CHOOSING A BRIDAL BOUDOIR PHOTOGRAPHER: The Naked Truth

Photo by Couture Boudoir

Bridal boudoir photography packages in Charlotte range from $700 to $30,000. Given the monetary commitment and (hopefully) one-time nature, choosing a boudoir photographer is not a task to be taken lightly.

So how does a bride go about finding the best “boudie?”

1Find a photographer with whom you are 100% comfortable. This is arguably the most important consideration. If you don’t read ANY other considerations, read this one.
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You want to feel super at ease in your bridal robe, intimates, or possibly even topless (and maybe even making those topless parts extra perky – full disclosure)!
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For some brides, this may even mean choosing a wedding photographer who also does boudoir. After all, by the time the boudoir session takes place, you will have become well acquainted with one another during an engagement shoot. Bonus: your photographer will already know your best angles, favorite features, and any little insecurities you may have. You’ll know what to expect with retouching and what to request.
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This may not be an option for other brides whose hearts are set on a wedding photographer who doesn’t do boudoir (or whose gender may make bridal boudoir uncomfortable for the bride). Conversely, a bride may have fallen just in love with the work of a photographer who only does boudoir or doesn’t have her wedding date available. For them, simply meeting for coffee or drinks to discuss the shoot (and even following each other on social media or reading blogs) will do the trick.
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2Choose a photographer who is skilled and inspires confidence. A good boudoir photographer will be super patient and skilled at quickly coaching you through the sexiest and most flattering poses – no model experience necessary. And it may ease your mind to view portfolio photos of clients/models with a body type similar to your own.
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3What is the photographer’s style? Many brides prefer traditional bridal boudoir photos: soft, romantic, and natural lighting. Others want glamorous editorial photos with studio lights, high contrast editing, and perhaps even to shoot on location at a chic Uptown hotel. Review the photographer’s portfolio to see if her style aligns with your vision.
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Does her work inspire you? Is it timeless? Is she up to date on trends?
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4Where will the photographer shoot? Does the photographer shoot in-studio? The advantage would be familiarity. You can see the studio in advance in portfolio photos and in person, meet at the studio to become more comfortable, and be assured that the work will be in a controlled environment. If an emergency arises, you’ll be assured that the same space will be available for reschedule – without the loss of a location fee. And the studio may have a very bridal feel: elegant chandeliers, soft curtains, and carefully chosen furniture.
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The drawback to an in-studio session is the loss of flexibility in the overall “look” of the photos. If originality is important, you may not want your photos to have the same feel as her other clients’.
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Perhaps the photographer prefers to shoot on-location. For an on-location shoot, you’ll have such a variety in the overall look and feel. Your photos will be more original and won’t look like the other brides’ sessions. Perhaps, you’ll even be able to shoot at the bridal suite at your wedding or bridal portrait location, e.g, a historic hotel or mansion. Surely, this will add such sentimental value to your bridal boudoir album in the years to come.
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The downside to shooting on-location are any potential fees. Be sure to ask if the location fee is included in the package. There’s also a loss of flexibility with rescheduling. But do keep in mind that sometimes the photographer has an arrangement with certain venues, so that the location fee isn’t even passed on to you, anyway.
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5What is the editing style? Is it important for the edits to be a bit more natural (and a lot less Toddlers and Tiara’s “Miss Photogenic Supreme Queen Fairy Princess Overall”)?
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Or, are you even going for glamorous edits? Maybe you’d even like a pin-up vibe with heavy, intentional, and stylistic airbrushing?
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6Be sure to ask about the editing process, too. Ask to see before and after examples, if possible. If you have a particular “problem area,” ask her how she’s addressed similar concerns with past clients.
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Will the photographer provide minor retouching, e.g., removal of scars, blemishes, slight slenderizing for some areas? Some photographers allow the brides to leave comments on virtual albums for one round of retouching and edits. After that, fees may apply with extra work.
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But what about major edits like some serious virtual weight-loss or evening out major skin tone issues, e.g., runner’s tan? If the photographer isn’t comfortable with doing the heavy edits herself, does she have a go-to professional retouching service? What are the estimated costs and timelines involved for these services? While there may be fees for professional retouching, it’s a small price to pay for the job done right!
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7What is the turn-around time? This is an especially important question for brides who wish to use their boudoir photos as a groom’s gift. You’re working with a set deadline – your wedding date. Be sure to work with the photographer to make sure that the session occurs far enough in advance so as to allow for: scheduling at your chosen location; retouching, editing, and processing; and professional printing or the creation of a bound album.
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8What products does the photographer offer and what are the costs? Be sure to ask to see examples of the products. Do you want a large album with stiff, storybook pages or even a pocket sized album – or maybe both? Ask if there are any options for customization, e.g., a leather cover (or other materials of choice), inscriptions, etc. Is it possible to add on a product at a later date, e.g., anniversary?

BESPOKE WINGS: Alexis Noriega, The Crooked Feather | www.thecrookedfeathers.com@thecrookedfeather
PHOTOGRAPHER: Critsey Rowe, Couture Boudoir | www.coutureboudoir.com | @coutureboudoir
HAIR + MAKEUP: Joni Lineberger, Creations Hair & Makeup | www.creationshairandmakeup.com | @creationshairandmakeup
LOCATION: Please inquire.
LINGERIE: Victoria’s Secret | www.victoriassecret.com | @victoriassecret

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