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Redefining Boudoir: YOUR Brand & Style

Lesson 3 from: The Boudoir Workshop

Christa Meola

Redefining Boudoir: YOUR Brand & Style

Lesson 3 from: The Boudoir Workshop

Christa Meola

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Lesson Info

3. Redefining Boudoir: YOUR Brand & Style

Next Lesson: Working with Women


Class Trailer

Day 1




Let’s Get this Party Started Right!


Redefining Boudoir: YOUR Brand & Style


Working with Women


Creating Relaxed Clients


Posing and Anti-Posing


Flattering All Body Types


Lesson Info

Redefining Boudoir: YOUR Brand & Style

So redefining boudoir I wanted to call I want to set up we're going to talk about mission branding and style right now um so uh this is really a touchy subject for me boudoir has a stigma it does I don't like the word either myself um that's why I wrote the book redefining boudoir because it really can be anything you want it to be to me it just means photography that essential it's just essential I don't care what she's wearing she could wear a snow seat uh address nothing or whatever and it could be damn sexy um and there's different ideas of what sexy is what sensuality is so I like to taylor that to the woman that I'm photographing um but you really have an opportunity here in many ways to differentiate yourself and build your business exactly how you want it and to find the term for yourself especially for those that are in markets that are you know, a little more conservative um you know, you have to be have the balls teo really stand behind what you believe and why you do what y...

ou d'oh um so we're going to start talking about mission because that's the number one um that's starting point basically so forming a personal mission is going to light your fire creatively and bring clients in your door um I really I really do believe this a lot of people ask, how do I get more clients it's like okay, focus on this focus on your mission, focus on your brand, focus on your style and they will come teo it's not quite that simple, but it is so clearly to finding your brand make sure every day decision making I don't know why this is cut off everyday decision making so much easier do you know all those decisions you're suffering over in editing this one or that one? What backdrop colored a you know which hotel to book, which lends to shoot with how much to price yourself at? Like all of those questions that you suffer over, you kind of can't answer and you're stuck in indecision city because you haven't really clearly defined your brand yet. And then, as we already talked about, honing in on your distinct style further separates you from the crowd. I'm really big on this really big on this because if you know what, you're not clearly branded, what are you? You're just a price tag, you will be selected based on price, so if I don't know, you don't know your names are I know nothing about you and I want to hire someone I'm going to just say, what do you cost? What to cost, what you've lost, what he lost, right? So you have to be extremely distinctive so forming your mission, I would love it when you guys buy this, do the download, spend some time on this. This is seriously homework. I'm really big on this. What is meaningful to you and creates fulfillment for you? Like, is it you know, changing how media views women is it, you know, touching a few people deeply or reaching the masses? Do you see how this kind of gears you're your style? I mean, I'm sorry your business like I'm a boutique brand is because I don't want to be high volume I don't want to bring like cattle and do the same drop it modern backdrop and like, okay, got fifteen minutes here's the lighting set up and, um, you know, do ten shoots a day that's not really meaningful to me? I'm not saying it's bad, I think it's awesome to make it so accessible to people to be more affordable and to reach a lot of women and have them get a little bit of the experience. But I would hate it. I would show up at work being like, oh, man sucks s o you have to really figure out what is meaningful to you, and again, this is part of how you develop your process. Part of my process and I'm gonna share with you is I spent a lot of time in pre planning going what do you love about your body and women what I never thought about that I don't know but it's important to me um it's important to me to focus on like maybe you love your eyes or you love your dimples or whatever it is I want to know and I want to focus on that um what is your definition of boudoir? Okay hello says important things have been done this yet you need to decide b what's your definition of it don't think about what people would be comfortable with or want to hear or what your town I like your place come up with one right now it's you know to me it's that it's I mean it's kind of that photo is a good example for me it's that emotion the that release that they kind of have been um what's the word I'm looking for um just that that moment where they become comfortable with themselves, right? You know, because I've spent my whole life not comfortable with myself too today I'm not comfortable myself obviously, you know, I'm like thing over there and somebody's gonna finish one over here like I love this one because you can't see me but you know that's you know, that's kind of where um I like giving them that feeling that I don't have you know that the very first shoot I ever did I already want this on your about page of your website I'm serious she you know it's funny you got emotionally are you not feeling moved already do you know all suddenly what I want you to take my picture she um she looked at the photos in our first reaction is that's there's no way that's me and that made my year you know um that was the biggest thing for me is for her to look at that and go there's no way that that's really me and I'm going it is that's that's you and um you know that from that day on I was that was what I wanted to do so it seems like what resonates with you is helping women be comfortable they are actually redefine who they are that's what I kind of love about it wanna capture who you really are the essence and then let's like do some things that you aspire towards right you know what I mean that feel a little out of your comfort zone or kind of wish you always had that on dh then it becomes part of them because you photograph them like that so so you need to write that shit down, write that down now get a pen and paper and start thinking about how that would manifest it self in how you run your business, how you talk to your clients, how you'd advertise yourself know what I mean? You know, it's funny because you know, the video for this was the first time I've said most of that, which was uncomfortable is hale um, but the wild thing for me is, is I've always been that person that hides all of that, you know, that I tried to take all the personal crap out because it's weird me out not that it's uncomfortable for uncomfortable, you know, I can I can talk about the technical that's, the breeze, you know, we're not talking about that. Yeah, exactly. Well, that's, what I'm saying, you know, I did that video and the response has been insane because I worry about the negative response everyone's, vulnerability and that's what's so fucking awesome about o'dwyer. By the way, if you haven't guessed, it is the most empowering thing you khun dio by being vulnerable it's like such a great time abdicating mixture of vulnerability and power. So I think if you can continue to keep the momentum going with showing your more vulnerable side, simon really vulnerable to you? It feels vulnerable only because you're exposing stuff that makes you uncomfortable, but really that's, what makes us interested in you? I don't think I would have given two craps if you said I really want to learn howto light, the bomb board already want to learn howto light things better yeah, but because you spoke from the heart and I think you should continue to do that and you can definitely whether you're male or female, you are so relatable you can totally relate to your fine yeah, I mean, you know, I've spent my whole life phrased but women and around women so it's, you know, I understand constantly hear those little things, you know, and I'm like, you know, it's kind of what I feel like to, you know, I can feel what you're going through and it's the same thing when they get in front of the camera, I'm like I yeah, I understand I don't like being on that side either, you know? So cool, awesome, I'm glad we did that with you, so I want all of you guys to do that for yourself. Um, what is a specific value you provide in the takeaway from your client? What your client walking away with not pretty pictures that's boring that's everybody down the block don't be that person don't be selling pretty pictures um, I'm I'm delivering confidence um yeah, uh, I think there's so many ways you can create value for your clients have you brainstorm and make yourself list like fifty of the things that your client will take away from a session with you then maybe you'll get ten awesome ones on memorized them. Okay discover your style that's um basically this is the essence of what attraction for I and speaks to your soul that your aesthetic and a lot of people just starting out having a hard time discovering their style and that's cool you just need to listen a little louder um and here's an exercise that I find is really helpful especially for beginners choose your top ten favorite images they could be paintings they could be something someone else shot that could be something you shot when you were five years old could be that polaroid I doubt it would be but choose your top ten favorite images doesn't need to make sense you know the ones um what do they have in common? What's the common through line through all those now them down to five descriptive words so maybe it's motion um uh you know, just adjectives that describe classic, simple, clean, beautiful a motive, edgy whatever they are to you now it down to five adjectives and that's pretty much your style it's pretty simple can it any questions can take water? They're always question I know so many questions in the audience as well yeah nickel ten favorite images of someone else's it will your honor it could be either it could be paintings any visual imagery sometimes like a snapshot from a film you know like a movie like visually speaks to me and that's like burned in my head like what about that is so powerful to me and then looking at them across like across ten there's definitely things in common here one of mine is um you know, life affirming their you know joyful positive to find your brand okay, this is we really ask more questions oh yeah going back to style uh yes uh kg photo twenty two is wondering it seems like all your samples are women who are pretty great bodies and so forth is that a little hypocritical hypocritical? Um hypocritical no because honestly everyone looks good when they're laughing and having a good time and I photograph women enjoying themselves I photograph you'll see before and afters I don't like to show before is I think it's tacky but dammit people really respond to it and there's nothing like proof so it's like well here's the before here's the after um so I'll show you some before sze of women I've shot and they're real women my clients are soccer moms um this is a model yeah, but I've already seen the slides um with my soccer mom clients a lot of them and curvy girls um but my job is to make people look good so and I edit for that couple when someone says you only show people that look good it's like well yeah that's my job right I don't know how to say that's not hypocritical that's actually what my job is to dio um and I photograph I never turned anyone down just too ugly I mean hey hey, can you share with us what you're five words are my five words are changing actually, um dramatic emotional classic simple beautiful lights yeah, but they're changing oh that's not a question okay to find your brand okay um very, very very important business to have a clear brand for even set foot out the door before you even ask how to get more clients or come up with a price list you need to be branch okay, um here is a really simple exercise to help um build your brand and the thing is this is action oriented. Like I said this week I want you to take action. Okay? I'm not gonna talk about theory I'm gonna give you exercises is to dio that will actually at the end of this weekend you're gonna be so much far along alright using brand models to help you hone in and to find your own brand look att brandy I absolutely love and admire a lot of people choose like apple macintosh or um new car brands which I don't know cars I can't get into that but what exactly do you admire about them? Think about you know, the experience you have interacting with that brand even there they're advertising their website design their marketing, their products, their customer service everything like what do you love about that experience? Um and then lastly, you are you're browned, but this is a little out of order, so I'm going to share with you what my brand models are in a minute on the next slide but also a few after doing this exercise, you're still a little stuck, but most people can love this exercise and get really clear on who they are brand wise, but you are your brand, so if you think about like, of you pull your friends or family and us what are my five strongest personality qualities? You'll see that people pretty much say the same thing over and over again like mine was passionate, enthusiastic, hard working um super caring and whatever it was that's my brand pretty much you can tell that I am really passionate about what I d'oh that I do work pretty dang hard and I'm a stickler for quality, so um we already covered that, so here are my brand models nike for women chanel and moet shandan okay, so when I tried when I first started out and I'd be going into, you know, a family um I was doing family portrait so I'd go to their homes to do the sale session and the guys the husband's really well, I don't want to intimidate you, but that sounds awfully expensive and I just felt like I need to align myself with a brand so I'm thinking this isn't me this is I'm working for name and that's the price tag on it I got nothing to do with it, eh? So I started I kind of already thinking myself as a brand that separate from me because it was easier for me to take that on and then I took this awesome course with mary for leo and she did this exercise I really got clear and these are the ones I came up with so nike for women what is that about to me it's about empowerment just for khun do it and that's how I teach and that's how I talk to my client it's about you know um not being perfect being strong chanel's couture it's designer it's high end it's expensive it's classic it's clean that's how my website looks mohan shandan is all about celebration high end love the bubbly so do you see like do I need to continue but see how if you're familiar with my work at all or my brand or my process do you see how each one of these kind of feeds who I am and that kind of helps me wrap my head around the decisions we need to make sometimes when I'm blogging something like you know what that's that is just so not me um should I pause it? I don't know I'm pretty much I really edit that block heavily so there's a lot of stuff I do you don't see because I don't want to confuse my client I wanted my brand just stay very consistent um so then I go I don't know is that she no no no that isn't should also that's not me question how long did it take for you to find like those of the three it was like I want to be like nicky chanel and that was it like that's that is just me and there you got it done in like twenty minutes and then like a whole hour for the exercise to actually go through what I like about hm how do I feel in experiencing this brand? You know, whatyou're looking come on, we live in america well, one way we're bombarded by brands and messaging you don't tell me right now in five minutes we can't come up with a few brands that you are loyal teo and have an affinity for and or if you want to aspire to don't necessarily look at the like the logo so much is what they're about oh no no no no no I didn't really look at the logos uh you certainly can like chanel I definitely take my design aesthetic a bit from them for sure black and white the font is answer it's it's very similar but um you know really the heart of it and that's why I have three the heart is nike for women that's like the heart and soul uh chanel is kind of the aesthetic of what I deliver immolation done is kind of how I do it it's making a party does that make sense yeah no it does yeah yeah how do you think it'll are these brand changing in time and how do you change your own brand and how do you make your customers feel this change in time? Um I think it's through a natural evolution I don't change things like a lot schizophrenic lee I'm not re branding a ton um I've only gotten through one major rebranding um and I feel like my style is involving a little bit and I just kind of gradually because I blogged like twice a week I can kind of gradually go in that direction without being such a stark oh my gosh all the sun and she is so different now I would never do that like I said I do find like I experiment a lot especially with the nude models we like to do some stuff that they want to dio and I would never bloody it because it's so not my my brand right now if I wanted if I ever wanted to play around and do something super not me I'm gonna set up another site for it that's just a whole other thing but I'm really protective of kind of what my brand is like you wouldn't walk into um I don't know like north sherman see something that's so looked like forever twenty one right that makes sense yes brandy so on your block I noticed that you have a mixture of like I saw cem young people like it wasn't all boudoir on you're on the bottom on the r cots I'm what I'm going through now is do any to create a separate sight oh my boudoir uh yes that is a big question and let's talk about that on building a business the last day that's enormous question that everyone has um I have a wedding you know site already do I started a different thing for boudoir all those questions let's handle on building a business um it's a great question though lots of people online have already asked that question teo yeah that's definitely well my short answer just you know huh is keep it simple and that's always my first tenant so I will always default to that so I have one glug one site um now that's because my client is forward thinking and I'm in the big cities I'm not in the bible belt I am not targeting a woman who's ultra conservative um and I just believe in art and I don't think my client would be offended by boobs and they're being babes on the same page necessarily um so again you have to consider what resonates with you are you okay with it then who you're finds what market are you in and what is your priority? My parties keep it simple I'll have all time you're dealing with all these different websites um but we'll talk more about that but just to give you a quick answer but william is wondering how does your brand connect your style that's a good question let me think about um my style is like my aesthetic and if you see a picture you kind of know yeah that's krista um how does it relate to my brand? I don't know if it necessarily has teo um my brand kind of encompasses like all my you know why I do what I do and kind of how I do it and what my price tag is and who my clientele is and what I feel strongly about know what I mean and I feel like my style khun b it doesn't have to know it doesn't have to match up it doesn't have to be aligned necessarily having said that I think like pin up you're not gonna go real high end with that I'm thinking uh um so if your style you know of photography is trying to be politically correct and it never goes well um yeah, so if you're a high end brand I'd say take a peek into how you're doing what you do and if your style represents having that high price tag that makes sense yes okay, one more question so I'm just yet god is uh why did you choose your name to represent your brain that's a great question I definitely recommend having your name be your photography business instead of like, boudoir bunnies and stuff like that um because it I'm an artist and my business is me and again differentiating myself further no one can be me, it just makes a lot of sense. When I first started my family photography business was bambino photos no one ever remembered that they always remembered my name so it's just like a kind of a no brainer don't laugh, carlo, we all had to start somewhere I know because you're italian that's why I picked you way digress but I do believe in having your name b your business only because you know, boudoir bunnies can be anybody and I want a personalized experience it's just also what I believe in you want to be a studio and have multiple photographers that makes sense, you know, let's find but I'm just me I don't have associates working for me I certainly would probably change the name then thank you. Yeah any more because this is a good time. Yes. There's quite a few questions out there that have the same thread and it's duke are women better boudoir photographers? Okay, let's talk about it right out there. Awesome. Yeah, this is a little it'll be about five minutes. Um here's my thing men can be I agree that I have a certain advantage because I am a woman first sure, um and there will be some women who won't hire you be or you, carlo strictly because you're a man just like some women are only going to go to a female doctor know what I'm saying that's not your client. You don't need to worry about them, they're not your client. You're not gonna convince them and you shouldn't try and you know what and that's their decision it's a personal one I'm not going to disrespect it I would choose the best photographer um so you just worry about yeah don't worry about those clients because they're not calming tea anyway. And I don't think you have a hang up about this carlo at all italian. You, um but, uh, I will give you some tips to mouth targeters out there because I'm always asked, what are my tips for milford high rivers and the number one tip is have a female present it's going to make her more comfortable. It will also cover your ass, whether it's, your makeup artist, your hair stylists, your wardrobe stylist. You know, even if it's your wife, your business partner, um, and also encourage her to bring a friend, bring someone, had one client bring her mom. That was really cool. Um, and, uh, you know, use safe terms. It's another tip? Don't say oh, that's sexy that is so hot. Yes, love it. We put a little too much. I can do that, but you can't sorry. Um, yeah, you save terms like beautiful. Perfect. I like that. Yes. Um good. And, uh, what else? Ask permission before touching. And this is another one I always slip up on. I kind of get very cozy with my girls, and I get real up in there, um is if you're going to like adjust her hair or like a strap or something you need to ask permission first just say do you mind if I like just a just a strap or would you you know move your hair I could do it for you if you don't mind just approach her that way um what other tips? So the other ones I guess as we as we go along but but those but just know that if you you know, for the men who like I feel like a perv are there going to be thinking that I'm a perv the word perfect but if you don't have that energy if you have professional intentions and your intentions are in the right place just focus on that let it go get over it move on be professional and they'll pick up on that energy if you walk into a gun well I hope she doesn't think I'm a perv like you're gonna give that off so just get over it um is my answer yes jen earlier you mentioned about your clients come to you are you ever in the position where a client comes to you and they aren't your type of client? Yeah and how do you deal with it or do you just find that most of them automatically are your type of client? No, I've been finding now since uh my blog's kind of blown up and I get people from all over the world and get a lot of enquiries used to be when I was just in l a but it was my client we're contacting me so I'm booking one hundred percent because they're all my clients contacting me um because I was mostly word of mouth which is what happened but now it's less so so I do get a lot of people that aren't my client I know right away and I just busy that hey sorry, I know I just don't I'm not available or I can say I'm not really a good fit for you but here's someone who was really awesome that I think you guys would work great together here's her name and how do you know when they contact user like do you go by the kind of email they're sending you or do you ask them questions yeah yeah I get that information um we will totally tackle this mohr and death when we talk about knowing who your ideal client is but there's always first you have to know who she is and for me I know it's low maintenance I don't want no ha maintenance girl low maintenance really grateful kind of nervous never done this before been watching my block for like a year tio coming up on the tenth wedding anniversary there's all those kind of just lost a lot of weight are just got divorced those things kind of a major transition just happened about tohave, the third kid planning it, but really want to do some pictures of my body before tanks. You know, I know my client, and you know who? Here's who's, not my client. How much you charge. Yeah, god, not my client, so you will know. The more you get to know her who she is, you'll hear the same catchphrases again and again. And then you'll know the red flag catchphrases, too.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Christa Meola Day 1.pdf
Christa Meola Day 2.pdf
Christa Meola Day 3.pdf

Ratings and Reviews

a Creativelive Student

This is meant to be a HELPFUL review for those that are wondering if they should purchase this workshop. About 75% of what I took away from this workshop was posing, composition for boudoir and the importance of eye lines and capturing movement. I had two boudoir sessions a week after this workshop and my images significantly improved. I was able to coach my clients through poses better, direct them on where to look for better eye lines, I was more aware of their posture and how to fix it, I think I sounded more professional and felt more confidant with getting awesome poses, stand out expressions and adding movement to my images. I put a fan on my client the way Christa does.. and she is right! The instant I put the fan on my client, her expression changed and you could tell she was really "feeling it". She told me she felt like a real supermodel right after I turned on the fan. If you are looking for inspiration on how to coach women and pose for boudoir then Christa is the girl for you. I think the most worthwhile thing I learned watching this is something that will help me in the years to come... with my brand, my website, my workflow and my business goals. I learned how to "keep it simple" which is Christa's tag line. For example Christa brings a roll of gray background paper and uses gaffer tape to hang it from the wall of the hotel (instead of bringing a 12ft background stand). I know this seems simple but this will change my life! I hate dragging equipment back and forth. There are some negative reviews on here about Christa's technical skills, but I think these people may have missed the whole point. If you provide an awesome product and an awesome experience for your client, they will buy it. And guess what.. your client will never know if you used your camera in auto or manual and they won't care if you used one light instead of two. As someone who has been in business for 3 years doing boudoir exclusively I learned a lot. I see a lot of value in learning from someone who doesn't spend a lot of money on fancy equipment, yet charges her clients over $3,000 for sessions. I'm a huge fan of her keep it simple philosophy and I'm glad Christa is willing to be honest about her workflow and how she best utilizes her time. Your not going to agree with or use everything Christa talks about, you take the parts that you like and are most helpful to you and work them into building a stronger business.

a Creativelive Student

AWESOME DEAL on Christa's course. I just sent an email to my husband to tell him thanks for "gifting" me this course. I told him just the ONE CLASS about pricing was worth the full $129 price of the course. And there are over 50 classes?! That is a crazy stupid good deal. You can learn something good from every class you take, every book you read, and just apply the stuff that works for you. There are a lot of people out there who seem to just enjoy giving crappy reviews, and to me it's almost like bullying. How someone could not find $129 worth of value in this course is beyond me. In my opinion this course is worth over a thousand bucks, because it can help you make SO much more money. I hate when I see people whining about things that are not 100 percent perfect, and they get annoyed if the person isn't catering to their exact needs. It's like the Yelper generation, with a disturbing sense of entitlement. I would love to see those people try teaching a class about boudoir and see if they could do any better. It also seems like, the more popular a person gets, the more other people feel the need to tear them down. I'm grateful that Christa even offered this course at ALL. Thanks Christa for all you do to help those of us who really need to know this stuff. You rock.

a Creativelive Student

I never thought I would shoot boudoir. I am a shy and private person. I started entertaining the idea when I first saw Christa's work and saw how beautiful and tasteful it can be. I love her lighting and all that she uses from historic painters and sculptors. I watched all three days live and learned a ton. I have a lot of lighting education, but it was nice to freshen up my skills. I loved the posing tips and the three typical situations she uses for one shoot. I loved learning about how she shoots in hotels and also using things like an outdoor situation. I have now shot my first boudoir session and it was a total hit. I am thrilled to show my client her images. This was fantastic! Thank you, Christa!

Student Work