Are all the women you shoot models?
I’m happy to say the majority of my clientele is 40+ moms who’ve never been in front of a pro’s camera before except for possibly on their wedding day. I love photographing women of all shapes, sizes and ethnicities. On occasion, I will hire pro models to photograph nude since they grant a full model releases (ie. images can be used for sale.) Check out my post Real Women for a glimpse behind the scenes of a few shoots with non-models, and take a peek at Curvelicious to see this awesome plus-sized client shoot.
What are your boudoir photography sessions like?
Do you still photograph families and babies?
Yes! I always make my best effort to schedule shoots for my returning family clients or those with a personal referral. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you fall into either of those categories.
Will you photograph my restaurant, pics for my website, my book jacket cover, my band, etc?
Do you photograph men, couples, weddings?
I’m sorry, not at this time. There are plenty of awesome referrals I can offer you. Contact me @christameola on Twitter to get a referral.
Can I model for you or one of your workshops?
I have an ongoing waiting list that I’m happy to add you to. Shoot us an email email@example.com with a description of who you are, what you do, and a link to your portfolio or current photographs to be considered. You will receive a reply when we have an opening that suits you.
What is Christa’s Workshop schedule for 2013?
Check out the Workshop Page for Christa’s current schedule. Dates may be added throughout the year, so get on the workshop mailing list to be the first to find out about new dates and locations!
Do you provide model releases at your Workshops so I can use my images from the workshop on my blog/website/portfolio?
Yes, absolutely! That’s an essential part of each of my Workshops – building a beautiful high-quality portfolio with the help of pro stylists, gorgeous sets and my personal coaching. We have a great mix of professional models and real clients at each workshop so you get the benefits of working, shooting, and showcasing a wonderful variety and the work your future clients want to see!
Are Christa’s Workshops appropriate for a seasoned pro or a beginner?
Yes, absolutely! My workshops benefit all levels, whether you’re already a pro or just starting out, this is the perfect place for you if you’d like to take your creativity, photography & business to the next level. I provide a lot of customized one-on-one coaching and personalized Q&A time, so each attendee gets exactly what they need. My workshops are based on easy yet effective techniques, plus simple but powerful tips that are appropriate for all levels. So whether you’ve been shooting boudoir for a few years, shooting weddings for decades, never shot nudes, or still shooting on automatic, this is the place for you!
Does Christa have any Workshops planned in Vancouver / Chicago / San Francisco / etc?
If you’d like to see a workshop in your area, shoot us an email firstname.lastname@example.org. I often add dates/locations when I repeatedly see demand from one area. If you’d like to host a workshop in your city, you will need to have a guest list of 12 or more attending photographers.
Will you take a look at my website and give me a critique?
I happily provide thorough and actionable critiques as part early enrollment to my Online Boudoir Workshop. My sincerest apologies that I can not fulfill each request via email to review and critique work. However, I do take notice of photographers who frequently leave a comment on my blog and will usually check their website out and send a note.
I’m having trouble with setting up my price list – what do you think I should charge, and can you help me set up my price list?
My assistance in developing your Price List is a part of every Workshop. The answer is specific to dozens of variables unique to you. You can’t pull your prices out of thin air (my polite way of putting it), or you’ll have no confidence in what you charge, rendering your price list useless. You must consider the tangibles: your market, your target client, your time, cost of goods, your financial goals, your experience, demand for your services, how frequently you want to shoot, etc. Then there are the intangibles: your talent, the perceived value of what you offer, what you are happy earning, etc. All of this goes into a lovely witch’s brew called your Price List. My top 10 tips for developing a solid price list that will keep you booked and happy, in a nutshell: 1. Know that your pricing is dynamic and will evolve over the course of your career, 2. Do your research on all the variables, 3. NEVER compete on price, 4. Be confident in what you charge, 5. Keep it simple (make it easy for your clients to say yes) 6. Start from the top down (from your biggest product offering/packing to the lowest), 7. Ask what would THRILL you – too often photographers develop their pricing based on the least they would accept, which leads to resentment, 8. 100% commitment to your prices, 9. Adjust every 6 months if necessary based on what you’ve learned, 10. Give bonus product or service, never discount. Not to be cheeky, but my best tip on creating your price list is this: CREATE one. Don’t let your hesitation and doubt hold you back from having pricing for all your products and services. We’ve all been there and suffer agony every time someone asks what you charge. Not having a price list (or constantly changing it with every inquiry) leads to no bookings and not being paid. You have to name it to claim it, as they say.
My Equipment & Process
What lighting do you use for portraits? boudoir? in your studio?
90% natural light. For studio shots, I use the Photogenic 1250 with Medium Softbox as my main light. I use just this one light for the majority of my shots. Occasionally I’ll add a second light if shooting high-key white to light the background, or when shooting on the black backdrop when a hair light is needed. That second light is the Photogenic 320.
Do you use Lightroom or Aperture?
Adobe Lightroom. LOVE it!
How much do you photoshop?
2% is my cheeky answer. But there is truth in it. I like to just tweak things a smidge, but the talent is in where and how you tweak, not how much. I mainly use photoshop for artistic touches (actions), removing any distractions from the background, and slight enhancements for boudoir shots. I say leave the retouching to the digital artists who’s talent and job is to execute your vision and do the dirty work for you :) Outsource your retouching! especially if you’re just starting out – why take on another learning curve and more time in front of the computer? There are specialists who can do it better/faster/cheaper than you can. You can find my recommendations for Retouching Services in the Resource section.
Do you shoot film?
Yes, for personal projects. For commissions and commercial work, I shoot digital with the Canon 5D.
Do you get releases for everyone before you shoot them?
Yes, it is a standard studio practice to have every client I photograph sign a release. That being said, I’m a woman and I completely respect a clients desire to keep their photos private. I would never blog a session without the consent of my client. Privacy is assured and respected.
Do you get permits to shoot in hotels? at the beach? on the street?
Hotel policies differ, so you’ll have to ask regarding shooting in their lobby and on the grounds. When I’m shooting in the hotel suite for private clients or boudoir parties, I do not get a permit. There are lots of hotels that permit shooting in the lobby without a permit as long as it’s not a commercial shoot. I’ve been shooting on the beaches of California for over 7 years and have never been asked for a permit – but again, these were mostly for private use and it’s just my client, me and one camera. Same goes for the streets. Chase Jarvis’ Executive Producer, Kate, offers solid advice for knowing when you need a permit, when you don’t, and how to get one in this awesome post on permits on Chase’s blog.
What lab, album vendor, slideshow software, etc. do you use?
My whole list of favorite vendors and resources in on the Resources page. Not all of the products listed there are suited to my unique specialty and process, but all of them have my high recommendation.
What’s your best advice for someone just getting started as a pro in photography and in boudoir specifically?
Prioritize your investments. It’s important to allocate your budget wisely, especially in the beginning when funds may be limited. You want each dollar to go as far as possible, so I recommend starting with the bare essentials in terms of gear and allocating your funds to improving your skill, getting educated, and building your business. I did a guest post on the Pictage Pro Photography blog on Getting Started in Boudoir Photography with my best advice on how to intelligently approach getting started, prioritize your investments, create a smoking hot portfolio, and get that first boudoir client!
What equipment do you suggest for just getting started or beginning a studio?
Keep to the bare essential gear. Don’t spend too much money on equipment right off the bat. You probably already have a great SLR or DSLR camera and a really good lens, so go with what you’ve got and invest elsewhere first. Master one piece of equipment inside and out before investing in another. Really, all you need is one great camera and a really good lens. I love Canon, and I think digital SLRs are great for experimenting on a budget. Rent the lenses and lighting you want to try until you can buy, and add on as you can afford. As far as set pieces or backdrops go for the studio, my staples are a $30 grey seamless paper backdrop, a thrift store vintage chair, and a classic set of white sheets. Be creative, and you can transform any space into a simple beautiful setting.