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Cindy Baxter: Selling the Story

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Cindy Baxter knows that childhood is fleeting. Capturing the perfect image of those wonder years is what she loves and she does it in a beautiful and unique way. She constructs theatrical settings complete with costumes, props and often animals that transport a child into their own story, creating a work of art that is timeless.

POUNDS: How did you become a photographer?
CINDY: When I was in the 7th grade I got a hold of my parents 110 camera and I loved it! I took pictures of everything. I cost them a small fortune back then in film processing! In high school I became the head photographer of the yearbook and I was hooked. I started my own studio out of my apartment when I was 19 and at 25 opened my first commercial storefront.

POUNDS: You have created quite a niche with your Storybook Sessions. How did this evolve?
CINDY: I was inspired to do theme-based portraiture by Lisa Jane. Although, the fairytale sessions like fairies and angels didn’t do well in my area so I developed a line of theme portraiture that were more “real to life” themes like the duck pond, country kids, baseball and football themes. I wanted to create works of art for my clients that included their children. I also base what kind of set I do on whether it is what I call, “WALL WORTHY”, in other words I only design a set that I believe my client would want a wall portrait of it. So you don’t see me doing things like candy shops or lemonade stands…I create themes that look like art pieces.

POUNDS: What is the best part of your job?
CINDY: Creating beautiful timeless images for my clients and the appreciation that they have for me is what I love best about what I do. Knowing that for generations people will be enjoying the portraits that I create just makes me happy!

POUNDS: Your Storybook Sessions are quite the production. Do you have a big warehouse of props or do you encourage people to bring their own items?
CINDY: I don’t have a big warehouse…lol! Just a huge studio! I do have tons of props, backgrounds and clothing. For most of my theme sessions I supply clothing up to size 8, although, for the themes that require normal clothing such as my “Winter Wonderland” theme, we just coach our clients on clothing ideas.

POUNDS: Speaking to the production end, you’ve successfully combined sets, props, animals and kids. Do you have a preproduction day where you dress the set? Tell us a little bit about your process.
CINDY: I normally build my sets the evening before the sessions begin. I have done most of my sets multiple times, so on average, it only takes me about an hour to build a set. The pond, my most complicated set, takes about 3 hours to set up.

When creating a new set it takes a few months to gather my thoughts on exactly what I want, search for the right background or have one designed, find props, foliage and other set elements. I then do a model call and photograph the set. This helps me decide on the poses and situations that I am going to photograph during the session to tell the story. It is important to not just photograph your subjects looking at the camera smiling for these theme sets. Creating real life scenarios and photographing children doing real life things in that situation is what makes theme sets true art for my clients’ walls.

POUNDS: How long does a typical photo Storybook session take?
CINDY: We normally schedule an hour for each session.

POUNDS: How do you keep everyone’s attention?
CINDY: I’ve been photographing children for 31 years so I have a ton of experience! I normally just start out talking to the children and asking questions that I know will make them smile naturally. I have a magic duck that I can flip in the air using one hand that I have them blow on. That’s my number one trick! It gets all of the children’s attention. Bubbles of course and a tickle stick (multi colored duster) work well.

POUNDS: Do you have a favorite theme session?
CINDY: My favorite session is my Duck Pond, I’ve been photographing it for 21 years, every spring. I just love how the children interact with the ducks and how natural the images look.

POUNDS: What inspires you?
CINDY: Most of my inspiration for my sets comes from child artists. In general, I’m inspired to be a photographer by all the beautiful people, children and adults that I see every day. Nothing is more important to me than capturing the heart and soul of my subjects and recording their life in a photograph that they will cherish forever.

POUNDS: How has Pounds factored in helping your business?
CINDY: The team at Pounds is the BEST!! My images always come back perfect. The product selection is helpful in giving me a variety of ways to please my clients!

POUNDS: You are great about posting to Facebook. What marketing advice would you give to fellow photographers?
CINDY: I’m good about Facebook but not as good as I need to be. It’s important to try to touch your clients every day in some way through social media. But more importantly, the Golden Rule is what I have always lived by. I treat my client the way I want to be treated. I never argue with a client and if they have any concern with any of their portraits I will fix it immediately! No hassles or questions asked. I don’t care if it is something I don’t even think it is an issue. I reprint and smile!

POUNDS: Where would you like to be in 10 years?
CINDY: I will be photographing for as long as I can stand and see…but in 10 years I will be semi-retired with a winter home in a warm climate!

You can learn more about Cindy Baxter and her studio at cindybaxterstudios.com.

Gail Nogle Gets Around

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Fearless, curious, energetic and full of boundless enthusiasm, Gail Nogle has been there, done that and in a big way! Think of a place. Mongolia, Africa, Romania, she’s been there. Name a person. George Bush, Rudy Giuliani, Julia Child, she’s photographed them. Awards? Well of course there’s the highest award in the profession, a Fellowship from the American Society of Photographers. The list of accolades would fill a volume! At 8 she was presented with a Brownie Starlight camera and fell in love with photography. Gail has an extraordinary talent for capturing the ordinary and after over four decades behind the camera, she is still in love with photography and is still moving forward at the speed of light. She paused long enough to answer a few questions for us!

POUNDS: You’ve been in business for some time and photographed just about every sort of subject matter. What is your absolute favorite thing to photograph and why?
GAIL: My first love and forte is to photograph children, especially 3-year-old children because they are still animated and take direction well and they are ready to play!

POUNDS: What is your best asset when it comes to photographing a subject?
GAIL: My best asset is that I can read people, make them feel comfortable in a very short time, and get down to the business of making wonderful, exciting, and exceptional portraits of them!

POUNDS: You have been at the forefront of the industry, one of the first women to be taken seriously and you’ve remained competitive. How do you do it?
GAIL: Lots of effort, hard work and attention to detail. I never settle for just good enough and I’ve been entering competitions most of the 40 years I have been in business. I was always, and still am, in competition with myself to become a better photographer. I am driven!

POUNDS: What is the next challenge you are looking forward to?
GAIL: Writing my first book, lecturing, and traveling using the world as my studio.

POUNDS: What are a couple of great photo memories you love to share?
GAIL: Some memorable moments for me have been photographing Princess Diana’s funeral, riding on the back of a motorcycle while taking photographs in the Harley Davidson 100th anniversary parade, and attending the 2013 Kumbh Mela in India (the largest religious, spiritual gathering in the world which happens every 12 years).

POUNDS: When did you start speaking about photography at trade shows and conventions?
GAIL: I first started speaking at the TPPA Convention in Dallas, TX in 1977 with my associate and mentor, Yvonne Bluberg.

POUNDS: What do you enjoy most about speaking on the business of photography?
GAIL: The art of photography and the connection I have with my subjects, seeing beyond what is happening at the moment and making something happen out of nothing. I like to share what I have learned in my 40-year career to inspire other photographers to realize their dreams.

POUNDS: How has Pounds factored in your business?
GAIL: Wow! That’s a great question. Where do I start? Pounds has always been there for me no matter what I needed. They provide great customer service. If I need something made over, no questions asked! They always produce quality prints and offer quality service that I can depend on, which is one less thing for me to worry about. Alleviating worry about my prints, that’s what they do best, so I can focus my time and energy on what I do best!

Check out Gail’s work at www.gailnoglephoto.com

The Client is Not the Enemy

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Guest blog by Missy MWAC
The Client is Not the Enemy

A terrorist is an enemy.
A piece of French bread at a Gluten-Free Support Group is an enemy.
A pair of stilettos on your feet at an all day wedding is an enemy.
Off Camera Flash to a Natural Light Photographer is an enemy.
But a client? A client is NOT an enemy.

But you wouldn’t know that by listening to some photographers.

Now, I wasn’t going to even write a post like this, because I’ve touched on this topic before in a previous post. But after reading recently how some photographers:
*say they charge clients MORE if they can’t post their images online
*REFUSE a clients’ request to keep them off social media and post them online anyway
*say they charge an ADDITIONAL FEE if a client is running late to their session and make them wait…
well, I just can’t wrap my brain around this logic. (Note: I always marvel at the “additional fee/surcharge” option. Good luck on collecting that.)

And I wondered when this Client-as-Enemy thing happened? And why?

So, as I do when faced with a perplexing question, I popped a pod into the Keurig, and with coffee in hand, walked around the kitchen talking to myself until it all made sense. Now, I talk to myself a lot, mostly because I’m the only who will listen to my ramblings.

And after several laps around the kitchen table, I realized what I’ve known all along…that photographers have been tricked into this way of thinking by those who have sold them on the idea that as an Artist (read: Ar-teest) they should not go out of their way in the slightest to accommodate a client; that if a client has a differing view, then they are not respectful of you or your photography and should be kicked to the curb.

And while that may be true now and then, the vast majority have made Clients the Enemy due to a normal business situation handled wrongly.

In a Nutshell: We demonize a client rather than realize this is all just part and parcel of doing business; that most of what we encounter are not problems, but rather, the price of doing business.

Hello? McFly?

And it’s hard to fully blame photographers; it’s what many have been taught, even paid good money to learn.

Workshop Givers who teach the “Are You Good Enough for Me” Qualifying Methods: Namely, the suggestion that prospective clients should answer a series of email questions to determine if they are a “Good Fit” for you. My hand to God, those words “if we are a good fit” are part of the email. I’ll tell ya right now, if a business required me to answer that before they’d speak to me, I would press the delete key faster than I can down a vodka and club soda. And that’s fast. Because the words “good fit” are read by many, including me, to mean “good enough.” Are you “good enough” for me to photograph? Yikes. I even felt weird typing that just now. Qualifying a client through your marketing and pricing is one thing. Asking them to prove themselves is another.

Business “coaches” who preach in the church of “Make it All About You.” It’s a growing congregation filled with parishioners all named “ME.” The sermon is always the same: YOU are what’s most important; not the client. Now, they don’t come right out and SAY that the client isn’t important, but just as 2+2=4, you can reason that if YOU are what’s most important, then, the client must not be. (I hope that math is right. I’m bad with math.) Note: The church of “Make it All About You” will pass around the collection plate and you will be required to pay up. Oh yes, you will.

Charge ‘Em More if They Bother You: I see this a lot. I call it a ”how-dare-they” surcharge.
How dare they not want me to post their images?
How dare they run late for their session?
How dare they reschedule?
How dare they change their order?

Succeeding at making the Client the Enemy will win you a small victory. Sure. But it won’t win you a loyal client or repeat business. Remember, clients can spend their money anywhere, but if they choose to spend it with us, shouldn’t we make it the best experience possible? I mean, don’t we want the people with whom we give our money to bend over backwards for us and make us feel special and wanted?

Now, you certainly don’t have to listen to me. This is, after all, YOUR business, so if you don’t want to work with clients to make it a great experience, then don’t. I realize you might have paid good money to hear from a business coach that it should be all about YOU and you want to get your money’s worth. If that’s the case, then allow me to help you take those rotten clients to task and then shame them online.

Feel free to copy and past the following:

“I am Sooooooooo angry. I had a client: (pick one of the following issues)
*make me wait
*not like their pictures
*request I take more
*reschedule a session
*change their order

I am furious. I mean, who do they think they are? Just because they’ve paid me money they think they have a say. I’ve gone out of my way twice for them-what more do they want? At this point, THEY need to prove themselves to me, not the other way around, right?”

Yeah, that will show ‘em.

xoxo

Print What You Want to Preserve

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Guest blog by Missy MWAC
#whyweprint

[The discussion recently arose on my Facebook wall about giving clients digital files because that’s “what they want,” and I’m glad it did, because it’s an important discussion to have. This is my response to the “digital only” conversation. Warning: I took it waaaay down. So far down, that I became exhausted and had to watch SNL reruns on Netflix to counter the effects...]

I may be out of touch, it’s true. And while I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed, I really do try to stay on top of what is trending and what is about to trend. It’s kind of my thing.

As you recall, back in the days o’ film, the phone would ring and the caller would ask that question that made many a photographers’ eyes roll: “How much is an 8×10?” If I had a dime for every time, right? And, we knew…just knew… that what they were asking was not really the price of an 8×10 (although I’m sure there was a percentage for whom that was ALL they wanted to know.)

No, they asked “How much is an 8×10?” because it’s all they knew to ask. They wanted to know price, sure, but what that question really meant was:

“Why should I pick YOU?”
“Am I going to love these?” “What if I don’t?”
“Are you right for me?”
“If I pick you, will I be happy with my choice.”
“Tell me why YOU are the right photographer for me.”

Of course, they didn’t come out and say that. Instead, they asked, “How much is an 8×10?”

Now, that question could be answered according to the “what clients want” theory: they WANT the price of an 8×10, so give it to them and be done with the phone call.

Or…we could dig deeper to find out what they REALLY want.

Fast forward to now and the digital age. I happen to love it. I really do. Digital photography has made possible things that have stretched the imagination and broadened the mind. Heck, you and I are talking because of digital communication. And, for many photographers, digital technology has changed their final product.

Why? Why did it change? Were clients banging down the door demanding digital images only…or were we quick to hand them over, stick a fork in it, and say, “I’m done.”

Personally, I think it’s the latter.

Again, why? Well, with digital only, we don’t have to sell. And selling, well, the thought produces tremors in a lot of people. And then, having sold, we have to produce a product. And then, we have to hope the clients like the product. And then, we have to deliver the product.

All that…when you could slap ‘em on a CD, grab a little pocket change and be done? Well, it’s easy to see, at least to me, why that became attractive and “the thing to do.” (Not to mention this was advocated and promoted by those who stood to profit from the shift to digital only. Of course, that’s a whole other conversation.)

But…I submit it is not always what clients want…even when they say it is. Like the 8×10, they think they need to ask: “Can I get the CD?” That’s what their friends did, right? And that’s the offer they are getting everywhere they turn, so they figure it’s “what’s done.” And, having received the CD, or USB drive, or online gallery, the images will be shared for a week or so, and then, the excitement will wane and the disk will be placed in a drawer.

And it will be forgotten.

Sure, a handful might, just might, print them. Will they look how YOU intended them? After all, your name is on them, so you better hope so. I say the odds are doubtful.

The bottom line, at least, to me, is that we have devalued many things in this industry: the work, the final product, the relationships between client and photographer, the way we market…(examples are happily given for all of these upon request) and it’s time we get back to making things MEAN something again.

I believe we do that by creating a print for our client…something that lasts. I might give a social media copy to share online, but I believe my job isn’t done until I place a paper photograph in their hand, because I believe that the ONLY tangible thing we give our clients shouldn’t be a USB drive.

And, I believe their grandkids will one day be grateful.

xoxo

PRINT in the Name of Science

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I’m not a scientist. Not even close.

The closest I’ve come to being a scientist is creating baking soda volcanos with my children or helping them with science fair projects. Unless, of course, you count experimenting with cocktails in the kitchen as science: “Let’s see…a little of this…and a little of that…” in which case, just call me Mr. Wizard.

But I read an article recently on a Science News site about a study conducted by a Psychologist at Fairfield University. Her findings were published in a paper entitled “Point and Shoot Memories.” In a nutshell, she wanted to determine if people who took a lot of photographs had better memories, or worse. Unfortunately, it was the latter. She determined that the brain’s ability to recollect objects was increased when those objects were viewed outside of a viewfinder.

“When people rely on technology to remember for them — counting on the camera to record the event and thus not needing to attend to it fully themselves — it can have a negative impact on how well they remember their experiences.”

I totally get this. As any parent who has photographed a dance recital knows, you can’t enjoy it AND photograph it at the same time.

But here’s where the story gets interesting. You’ll want to really pay attention to this next part. You with me? Good.

The article goes on to quote the psychologist:

“Research has suggested that the sheer volume and lack of organization of digital photos for personal memories discourages many people from accessing and reminiscing about them,” she said. “In order to remember, we have to access and interact with the photos, rather than just amass them.”

WAIT, let’s read that again.

“Research has suggested that the sheer volume and lack of organization of digital photos for personal memories discourages many people from accessing and reminiscing about them,” she said. “In order to remember, we have to access and interact with the photos, rather than just amass them.”

You mean, it’s not enough to just to TAKE the picture? You have to actually interact with the photos? Hmmm…and how best would we do that?

Oh, I know!

PRINT THEM.

I mean, why do we take pictures to begin with? To remember. A moment in time means something to us, so we whip out a camera and record it so we can remember it later. But as technology progresses, billions and billions and billions of memories are now in danger of being forgotten. It’s like when you go to the zoo and see a sign in a cage for an animal on the Endangered Species list. In our local zoo, the sign reads, “Going…going…gone.”

I wish I could put that sign on every digital file in the world.

As photographers, we are in the business of preserving memories. Even as I write this, I realize how cheesy that line sounds, but, it’s true. Our goal as portrait photographers is not to make a quick buck; it’s to give our clients value in a product they will have for a lifetime. Which is pretty cool when you really think about it.

Will a pixel last for a lifetime? I just don’t know. (I do know that I have a whole mess of cassette tapes I’ll never listen to again. And don’t even get me started on my VHS library.) I DO know, however, that when I sell my clients prints, I am providing them with a tangible piece of art that they will hand down to future generations.

So, if you want to remember a time, or a place or a person you love, there’s really only one thing to do….

PRINT what you want to preserve.

Imaging USA 2014: A Pounds Perspective

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As the palm trees waved under the sunny skies of Phoenix in early January, Imaging USA kicked off another great event. This year over 7,600 people attended, there were more than 100 programs offered, Kenny Rogers received an Honorary Master of Photography degree and shared some of his favorite images and of course we were there! If you weren’t able to attend, here’s a little peek from Chris, Vickie and Carl!

Check out this Imaging USA 2014 Infographic link for some surprising information!

What was your overall impression about Imaging this year?

Chris: “Imaging was high energy this year. There was a constant flow of photographers at our booth until the very last minute of the show!”

Carl: “There were a lot more new photographers attending this year!”

Why do you think Imaging is an important trade show for photographers to attend?

Vickie: “Imaging creates an opportunity for novice and experienced photographers to connect, learn and grow through the information, classes and vendor offerings. Attending Imaging allows them access to help and information, from copyright questions to image capture. Networking and education play key roles in the growth of a photographer’s business.”

Chris: “Photographers of all genres meet, learn, exchange ideas, and grow together. The exposure to hundreds of vendors; from equipment dealers, software providers, frame and prop stores to pro labs and packaging resources provides a unique opportunity for photographers to visit and meet one-on-one and put their hands on the products!”

Carl: “Photographers attending Imaging USA trade show learn from other photographers. They’re able to see and touch the new products offered by various vendors and see demonstrations of new cameras and lenses. You just can’t do this online! Virtual Backgrounds introduced and demonstrated their new digital projection backgrounds which was a big success!”

What about a brand new photographer just opening up a studio, how would Imaging be helpful to them?

Vickie: “Networking, exposure to labs, products and professionals who have a profitable business model!”

Chris: “Imaging USA is the gateway to PPA. Joining PPA allows photographers access to valuable resources that include marketing, legal assistance and insurance services.”

What were the products Pounds offers that generated the most interest?

Carl: “The hot items in the Pounds booth this year were the customized USB Flash Drives and cases. We had samples on hand for the convention as Imaging happened prior to production. Photographers were excited to see them and get pricing. Our Press Books always get attention. People comment on the quality at every show.”

Chris:Metal Prints are still a big hit. The Contour Desktop Panels were a draw and as Carl mentioned, the customized USB Flash Drives and cases.”

Vickie: “Marion Hughes! He’s not a product but he was by far the biggest draw. No one knows school photography like Marion! We had a great deal of interest in Wavy Metal and cell phone cases as well.”

It’s never too early to start thinking about Imaging USA 2015 and being a member of PPA! Pencil in February 1-3, 2015 on your calendar right now then start polishing those boots to kick up your heels in Nashville!

Hand-Holding To Hand Delivering: Cheryl Wemp Does It All!

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Cheryl Wemp holds down our Fort Worth operations. She not only manages the office but is also in charge of customer service and accounts receivable. She’s been a part of the Pounds family since the very beginning. Born and raised on the west coast, she arrived in Texas 35 years ago and has 3 beautiful grandchildren!

POUNDS What do you like most about your job?
CHERYL Sitting down with a client and showing them how we can help them grow their business. One tip I always tell photographers is to show 16 x 20 prints and larger. If you show small prints you sell small prints. If you show large prints, you sell large prints and make a greater profit!

POUNDS How do you think Pounds differs from other labs?
CHERYL Personal, one-on-one communication with customers. We take the time needed to solve individual situations. We hand-hold to hand deliver if needed!

POUNDS Customer communication is important at Pounds. You come into contact with clients on a daily basis. What is the thing you most often hear that is reflective of how we serve their needs?
CHERYL We solve problems and that saves the customer money! For instance we look carefully at each order. If there is an out of focus image in their $300.00 album we contact them the minute we see it and that saves the customer time and money.

POUNDS What is one thing you’d like your customers to know about you?
CHERYL I will do whatever it takes to get it done

POUNDS Tell us an “above and beyond the call of duty” story.
CHERYL I answered the phone one afternoon and it was a panicked Austin photographer. He left some equipment in the mid-cities area where he was shooting over the weekend. He was trying to retrieve his equipment but could not physically get out here to get it and wanted to know if I knew of anyone going to Austin that could bring it to him. After talking with him for awhile I learned where the equipment was located and told him I would stop on my way home and retrieve everything package it up and send it to him via UPS. He would have it the next day. I called him with the tracking number, he received the package and he was very happy!

POUNDS Do you ever get to meet the people at the other end of the phone/email? If so what is it like?
CHERYL Sometimes you create relationships with people over the phone. When you meet them in person it just makes that ‘bond’ stronger. It’s exciting to put a face with a voice!

POUNDS What is the most important thing everyone should know about customer service at Pounds?
CHERYL We are here for you!

sRGB vs. Adobe RGB

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The debate over which color space is best to use has been around for several years. Some photo-bloggers are advising photographers to shoot in Adobe RGB color space. For most of us this would be a mistake. Adobe RGB was developed for the publishing industry and represents a broader color range (gamut) than sRGB. However, for all practical purposes the world works in sRGB. Adobe compresses the color range in order to fit the larger pallet into available space. Special software, and care, is required to re-expand the tonality. Even if you succeed in this step; internet displays and photo labs, including Pounds Labs, exclusively use sRGB. Printing from any of the specialty color spaces like Adobe RGB without precise conversion to sRGB will yield duller reds and violets. The end result will still reflect an sRGB gamut, so why not start in the color space that you print, web display and e-mail in. Streamline your workflow, always use sRGB.

This may seem counterintuitive, but don’t take my word for it. Check out Gary Fong’s YouTube discussion on this subject.

Tune Into POP!

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In 40 years will your client’s grandchildren know what to do with that shiny metallic mini-frisbee? What about the little card with metal prongs or shiny teeth? Where will they plug it in and how will they view the contents? Given the exponential rate of technological advances, they likely won’t. Do you think they will know how to open a book cover and turn the assembly of pages from one to the next? That has much more potential!

Pages and prints endure and so will the memories of moments in time captured and displayed on them. We all know the scenario…hard drives crash, disks get scratched, special dogs eat flash drives. As a photographer, you have the opportunity to educate your client about the longevity and practicality of pages and prints, enabling you the opportunity to earn more money through added sales of books, cards, and large prints. If you haven’t added press books to your menu yet, now is the time! We will help you navigate the world of press products if you need support.

In order to make your life a bit easier, we recently released a new free software program called POP that allows you to easily design and create press books, cards and calendars and have them professionally printed and assembled by Pounds Labs using state-of-the-art digital press technology. If you haven’t already, now is the time to tune into POP! Don’t forget, May is the month to try out this new program because we have a special promo on 10×10 Hardcover Press Books and 5×5 Softcover Press Books. Just enter promo code PB513 when you order through the end of May and receive a 20% discount at the time of billing. These pages will endure as treasured keepsakes for generations! No additional technology needed! Well, maybe some bifocal technology for some of us. Make more prints!

Shoot to Thrill

Shoot to Thrill with Lynn Michelle

Boudoir photography is booming. Brides may have been integral in launching boudoir photography but women in general have embraced this empowering form of self-expression. They’re requesting these sensual candid shots for Valentine’s Day, birthdays, anniversaries and celebrations of change in their lives. It’s the biggest growth area in the photography field. Is it right for you? We talked with one of the best boudoir photographers in the country, Dallas based Lynn Michelle, to give you a little insight into this burgeoning part of the industry.

Pounds: What prompted you to become a photographer?
Lynn Michelle: I was getting a computer science degree at the University of Texas at Dallas when they highly suggested that the students get involved in campus activities. I guess I’m always one for following the rules so I decided to join the school newspaper. I was interested in being a writer, but the editor was looking for a photographer. From there, my friends got married, and then their friends got married!

Pounds: How did the boudoir photography come about?
Lynn Michelle: A client that was already married contacted me. She was interested in having a special gift made for her first wedding anniversary. I was familiar with studio photography, so I thought boudoir would be easy, I was so wrong. It was one of the most difficult things I have ever had to do as a photographer. I had to really focus on my lighting, my people skills and especially posing!

Pounds: What percentage of your clients opts for a boudoir session?
Lynn Michelle: About 20% of my own clients request boudoir as part of their wedding photography package. Some of my clients are having wedding photography done by another photographer who doesn’t do boudoir photography.  Others have found me by word of mouth and want a session as a one-year anniversary or 25th anniversary gift for their spouse.

Pounds: Boudoir photography seems to be gaining popularity, what is your take on that?
Lynn Michelle: I believe that more women are familiar with it and think it’s a really sexy thing to do for their significant other. They see the images that are produced and know they are sensual, not “dirty”.

Pounds: Can it be tricky getting your subjects to relax?
Lynn Michelle: I think the secret is to talk a lot and really connect with your client. I also share many of the images from the back of the camera throughout the session. This allows the client to see what I’m getting and understand what the final images will look like.

Pounds: What’s your advice for photographers thinking about expanding their services into boudoir photography?
Lynn Michelle: Boudoir is definitely more difficult than it seems. I think that a photographer should be comfortable in their posing, directing and lighting before tackling boudoir – all of which come from many years of experience. I don’t believe it’s an area to jump into quickly and hope to succeed.

Pounds: Talk us through a session from the moment a client walks in.
Lynn Michelle: Once the client arrives, we talk about package options and go over the contract together. We also take care of the payment and discuss where and how the images will be shared on the blog. From there, we go over the wardrobe changes and how much nudity the client is comfortable with. Makeup and hair (if added) are next. We talk about everything from her excitement about the session to her fears. The first outfit is the most covered one and we spend time talking about posing and smiling. I pose every inch of her body and talk through the whole session. Sometimes I make jokes to get her to smile and some times I say provocative things to make her blush.

Pounds: Are there wardrobe changes?
Lynn Michelle: Yes. My starting package includes two wardrobe changes. I suggest that my clients bring as many outfits as they would like and we go through them together to choose the best ones. An average session has 5 options as well as some nudity, if the client desires.

Pounds: Do you have professional hair and makeup available?
Lynn Michelle: Makeup is included as part of every package because it’s so integral to how the images turn out. Hair is an option and can be added to any package. I have an amazing girl who does the hair & makeup and she brings the Va Va Va Voom to every woman!

Pounds: Do you suggest clients bring along a bottle of wine or champagne to relax?
Lynn Michelle: I provide one glass of champagne because I want them to be comfortable and not too tipsy. Some clients turn red after alcohol consumption so we have to be very careful.

Pounds: Do you draw a line at nude photographs or are they considered a standard part of the session?
Lynn Michelle: I have no problem with nudity or implied nudity, but I make it clear that I do not shoot pornographic images.

Pounds: Do you see the business for boudoir photography on a steady increase?
Lynn Michelle: More and more people are seeing what boudoir photography is and sharing it with their friends, the market is definitely increasing steadily.

Pounds: Do you generally shoot these sessions in the studio or at a client’s home?
Lynn Michelle: I have shot only one session in the client’s home – it was a special body painting session that she wanted shot at her ranch. All of the other sessions have been in studio.

Pounds: You have a great pre-shoot prep list on your site. Do people come to you with tear sheets of looks they’d like to achieve?
Lynn Michelle: I generally do not get tear sheets. Most of the time they reference images on my blog. I feel like in general my clients feel comfortable with me providing a variety of looks and poses for them but I do not discourage tear sheets, I just tell them that we will take them as ideas and go from there.

Pounds: This seems like a really fun and exciting genre of photography. What do you like most about it?
Lynn Michelle: I love the swagger that a woman gets after a session. She feels empowered and amazing and I was a part of that! However, my favorite part is getting the email after they see their images! Boudoir is such an amazing experience. I did my own set of images a few years ago and it was more empowering than I could have ever hoped. The right photographer will help you feel comfortable in your own skin and walk you through posing so that you never awkwardly looking at the camera wondering what to do next. I highly encourage every woman to consider a boudoir portrait session, or even a glamour session where they can wear their favorite dress. This type of photography really brings out your inner goddess and every woman should remember that sassiness that is deep inside from time to time!

Lynn Michelle Photography: We Shoot Fabulous People

www.lynnmichelle.com | 972.824.5519