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Boudoir Photography

Lesson 11 of 28

Why to Lose the Pre-Shoot Consultation

Rachel Stephens

Boudoir Photography

Rachel Stephens

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Lesson Info

11. Why to Lose the Pre-Shoot Consultation

Lesson Info

Why to Lose the Pre-Shoot Consultation

I'm just going to talk a little bit about really quickly, just hit on some of the things that I feel like I didn't have the time toe really address yesterday. It wasn't until yesterday till coming to Creativelive that I really realized how unconventional we are in what we Dios. So I just wanted Teoh have an opportunity for you guys to understand a little bit more on why we do things. Um, it's the way that I do things. It's not the way to do things. So I am in no way up here trying to teach anybody, though way to do anything. It's just the way that I do it. What works for me. I think that it's an amazing opportunity for me to be able to be up here sharing my knowledge so that you guys out there can glean what you feels valve valuable to. You apply it to your practices, make more money and have more time free time in your life to spend it with the people that you want to spend it with. Um, I only use one light. I will mix lighting if I have the opportunity with window light or with my go...

bo light, but I only am one main light shooter. I learned that way. I mentioned the floodlights clamped onto the paint cans. I learned that way, and I just kind of kept it on that way. Um, I use continuous light, and I have talked about that. Why? I like to use continuous like I like real time. I don't like wasting my time fiddling with light meters and why this isn't working. I'm sure if I was better, it strove. Maybe I would love stroke, but I personally love continuous light. It's simpler. I'm all about keeping it simple. What works for me? Um, my brand is my client and whatever, however anybody else builds their business, builds their brand around their business is totally awesome for me. I don't have a brand that I have my clients fit into when they come to me. My client is my brand. So I am going Teoh, Give them a polished image is what my clients come to me for. And if anything, I get more, um, resistance from clients because they want more retouching. And I don't want to go there with, um because I want to be able to polish them and them still look like them. Um, And as Faras the retouching goes, This isn't the retouching isn't like what I've decided. I'm going to dio This is all based on supply and demand. So it's what, you know, the retouching notes, the conversations that I'm having with my clients while we're shooting Well, you know, they get into their broad panties, but you're gonna retouch this right, and you're gonna retouch that. So these are all kinds of things that you can note when you're shooting. And while I do agree that, um, in a perfect world, we wouldn't have hang ups about our bodies This isn't a perfect world. So being a photographer of women I and being a woman and I have my hang ups with my body and being a mother of daughters, it's very important for me to have a business and to be doing and leading by example to teach my daughters to love themselves no matter what. I believe you can love yourself, but not totally love your body. I don't think those two things are hand in hand. I don't think that if you don't love something about your body, then it. Then it means that you don't love yourself. I reject that. So I think that it's completely fine to be able to show a woman how to love herself, even if you're taking away something that's on her body that she doesn't like about herself. I don't think that that's showing her something. That's not really I mean by that rationale. Why do we wear makeup? Why do we wear bras? Why we wear high heels. Spanx. So I could go on for entire day about this. But I don't have that time. So one of the issues that not issues but one of the things that came up that I just was really having a difficult time explaining to people was appreciate constant consultation. Why? I don't do that. I honestly did not have any idea that it was such a big deal. Like nobody else doesn't dio Um so I'm just going to get into why I don't do them. Number one is time. Um And you know, the fact that I do travel I don't have a studio that people can come to me beforehand on. Do you know I travel in on a Friday. I leave on her Sunday night or Monday. My whole thing is I'm gonna work really, really hard in those days so that I can get home to be with my kids. I'm not going to spend an entire extra day or two with my with my client volume sitting, having consultations. If I had a studio, maybe I would build that into my pricing where they could come in for a consultation. But it's just something I don't do. Even if I phone consultation, then you're talking 30 minutes an hour on the phone with each client before their sessions. And when it comes to shooting women, women want to tell you their story. So you're on the phone with them and there you can't be like, OK, so it's been 20 minutes. We need to get off the phone when they're telling you about how their husband died of brain cancer and they haven't been able to move on with their lives, and they've lost who they are as women. So just a little bit of mouth for you guys. Let's say I have I. I, as of last year was shooting two events a month. This year. I'm doing one of in a month. Let's let's base it on last year. So 50 clients a month. Let's say conservatively, you spend 45 minutes with a client for a preacher shoot consultation. That's 37 a half hours a month that you're spending on pre shoot consultations. That's, Ah, full work week you've got. That's 12 weeks a year that you're spending your time doing consoles and I don't know about you. But when I was doing phone consoles, that wasn't part of my pricing because my pricing, my session pricing was still pre load. My session price is still pretty low. That's 1.75 years of memories with my seven year old daughter that I now have because I don't spend that time on the phone with clients. That's how I've designed my life. It's what's works for me, for my family. I've mentioned before that Sean and I have worked really hard to design our lives so that we have the maximum time with our kids and with each other is possible, and my clients never feel short changed. I've never had anybody complain that they don't get to talk to me or see me first. Ever. People come in to see me, they're happy to be there. We have a great connection. We have a great time. No one ever says, Well, if I just had an opportunity to talk to her first, this would have been so better for May. Never. How I facilitate not having appreciate consultation. I mentioned before that, like a mullet, I'm all business in the front and all party in the back. So when a client is enquiring, there's information on the website. They can call Sean and ask questions. There's F a Q, the basic things that we all put up for the putt for the public. And there's the policy link. The policy might scare away a lot of people. That's okay. I want them to their They're not my client. Everyone is not my client. This is a boutique business for a niche market. Not every you're not there to please everyone. You're just there to say this is how I do things. And I'm happy to service you that this is the way that's gonna be done. I sent in session information packet to all my clients who book once they get through that process, and I know that they're gonna be able to it here, they know the policy and that they know what to I expected them and what they can expect from me. Once we get past that point and they book their session, then they get a session information packet. For me, it's long winded. It's very long. I'm always very embarrassed when people bring it out but printed out and bring it to their session something you know, I type really fast. I spent a lot of time on the computer. I don't realize how long it actually is until people printed out, and every year the thing just keeps getting longer and longer. But it reveals more of my personality in this document. I speak in my own voice. It's not just these are the rules. This is in my own voice. It's light. It's fun. It as there is 99% of all appreciate questions. When you're on the phone doing consultations or you're meeting with a client doing consultations, you're answering the same questions over and over and over. Now, if I have a client who sends me an email or send us an email. And it's a situation where, you know, maybe she's coming out. She's trying to heal from, Ah, disease, cancer. Or she just left an abusive marriage or something, you know, really emotionally heavy. And she wants to Teoh empower herself. And she wants to reconnect with herself as a woman as a female and start a new chapter of her life. I offer I will talk to them if they want Teoh most the time. It just takes a couple email exchanges and they're feeling like they're pumped. They're ready to go. Some. Some people just need that, like, personal. Hey, I got your back. It's gonna be fun. Don't Don't worry, girl. We're gonna help. We're gonna do this. And I'm proud of you. That's all they needed. Sometimes Emails. Fine. But if in those cases I do make myself available, all of this stuff is automated. So once they book, it's just links that you send out to people. They read it on their own time. It fulfills all their expectations and mine as well. I know that. I'm not gonna if I have a client show up with their hair wet thinking that it's gonna, you know, they're gonna get a haircut and the blow dry and hair and makeup that that person is not gonna be able to have a session. This is all in the policy. So we know that now we're gonna have a session. We know what to expect from each other, and it saves time. All that time that we just talked about all this time, I mean, think about that. How much time do you spend doing consultations with clients on the phone in person? Document that time in one month. And then think about that time building up over a year. And what else you'd rather be doing with that time? I could talk about this all day. It could be a workshop in itself. So if you guys want me back, go to Creativelive. Hashtag bring Rachel back. I'm all over it. So we're going to get into it today. We're gonna talk about stripping down client defenses. We're going to really connect with clients, talk about the emotional connection that I do, especially in the bedroom. And we're very excited, ready to go so really quick. So quote from Kinsey in the chat room, says what I like about her is that she does work for her and for her business. I love seeing how other people run their business, and I admire how much she and her partner have crafted a business model that works for their family, and I agree. And then right after that, Amy G. Photo says, I would love to see Rachel Session info packet. Well, actually, we are going to give that to you. Rachel has been very generous enough to actually included as a bonus with enrollment. So if you go to the course page, you can do somebody clicking the course title below the video feed. Open that up. There's an RCMP button on the right hand side. Click that and then you scroll down. It will be in there because this is such an important part of what you do that that you felt it was important. So thank you for offering that. That's wonderful. And I and I just wanted Teoh actually even dive a little bit deeper into what is in here, because again, like you said, this is so key and vital. Teoh your ability to have that time with your family. First of all, I love that. It says you had me at Empower yourself, but but again that what are some of the different details that are that are in here? Basically, I do hit stuff in the policy, but I hit it in my own voice, and then I'll explain why. So, you know, sometimes people don't really understand the rules because not everybody lives in our world. You know, I've had things happen. We know some boudoir photography. Some people think that it's like a hustler photo shoot, and they've brought sex toys. They expect me to to shoot them with. That's in my policy that happened on then I kind of playfully touch on it. And information about you know, I don't shoot this stuff or why you have to bring your own sheets because I don't want to sleep in your DNA because I stay in the spot as well, you know, and I don't you know, obviously we don't other clients rolling around anyone else's DNA, either. So you know there's a lot of it gets very specific, but I make it more fun in the session information packet. And so there's two There's two things that the policy and the session information, what is the difference? Just kind of policy is kind of like when you get a credit card bill and there's like three pages of all those terms and conditions. It's like that. It's written very beverage business, like there's no emotion in it. It's like, This is how it ISS this is What you expect is what we expect from you is what happens if you don't. And this is what happens if you dio. So once clients read that, if that's all good with them and they understand that this is a business, I'm not there, buddy. Of course, I've made a lot of friends shooting this over the last 10 years, but this is how I feed my Children. I'm not. I'm you know, I'm nice, but I'm not gonna let anybody walk over me. And you have to do that. I mean, that's just how it is when you're dealing with the public, you have to be very firm in the front. And the people that don't like that are turned off by it. I'm sorry, but thank you. Goodbye,

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!