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Being a destination boudoir photographer – the wicked truth

I often get told by other photographers how much they wish they could travel for work. My answer to this is be careful what you wish for. LOL!

Kidding aside, it’s not all fun and games. It is expensive and can be complicated and challenging to say the least. With that said it can also be an adventure and rewarding.

couture boudoirPIN

Here are some calculations and other tidbits to consider when traveling for boudoir.

1. Cost. Just like shooting a destination wedding you have to consider how much a boudoir destination shoot will cost you and how many bookings you would need to do to cover your cost and actually make money. Take into account, airfare, hotel, taxi, extra luggage fees, airport parking, extra expenses such as eating out and tipping. All the little stuff adds up.


2. Insurance. Depending on where you are going you want to make sure your equipment is covered in case of loss or damage by the airport. Also check to see if your liability covers you out of state. You will want to be sure your airfare has insurance too in case any hiccups happen and you need to rebook your flight.


3. Know your Cost of Goods (COG). Calculating your costs of goods and shipping the product to your clients. More than likely you will want to put insurance on your beautiful product you are sending out the door.  A tip from experience: be sure to put a signature release on anything you ship to a client.
4. Location, location, location. It can be tricky finding a great location to shoot in especially in a city you are not familiar with. If you have ever traveled to a big city then you know some hotels have the tiniest rooms you could imagine. Photos online can be so deceiving. A trick I learned is looking at real travelers photos on Trip Advisor. Ask other photographers in the area for help in finding a location. You can also ask clients for their favorite hotel.


5. Plan ahead. There is nothing worse than having a flight delayed or cancelled. I try my best to arrive the night before my scheduled shoots so if anything happened my whole scheduled is not screwed up.


6. H&MUA. Most of us offer H&MU styling with our packages. You may have someone to travel with you or if you need to hire someone in the city you are traveling to, keep in mind their prices may be way higher than you expect. There have been cities I ended up taking my stylist along because it cost less to pay for her flight and hotel then hiring a stylist on location.


The thing you probably really want to know is how do I book clients in Europe and around the US. I started by telling anyone that would listen that I would travel anywhere. I blasted (and still do) this message on social media. Whenever I know I will be in another city I mention it on social media. I asked friends and family in other cities to refer me and help promote my business. It took quite some time before I was booking jobs on a regular basis out of state. I advertise in various magazines and online. I network with lingerie shops and bridal boutiques.


The process is always changing. You have to be open to try things to see what works for you. Some of my online ads did not even get me very many hits to my website but with trial and error you can find what works best for you. It takes time and persistence but if you want it, just keep working on it and it will happen.


Tip: Don’t underestimate the power of referrals. Also don’t assume because they love you and your work that they will spread the word about you. You have to ask them to. And remind them again and again to please refer you. Referrals really do work.

Critsey Rowe

International boudoir photographer Critsey Rowe of Couture Boudoir® is the best selling the author of "Boudoir Photography- The Complete Guide To Shooting Intimate Portraits". Critsey has been a guest speaker on The Wedding Planning Audiocast, Convention speaker DWF at Imaging USA, Convention speaker WPPI's Road Trip, speaker Pictage Users Group and featured on Mimika TV and many other online resources.

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