Building Client Trust and Creating a Great Client Experience With Intimate Lifestyle/Boudoir Photography
For so many people, the thought of undressing and being vulnerable and naked in front of a total stranger may not be our idea of a fun time. I mean maybe for a second or a third date, but for photos-not so much. My job as a boudoir and intimate lifestyle photographer is to build that trust and confidence with my client and generate a fun and positive experience from the very first instant we communicate. I work on starting that trust from the very first email sent. I use positive tones and am naturally a very empathetic person, so I use it to my advantage. Overall I keep the whole message positive and informative. I welcome questions, but provide all clients with a PDF guide that answers questions like; Where do we shoot, how long does it take, what do I wear, have you worked with ‘x’ body type before, is hair and makeup provided, how much does it cost, how long do photos take etc etc. Once I have answered all questions, we move to the booking process. I am always prompt with responses (because I know I appreciate a quick response) and then provide contracts and invoices for retainers etc.
I streamline all my workflows and processes with Dubsado (seriously they are amazing). I am able to keep constant and consistent communication with clients. After clients are booked they receive a welcome email thanking them for booking, getting them all hyped up for their session and just some reminders for when and where there session is. Following that they receive a questionnaire that will provide me with more information to be prepared for their session and provide a more personalized experience. I ask sizes for outfits (I provide a lingerie wardrobe), why they are doing this session, what kind of images they have seen they like best, what type of products are they most interested in (that way I can have them displayed and ready to view while they get ready and after we are done shooting). After the questionnaire is complete my workflow continues with a 10, 3 and 1 day email reminder. It includes some of the following tips for my clients:
- Drink lots of water
- Get any waxing/grooming done around 3 days before to avoid bumps and redness
- Keep nails polished/clean
- Refrain from spray tans as most people look too orange
- Bring any outfits, shoes, jewelry etc.
- Arrive no more than 5 minutes early (as I may be finishing up with another client)
I can’t emphasize enough on how important that last tip is for my clients, I try to encourage their session (even if it is as a gift for a significant other) to be based on self-love and care, don’t worry about bloating, or making sure their outfits “fit”.
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The last email they receive is a product pricing reminder, with more thorough information on each product, what kind of material it is, and the difference between ordering through a professional lab vs a consumer lab.
DAY OF SESSION
I’m super excited and want to share that energy with my client, so off the bat, I welcome them in, relay that I’m pumped, introduce them to the hair and makeup artist, we discuss what look(s) we would like and then while getting ready we have a good casual conversation, learn about each other more. I always offer water/tea/coffee, sometimes some candy, I’m not an overly glamorous person, so no bubbly, or charcuterie boards.I do my best to create a welcoming and relaxed atmosphere in the studio. When we are in the studio, I let them go through the wardrobe and offer any suggestions on what I think would look amazing, but also ensure them that if they aren’t comfortable with any outfits once they try them on, they definitely do not have to wear it. I also encourage them not to stress too much over outfits either, ignore where some outfits dig in a little more than others, these things will ideally be taken care of in post (but this also depends on the client since each experience is personalised, some girls choose to have somethings edited, all things edited or even none.)
99% of my work is posed, I think it works in my favor so that the client doesn’t have to stress about how to pose or “what to do with their faces”, so I am able to build confidence in my client
by telling them “Hey, don’t worry, I got you! Some poses may not feel great, but they look hella good!” Throughout the session is more great conversation, lots of encouragement and cheerleading by me because these ladies are life and always kill their sessions! While directing here and there and small breaks for outfit changes or hair and makeup touch-ups, typically halfway through I’ll ask how they’re feeling so far (which is usually a “great I feel super comfortable”) and I’ll let them know that they are doing amazing and I’m so excited for them to see images.
Most sessions I wrap up with something along the lines of I think we have everything, but always ask if there is anything we may have missed or they wanted to try. Not all clients go nude, or even topless but the majority do once they feel more comfortable throughout their session. If they opt out of it, there are no hard feelings, I’ll even support their decisions.
After sessions, we talk products and look through samples, I’m sort of a no pressure no rush person, but let them know there are timeline restrictions with ordering if they want something by a certain date. Once they have left I upload my cards right away and get started working on sneak peeks. I like to think of my clients as leaving with a “high” from their boudoir session and keep it going and keep that confidence up and soaring through sending a few sneak peeks that evening or the following morning. From there I typically finish their gallery within 1-2 weeks, send it off and wait for a response! From there comes product ordering, so deciding what photos they want in their album, going over their cover options and what color of gold foil should they go for etc. Everything is consistent until product is delivered and even after that. Sometimes clients become repeat clients or come back later on to order more products, the tone will always be positive and encouraging, these ladies are all apart of my life and the relationships I build with them aren’t just business to me, they form into something personal and real.
Constant communication is key, being a real person is key and I don’t think I can emphasize enough on how detrimental it has been for my business.
I hope this provides some insight and usefulness! I’d love to hear your thoughts, definitely reach out to me if you have any questions @rianalisbeth on Instagram!