Category: for photographers

Marisa’s Boudoir Philosophy

June 2, 2014

beach boudoir-0212_Stomp

Happy Monday!

As the birthday looms closer and closer I have decided to do a little diving into my soul. I’m giving myself exercises to do and asking more questions to find more meaning in my life, ultimately looking for ways to give back in all areas of my life and especially with my boudoir photography business.  Over the weekend I can up with a plan and I can’t wait to start implementing and sharing it with you.

Some very special boudoir photo contests and giveaways are on the way. It’s still in development, but soon you will be seeing new ways to become involved and inspired through some very special stories and contests.

Also, over the weekend I laid out the frame works of my ebook and welcome to chapter 1. I won’t be sharing everything but I’ll be giving you some pieces to chew on as I get closer and closer to launching it.

If you have anything you think I need to put in my ebook, something you want to know more about, please do share.

Chapter 1: Introduction: Marisa’s Philosophy

Every woman is a photo waiting to happen — a star waiting to be discovered.

My camera has been a natural expression of who I am for as long as I can remember.

I got lucky, I found my calling in my teens and never looked back, never seconded guessed and just ran with my heart first. I was gifted with the burning ambition to tell stories with my camera, to search for light wherever I went and to never give up on my dreams.I feel in love with photographing women in my early 20’s. Women are beautiful, mystical creatures. They are art in the most natural way. I couldn’t help but want to idealize their beautiful bodies and souls in a moment that would last forever.

In the healthiest of ways, I seem to be obsessed with the form of a woman and what we are capable of and in search for my own power as a woman, I discover myself more and more through the beauty and strength of my clients. Intimate photography is in the core of who I am. Taking pictures of beautiful, strong women that are celebrating their bodies with me is an honor, and one that I do not take lightly.

Through my many ups and downs as a photographer It became clear, that if sharing my knowledge and my tools would help other boudoir photographers follow their dreams, than it was all worth it. I am writing this guide to not to help you survive as a photographer, but how to thrive. I will teach you how to stand out from the crowd and create your own blue ocean of opportunity.

Through this book, I grant you the insight into my personal philosophy concerning Boudoir, give you some technical, marketing, branding and business tips that will help and hopefully inspire you to take your boudoir business to the next level.

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Boudoir Tips : How to get found

May 21, 2014

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Boudoir Tips : How to get found

 Using a Blog to Increase Sales and Exposure for Your Boudoir Photography Business

 1.Why a Blog is Crucial

 There are no magic wands, no hidden tricks, and no secret handshakes that can bring you immediate success, but with time, energy, and determination you can get there.– Darren Rowse

 Want a successful photography business and to increase your sales? You need to get your name out there, you need to gain exposure. You also need to realize that we live in a world where many people’s lives are conducted primarily online, and in order to meet them where they are, you need to set up a blog.

 A blog exists a connection between you and your potential clientele, as it is the human element that allows you to express your unique skill set and personality to those people you won’t necessarily meet in everyday life. It’s the digital version of cloning yourself, so you can reach more people faster and more effectively. When you blog, you need to blog intentionally, paying attention to style and theme, so that you’re representing your brand appropriately. It won’t be all serious, and it won’t be all casual. Finding the balance between the two is what will appeal to your readers, so that, in a way, you become a “real”person to them.

 2. What to Talk About

 Good content should be at the heart of your strategy, but it is equally important to keep the display context of that content in mind as well.– Tim Frick

  • What to Wear

 One of the FAQ’s of Boudoir Photography is “what should I wear?”Writing a blog about how to dress and prepare for the session not only saves you time because you won’t have to be constantly repeating yourself, but makes it more accessible to your clients.

  • What Clients Are Saying

 Self-promote! Write client features and talk about these experiences. After you finish sessions, ask your clients to say a few words and then write about it in the blog. One of the best marketing tools are the references of others who have already been through the process.

  • Albums and Wall Portraits

Don’t hesitate to talk about the technical aspects of your job, especially if you specialize in high-quality print presentation, what you offer helps you stand out from the crowd.

  • Hidden Nooks

 What are the special gifts that only you have? What makes you unique amongst other photographers? Avoid outright bragging, but certainly talk about it. Being too humble won’t ever serve you well in such a competitive field.

  • What to Look for in a Photographer

 Consider yourself an expert on the matter. When people search google for “what to look for in a photographer,”you want them to show up at your page. Blogging about what makes a good photographer in general, and then fulfilling those requirements yourself, will be a major selling point for your business.

3. How Often to Post on Your Blog

 Doing well with blogging is not about writing one key post, it is about performing day after day and helping a few people at a time. -Aaron Wall

 This is really up to you, but 2-3 times per week at least (more if you can spare the time) is optimal for search engine optimization and site exposure. It doesn’t have to be feature length articles, just a couple hundred words, but the more content you have, the higher traffic you’ll get to your site.

 4. How to Set Up a Blog

 Remarkable social media content and great sales copy are pretty much the same plain spoken words designed to focus on the needs of the reader, listener, or viewer. – Brian Clark

If you have not built a blog yet and it’s something that’s been on you to do list for as long as you can remember, here you go, 4 easy steps to get your blog on it’s way! I know it can be overwhelming, and there are so many things you don’t know, but the only way to start, is to DO IT!! The rest will fall in place over time. My blog has come together over a period of YEARS, and I really had to let go of perfect or I would have never put it out there. I’m not sure it will ever be perfect. I’m actually in the middle of a redesign now. Stay tuned. The design is finally done and I should be up and going in a couple weeks.

Here are 4 easy step to get your blog started

1. Choose you domain name

This is important! Instead of having something like: yoursite.wordpress.com or yoursite.blogspot.com,  you will  have: www.yoursite.com

Free blogs can setup on wordpress.com and blogspot.com, but if you’re planning to be a successful and professional looking long-term blogger, then you might as well start on a self-hosted site.

If you have not done this yet, I recommend grabbing a domain and a web hosting service from a provider like Bluehost.


1. click on get started now

2. pick your domain name or click already have domain name

3. enter in your account and billing info

4. choose your hosting package

2. Install a wordpress 

1. Log into your Bluehost account and in the home section you will see a little icon that say install worpress. Click install wordpress.

2. Once you have installed wordpress, go to your site, so type in whatever site you choose in the browser and a generic wordpress them with come up. Click log in.

3. Once you are logged in go down to appearance on the left and click on themes. Pick a theme you fancy. There are many lovely free ones and you can get paid ones for a minimal charge.

4. once you have chosen a theme you can start blogging. Just click Post and Add New

3. Update the Favicon For Your Website

The little 16×16 icon that appears next to your web address at the top your browser id Favicon. It can also show up next to the tabs or in the bookmarks section too.

Spend 5 minutes to update your favicon, and it can be a small detail that makes an impact and does not scream “Newbie”

To update your favicon, you’ll need to place a 16×16 pixel icon (named favicon.ico) into your website’s root folder. For WordPress users, that’s directly into your public_html folder. You can create a picture file in Photoshop and simply rename it to favicon.ico, or create one yourself on a website such as Favicon.cc.

4. Format your blog post

Many people fail to format their blog posts to make it easier for the reader. The posts are lacking headings, subheadings,  lists, white space, pictures, bold keywords, italics, charts, diagrams, and even links! Go to some of your favorite blogs and take notes on how they format their blog. Make your blog fun read and easy to consume. People will spend much more time on your blog if you do that. This is only something I’ve recently really tried to implement and I’m getting better at it everyday! Here’s a great article from problogger that really helped me.

I hope this helps get you on your way! Blogging is a journey worth discovering. You never know what can come of it and you just might love it. Over the last 6 months I have discovered so many things about myself and this boudoir blog has really given me a platform to connect with all of you and share my knowledge. It is just the beginning! Please feel free to share and let me know anything you want to know! I love hearing from my readers!

XX

Marisa

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Boudoir Photography Tips: How to Over-Deliver

May 13, 2014

Boudoir Photography Tips: How to Over-Deliver

We all love when we buy something and then get something free, when we an get an instant upgrade we didn’t ask for or even apply for, or receive a thank you card in the mail that we didn’t expect. It’s called surprise and delight, and like with everything else, in Boudoir Photography knowing when and where to over deliver can mean the world to your clients.

In the business world, it’s no great secret that you consistently want to exceed your client’s expectations. You want to shock them, awe them, impress them, and ultimately give them a better experience than they had ever dreamed of. For your boudoir clients, this type of service is just as pivotal. From initial consultation to image delivery, you want them to feel like they’ve been on the ride of their life, one that they just have to tell everybody about.

Under-Promise, Over-Deliver

There are several things you can do to make sure your Boudoir clients have a world-class experience from beginning to end. One of the most important things is to not show your entire arsenal, to use just the right size hook in order to reign them in, and reserve the “big guns”for when you need them.

This is where knowing your target audience comes into play. Know what appeals to your clients, do what it takes to get them to book a session, and then once they’ve booked the session which is right for them…

Rock their world.

I love seeing the looks on my client’s faces when during the consultation I tell them about what the process will be like. Their broad smiles and raised eyebrows exclaim, “Wow, you can do that for me.”It makes them feel instantly special. And as Boudoir Photographers, making our clients feel special is the entire reason for what we do. Or at least it is for me anyways.

If you under-promise, this gives you a buffer zone – some wiggle room for you to shine. You know how long it takes you to do things, how well you can do them, and what your standards are.

Say you’ll have the photos to them in 3 weeks, but deliver them in two. If they order a large number of prints, give them a small extra as a thank you. At your boudoir sessions, have complimentary hors d’oeuvres ready when they arrive.

Balance and Boudoir

But there is an art to this whole scenario. You are running a business, and the purpose of this strategy is twofold:

  1. Attract New Clients
  2. Reward Faithful Clients

If your methods of over-delivery aren’t meeting these ends, then it’s time to adjust your strategy. Try offering referral perks to customers who recommend you to their friends, or feel free to get creative. The whole point is to make yourself stand out so much in the minds of your boudoir clients that they can’t stop talking about you and what a great time they had.

Because remember, happy clients = more clients, and over-delivery is one of the most underrated ways of doing just that.

A Secret Tip

A little something I like to do to impress my special clients. I create mood boards all the time in the commercial and editorial world so why not create them for those special portraits clients that need a little extra inspiration. It really does wonders. It helps with posing, attitude and can take your lighting to a new level.

It pushes you  to try new things, and maybe take your work  to another level. Your client will truly appreciate you going the extra mile to help make their boudoir shoot the best it can be. Give it a shot! Next time you want to impress your client, ask who some of their favorite icons are and create a mood board around them. Let me know how it goes!

XX

Marisa

boudoir mood board 5.10

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Creating A Transformative Boudoir Photography Experience

May 8, 2014

Boudoir Photography Tips: How to Create a Transformative Experience

 There are thousands of photographers in California alone, all of them trying to make a living, and only a few of them are successful at it. There are a few differences between successful boudoir photographers, and those not so successful, and one of those differences has more to do with the entire experience than the final photos themselves. Of course the photos are important, but they’re not as important as you might think.

 Boudoir clients want to have an experience they’ll remember for the rest of their lives, not just another photo session. They’ve learned to expect more, and so it’s up to you to provide more.

How to Create a Transformative Boudoir Photography Experience

 1.Compliment Her

First and foremost it’s your duty to make her feel like the most important and beautiful person in the room. She needs to feel comfortable and confident, and if you’re taking her photo without giving her any direction or positive feedback, she’s not going to respond well. If she strikes a fantastic pose, tell her! Be constructive and upbeat, and your energy will inspire her.

2. Be Mindful of the Environment

The most important thing is for her to be comfortable. Lucky for us here in L.A., the warmth makes it easy for use to control things temperature-wise. If your clients are going to be scantily clad, the room better not be freezing.

The next thing you want to consider is privacy. This is an intimate session, and it should feel that way. If she wants to bring along a friend for moral support, let her. If she only wants you in the room with her, make that happen. Go the extra mile so that the environment fits what she needs, and fits the mood of the session.

3. Let Her Shine

This is her day, give her room to break through. What is about her that stands out, that makes her unique? Or better yet, what does she like about herself? Give her the opportunity to show it off.

4. Throw in Some Goodies

Never underestimate the power of brilliant styling and strong champagne. Feature packages that include hair and makeup so that, for the day, your boudoir client can become the star she’s always wanted to be. Play music with great vibes, get her laughing. Do whatever it takes.

A truly transformative experience is one that not only allows your boudoir client to leave the session with a bounce in her step and feeling good all over, but something that will help her permanently see herself in a whole new light. Women who have an experience like this will tell everyone they know, and the people who hear about it will want to see it for themselves.

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Boudoir State of Mind: Models and Muses

May 6, 2014

Boudoir State of Mind: Models and Muses

 One of the most frequent questions I’ve been getting from my clients recently is this:

“I’m not a professional model, will I still look good in my boudoir photos?”

They look at my website, see a variety of beautiful women and for some silly reason, immediately think they somehow they don’t fit the “standard.”

This couldn’t be further from the truth.

So, I figured it was time to clear up this delicate issue, and rest your mind at ease. The truth of the matter is every woman is beautiful. No matter her height, weight, bust size, eye color, hair color, whatever. And above all else, You don’t have to be a professional model with “the look”to take exceptional photos.

Models, Muses, and Women in Photography

 As a professional photographer I work with all sorts. I have done commercial work where a client will specifically request a certain model or featured personality for the photo work, but the bulk of what I do, and the majority of the images on my website, consists of work with real women.

These are people who come into the studio with no prior modeling experience, and over the course of a session become more comfortable with their bodies and more empowered as a result of the experience.

I think the reason for this misunderstanding is that people often don’t see themselves the way they deserve to be seen. As women, we so often compare ourselves to everyone else, judging ourselves against what we see in magazines or in cosmetic ads, and not realizing that most of this is manufactured nonsense to make you believe that you need a product.

Boudoir Photography exists as a means to show women how beautiful they truly are. One of my favorite things is when a client sees her Boudoir photos and asks, “is that really me?!”And I can tell them, honestly, of course it’s you, because you’re beautiful.

When we become accustomed to seeing ourselves a certain way, we take it as the only truth…but when we get the chance to see ourselves a different way, all dolled up during a session for example, our self-perception and self-esteem changes for the better.

So no, you don’t have to be a professional model to look good in your photos. You just have to be you.

If you are  a new boudoir photographer and you are just starting out, then I recommend using one of the many model sites to build your portfolio. Some good sites to start on are model mayhemand one model place. You want to work with as many different body types as you can, so you can gain an understanding of the best posing options for each. Using models is a great way to build your confidence as well as your portfolio. Working with models will give you the chance to explore techniques and develop your own personal style. Once you have more confidence in yourself then you can move onward and upward to clients.

Testing

I think it is important to always be testing. Testing new lights, and new ideas. It keeps your work fresh and lets you have some creative freedom. As boudoir photographers, we have limits on what we can and can’t post. There is a level of intimacy with our clients and what we can show depends entirely on them. With that said,  it’s even more important to build your portfolio with models and muses that will allow you to use their images on all of your promotional material.

Who To Test

You also want to you a variety of different ethnicities. When a client can relate to your work through their background, you’ll have more luck in booking them. People like to go with what is comfortable and if they can see themselves in your photos than you are that much closer to turning them into a client.

Your Website

Putting your best work on your site is often something many photographers overlook. Just because you have a lot of good photos does not mean they all need to be seen. Keep it tight, and to the best of the best. It’s better to have 10 strong photos than 30 ok ones. Having a strong edited body of work is crucial to having a strong web presence. It also needs to flow. Whatever photos you intend to put on your site, print them out, lay them on your floor or put them on your wall and pice them together. I do this ALL the time. Think of it like a killer mixed tape. Haha I just totally aged myself. You know what I mean. Each one needs to lead into the next.

Also, If you have any questions or you ever want to shoot me any images for a constructive crit, feel free! info@marisaleigh.com

Here are few lovely photos from one of my recent shoots. I’ve had some really lovely shoots over the last couple months, this one being one of them. I’m so thrilled she is allowing me to share.

Boudoir

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Boudoir Tips Los Angeles-0529E_Stomp

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