Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Boudoir and Glamour Photography - Be Careful

Boudoir photography is becoming very popular these days. It seems everyone is wants to have or wants to take boudoir photographs. Tasteful nudes have always been part of art as can be seen in classic sculpture and paintings. But what makes boudoir images artful and not trashy is the talent of a professional photographer.

Women will find that it is easy to find men who are willing to photograph them nude. We all seen the cliche photographer who is just after models. In the industry there are what are known as GWC's - Guy's with Cameras. Men who have a hobby of taking pictures of girls for their own personal pleasure, lack any real understanding of lighting, posing, composition or often even how really use their cameras.

So how does one find professional and not a GWC?

  • A professional will have business license for starters - they pay sales tax. Many will be incorporated or LLC companies.

  • They tend to belong to professional organizations such as PPA (Professional Photographers of America), WPPI (Wedding and Portrait Photographers International), ASMP (American Society of Media Photographers), NAPP (National Association of Photoshop Professionals), EP (Editorial Photographers) to name a few.

  • The have quality sample work, both on their website and in print.

  • They have relationships with other professionals such as make-up artists and hair stylists.

  • They often have a physical studio.

  • They have business checks with a business name on them, although many photographers shoot under their names.
    Professionals accept credit cards.

  • GWC's will tell you that you have to come alone as a second person is a distraction and ruins the mood, etc.

But what if the photographer doesn't have a studio, is that a red flag? That would be a caution, but not a red flag. Many professionals work out of home studios or on location. This is especially true for wedding photographers, but does apply to other areas too. A studio is a huge overhead and so much work is done on location today, that not having a studio does not label a photographer a GWC. So if there is no studio, just make sure you do your homework, which is the reason for this blog entry. I have a studio, but 80% of my business is shot outside the studio. This is why I share my studio with several other photographers.

When you contact them how do they respond. Are their responses professional? How do they answer the phone, do they give the company name? Request a meeting with the photographer. Do they give you a bad vibe? Do they show other samples that are of the quality you expect? Is it a professional presentation or just a handful of photos?

The photographer gave me a really nice business card, so he's a professional right? Sad to say, but for less than $20 you can order a few hundred business cards, with whatever you want printed on them. A business card is probably the biggest scam to proving you are in business there is today.

What about a website, does that make them a pro? Once again, for a few dollars you can set-up a website. And nobody checks what is on a website, so they can say whatever they want. In fact some GWC's actually steal photos from others to make them look better than they are. A good website is a good sign, but it doesn't mean that you are getting a professional.

So in summary I strongly recommend you do your research when choosing a boudoir photographer, or any photographer. Using professional photographers will get you the type of quality images you deserve.

Next week I will talk more about your shoot and how it should proceed, and what makes a great boudoir image.

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