How To Choose The Perfect Boudoir Photographer For You in Boston, Massachusetts

I see you out there, Googling, reading reviews, asking friends and Facebook groups for Boudoir Photographer recommendations! It’s no secret that there are more of us now than there used to be! So how do you know which Boudoir Photographer is actually a good fit? Based on my own experience as a Boudoir Photography client, and based on feedback from my own clients, I put together this handy guide about how to choose a Boudoir Photographer in Boston, Massachusetts!

Here are some questions you can consider when you’re weighing your photographer options:

1 – Do you like their work? 

This may seem obvious, but be sure that you’ve looked through their portfolio and be sure you LOVE  their style! Check out both their website portfolio (usually a collection of their best work) and their social media platforms, like Facebook and Instagram (which will show you what their most recent work looks like). They may even have a private Facebook group community like mine that you can join, which will also give you an idea of their vibe and personality!

When it comes to a photographer’s style, there are more than enough of us to go around, so I recommend finding someone whose style you love rather than choosing a photographer and then asking them to change their style for you.

2 – Can you meet with your photographer ahead of time? 

Not all Boudoir Photographers offer consultations before their Sessions. (I know! It’s crazy, but I’ve seen it happen!) Due to the intimate and vulnerable nature of Boudoir Sessions, I personally think that meeting (virtually via Zoom or in-person) is necessary before your Session.

There’s no such thing as a stupid question in my consultations, so it’s your chance to ask anything you want to know! The more information you have about your photographer and what to expect, the more comfortable and prepared you’ll feel about stepping outside of your comfort zone. This step will really help you as you’re learning how to choose a Boudoir Photographer!

3 – Once you’ve met your photographer, do you like their overall vibe as a person? 

Although you’re hiring your Boudoir Photographer for a service, it’s just as important that you like WHO they are as much as you love their work. Because Boudoir Sessions can feel so vulnerable and intimate, I find it’s so important to work with someone who makes you feel comfortable and happy before, during, and after your Session.

Personally, I spend a lot of time getting to know my clients on a pretty deep level! For example, an important part of my process is asking: Why Boudoir, why now? If you could describe your perfect Session, what three words come to mind? What are your desires, concerns, and fears about your Boudoir experience? 

So take a moment to ask yourself—Is the photographer you’re talking to validating and supporting you even in the earliest stages of getting to know each other? Trust your gut! Building this relationship with your Boudoir Photographer is important and makes a huge difference.

4 – Where do their Sessions take place? 

Every Boudoir Photographer is different—Some work out of home studios, some take Sessions in hotels or Airbnbs, and some have a private studio like I do. Find out what they use and make sure you’re comfortable with it! 

5 – Are you required to share your images publicly? 

Some photographers consider their client’s photos an automatic part of their public portfolio, and may add your photos to their website or social media without discussing it first. For my clients, it’s completely YOUR choice if and how I share your images!

I talk about this in detail with all of my clients ahead of time, because consent is always part of my entire process. To be clear, you do not need to sign a model release if you do not want to. All the images used for my portfolio/marketing are images that the clients allowed me to use.

6 – Do they have a client wardrobe, and do they help you with choosing outfits? 

This is a fun one! Not every Boudoir Photographer has the space or resources to keep a client wardrobe on hand that you can choose from. I’m proud to have a whole collection of outfits from sizes XS-4X. Think bodysuits, corsets, babydolls, robes, and even extra fun things like body jewelry and crowns! 

My studio even houses some incredibly unique props you won’t find anywhere else (including battle ropes, a baseball bat, and a fire hose…because why not)! Not only that, I take the time to talk with you about your style and what outfits to include in your Session based on your comfort level. Not every Boudoir Photographer feels comfortable or capable of having those conversations.

7 – Do they work with hair and makeup artists that are comfortable with all skin tones and hair textures? 

Some Boudoir Photographers require you to handle your own hair and makeup, either doing it on your own, or finding your own stylist. Or, they may work with less experienced stylists who aren’t able to match all skin tones and style all hair textures. I’m happy to work with some all-star stylists that are incredible with both, and my clients rave about them! 

8 – Are they trauma informed, and do they know how to talk about body image and mental health? 

This one is SO important, and not enough Boudoir Photographers are knowledgeable about this (but I’m so glad more and more are starting to be!) Is the photographer you’re considering investing in continuing education about trauma, especially as it relates to body image and mental health? This is important because ALL of us have experienced trauma on some level, and ALL of us have received unhelpful societal messages about what our bodies are supposed to look like.

If your photographer is doing the work to always learn about these things, it will absolutely make a difference in the quality of your experience. While it’s important to note that I’m not a therapist, I continually invest in classes and workshops about body image, intersections of oppression, and how to foster a safe environment for all my clients. Educating myself helps me to create a better and safer space for my clients to talk about difficult things. It gives me the skills to hold space for you without adding any pressure about you needing to be fixed. 

In my studio, it’s absolutely ok to talk about all of this! Most of these topics come up during consultations, which means that by the time you get to your Session with me, you’ll likely already feel more seen, heard, comfortable, and safe. And that’s a great way to make sure you receive photos you love from your Boudoir Session!

9 – Do they know how to set you up for the most positive viewing experience possible? 

After your Session is complete, a couple things can happen. Some Boudoir Photographers simply send you an online gallery to view at your leisure (and with the company of your unchecked inner critic, eek!) However, what I like to do instead is bring you back to my studio to view your images. This is where I challenge each of my clients to be kind to themselves. 

I prepare you to see yourself in a more vulnerable way than you maybe ever have. I set you up to be thoughtful about what you’re experiencing and how you speak to yourself. There’s no body shaming, and no pressure to be a model. Without all this, self-judgment is all too easy (I know because I do it too)! It’s not just about the photos, it’s about your experience seeing them. I’m always there to be with you through the experience, and that’s why I love to show you your images in person (or via Zoom)!

I hope you’ll find this guide helpful as you’re considering how to choose a Boudoir Photographer in Boston, MA! And if what I shared aligns with you, contact me below to schedule your consultation!

Shirley, MA