The Business of Boudoir »

The Insider’s Guide to the Best Boudoir Products

Selling a disc of digital images may seem easy: It’s quick, the client wants it, and you don’t have to worry about as much packing, shipping, and fussing. But what if there were other products out there that would serve your clients better? Be honest— how often do you look at images from five years ago on your hard drive?

Whatever you plan to offer, the major rule is “show what you want to sell.” Imagine I came to you and said,“Hey, I have an awesome leather purse to sell you—it’s $1000. Do you want it?” You’d probably say no! But what if I set it in your hands and let you feel the weight and quality, helped you imagine how it’d feel to wear it, and show you all its features while you ran your hands over the butter-soft leather? A whole different story.

Let’s talk about products to help you stand apart from others, AND add additional revenue.

1. Albums are probably the best product to go with a boudoir shoot.

Many album companies have caught up with contemporary tastes in designs and material, with album styles far beyond the simple old black leather album. Smaller sized albums like 5×7 inch or 8×8 inch are especially popular for boudoir photography since most people do not want to have a huge book of their boudoir photos on their coffee table.

You can either have the album company print everything and bind it to an album or get a peel & stick album into which you mount the prints yourself. The advantage of self mounting is a quick turnaround—as quick as same day. However, there are many album companies offering super-fast turnaround on print and binding, as fast as three days not including shipping time. The disadvantage of self mounting can be that it is tricky, and if you are not a crafty person it may be a tedious task.

Most people have a hard time imagining something they are not able to see – and they won’t buy what they can’t imagine. I have a few beautiful sample books, and I show them at every shoot. This way the client will have an idea of the quality I am offering, and I can explain options. Once they see these beautiful samples, it’s very likely that they will get a bigger book then they had planned and maybe a few extra add-ons. Most album companies offer sample options at a steep discount.

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2. Add a mini-album for her.

In addition to an album for HIM, selling a second mini album for her is a great addition to any package. They are usually 3×5, 4×6 or 5×5 in size and a exact copy of the larger album.

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3. Little accordion folios with photo or fabric covers are extremely popular to showcase boudoir photos.

Due to their size of around 2.5×3.5 inches, accordion folios are easy to carry in a purse or briefcase for hush-hush convenience. Many manufacturers offer these little folios in sets of three at a very attractive price. Folios are a great little add-on to increase product sales.

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4. Professional prints can be sold in many sizes, loose or with an image/display box.

Many labs offer their own style of display box. Whether it is a wooden box with a photo cover or a solid photo box, there are many many choices. Find one you really love and your clients will surely love it too.

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5. Canvas wall prints are unique for boudoir and make for a great conversation piece for the clients’ home.

I am not saying many clients will want a full-length tasteful nude to display over their fireplace, but maybe a few will. Have the client imagine just the curve of her hip in a black & white, a perfect abstract that leaves something to the imagination. Offer a portrait a client can really envision as art for their living room. That is what will sell.

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Canvas photo credit Jennifer Williams Boudoir

6. Think about calendars.

Another product many clients inquire about are toward the end of the year are Calendars. They can be a hot-selling product September through January.

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Calendar photo credit Bella Boudoir

 Don’t get started just by uploading your images, printing them, and handing them over to a client. There are several things to do first before a print or an album ever leaves your hands.

  • Find which lab you want to use by getting some test prints from a few different labs, as well as as well as any album manufacturer whose albums you want to offer. In many cases test prints are offered as a free service. If the prints you receive differ strongly from what you expected, go back and revise your monitor’s calibration. When the test prints arrive, make sure that your prints look good. Actually, aim for amazing. Make sure your finished prints are neither too bright nor too dark, and that color quality and skin tones are on the spot.
  • Use professional labs that guarantee consistent output quality and fast turnaround. Most of them nowadays are serving you with an online order system and mail delivery.
  • Consumer labs in pharmacy stores should not be an option, unfortunately their quality is not very consistent. This is partly because they are designed to work with amateur images, which come straight out of a point and shoot camera. Drugstores are fond of auto-correcting color—but those “corrections” are done by a machine that doesn’t care that your images have already been corrected. If you prefer not to have a space alien flavor to your edits, I advise against using printers designed for the average consumer.
  • Make sure the lab you choose will run your image files unaltered. Most labs need your image files to be in sRGB color space. To avoid any unwanted results, check your settings in Photoshop or any program you use to output the images. Here is a link to a Photoshop tutorial on how to do this.

PRO TIP Almost every clients thinks they need the digital files. When building your packages include the files in your top package. This will lead them to want to purchase your bigger package, in return increasing your overall sale. If you prefer in-person sales over packages, you can set a goal amount for the client to reach in order to receive the digital files. An example would be setting product sales at $1500 before the client may receive the digital files. You better bet they will do their best to reach that goal amount.

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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