Skip to main content

photo & video

Boudoir Photography

Lesson 5 of 28

Shoot: Maintaining a Connection with Your Client

Rachel Stephens

Boudoir Photography

Rachel Stephens

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2000+ more >

Lesson Info

5. Shoot: Maintaining a Connection with Your Client

Lesson Info

Shoot: Maintaining a Connection with Your Client

So what I'm gonna do for this is I'm just gonna go ahead and I'm going to conduct this like a normal session. So I'm not gonna turn and talk to you guys, so I'm just going to pretend like we're gonna pretend like nobody else is here. I love it. That would be fantastic. Okay. What are we doing with you today? You're here for you, For someone special. For me. I Even when I was thin, I was fat. And I've let men kind of dictate how I feel about myself. And I feel for myself and for my daughters that I want them to see me as beautiful. No matter what my size is beautiful is really, really kind of wanting to be empowered. Yes. So this is a big deal for you? Yes. Is like owning yourself. Yes. Thank you for coming here and doing it on such a public venue. Well, I'm honored. So awesome. So we're gonna go ahead and we're gonna do that one minute client rant. So what, um, I'm gonna do is let you just get all your insecurities out in one minute, and then we're not gonna bring him up again. So basi...

cally, it's just like a and just let it push it aside, and then we're just gonna focus on having fun. If you're gonna having fun, you're gonna love the images. So we want to get you in that head space so you can just tell me, like, what areas you are sensitive about. Probably my stomach and mostly my rear end and my thighs. Okay, so in those are the areas I'm probably most secure insecure about insecure about. Yeah. Okay. Cool. Well, that's easy. Awesome. Let's get it done. All right, so we're going to start standing. Who? You're tall. You're gonna give me shin splints. No, no, no. All right, girl. Okay, so gonna have you take one little step towards me. Stop right there. We're gonna stand nice and tall. They're gonna roll your hips back behind you. So booty back boobs, boobies front. Exactly. Hands like this gonna kick the hips side that feel comfortable for more comfortable this way. That's good. Okay, so I love the way you just staggered your shoulders. Some have you? Yeah. Perfect have become like this. So when we put our hips back like this, sometimes we tend to bring our head backwards, so we don't want to do that. We want toe bring our chin forward. There you go. Perfect. I know. Way can have, like this much compassion for models. Now, wait, No, this much beautiful. So you want to keep your your legs block? I'm locked. So a little further apart. Let's bring one foot out. Just a little toes out. There it is. Kicked the hips This way. There it is. Perfect. Lean forward. Just a little bit. Boobs front. Not too much. A little less right there. Let's take the hair a little bit. There it is. Oh, this is a work out. All right, so I'm gonna Do you have any issues with your back or your knees? No. Okay. Someone. Have you Neil come forward towards any celebrity and these apart? So you married? Yes. How long? Seven years. Congratulations. Happy anniversary. It's about how long I've been with Sean. I'm amazed he's survived this long. Keep threatening mind that if he doesn't behave, I'm gonna bury him in the backyard. Exactly. I'm like I watch a lot of cold case files. I will get away with it. All right, So we're gonna bring that shoulder in like this, and then you have your hands right on the top of your thighs like this. We're gonna come down like that exactly. And turn your face this week. I'm just gonna open this up just a little bit, and I mean, there's a little hair here on the bulletin. Okay? Not getting fresh. That's extra beautiful. Gorgeous. Smile. Okay. We're gonna have you lay on the floor. I know my stomach. We're gonna have you lay on your back, so I'm gonna have you put your head about right here. I'm loving this would with your coloring, So let's come this way a little bit. I've I've scuff the floor, lift your head for me a little come down. We'll look at those eyes. So you're gonna bring shirt over the shoulders like this? Just a little. There you go. Then. You're just kind of hold it in here like this. There you go. And kind of like this. We're sensitive about this area a little bit, so we're just gonna start like this. So we're gonna kind of, like present the boobs like today I one time I had a client should hair, like, all the way down here. And it was a really hot day, and I was doing her hair and she fell asleep on me. Oh, no pins right here. There you go. Turn your head this way for me. Beautiful. And I was gonna fix your necklace. How old Your daughters? 25. 20. You're here. Excited. My son even knows here. Was he like, Oh, gross. Mom, that's awesome. Good job, Mom. All right, How you feeling? Your eyes are watering. All right, So what we're gonna do is we're just gonna have I like the where the knees up. You're gonna bring the other neo a little bit more. And then the left one, you're gonna go half mast with it and then pin, um, shut like this. They're gonna kind of let your knees come this way a little. And then your hip goes out that way, little so, like the butt down and lift your chin. Sweet. Perfect. And slide the bottom of your head this way a little bit. Yep. Right there. Like people origami. I get a tissue. Please bring that shoulder up toward the ceiling like this. There it is beautiful. Thank you. Of course, my nose would start to run and lift it like this. Dutiful Hold that. Say I'm working too gorgeous. Lift your chin towards me some more. Relax your forehead. Close your eyes. Relax. That forehead. Take a deep breath out through the mouth. Oh, yeah. Rare. All right. Who? Okay, PICO? I would hope so. I'm gonna actually have you sit on your hip with your elbow. Um, anchored on the side of the couch you're selling for on. Let me see your hands. Come this way out You. So you're gonna come this way? Come this way. More motion. Yeah, I want you like this. So other way we'll get it. We'll get there. And what's my excuse? Perfect. That feel comfortable? Nice. You live locally if you live locally. Oh, you are fellow Portland. Er yes. Okay. Point your toes. There you go. And keep looking down at your foot for me and pop your chin just a little bit. There is right there. Beautiful. Don't move. That's gorgeous. Is that hubby's shirt? I to me. Beautiful. Now that elbow like this, you're gonna go ahead and bring it like that. Perfect what was more sexy Lingerie or his shirt? Nice. He wants to be a part of it. So this whole journey for you, the accepting and really centering yourself with who you are now is this something that has been going on in other ways as it led you here. Where is this? Like your starting point? Um, I think it's kind of led me here. I'm just tired of letting dictate do you? And how I feel about Yeah, I think it is women we tend to do that to, You know, we tend to allow other people to put us in a box, and then we find out we're living our lives. Four other people, and then we forget that were women inside, you know, you're gonna lean in towards me a little bit more. There it is. Perfect in your turn. Look that way for me and partner lives. And I said to me Beautiful, relax your forehead, Eyes to me. Oh, yeah, Gorgeous. Oh, beautiful tonight because I just turned this on and push that that is all. You girl. Okay, let's have you go ahead and hop up on the couch for me. And let's have you go ahead and lay on your belly. Are you comfortable taking the shirt off? Okay, let's go ahead and lose the shirt, and then we'll revisit the shirt on the bed. Is that quote? I'm just gonna put it over here, so I don't forget because have you on your belly and your scooch down perfect. Gonna bring your feet up this way and you're gonna let your knees, like, come apart, like, you know, the abduction machine at the gym. Not that I'm great familiar with it. You don't go to the gym, but you're gonna keep that. So you've When you bring your knees out like that, you kind of feel the booty pop. So you want to kind of hold that right there, and then we're not gonna cross the feet. We're gonna just gonna keep them staggered. Three point the toes. So in here. This one here, I'm gonna go ahead on the tech tags. Okay? It's hard. You on your husband made I really like match or eHarmony match. That's awesome. I thought that I did it very long, but I thought online dating was so cold. You know, like shopping. Like I don't like that like you. Nothing, Right? You know, right? It's cool to have that, uh, kind of like, filtering process, You know, it be great. If if that was real life, turn your head this way. I thought it was so funny to one dating sites, cause you look and it's like you always see, Like, the pictures have been lifting up like their mother abs. Or like, you have a thing like someone poked. You always think that Be so we're like, in the real world like you go to a bar there. Guys like lifting their shirts, poking. You think how we interact nice and tall. Bring the head up. Beautiful. So you're gonna bring one foot closer to the but on the other there ago. Point those toes keep the knees out. Part the lips. Yep, yep, yep, yep. Keep looking this way for me. Don't move your head but ice to me. Bring that shoulder in a little until different this way. Oh, great. Now really? Out here. It's okay. You can laugh at me. What is your ethnic background? We get those eyes with your ethnic background. German, Danish. Do you have family? Still after you never get to visit. Supposedly, we do. But we don't know of them. No, to speak the languages. I would love to learn. German just sounds like such a authoritative, forceful one of my daughters. Yeah, eyes drift this way. And down here, right here in part. The lips for me. The ice to me, please. Gorgeous. So how does have you feel about your journey? He's on board. Awesome. You guys like doing things together to kind of like it. Ride the adventure. Kind of break yourselves out of the comfort zones and hold up nice. Some we have. You lay on your back, you're scooch down this way. Just a little bit feet up here, and we're gonna have your head kind of almost tip off. There we go. Here. It's like I'm playing with dolls. Turn your head this way. I'm sorry I'm sweating on you. You all right? So this one straight, this one bends and bring the knee up just a little bit more. There you go. Perfect. And bring the knees this way a little bit, You arch and relax the shoulders down. I'm not Bring this off. That call. I hope that someday I have that relationship with my daughters were, like, support me to do things that air, like out of the box. You know, my girls have been really good. That's awesome. That's just a testament to how you raise them to be nonjudgmental. And, you know, I told him from the beginning Don't ever Yeah. So you're helping them just love their bodies Now, that's wonderful. I think too many people are to open with, you know, I don't like my butt or I'm gonna diet or whatever. And that's what we kind of, you know, teach our daughters without meaning to lift her chin ice to May. Perfect. Told that beautiful hope that have to. So when we look up at me, you're gonna bring your face back like this a little more until your head. This way. Beautiful. Hold that. Put both hands on top your thighs. There you go. And bring those. It's Instead of doing this, we're gonna kind of come in this way a little more. There you go. Turn your head this way. Perfect. Oh gorges Close your eyes. Part your lives. Beautiful. No, I was writes me Boom! Yes! All right, girl. Well, pretty hot, huh? All right, so you want to do some bed shots? Okay. So are there any questions? Yes. While she's changing, we would love. I know that this section is all about of the connection and connecting with clients. But course, our audience out there also would love to know just basic lighting set up that you are using so well, while she's changing, Maybe we could take a second just to talk about the lights that use Sure, I use Ah, Lowell Reef 88. It's 1000 watt tongue tungsten bulb with a very simple, um, diffusion on the front white diffuser diffusion. And it's set up on an umbrella, so it literally sets up and breaks down 60 seconds. So I'm all about, like, getting in and out as fast possible. So this rig does required me to have a little bit of a longer case than I'd like, but it's better than having the soft box or having to put all the things in that you're sitting there struggling with it. I absolutely love the umbrella system. So just want talk to students here. What did you notice during this last segment? like that was Did anything stand out to you the way that she was talking anything like that? I mean, to me, what was really interesting was that she kept bringing it back to that journey to the way that that this is this is all about the subject. Who was it in the chat room? I love see a joy. So maybe someone from the CIA is watching. Um, she says Rachel is so nourishing, nurturing she actually removes herself from the equation in a way and makes it again all about the subject. So Rama Earth can't say the names today. Rachel. Question for you. Robin has a question saying if a client really hates a part of her body, do you stay clear from it, or will you shoot it in a flattering way to try and show them how beautiful in its I've had clients before? So basically say Just shoot me from here up. And I will abandoned that as they get comfortable. So, you know, like if a client's really self conscious about her middle or her, but then I won't showcase it, but I definitely try to get some in images in there just so you know, she has the opportunity to see herself in a new light. And she might love it rather than just abandoned ship and not even giving her that option. Well, and I think, as we talked about with one of your sirens, that is how you became the Naked Whisperer. Naked lady Whisper, I think. I think, you know, again letting people break that down. That's right. I think that Deborah, are we ready, Teoh? Ready to go again? All right, so for these, let's go ahead and let's lose the necklace. I need help. Oh, gosh, I really need glasses, but I'm so I'm such a klutz. I know that. I like taking out. All right, so I'm going to get the fan on us because I'm hot too. It's actually I'm just being really selfish because I'm hot, so I'm gonna help you, and you've got the covers on, so I'm gonna help you once were up there kind of adjust. Things will pull the robe after the sheet is covering you. Is this on? No. Is one is this lowest? Right? This fan is no joke. Oh, okay. No, I'm just gonna stand over here for a little bit. So going. Okay, So we're gonna go ahead and gonna see where this is. Okay? There's, like, no preparing for this on. No. Well, I commend your courage. I know this isn't easy to do. Especially with the added everything else. So you're gonna go ahead and hop up on the bed for me, and let's just go ahead and start laying on your side onto something a little different than I did last time. So I'm gonna have you lay on your side with your head here. Looks that way. Yeah, feet that way. In your latest way, on your side, And we're gonna bring the sheet this way. So you're gonna turn the other direction like you're gonna have head here feet that way, facing out this way, like, yes, that's fine. I was just trying to be no electric. No, you're right. Cause the sheets open and back. You've got a little added. Um, little added things I have to think about with the cameras, so Oh, I love what you're doing right now, though. Don't move. Do you feel like more like relaxed, though without the clothes? Is that weird? Like I don't even like to look at myself naked in the mirror, but like, whatever the closer almost like. So let's bring this knee out just a little more. This way. Perfect. So here the sheet, you can go ahead. We'll go ahead and pin it with your armpits. There you go. And we want a little cleavage. That's okay. So nothing's nothing's showing. You're good. You're gonna cross your wrist like this and just relax. So we want to make sure that we don't ball up the fist because sometimes you don't even aware you're doing it. I'm just going to show a little back, all right? Can you feel the family? You want the fan? A little more better? No, I can't get it to stay. Great. Now it's gonna vibrate. All right? Do you still feel that? But oh, thank you. Happens. Raised with mechanics. Oh, yeah. So you're handy. That's hot. Like a tool belt. And we'll do a two bolts shoot like the old eighties hair band videos. Oh, yeah. A little bit. Not too much. Just a tiny bit. Tell your head this way. Yes. Are you gonna bring this elbow out? Just a little you go and they're gonna come like this. So we want the hand over the hair behind the ear. Kind of fluff it a little bit. Perfect. I feel comfortable. I don't want to get out there with you. We've done here early with cuddle. Oh, that's good. That is awesome. I just keep thinking because my girls are five and seven and, uh, my seven year old she she says, My mommy helps my helps. Ladies love themselves. It's like she totally gets What? Ideo? I'm hoping that, like when she's older and you know, adult, that we can share that kind of same relationship that you facilitated with your daughters. I just respect admire that so much. Oh, already have you quickly rolling. That's what. Your head right here and become this way just a little bit. Like the time just goes by like that. Okay, So do you want to keep the sheet over you, or do you wanna have the ones where you're holding like this? And it's you want to that? Okay, So hold, um, underneath the sheet first, and then I'll pull it down and make sure that your nipples air underneath your Palm's. I'm just gonna peak and make sure, Okay, We're good. We're clear. And I'm just gonna pull this down a little bit, okay? So we don't get the line. Okay? So you bring this one down just a little bit right there, pitch together like that, Come down. That's right. The I like to call it the ridden, hard put away wet hair, which never looks like the magazines, you know. All right, So you stretch your shoulders down and the space comes back like this, your papa shoulder forward. Turn your face towards that shoulder elbow, Dale, eyes up to me, or just turn your face towards me a little more beautiful, okay?

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!