A Quality Boudoir Photographer is Worth the Investment


In boudoir, I have always believed that you truly pay for quality. It’s a experience on top of artfully beautiful photography. Today I felt called to share a story about why I will always preach that investing in quality professional photography. I was attending a wedding recently and all of my table mates were discussing the person that has brought us all together. I had been invited by a boudoir client turned friend, she was the mother of the groom. Sitting to my left was a friend of hers who has also inquired about having a boudoir shoot with me.

The woman doing the asking was the mother of the maid of honor, who recently had her own Pittsburgh boudoir photoshoot with a different boudoir photographer. This is only a slightly awkward situation for me. I could not possibly photograph everyone and I understand different styles appeal to different clients. What heightened my apprehension to include my opinion was when the conversation turned toward money regarding paying for a quality photographer.

boudoir photographer shoots woman in black bra and panties

Good Boudoir Photographer is Worth the Money

Professional photography is an investment. Whether you invest a little or a lot of your money, you are placing all of your trust into this person, whether you’re having a boudoir photoshoot or any other type of photography. Boudoir photography is arguably the most vulnerable of genres. You will be seeing parts of your body not often caught on camera, likely in ways you have never been photographed. Emotionally and physically you will be witnessing yourself in a manner that can feel overwhelming.

I have invested a tremendous amount of time into my continued education and of course money, I have curated a beautiful studio space, I have built a team of women to help make this experience as easy as possible for our clients. I am proud of The Girlfriend Experience Boudoir, we are sitting at 101 5 star Google reviews. We have clients come to us from all over the world. The most recent was a couple from Germany. Every single day whether I get to photograph a client or not, I am dedicated to my client experience. 

The experience you have with your photographer, whether it’s for boudoir or a wedding should be well worth the money. The experience you leave with should make you feel good about yourself and the money you spent. There are some industry wide practices I am not so comfortable with. I’ve kept my thoughts to myself for such a long time. I didn’t want to offend anyone, my peers or potential clients. But this young woman’s experience was hitting a little too close for comfort.

Everyone had asked her why she didn’t come to me. Her response was exactly what I had expected. She responded to a model call. She responded to ad placed on social media looking for women to become boudoir models. Innocent enough from the outside. For a young woman, the possibility of being chosen as a model or in some cases, winning a boudoir photoshoot was and is part of the excitement. 

Not Every Boudoir Photographer is Created the Same

She really is a beautiful young woman and it was no surprise to me that she had been chosen to be a “model” for this other boudoir photographer. I sipped my wine and nibbled at my cookies as everyone chatted. A few years ago a photographer packaged up a scam as old as time and SOLD it to other photographers. She called it Model Call. Genius moves on her part. She took an idea that was being used widely and made a big profit from it. Not a new idea. Not even a new name but some tweaks to the idea, along with some paperwork she created and she had a very popular product she could sell to boudoir photographers.

What is a model call? Originally a model call is when a photographer seeks a collaboration with another person or multiple people to help make their idea come to life. This includes modes, stylists, designers, lighting etc. Photographers have been doing this for ever and a day. You link up with other creatives and you make something together. For fun. For the sake of creativity and experimentation. Everyone mutually agrees how the images are to be used. Everyone benefits.

When the concept of the Model Call was redefined and sold as a business model, it took what was an innocent idea and made it into something that I feel is a predatory business practice. What happens is this, you run the model call. Everyone who expresses interest is essentially chosen or “wins” and then when they want their images, they are charged for them. But this information isn’t made clear in the beginning. You may or may not have your photoshoot experience before this information is provided. And more often than not, you must sign a waiver that gives the photographer permission to use the images as they see fit.

boudoir photography female posing

I’ve always believed in keeping the creative fee separate from the product fee. With our boudoir shoots, you pay a deposit to secure your spot, we plan for your appointment, any remaining balances are due the day of your appointment. After your appointment, you will make your selections and yes you will pay an additional amount IF you love them and you WANT them.

This young woman who responded to the model call ran by another Pittsburgh boudoir photographer, and was so serendipitously “chosen”; had her boudoir photos taken and when it came time for her to view her images she was hit with a 3,000 minimum order. I wasn’t surprised to hear about these things. But it still never sits with me to see and hear about it happening so regularly. I do believe quality work comes with a price tag. I am all for service providers making a good living. We all deserve that. I hold no issue with what they charge, I have opinions about how they go about it.

We have no minimum order and if you don’t love your images you aren’t financially obligated any further. I can’t imagine working with women in the most vulnerable of photography styles and not being completely transparent. We have clients who spend that same amount and sometimes more but if they want less, have a budget for less or love less, they are in no way burdened with the expense of something thought they were “winning” or “modeling” for.

When I seek a model, the model is in some way compensated. Many models and photographers do what is called a TFP, trade for photos. The model is given the photographs in exchange for their collaboration. Every single person, body, face you see represented here on this website or on our social media platforms has been a paying client and has given permission for her images to be shared. 

I think most women could benefit from having a shoot with a boudoir photographer that aligns with their desires but I would ask you all to be educated and careful about how you go about finding your photographers. Ask your friends, search google, use the word boudoir and your city, check out their social media pages, can you see yourself in their images, would you want to see yourself in their images? Be wary of photographs who are always looking for “models”, running contests and making you sign permission for your images to be used at their discretion. 

Stories like these that I shared today are why my focus will always be on making me client feels like their best selves when they are in front of the lens with me. A quality boudoir photograph is one investment worth making. Interested to see what we have to offer at the GFE? Contact us today to book a session with me and my team!