Skip to main content

photo & video

Boudoir Photography

Lesson 2 of 28

Creating a Nuturing Experience for Your Clients

Rachel Stephens

Boudoir Photography

Rachel Stephens

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2000+ more >

Lesson Info

2. Creating a Nuturing Experience for Your Clients

Lesson Info

Creating a Nuturing Experience for Your Clients

for the experience. And I think this is kind of what what started drawing people to my, um my fan page is because my whole thing is about empowerment, and it's about nurturing the client. And it's about this relationship where you're providing a safe, non gentle, not nonjudgmental space for this person to get her sexy on, and it's okay and let's celebrate it. And it's awesome. No matter what, how old you are, what shape or you know, if you've had stretch marks from kids are you know you've had issues in your past with abuse, you know, So women care. Everyone has a story. So to be able tohave this environment that's very healing for women. They can have fun, it becomes addictive. And it's something that I'm very, very adamant about carrying on into my social media outlets and very Facebook focused and on my Facebook page, part of the experience is not only just leading up to the session, your shopping and you're getting ready and you're getting in the head space. Then you have your sess...

ion and then you are waiting for your proofs and you're excited. And if you allow me to showcase your image. I'm gonna put your teaser up before you get your proofs And people. Women are like they, like live for this, like waiting for their teaser to go up because they know that it's gonna go up. They want to see it, but they want to see the comments. And it's like, Where else do in life Do we, like, put up a picture of us? And like all our glory and other women, strangers are like, Oh, you're so beautiful. I love your eyes. You have the most beautiful I love those shoes like just like compliments free. You know, not not wanting anything from you. So when um, we've we've heavily police are page because there are Internet trolls. People tend to be very emboldened by, um, the an enemy of being behind a computer. So I, um, Bannon delete, I don't even it's not a conversation. If you take the opportunity to tear someone down on my page, you're gone. And you know, some people get upset that they think it's like messing with freedom of speech. But, you know, this is my work. This is my brand. These are my ladies. And I'm gonna protect him, and I don't care what anyone else says. So here we have a testimonial. Got my book hysterical, crying, hiccups and all. Whose pictures are these? You found beauty and eloquence that I've never seen. In all the years I've looked at me, you saw beauty I've never seen in a mirror. Thank you. So this is, um when I'm talking about a healing transformation, a nurturing this is what I'm talking about. And when I get this, these kinds of this kind of feedback, it just pulls me right back. And I'm just like, I am so lucky because, you know, it's hard, especially when you know, I've got I went back on the road two weeks after I delivered my babies by C section. So I'm kind of like a weekend warrior. You know, I'm kind of like, ERM into it, but you know, they're your, but it takes a toll. Sometimes you're come home with 30,000 images after a weekend that I have to go through and pare down each client toe 40 to 60 for their proofs. It's a lot of time on the computer. So sometimes that gets a little, uh so this when I when I get these very riel heartfelt testimonials and just it's just really feedback. Just emails are voicemails. It's just like Okay, this is this is all worth it. This is why I'm doing it. So we've discussed the online sisterhood, and I think what's really important when you have your fan page, A lot of people look at the number I've got no likes and, you know, do we don't want it to go down. Um, we don't want it to go down. I don't really care about the number of people on there. I care about the quality of people that are on there. I want to know that maybe you may never have a session. But, you know, maybe if you're watching the pictures on there, you're watching the interactions. I want to know that you're enjoying the experience in a way that is, um, empowering you. That is not some from a negative place. So I really for boudoir photography really recommend that other people also really police their page and keep control of it. Um, your client has feelings. It can completely ruin the experience for her if she comes on your page, and she sees her teaser image and someone's tearing her apart. That can ruin everything. I mean, I had a, um, fear of public speaking for 30 years just because I mispronounced the word tidy in English class. When I was in fifth grade, I said titty and I recognized the irony. But the smallest thing can change everything. Your perception, everything. This experience is so beautiful for your client. You want to make sure that you're doing everything that you can dio to protect that for her. Um, and I know that I discussed the whole critiques thing, especially when other photographers air on your page. I don't really care about critique. It's not something that I value that I feel like it really does anything for me. It doesn't empower me. It doesn't help me make my work better or help me in any way. So that's something that I stay away from. Um, and that's something that I don't allow, you know, on the image, even if it's a photographer saying will oppose looks awkward or that's too much photo shop or whatever its ban Italy as well, that's That's me. You know that maybe a little hardcore, but I am very passionate about what I do, and I dio really care about my clients. So I do get kind of Mama Bear, which is why I have earned the title Mama siren, which is what my ladies call me products. So when I travel like when you travel, everything's weight sensitive, so I have to keep everything under £50. I try not to travel with more than two cases. Um, this is my product display. I travel with two other little books. Um, and that's it. These books down here in my travel display these or what I want to sell. So there are digital images. People come by. I just finally did cave and I started offering the print files. That's something I haven't done up until, like last year. I started doing it just because, you know, and there's so many great places people can go print canvases now don't have to go to Costco anymore. Um, so trying to be, uh, competitive and stay in front of the you know what's trending is important. So I just finally said, Okay, fine. And that's been doing well. I have Ah, little crystal clear. Um, custom flash drives with my logo stamped on it that are with metal. So they're nice and heavy. Um, I ran out of them. I should have had one with me. I'm sorry I ran out. Um, we proof an order online. So the clients after her session, she gets her proofing gallery, and then the proofing gallery goes right to ordering software. So we have our website are proof and gallery and are ordering vending software through the same company into the dark room, and they have more generous enough to do giveaways. And I believe discounts as well. They're awesome people. Customs support is amazing. Ah, highly, highly recommend them. Um, so we're all paperless. We don't up sell, we don't We don't do presentations and anything like that. Um, the way that I get around that is a client never, ever season unretouched image. And that's a lot of work. But I started writing my actions. Teoh fast track my post production process. And when I started teaching two years ago, I realized this is really something that is so ingrained in what I do. I'm just gonna package it to sell it So I worked very, very heavily with my actions and I have bath actions. So once I get all my deletions, I batch my my batch them down into approving folder, which are smaller PS teas. And then I have the working layers on it and, like, literally takes me Aiken dio, you know, seven or eight client proofing sets in six hours, so it's really, really fast. But the the client is saying all the things that they don't want to see her gone, pretty much so, they're getting idea of of the polishing that that's gonna happen. Um, and then I never seen my product. So once they order, I drop ship straight from my lab. And that's why I, like, kind of freaked out and got emotional When I saw these big prints on the walks. I've never seen my work print. It's a large. I was like, Wow, that's really nice. So it's really important to have a lab that you trust that is competent. I mean, you know, I'm working long hours. Sometimes, you know, you might hit the hit the brush key instead, and you put a white dot on the quarter in the image. You don't notice it. And you send it up in a pro book that's gonna cost you 200 bucks to make my lab calls. Means like there's a dot on this image, she might want to send a new one. So they are on it. They they're amazing. I used Miller's labs who have also I think they're doing some giveaways. Yeah, I'm gonna have to call myself out real quick. So I, of course, cause Murphy's law. I pinched their finish nerve in my holder. So if you guys see me doing this, I'm not getting all excited and doing jazz hands. I'm getting these electric shocks down my arm, so I apologize. If this looks weird, it's just Yeah. All right, everybody. Sean, do you want Teoh talk about this? I already talked about my end of it, but Sean is the one who also he does all the pre shoot correspondents. I see the client at their session, and then I I just I'm hands off. He then deals with all the ordering. So do you want to talk about your end this? Sure. Yeah. His Rachel is Rachel said she never sees the product we don't present, Um, we give the clients. They're proving galleries on Bennett's. It's their responsibility to place their orders. We don't sell anything. I'm there to answer technical questions. If there's a problem with the gallery or how do I do this? How do I do that? But we will get the question. Do you like 11 by 14 or 16 by? It's really up to the client. We don't want to push sales on them because we really it's still the whole experience, the whole empowerment. It's more about the session and what they take away from it, and they just happen to buy pictures of it. Eso we really don't push sales at all with clients, and then we just let Rachel's work sell itself. That's that's where we're at in her her level and where she is in her career, is here the images and what would you like? Teoh? What would you like to work with Rachel coming on back? And then this was our last slide. So I guess we could open upto some questions and questions here, and I'm gonna leave because she's so much better than me. Thank you. Shot and yeah, So for people who may have missed the pre show. Sean is Rachel's husband and also business partner runs the business side, so he'll be in and out throughout the workshop to help answer questions and teach some of the business side of boudoir. But for now, Rachel, we want to focus on kind of what we've been talking about. For the most part, Liu, who says, What does Rachel mean by telling their story? What does that mean, really? This is one of the most difficult parts of this niche. How is that illustrated via images or the session? Can you talk a little bit more about this story of each of your clients? Absolutely. I think that, um as women in our culture, we are conditioned to be certain things. And you know mothers aren't sexy, and you can't be sexy when you are professional, because then you're not respected. And there's all these kind of this stigmas placed on women, which I completely don't agree with. I think that you should just be able to be yourself and be open and free. However, that's not the world we live in. And I understand that, especially if you're working in corporate America are the military, or you know what? Not, um, when you have the opportunity to work with a client for booed war, you're giving her a safe place to take all that and push all that aside. So when I when I when I say tell your story what that really means is be yourself Unbridled when you can't anywhere else or first whatever reason you feel like you can you can just bu Not you the mom, not you, the professional. Not you, the wife. You're just you, the woman. It's beautiful. Thank you. From love story boudoir. How do you deal with women that you felt had beautiful photos but they still think they look bad. Do you experience that? Are you know where we are? Our own worst critic? So tell me a little bit about when that happens. Dealing with with other people's body dysmorphia is something that you deal with. I mean, I understand it. Although minds kind of reverse like I think I look awesome. And then I see a picture myself, and I'm like, I look like that. I understand that for other women, it's kind of the reverse I try, Teoh facilitate the most empowering experience that I can for them. However, some people in their head they look at picture themselves and make it cannot get past the flaws. The way that you know, this is a business. You want everyone to feel great. But this is a business. So I did mention that I'm all business, that front. I have this policy that all my clients have to agree, Teoh. And part of that policy is that there's a order minimum. You have Teoh meat, and this is not satisfaction guaranteed. We don't guarantee that you're gonna love your images. We'll do everything we can that you So you will. But this is a business. Thank you. How do you I guess Follow that. How did you make sure that they actually do follow through with the order meant? Because that's something that I feel like that would take a lot of my effort. A lot of my free time doing that. Yeah, there is. There is amount of chasing involved, but it depends on, you know, I don't know what the laws are in the different states. You'll have to look up and see what the law is for like, an account. How long an account has to go past you before you consented to collections. And we have a company report to all three collection agencies if they don't meet their minimum. Okay, get one from average photo going back to kind of when you got started and the process of becoming who you are now during the average photo says during the fake it till you make it process. What do you do when your images don't meet your standards? How do you convey this to the client while making sure you don't lose them as a future client? Have you ever had to do reshoots? I mean, what's what's the process when you're still learning? There are a lot of people out there who are new, and I want to figure out how to do this, right. I would say, Be patient with yourself and be realistic. You're not going to start out being You're gonna be where you are. So that's where your pricing will reflect. I mean, you're not gonna come into this charging, you know, $2400 for a book. You're gonna come into this starting you know, I don't really know what the starting pricing is, but you look in your area for whatever other portrait photographers that you feel like you are your works in line with and start there. Um, I feel like it's very difficult, especially for type A personalities to be patient with yourself because you do have this idea in your head of where your work should be. But I think that it's important to recognize what that really is, which is a drive and not put the expectation on yourself of Okay, My my knowledge and my technique is here. I need to be right here, so you have to be able to be patient with yourself and recognise that's just drive, and that's a part of your journey and you'll get there.

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!