I’ve seen it all before. Students are ready to book clients right out of the gate. They buy their camera, purchase a course, and inevitably put the horse before the cart. They say, “How do I get bookings?”, “Why am I not seeing leads yet?”, “I’m ready to start running my facebook ad.” and I hate being the bearer of bad news, but the reality is they don’t have the most important foundations of a boudoir business. They just want to jump ahead of everything and start getting bookings. Then they wonder why they’re not getting leads. I want to preface this by sharing there are NO overnight success stories in this industry. Even overnight successes take time.
There are other things going on with a photography business other than marketing. Even then, if you’re at that stage please don’t hoard marketing ideas. The overwhelm and perfectionism kicks in and boom! You have analysis paralysis. Stick to one marketing strategy at a time. Even then, there are foundations that need to be put into place before the marketing process begins. It’s really important not to skip over these steps. Why? Because you need to show what you’re selling, show people how to get a hold of you, and have a home base for your business, and create credibility with your potential clients. So, let’s dive in shall we?
Find your ideal client- I know, this task is super daunting to think about, but it is so important! Here’s why, once you know who that person is the better you’ll be able to show up for them, know how to speak to them, and have that dreamy ideal client sign up for sessions with you all the time because you get them. I like to start my students off with thinking about someone they really enjoy being around, then what do they do for a living, where can you find them online, where do you find them offline? What are their hobbies? Are they parents to fur babies? We always narrow them down to one person, because there are going to be other people that are similar and identify with your ideal client.
Build your portfolio.- Like I was saying, you can’t sell what you’re not showing. How does your potential client know if you’re a good fit for them if they don’t know what your work looks like? I recommend setting up a shoot with 3 different versions of your ideal client. I say 3 for one shoot, because you’ll get a variation of images with different people. Be sure to have them agree to full sharing permissions of this shoot. Allow them to be as clothed or modest as they wish. If you can’t find anyone to model for you, jump in front of the camera yourself.
Create your website. - I can’t emphasize enough how important your website is. This is your business’ home online. Where your ideal client can find out everything about what it’s like to work with you, see the style of your portfolio, starting prices, your blog (this can be used to cross reference your clients to different resources your blog has to offer. Not to mention, boost your SEO.) For more details on websites listen to episode #8. 8 Must Haves For Your Boudoir Website.
Have an email response for leads that come in. - This is important, because your going to give the same information over and over again. To protect your brain, be sure to create an email workflow starting with emails about pre-booking, emails that cover what happens after they book and what they need to know (including your full price list), and post shoot email workflows. Having this in place makes your workflow seamless. This is a template I’ve created inside my coaching program, Boudoir Business Roadmap.
Create your social media presence. - pick your poison and do it well. I recommend having a facebook business page. Because, you can post to instagram and your page at the same time and you’ll be able to reep the benefits of using the pixel and their ads. Facebook ads are my bread and butter. You can do tiktok and any other platform, but these are the ones that work the best for me and I can’t speak to the other platforms. Anyway, wherever you can chat with a new lead that follows you is the best way to go. Be sure to start conversations and follow others who might be your ideal client.
Hey there! I'm Bethany. The Photographer, Coach, and Podcast Host behind
Boudoir Business Education. “All I want to do is photograph women in black and white and give them a beautiful and empowering experience.” Is what I wrote in my journal. Playing my idea off of a few trusted people, I was told, “There’s not a market for black and white boudoir photography”, “No one will pay for that.”, and “This is a weird idea.”
I followed my gut and went for it anyway. Right out of lock down, I had a new studio, was booked three months in advance, and haven’t looked back since. I love to photograph and empower women that understand my vision, love my work, and pay me what I’m worth. This process showed me that I can make my dreams possible and profitable. Now, I want to share what I learned (but in a much faster way) to build a thriving boudoir photography business.