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How to throw a Successful Boudoir Party!

A successful boudoir party means my women had an amazing time, LOVE their photos, and I made great money. I’m bringing back Marie Forleo‘s Rich Happy Hot ladies from our 22-woman boudoir party in Los Angeles to go with this post. Get the crazy details behind that shoot and see more rich happy hotness when you check out these posts: Rich Happy Hot No. 1 and All Heart.

Here are my top tips specific to these marathon shooting days that will contribute to your next (or your first) boudoir party being a huge success!

Be Prepared
It’s even more important to be prepared when you’re on a tight schedule. Make sure to do the prep work with each client well before the shoot day. Discuss what makes them feel sexy, what they love about their body, and discover what is meaningful for them – this way you already know your client intimately before she even steps in front of the camera, which is key when your time is limited. Also make sure to chat about wardrobe tips & ideas, let her know what to expect, talk to her about your contract/policies, get an idea of her comfort zone regarding nudity and most importantly get a clear idea of the end product she wants to purchase as a result of this shoot. All your prep work will ensure that both of you have a clear idea of what your shooting for and make each session go smooth like butter!

Style three “Sets” and Prep your Equipment
That means each “set” should be a unique location, even if you’re in a tiny hotel room. Move beyond the bed for two set ups: try gorgeous backlighting in front of the window, in front of a full length mirror, at the vanity in the bathroom, in the hotel shower, on a chaise lounge, at the hotel suite’s front door, laying on the floor or on top of the coffee table – I’ve tried it all. Find what works and looks great well in advance, start visualizing your ideas, move furniture, remove distractions, and style it up. Most of all, be creative and resourceful! Lastly, know which lens and what camera settings work best in each area, so you don’t have to burn up your session time trying to figure this out.

Set-up a Mini-studio
A studio set is always a great idea to create another look which makes it seem like we got out of the hotel room, and is an easy way to create one of your 3 sets. You can bring a $30 seamless paper roll (my favorite is grey) and one main light with softbox. Presto! If you don’t have studio equipment, a very affordable option is a black muslin (use a black tablecloth) hung up near window light. You can set this up anywhere even in the tiniest of rooms. This one was set up in the bathroom.


Keep to a Schedule.
I suggest scheduling 4 distinct blocks of time for each girl. Three of those blocks are for shooting on each of your 3 sets. And the first block is to chat, go over wardrobe (choose which outfits on which sets and in which order). I like to do 60 minutes per girl, so each block will be roughly 15 minutes each – if I steal a few minutes from one block – I make sure to make up for it in another. Have someone (an assistant, the make-up artist, or a friend) keep track of time and let you know when you only have a few minutes left in each area. If no one is around to help out, then use your cell phone’s timer.

Find ways to create variety!
Since greater variety is a big part of the equation that equals higher sales let’s make sure to create variety at every opportunity. We’ve already covered having 3 sets. Likewise, your client should have 3 vastly different wardrobe looks. Make sure to coach and capture different emotions from her, the various stages of dress and undress, various angles, details, close-ups, and full-body shots. Use different lenses, have a mix of color and black & white images, and try some photoshop actions on a few in post.

Have an assistant and a pro stylist.
I know sometimes as sole business owners, we try to do it all ourselves. Greater success lies in teamwork! Professional hair and make-up artists will elevate the quality of your work immensely.  An assistant will make a significant difference in the ease of your shoot. She will help with equipment, moving sets, communicating with the MUA, getting the next client ready, holding the fan, helping your clients laugh, keeping you on schedule, and so much more! If you can’t afford to hire professionals just yet, find an enthusiastic apprentice to be your assistant and search the modeling sites, like Model Mayhem, for hair and make-up artists that are just starting out, want to build their portfolio, and will work Trade for Prints TFP or TFCD.

Make it a Party!
Music, mimosa’s, excitement, dancing around in your underwear, a bit of chocolate, lots of laughter, being pampered with pro hair & make-up, and maybe a take-home vintage polaroid pic… just a few ideas that can add to your boudoir party being a total blast and memorable event. Be silly, be professional, have a good time, and your clients will too 🙂

So make sure to be prepared, keep it fun, keep on schedule, hire some help, mix it up, and have a blast!

What are your favorite tips for creating successful boudoir parties? Leave your success stories in the comments below! And as always, if you have more Q’s about photography, photo parties, or getting started in boudoir, leave your questions in the comments, and I’ll shoot you an answer 🙂

Best of luck to you!

x. Christa

ps. I’m thrilled to be receiving an incredible amount of positive reaction to the ONLINE Boudoir Workshop beginning June 14! If you haven’t grabbed your chance to WIN A FREE SPOT to this awesome new course for photographers interested in boudoir, get the details and your chance to win a spot HERE now! Registration begins this Monday May 2nd with a bang! Make sure you’re here 🙂