January 19, 2018
Want to know what I learned from hosting my first boudoir marathon? Well, here it is!
Back in late 2017, I decided I wanted to give boudoir a shot. I was following some awesome boudoir photographers and their style really inspired me! It was awesome to see how women can be empowered through boudoir. Who would have thought that completely stripping down in front of a total stranger would give you a sense of confidence and power?
Since I didn’t have a brick and mortar studio, I decided I was going to plan one Saturday for a boudoir session marathon to make sure I took full advantage of a rental. I would invite all the bad ass women to come and get their boudoir on. Now, I’ve planned many events with some exceeding 500 attendees, but a boudoir marathon is way different – it requires more finesse and care. If you’re thinking of doing your own marathon, I’d like to tell you about the five main lessons I learned and some helpful tips to get you started!
1. find bad ass people to work with
This is probably the most important of the lessons learned. I was extremely fortunate to have amazing artists with me. Working with Falon from Meraki Hair Artistry and Kinsey from Beat by Kinsey was a dream. I sent them a time line a couple weeks in advance with allotted times for them to get the client looking bomb – and they nailed it for every.single.one. It is so important that you find artists that you respect and admire and love to work with. Having a team that is great with time is also key. Nothing puts a boudoir marathon behind more than – well – being behind because make up and hair is taking longer than expected.
I know there are some photographers out there that might allow their client to do their own hair and make up, but if this is your first run and you need images to boost your portfolio, I highly recommend leaving it to the professionals. Getting professional hair and make up done for the boudoir gives your client a pampered experience AND gives you refined images.
2. get an assistant – like now
Thinking of doing the sessions solo? Think again, please. For the sake of your sanity, PLEASE find an assistant. My boudoir marathon was held at a private ranch house – a tiny house – like the ones you see on HGTV. Since the shoot was in a tiny house, the hair and makeup needed to be done in a separate, semi-far away area, which meant that running back and forth from spot to spot would have been exhausting (not to mention it would have taken away from my client experience). Could you image how awkward my clients would have felt if I had to put the camera down and run to the other area for something?
It didn’t dawn on me until about a week or two before the event that I couldn’t do it all by myself. Luckily, my amazing friend, Charity, took the role of Hazography assistant for the day! And she rocked it! She was my go-to girl for everything. She was ran back to the barn to check on clients, poured mimosas, moved furniture and equipment, brought me different lenses, set up the room for the next client, ran the bath for our super sultry claw tub photos, and escorted the new client to the tiny house. She was amazing and I could not have done it without her. Get yourself a Charity.
3. give yourself more time
Being an engineer by trade and Type A by nature, my life runs on to-do lists, numbers, and schedules. It’s a blessing and a curse all at the same time. So learn from my mistakes. Here is an actual photo of my original schedule:
Repeat after me – give yourself time. For some reason, I decided it would be a good idea to pack as many clients into a day as possible, give myself no time between clients or even take a break. I literally had something to do from 7:30 AM on a Saturday until 5:30 PM. It also meant that I would need to be up by 5 AM to make sure I had everything ready before the first client arrived – and I love my sleep, ya’ll.
Once I realized the flaw in my beautiful spreadsheet, I changed things around. I changed the start time to 9:00 AM – because Saturday, ya’ll – and I limited my slots to four. I added time between clients to prep the room (can I get some applause for Charity here!) and say our good-byes to these awesome ladies! After everything was said and done, this is what my actual schedule looked like:
As you can see, I limited my sessions, which gave me more prep time in the morning, gave a little extra time for hair and make up and most importantly, included more one-on-one time with my clients (2 hours vs. 1 hour).
4. communication is everything
With the nature of these sessions, communication is EVERYTHING for an organized event and fully prepared client. I provided clients with as much information as possible to ensure that they were prepared for the session and they knew what to expect. Two weeks before the marathon, I sent the ladies a preparation guide, as dubbed “The Ultimate Boudoir Preparation Guide”. The information within this book gave examples of different styles and how to achieve those styles using outfits and accessories, what to do and what no to do before a session, and how to get the most out of your session with beauty prep – because nothing ruins a killer outfit like a beauty mishap!
Feedback from the clients? LOVED IT. A beautiful and well crafted prep guide leaves no stone unturned.
The night before I sent out an email with information about the location, how to get there, how to get in, where to go, FAQ’s relating to photo turn around, and a little blurb requesting to use their photos. I would probably recommend sending this out a day earlier.
This is where I felt less than adequate. By the time I had confirmed the date, location, and artists, I had only a month and a half to advertise. I made a blog post with event information, Facebook event with constant post making and sharing, Instagram posts and stories, and sent out an email to my client list. I did some Facebook ads, but I only got a couple of leads from that. Instagram ads didn’t allow me to be boosted due to my photo having two words on it (seriously?). I believe I could have filled my original, hectic schedule if I would have advertised much sooner. It would have given clients much more time to prepare for the session. Looking back, two to three months is a solid advertising time frame for boudoir marathons. Hell, give yourself 6 months!
The five lessons are something to take to heart and if you’ve made it this far, you’re probably pretty serious about having your own boudoir marathon. So here are some things I did to add some oomph to my boudoir sessions:
Created a Pinterest Board for clients to browse different boudoir styles
Visited the venue beforehand to know what I had to work with
Crafted mimosas and had water on deck during the sessions
Made a sexy playlist! Here were my favorite for the marathon:
Undressed – Kim Cesarion
…Ready For It – Taylor Swift
Strip It Down – Luke Bryan
Good For You – Selena Gomez
Sugar (Feat. Francesco Yates) – Robin Schulz
Sorry Not Sorry – Demi Lovato
Generous – Olivia Holt
Like A Wrecking Ball – Eric Church
Burnin’ It Down – Jason Aldean
Swalla (Feat. Nicki Minaj & Ty Dolla $ign) – Jason Derulo
Love So Soft – Kelly Clarkson
Undiscovered – Laura Walsh
I Put A Spell On You – Annie Lennox
Earned It – The Weeknd
Slow Hands – Niall Horan
You Don’t Do It For Me Anymore – Demi Lovato
Show Me How You Werk (feat. Ddg) – Nicole Arbour
Beggin For Thread – Banks
Bad Intentions – Niykee Heaton
Fetish (feat. Gucci Mane) – Selena Gomez