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The Intimate Business of an Intimate Business

Lesson 9 from: Boudoir Photography

Rachel Stephens

The Intimate Business of an Intimate Business

Lesson 9 from: Boudoir Photography

Rachel Stephens

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Lesson Info

9. The Intimate Business of an Intimate Business

Lesson Info

The Intimate Business of an Intimate Business

I think Rachel did a great job. I'm really excited. And I want to just dive right into it. I'm going to talk about, um, how we do what we do, why we do it. Um, I know there are multiple ways to do everything, but this is how we do it, and I'm just going to get right into it. So I want to go over my 2013 financials just so you get an idea of what it is that we're gonna be talking about. I think it's awesome to have such a wonderful, empowering business, but again we come down to there's business on on one side of it as well. So in 2000 and 13 our business totals. I showed that this morning, and I wanted to make sure that we we're looking at a total annual sales of $329, of revenue. And that's with an $11,000 ad buy of last year. So we have our our total. With our ad buy, we look at a return of investment of 2744%. So that's a number that I could live with. I'm very happy with it. So but where do we place the ads? And this took a long time for us. Toe figure out several years ago of how ...

this was gonna work. Where Facebook. That $11,000 ad buy is 100% on Facebook. Onda. Why is that? Well, how many of of the students in the class how many have a Facebook page? That's everybody. How many have a Facebook account? That's not just a paid that they just use personally as well. I do, too. And I'm sure the crew does. Yeah, that's everybody. And so years ago, while I was transitioning from the career that I had to help Rachel really realize the vocation that she had, I had to figure out. Well, how are we gonna make this a little bigger? How are we gonna afford the life that we're looking for and how are we going to do it? Cost effectively. So I was just getting into Facebook at the time, and I was reading books about landing pages and different and different opportunities that I could have marketing. And so I thought, Well, what if we took a Facebook advertisement and then started specifically moving it over to specific landing pages for cities that Rachel was going to go to. Um, so I brought that up to her, and as you thought, it's interesting. I don't think it'll work, but I think you should try that there. So I did. And within two days I walked back to her. We were having an event in Las Vegas, and I walked into the room and I said, You know, I have 50 emails in two days of people who want information about your Las Vegas event. I think this is something we should really start looking into of marketing strictly on Facebook. And with numbers like that, she was, Hey, let's do this. This is a great idea. So why did we use Facebook? Well, we needed Teoh find out where everyone was. We needed to reach a larger group. Prospects. Um, and people I had tried AdWords. We had tried print, and it was it wasn't working because people, if you look under boudoir in AdWords, it's not a huge search. People don't know they're looking for it. That was that was the key. So in finding Facebook, I was able to target specifically to individuals that were our perspective client. So I had to figure out who was who was our client. What what type of woman was looking for Rachel Services. So been going to Facebook? We needed the broader base, and it's where is we just show? That's where all of us are. I'm there Ah, lot every day because that's how we build our business. That's where our business is. My kids are there a lot. And contrary to popular belief and news reports, Facebook is not dying. It is not dead. It is nowhere close to it in fat. Why don't we look at some Facebook stats just to get an idea of where we're gonna market, too? We have 1,000,310,000 members on Facebook now, Granted, thats throughout the world that's India, China, United States, Canada. Everywhere we have 683 million who used Facebook on a mobile device, so they use it on their smartphone. IPad. So we really needed to be able to market to smartphones and ipads as well on Facebook will allow you to do it because a lot of people I most of time. I'm on my IPad on Facebook. I'm not unlike my desktop. It all 22%. That's the increase in membership in Spate in Facebook from 2012 to 2013. It's death is not imminent now. They've lost teenagers Right now is with Snapchat and different things. But when teenagers go to college where they're going to see their friends, Facebook again, it's just it's kind of part of the fabric of our life in the moment, Um, and it's where we're continuing to find our clientele. 48% of us log in every day, So 48% of 1.3 billion people log into Facebook every single day. 40% of us do it more than once a day, on average, 18 minutes each time we log in over eight hours a month. You, you you may or on Facebook. Now that is a captive audience. And what they've done is they've democratized advertisement for small business. You only used to be a large company that could reach the specific demographics that they're offering you for free. We tell them everything. We tell them what our favorite food is by the restaurants. We go to in interest what our favorite television shows are. When a favorite movie is what music we listen to, It's all sitting right there. I do what you do it. And as marketers we can access it and they give us tools for free on how toe attract. Well, let me let me rephrase that. They give us tools that allow us to find where our client is. Find where our potential market is now. Of course, it costs money to advertise on Facebook. But the tools are part of paying for the advertisements, so you don't have to have tens of thousands of dollars to now Find these people who don't even know about your services yet. How exciting is that you're able to not invest thousands of dollars with A with an advertising company who may or may not be able to find these prospects. Or I remember I did a print ad in Portland for what has $1000. I got zero phone calls. I did $1000 on a click, adds zero. You know why? Because I was just marketing to everybody men that doesn't That doesn't help, you know, 12 year olds who might pick up a magazine That doesn't help. So I really needed to be able to get in. And then Facebook is where all of our clients are. I had to be able to find them, I to be able to cultivate thumb. I had to be able to pique their interest with with the imagery that Rachel had. And also I needed to get them into a system to where I can continually talk to them later. The one thing we need to knew about marketing is marketing is not advertising. Advertising is selling a product. Marketing is opening up a conversation, right? You and I want to talk about this service that Rachel is offering. You want more information from May, and I'd love to give it to you, but I need your email address first. So then that way I could get you more information. I'm not selling you a product at all because I don't sell products. I just give you information and you make a decision on what it is that you want to dio. And once we as business owners and his photographers, once we get away from the mindset of I'm trying to sell a session so I can have money so I can once we get away from our fear and open the conversation and stop selling stuff, then that's when. For us, at least, that was my revelation. That was my epiphany of Oh, this is why it hasn't been working because I was so desperate for your business that I would do anything to get it, and that was allowing us to have any client, not our client. And so it's when you have those paradigm shifts of, of, of how you see things. It's really amazing. And for us, it's very cost effective. I can if I could get an email for 75 cents, that's great. If I could get from 22 cents, that's even better, and that's that's totally doable. If I can by the end of the day have 30 emails, that's pretty good. That's 30 different people who have taken action to get information from me so that I can start talking to him about how best to tailor their their experience with Rachel, right? So to be able to get that and the constant engagement, as we saw in the numbers eight hours a month. Okay, It's not watching NBC for 14 hours a day during the Olympics, which I might have done or not done last week. Um, but that is such a great and powerful way to capture people. And it's passive and you're making them act. You're not acting. You've already got your system Teoh to engage in place, and it's repetitive, and you must be able to repeat a day after day after day and tweak it and come back in. That's why I'm on so much. I'll start an ad in the morning, and it it, too, because it's not doing too well. Then maybe start again at eight o'clock, which everybody starts giving more information a little, little more after dinner. That's what I found. At least now let's talk about cost effective. This is last 28 days, today's February 13th so I'm looking at my results right there. My average cost per click on my top Addis 64 cents. My click through rate on that, um, is over 8% which is these air good numbers. Normally, if you're above five, you're happy. And then in if we look at all the different ads that I have. You can see on my far end of my total spent in the last 28 days. She's coming upto Honolulu, so that's a little bigger. That's a $600 ad buy for the last month. I don't really sold out. And Sean, can I get you to clarify really quick? Are we talking about like, advertisements? Are we talking about like, sponsored posts? Are we talking? What, exactly what exact type of interaction Facebook is this? Well, that's It's a great question because there are multiple ways that you can engage in a perspective with a perspective client. When I am looking for the interaction of I need your email address because I want to open that conversation than I am specifically directing a client potential client to click through to a website and then get their information there. Um, you'll hear never by likes on Facebook, and that's true. And that's tooth. And this is kind of a sidebar because you're bringing up that point. Post engagements and likes are two different things. I rarely boost a post because it seems it has not worked out great for me as a return on investment, but I will make an ad based on a fan page post. It's two different things. Ones a boost. And one is a sponsored story which shows up in the news. Feed my my numbers and I can get those tonight. I don't have them in this. In this presentation, my numbers show that I get MAWR engagement from people. If it's an advertisement and not a boost, and you'll find other Facebook marketers like Mari Smith Show, she has kind of confirmed that as well. And another market or she's the queen and she's got a great book that you should get. And it's called Facebook marketing. Fantastic. Um, really quick. One more. If you don't mind, I'll answer. I'm really great when people throw questions at me and we can refer back and weaken, do whatever fantastic well, UK Photo says when they advertise on Facebook, do you get more response when they promote their page or when they promote individual posts? Okay, so I'm going to clarify the question on two things. If he's if they're saying promote the page, they may mean fan page, um, fan page. I will be promoting for something different I don't I'm not promoting it to give information to people. I might promote the fan page because Rachel's, um it's Teaser Day, meaning that the clients from Honolulu are getting their teasers. Those that have allowed us toe share them with everybody. Um, then I'll then I'll do a sponsored post like Hey, remember, it's Teaser Day and then I'll start getting more engagement on the page, which then shows up in other people's feeds. And it gets exponential. However, to break that question down. If they're asking, Do I send clients or potential clients to a website like Rachel Stevens? Photography dot com? Um, no, no, that's an entire waste of money. You have Just take it. You might as well just send me your money if you're going to send them directly to your website. What you've done is you've opened up everything that you do, which is great, and you want people to know this. But you don't want him to know it on first blush, especially when you're paying for it. Because what are they going to do there? Okay, so I see these pictures. These pictures are great. Oh, look at that gallery. That galleries. Really cool. Oh, look, Squirrel. And then they're off to Google or their off somewhere else. And you've just wasted money. Um, I did that for a week once, and I wasted a lot of money. So you don't want you don't want to do that. And we could get into that. I'm going to get into that in a few minutes about direct it. Where do you direct these people that you're advertising, too today? I'm talking specifically, I'm not talking much about fan pages. That would be a totally different class because it's a different marketing system and you're doing it for different reasons. 11 thing with a sidebar again with fan pages. I'm trying to continue engagement with people who are already here. I'm not necessarily trying to get new likes. I know I'll get new likes if the people who are already there are engaging with me, because then it shows up in their feet and their friends see it, and they say, Oh, hey, what's this? I'm not trying again. I'm marketing information. I'm not trying to sell anything. Um, does that answer that question? Do you think Yeah, I think that's great. thank you for the clarification. Okay? Yeah, because it's to it's to questions in one, Basically, is what I was seeing. All right, so we're talking a little bit about measuring about costs and average stuff. Now I'm at the point now where if I'm going to do, I've got Atlanta coming up and I don't know if you can see it from the the audience, but there to Atlanta advertisements. I'm at the point now, where will do maybe one city at a time, because we travel now. If you're you're in D. C, you could do suburbs. You conspiracy. The targeting opportunities that we now have are something that mad men could only have dreamt off. I mean, if you can get right into the hip pocket of your potential client, that that's it's, it's I'm speechless. That's how good it is. But we can now get there and we can do it. Just like the big companies. The big department stores or the big soda companies are the big, fast food companies to spend tens of millions of dollars on Madison Avenue Will. You can do it now, and I only do it maybe 50 bucks a day. If we look daily. Spend last week, I was hitting Hawaii really quick. So on the nights I spent $106.10 $105 11 80 bucks yesterday. 40 bucks. And today I've only spent $8. So, I mean, it's so it's Teyla Rubble. Because if I know I've got things coming up, I still have two spots available, and I really I really need to sell them. I'll do a re target, which again is a different type of of marketing, that we can go into a different, different class. Okay, so as you can see, my average, uh, cost is the middle client Middle column. You'll see the results, and the next to that is costs. That's my average per click the hot. Usually the higher the cost them or click through rate I was getting. Ah, so I'm looking at 66 cents 31 cents 29 cents 30 cents. 66 is my most, and that was with Atlanta. So they add up. But it's really small amount now that's just clicking through to where I'm designing that potential client to go. That's not getting their email address yet. though they clicked. I'll be able to re target to them later. Everybody knows what a cookie is. All websites have them. So now the stuff Facebook's coming out with. Website um website creation, audience creation wscr. It's W C A. Where I can drop some code on my website. And if you went to my front slash Atlanta page in the last 30 days, I can now push straight to you for a small amount of money and you are already interested. So I in marketing. If you see something three times, you usually take action or it sticks in your head. Are you like Oh, yeah, I was looking at that. I should look at that again, and that's very inexpensive. That used to be extraordinarily expensive. But now, with the advent of what we're, um, what we're getting through, this company has been fantastic. And I know that, and I've gotten it from at conventions. I'll get a lot of people say that doesn't work. You're crazy. I never buy anything on Facebook. Well, you might not, but I have clients who do all the time, and I can show it to you and I can prove it to you. So where do you find your client? Need toe? Let's break it down. You need to become an archer. You need to understand who is your perspective client on that's business that's across the board. Who are you trying to stay now? I am telling, who are you trying to sell that product to eventually, right? How old early? What they like. What don't they like? That's that's a good thing to know as well. Um, in our case there. Female. What's their age range? Who does the most business with us? Not only the most business in booking a session, but who purchases the most what age ranges and that part of building your business. You need to be able to follow mad tricks. Which Facebook, in their insights, also supplies you for free. Look at your Facebook page insights. Okay, so when you go to your admin in Facebook on your page, you can find out who's what. Sex, how old when they come. What time of day When is the most useful time Teoh do a post? Don't do more than to Facebook Fan page post today unless you're showing images Okay. After that, people get really irritated. Um, so as you define that target, you want to move that target closer to you because I don't want to shoot from here. Way over there. I want I want my target right here. I want to be able to hand them stuff. So again that comes mawr with understanding who it is. Where do they live? What's their zip code? Are you? Are you shooting seniors? What's the zip code of the high school where all the seniors are? How old are the juniors that you want to shoot? How old are their parents? How many kids the parents have. So as you start just knowing these things intrinsically from developing your business, that's I keep using the word powerful because it really is. It's you can pinpoint and just have a little add whose you've seen Facebook ads, right? You see it in the in the feed or on the right side. Now the right sides. I think they've got eight of them now that they started out with three. That's when I started with three. It was much more expensive to, and I was told that I that it'll never work, doesn't work, but it does. It works every single day, and I'm happy to show you how we do it. 90 plus 90 equals engagement. How how many characters in a Twitter post 101 90 characters in an ad On the right side, you've got 90 characters to get your message across. If you're trying to sell me something in 90 characters, I don't want it. It's just it's I don't need it. Usually it's It's something tryingto nutrition are weight loss program or something. If you want to engage in 90 characters, we can easily do that. What's the other 90? Any ideas? Human ideas, the live feed if you're so when you advertise, you've got you're live feed advertisement and you're right. Uh, you're right Column advertisement. The 1st 90 will be at the top. Then they'll be the image that your advertising than underneath will be the Web part of the URL that is going to take you to and then another 90 characters. So you get 100 eighties to create that engagement. So you have to be very concise, and you have to be very specific. I haven't changed our as much in several years, and I always end with the same thing and it's get more info. That's a call to action. I'm not selling you anything. I just you want to know more, so you should come this way because I'm just guiding you of where you need to go to get into my system so that I can get you more information. And then that's when you hit the bull's eye right once. Once you've got him by the hand and they've gone to the page you've directed him to. And there's one more thing they need to dio, and that's give you their email address. So when you build a landing page and their books on how to do it, and I'm not in the purview of this class, I don't have time to really get into that. But if you're building a landing page and this is for everybody, don't allow them to do anything but give you their email address or watch a video, but don't have a link to your main page. I don't have a link to a gallery, don't have a link to where it could drive from somewhere else because it certainly will. They need to close that page to be out of it, or they need to hit back. And that will bring him back to Facebook, where your ad probably will still be there again. All right? And even if they haven't given you an email address in the new, very recent last month age, we're gonna be able to re target them in the future for very small amount of money. So I'm gonna just I'm not gonna do an ad for you. That would be too much sitting down and clicking on the computer and tryingto go left and right. But I am going to show you the interface. This is the be the archer. This is when you go into your Facebook advertising app. Now, a lot of you. I don't know if who's done and add anyone. How is your response? I only had one. People got to my Facebook page and then liked it, right? So it was a lot. It was No, no, no. That's an okay one that's an okay to to engage for Paige likes. That's great. And I should have expounded on that a little earlier. What I mean by don't buy likes don't go to a separate company that advertises. Hey, we can get you 5000. Facebook likes for 4 99 Facebook will kick you off, right? First, Who wants that? It's not about likes anymore. It was in the beginning. It was about Hey, look, 8000. Wow! Now it's about how many people are engaging. How much are we talking to each other, right? I mean, likes or just a number. It's the conversation. That's what's important. So when you did, you get likes from it. Yeah, see? So it was. Does the algorithm is designed to do what it's advertised to do? This is clicks toe website, um, the others air clicks, a fan page or a nap or mobile device, things like that.

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

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!

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