn't mean they don't have it, But there this is it would be like I'm going like this. Nobody's reading that they will eventually, and they'll know that it's seven days and they've been accustomed to it being seven days. This is just a confirming that it is seven days. All right, so I told you, there are sometimes very rarely I'd say less than 1/2 a percent. You never told me that. I didn't know that. Really? Do you think this is my first rodeo that you think you're the first client out of the several 100 she seen this year alone? It's rare, but I've got it built in. And it's the same thing you know is basically, you know, never told me that I'm sorry that you were unclear. You were unclear about our policies. I wasn't unclear. I know what my policy is and I know what I've told you. And then I go in and let him know I deal with this. I talked to everybody. This is an order minimum framework. And then I'll start quoting the policy that they agreed to in my email to you on this date because I've got I think I was robbed, a tractor and my email. I've got every conversation you and I have ever had in my email, or Outlook will find it, too. And then I'll state the contract all contracts involved to party agreement. That's not even That's in the email and then all the link to the policy to which you agreed to with that part of the policy and then the client intake form to which you filled out and then the actual intake form with their I p address and the time and the date that they filled it out. So please do not tell me, but I never told you what I expect of you is a client. Very rare. Very, very, very rare. But good to have just cause you don't want toe gettinto every single time. Just be done with him. All right? No, your backside. You need to know your tack as well. You too. We needed to get a system in place that works that allows for one this volume but also allows for the time that we want to spend away from doing this right. So it's good to get to know all these different companies and how they work. It's really not that hard. If you can read, you can do it. I'm a big believer in that if you can read, you can pretty much do anything. This is not It's not magic. It's not smoke and mirrors control the image we use into the dark room for a proofing software, which is fantastic. It's beautiful. Images come up thumbnails on the bottom. I'm not showing an example, but if you go to into the darkroom dot com, they'll have examples of galleries, and they're ordering software which resides on your server. Okay, it's not a private third party company. Brood war is not a part of the business that I would really want to have on a big photography site that hosts images in the cloud. That's just me thinking about knowing your backside and covering it. Things get hacked all the time. I mean, our website could be hacked, I'm sure. Um but then my liabilities in there, and it's just I don't feel comfortable. Also, the percentages that air charged, um, to order fulfillment and the print houses. And Rachel needs to retouch everything so we keep it all to us soon as a client places their order is you've seen. Then the invoice goes toe us images air removed from online, and they're put into hard storage that has no Internet access. Repetition saves your ass repetitions. Have your ass do the same thing over and over and over and over and over. Why? Because you can fall back on it and it becomes like muscle memory. You know exactly what you're doing. Just like is a shooter. You know what's working, and then you repeat it and then you repeat it and then you repeat it. That's what systems are is just repeating yourself over and over. Increase your orders today. Two ways that I could without new ing about retouching without shooting without put a time limit on your gallery. Make it shorter. Give that that sense of I need to get something done that increased our orders a lot for us. The offering a payment plan increased our orders. Ah, lot and bookings when people know. Oh, I can split it up over. And remember, it's not credit. It's kind of layaway. Once the orders air paid for, then they're released to Rachel and then they go in her normal que so it's once they're paid for. I made that mistake once of trust. You once, um, resist the urge to show all to show everything. Carrier galleries down. She does 40 to 50 images on average. My may have shot several 100 Who knows? But there and I'll client expectation is, well, you shot so many, I get so there are only a certain amount that Rachel will put her name on. That's the way I deal with that. They're only certain amount. I will put my name on again. Time limit. Top Time's up and we don't present in person. It would be weird if I representing images of you to you, wouldn't it? Because Rachel is not gonna do it. Would it be kind of weird? And also that I sell that your Valerie's password protected in the privacy of your own home with that significant other? It's I never try to up sell you anything. I'm there to answer technical stuff, but order what you're gonna order. I'm not too worried about reorders in this line of work. We don't see a lot of reorders. We saw a lot of repeat clients, so people say, Oh, can I order in the future? Absolutely. And it's all archived, but we see the client again before they order on old session. So your business don't fear fear. That's autumn it and let you know you're alive. Only way that you're going to know if you can fly is to jump off the cliff. You're not gonna do it just by running and trying to get there. Do it. This is what this is, how we live our life, at least, and it might not. Doesn't work for a lot of people. It works for us. Changing things up is good, so monitor your systems. If it stops working, why is it not working anymore? There's a reason you got to go find out where in the puzzle broke down. Satisfaction is not guaranteed. Clients do not see a finished image to approve it. They're not coming to Rachel to get your image. You're coming to get her image of you, her capturing you so we'll replace a book if there's an error or if there's something wrong in the printing. Miller's is great about great about getting that taking care of. But if you don't like it well, you chose the image and you know how she re touches and you know all about this. So that's the image so they don't They don't get the the time sink that that would be to go back and forth on every single finished image with every single client would be just a big of a waste of time for us as the pre client console. And it's starting to shoot by committee. She's an artist. He doesn't shoot by committee, and that's how I present the business. I'm not scared of our client. I want I want a client to have the best time and enjoy the experience, but they don't run what we do, so cut him loose. If there. If somebody is a pain in the neck before they shoot weight toe laughter until they're ordering. And there were that it's not a neck anymore. It's a different part of the body where they're being a pain. And then I think some of the art of photography is being able to make it a business. That's part of the art of it. So sad. It's a big market there. A lot of small towns. There's no but But I live in a small town and Rachel gonna talk on that this afternoon. Grab hold of it. And why not you? We did it. I'm just like you. She's like you. We don't have anybody teaching us. We kind of made it up. It doesn't follow any model that I know of photography. Not all roads lead to Rome, but at least two, 37 15. So if something's not working, try something else. Everything is not a success right away. It takes a while to build things, takes a while to build things. We did it. You can do it. And that's where I'm at. And I have time for a few minutes for questions. That was a power packed warning. Maginnis. I love the way God, I mean, our mobile speechless because all of those air like, Wow, I don't know where to start with questions because because of the limited amount of time that we have, You know what? I think we had a question right here that I promised to get to. Yes, I would like to get that question about well happening. Some guy and said OK, I don't like anything in the gallery on. I don't want to order anything because that is no. What? I expect you can. You like one picture? I'm sure I could get $250 but you're gonna like or $300. So you order one picture. It's minimum order. It's not everything. That's where people Oh, I only have to pay X amount said, Yeah, that's the minimum. But I know you're gonna pay more. I know you're gonna invest more, so it's rare that that happens very rare, and usually it's a body dysmorphic issue. But you made a commitment, and I'm gonna I'm gonna keep you to it. We've had and, you know, you keep someone to a commitment that they made. And then they go out on blast all over the Internet that your the biggest Charlotte in in the business. Well, that's a badge of honor, you know, to actually get it out there good for us, but then go and look at the work. We don't have 17, people on Facebook because we're Charlotte ins. And if you think we are love that so one topic that we haven't really talked about too much that we'd love to get just a brief explanation of your products. What are the products that you offer just really quickly? I'm gonna go Zellers. Okay. So, Rachel, um, we do Miller's and I'll pre sell a little when I'm going over price sing, not prices, and I'll hit. You know, not a lot of women order canvass the size. Rachel's most popular products or books. It's more discreet is a more discreet product. So this is a beautiful Miller signature book, and this is extraordinarily popular. It's got a metal cover, and that's the book. I'm not gonna open it too much because I don't actually know what's in here. My daughter, our seven year old, wanted to bring it to show and tell in first grade. Why don't you bring something different? It's not. Bring that. And the other side of the product question is, of course, digital files. Everyone wants to know how you handle those. Do you give them any digital file? Sent a CD? What do you don't give anything to anybody? You that somebody can purchase them? Absolutely. But don't give anything. You know. It doesn't come with the images, though. In this, you know, this day and age, people expect so you got up. I'm glad you expect that, but here's what you can really expect. We do sell Digital's. We're happy to resell high rez Digital's on. We sell Web ready Digital's you get both of color in the black and white. It's this price for the Web. Or you could get a packet of 12 discounted to this price. What's really popular is how, and Rachel wasn't resistant. She was trying to figure out How can I best serve my client with products they want and feed our Children? How can I best do that with Digital since you came up with a digital signature package? Um, which, the way we looked at it, it's It's priced really well. It sells really well. You're pricing is different than my pricing. Um, clients get a lot of unretouched, a small amount of retouched for 1012 $100 on a beautiful little US big crystal fob that costs us a lot less than this book. So my profit margin on the product, because I already know in boudoir you're not getting a lot of reorders. You're getting a lot of repeat clients. So if you're worried about the reorder in this part of the industry, I wouldn't There's just not a lot of it. It's very, very rare. The only time we get reorders is when we offer ah client session at high rez on disc three years later. But it's it's rare. It's less than 1% of my business, where repeat clients put it 25%. So that's that's how we do it. That I actually was a question that somebody had was how Maney repeat clients do you have? It depends on the city what time of year, but it's it's well into the double digits. Um, and I know that that client originally came from Facebook. I know that for a fact, cause that's where our advertising money has been. So maybe they heard it from a friend who said maybe they heard it. But that's my marketing that sent my sales, and that's where they came from. This is is just a minor question, but because it's part of what we're talking about, platinum imagery is wondering. You talked about the payment plan and how important that husband just a specific. If somebody agreed to say a foreman plan and you collected only three months and then they drop what happens well on the sitting, he or do you? Usually a payment plan is gonna be over the order minimum anyway, and nobody is doing a payment Plan one. It's usually in the thousands. Eso If I've got a couple of months, I'll let it slide. I'm not giving him any images. I've got it in there. That's still money in our bank, you know? And then what happens? Normally it's because life happened to that person. The car engine broke. The kid is sick. I lost my job. My husband lost his job. Well, life happens. So you say, OK, don't worry. Let me just put it on hold for you. I'm not giving that. You're not getting a refund, but that's implied in the conversation anyway, Um, and then in two or three months, I'll say, Hey, I noticed what's going on. I could help you if you help me understand. If you're not helping me understand, just get back to me when you can. But if you're not communicating, I can't help you. Great. One more. I know you've talked about this a little bit, but blessings photog. You've been talking about the invoices going straight to the clients from the from your proofing site. And then what do you do from there? So you order from Miller's or whichever last so that his voice to the client sends an invoice. Invoice comes to me. No money has been charged at this time. That's not automatic. I have to do that by hand. And that's by design, because I want to look over the invoice and make sure that it's all copasetic. You don't have duplicates you don't have, so I don't want it to happen automatically. Um, so I'll get a copy of the invoice and then I'll see it. Then I'll put it into my merchant account software, which is, uh, we use authorized dot net. I showed that at the beginning, that's no secret. So the client probably booked within three months, so I'll just the card that authorized dot net keeps. I don't keep it on my site on my premises. I'll just set up a payment for that evening for a payment plan. Whatever that we've agreed to or for the order the next morning, I'll check my financials. Did that go through? It did. Okay, The invoice goes over to Rachel to go into her Q. And we let clients note, you know she's working every image. It takes a while for you to get your stuff and we don't answer. Hey, when's my stuff gonna be? When's my stuff? It's in the policy we already told you. So we don't We don't get into back and forth If it's agree. Just like every 20 minutes I'm getting an email. Say, read the policy. It's this amount of time before it goes to the printer. Um, I got sidetracked, so the invoice comes to me. It goes to Rachel, and then Rachel works the order. And then it goes to Miller's Miller's, then drop ships to the client. We never see the product. Never see the product. Miller Just awesome. They get beautiful, beautiful stuff, and they've never made a mistake in our line of business. You don't want someone's product going to someone else or to another client, because then you've got to clients that a wondering what happened is my stuff over here. I know what I know what my pictures are. I know what I ordered. I'm you really don't want to ever happen. So you got to be very, very on it when it comes to not tracking the order, but just knowing the correct order. And Miller's never messes it up, and we do hundreds of people a year. One more question. I do have one final question because this is such a strong segment. People are just loving your attitude about business because a lot of people online are not able to do that themselves. I think it's just being confident in what what you're doing. And if you build up to it and you know your products good. So don't sell yourself short. Don't be afraid of it. So one final question because you have said you you've made this up, but you've done it yourself. You've learned so much along the way. What were some of the biggest mistakes that you made that we can learn from and avoid? Advertising wise for us was the big thing was mistake was print advertisement didn't work at all. That was we got a total of carry the 10 calls none. Nothing. Zip on those couple of $1000. Um, AdWords did not work well because I could not. And this was before Facebook. I could not be an archer shooting with a shotgun men, women, but matter. And so I couldn't. It was so frustrating because I knew it could be done. It's just it couldn't be done right then and then. Now it can. And with the new stuff that's coming up not only from Facebook but from other companies for retargeting, and that's a different topic. It's just amazing what you're gonna be able to dio and what you're able. Teoh. It's in its infancy, and I was talking with some other business owners about how huge it is and it's coming great.

Class Description

Becoming a successful boudoir photographer is all about making your client feel confident and beautiful. How else can you expect them to relax, overcome any shyness about their body, and follow your specific posing directions? Boudoir photography is a delicate, intimate art that takes time to hone. Join Rachel Stephens for a three-day course that will cover everything from gear to lighting to posing — and show you how to build a thriving boudoir business in any market.

Drawing on over a decade of experience as a boudoir photographer, Rachel will share the shooting, marketing, and communication techniques that she used to to build a luxury boudoir business from scratch. Rachel will start by showing you step-by-step how to create an amazing high-end experience for your client — from the first contact to the final portfolio. Rachel will also arm you with a plan to efficiently scale your customer service into a national outreach program including strategic multi-city tours.

If you are new to boudoir photography, or want to learn how to make an existing glamour or boudoir business thrive, you won’t want to miss this hands-on, comprehensive course.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Client Policy

Example: 2 Day Schedule

Lightroom Presets

Lightroom Presets Installation Instructions

Client Session Information

Full Edit & Longhand Retouch Partt 1

Full Edit & Longhand Retouch Part 2

Full Edit & Longhand Retouch Part 3

Longhand Retouch Part 1

Longhand Retouch Part 2


Facebook Ad Creation

Full Edit in Lightroom

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

Related Classes


a Creativelive Student

Let me first start off by saying that Rachel puts her subject first. She has a passion for empowering the everyday woman, showing them that Boudoir photography by no means only belongs to the "supermodels". She shows them that they're amazing and beautiful, and it was so comforting and heartwarming to see this in action in her Creative Live course! When Rachel's shooting with a client it's almost like no-one's in the room but the two of them. Rachel gives her undivided attention to the client's safety and well-being and general comfort. I was so glad I tuned in for the course as I learnt countless tips and techniques about lighting, angles, posing, different settings for the different types of shots you'd want to grab. Another reason that watching the class was such a pleasure for me is that Rachel comes across as that awesome, down to earth, lovely friend you might have in your life, who just happens to be one of the BEST Boudoir photogs on the planet! This was an excellent workshop, top to bottom, and I'd recommend purchasing it to anyone who wants to learn everything about this type of photography, including the business side of things which her husband, Sean, explained thoroughly. I have absolutely no idea what a couple reviewers were "disappointed with" but take it from me - this is a STELLAR course and if you're looking to get into the business, or just even honing your skills on photographing the ladies, this is most definitely the course for you! Tons of info - great guidelines on how to handle your models, great info on lighting, lenses and settings! Rachel will make you fall in love with Boudoir photography like your life depended on it! She's just THAT good! So go on, purchase the course and have her invaluable instruction at your fingertips whenever you need it!


I mainly photograph landscapes but I'm interested in learning other types of photography. Being introverted it's a challenge for me to photograph people but I it's a barrier I want to get over. I purchased this course and some others on portraiture and boudoir photography. While Rachel and her husband aren't polished speakers I thought they were honest and straightforward. The "clients" being photographed seemed a bit nervous but I imagine that had a lot to do with the fact they were doing the boudoir session live in front of thousands if not millions of viewers. Rachel also had to keep in mind she was tethered and the recording of the session while photographing her client so I don't think this was optimal and Rachel's back began to bother her so I'm sure she was in some physical pain. Regardless, the resulting pictures were beautiful so Rachel was able to make her clients feel "safe" enough to get through the session. Also it seems part of the audience were women who had been photographed by Rachael so it says something that they came to learn from and support Rachel. I appreciated Rachel was photographing real women, not models. What I liked most about this course is it made me feel like little 'ol ordinary me could be a boudoir photographer too If I am ever inclined to do so. Her style of photography isn't quite mine, but the session was still useful and instructive especially with regard to her lighting set up. I wish Rachel had talked a bit more about setting up the support team that goes around with her like her make up and hair artists, how she finds and decides on houses to rent and what cities she goes to, etc. but I guess you can't go over every single thing in a single course or maybe that can be a future course. Rachel and her husband seemed like a nice down to earth couple who put their family first and they were quite honest about some of the difficulties and their concerns over safety for themselves and their clients. I was touched that Rachel photographs women who have gone through cancer treatment for free as I do volunteer work in a hospital. I thought the bonus and included materials which had Rachel's Lightroom presets and her client info packet was very generous. Some of the other photographers charge for getting a copy of their client documents and presets. I purchased Rachel's eBook off Amazon and wanted to purchase Rachel's Photoshop actions but in searching for the purchase links I read Rachel is going through some health issues, I think it was spinal fusion, and it seems has suspended her business until she recovers. It looks like she plans to still make her "return" sessions starting with Hawaii during April 2017. I wish her and her family the best and will say a prayer for her quick and complete recovery. Thank you Rachel and Sean for coming to Creative Live and I hope you will teach another class or at least participate in a critique of boudoir photographs.


Warning: You are about to encounter a large number of exclamation points. ;-) This was such a great course! It was great to learn boudoir with such a caring, generous, and knowledgeable pair! Rachel really brought it with her posing, shooting, and building rapport with her clients. She even kept going while in intense pain! Also, the sections on retouching were EXCELLENT! I had trouble following the first retouching segment where she used her actions, but then she came back to retouching later and showed us how to do each step "longhand". Knowing what each action is designed for makes such a difference! I feel like Rachel read the audience and saw that we were floundering, and tailored her presentation to just what we needed! Sean was also very thorough in his presentation of the "business" side. It is hard, as an artist, for me to run my business like a business. Sean showed how it can be done. He also showed the need for a strong "why" to focus on when telling others about policies. "It's a business. I need to feed my kids." I need to reach down and find my "why" that will keep me strong enough to stand behind my policies and pricing. I haven't gotten a chance to sit down and go through all of the bonus materials yet, but I am so excited to see what's in there! I saw that Rachel had posted a longhand version of the "little hug," and I watched it, and I have been trying it out on some of my older images. Just that one little tweak makes such a difference! Thank you, Rachel and Sean, for giving us SO MUCH usable content! I'm so glad I decided to watch and then purchase this course! And I can't wait to see the two of you again for your next creativeLIVE!