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A “boudoir” is a lady’s personal sitting or dressing room. Literally translated from French, it’s a “place for pouting.” Oh, those French. But today the word “boudoir” can mean a lot more for photographers. It’s a photo niche that’s more and more popular among women of all ages who want to feel beautiful. Boudoir photography is easy to break into, it doesn’t require a studio or fancy equipment, and you can drink champagne and each chocolates while you shoot. Now this topic might seem a little racy. So let’s get a few things straight: ** I’m not talking about nude photos intended for magazines. ** These are photos that women seek out for themselves to share with their significant others. ** This is a popular photo niche that’s light, fun, creative… and lucrative. In fact, one of our past photo workshop attendees, Deborah Kolb, set up her own boudoir photography business where women get their hair and make-up done, enjoy champagne and chocolates, and have a blast getting playful portraits of themselves that they can share with their partners… or keep for themselves. Find out what life is like for a boudoir photographer in Deborah’s interview, below. INTERVIEW WITH BOUDOIR PHOTOGRAPHER DEBORAH KOLB By Bonnie Caton in Portland, Oregon BONNIE: Deborah, can you tell us what “boudoir” photography is, exactly? DEBORAH: Boudoir photography to me is shooting the emotion and beauty of a woman. Everyone wants to feel pretty and sexy. I’ve shot women of all ages, from 20 to 70+. Boudoir can be anything from evening dress to lingerie to complete nudity or implied nude. Really, the experience is about having fun and stepping out of your comfort zone. Most women start out wanting to do this as a gift for their partner. By the end of our shoot, they almost always reveal it was for them. BONNIE: How did you get started in boudoir, and how did you land your first paying gig? DEBORAH: After leaving The Ultimate Stock Photo Workshop in Santa Fe, I continued my quest to learn more about improving my skills. I went to a live two-day workshop in family/lifestyle photography. The photographer herself had just started with boudoir and decided to include a small piece on it. From there, I decided to mentor with her and I loved it. Around that time, I used the Model Mayhem website to find models to practice with. Once I felt confident, I practiced on a few friends. Then I decided to approach a few people on Model Mayhem in a business capacity. I got a ton of experience when I was taken up on my offer to shoot at a women’s retreat in Las Vegas. By this point, my assistant had gotten so good that she joined me to shoot half the women at the retreat. Between the two of us, we shot 30 women in three days. BONNIE: What do you like best about shooting boudoir-style photos? DEBORAH: Bringing out the beauty and playfulness in a woman. It’s so artistic! I’m naturally a people person and bring a lot of fun to the shoot. I also love sharing the champagne and chocolates! BONNIE: What does it take to be a good boudoir photographer? DEBORAH: You need to be caring and detail-oriented. It’s essential to prep the client and to call soon after the shoot to let her know how great her pictures look. You need to be comfortable with leading her and suggesting poses. It also helps to be able to laugh to get her laughing. BONNIE: Do you have any tricks for helping people feel comfortable and beautiful when you shoot? DEBORAH: I find it helps to start shooting during the preparation time. If you start while the make-up artist is working on hair and make-up — and the client is enjoying a glass of champagne — then the transition into the rest of the shoot is natural and easy. BONNIE: If you could go back in time and meet yourself when you first started doing this, what three tips would you give? DEBORAH: Find out what your brand is so you are consistent. Set up your pricing. (Without pricing in place I procrastinated.) And, always show pictures to your client in person. BONNIE: Thank you, Deborah! [Editor’s Note: Learn more about how you can turn your pictures into cash in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel.  Sign up here today and we’ll send you a new report, Selling Photos for Cash: A Quick-Start Guide, completely FREE.]

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