Why Does Boudoir Photography Cost That?

If you’re anything like me, when you commit to investing in a product, you want confirmation that you’re spending your hard earned money and your valuable time on something worthwhile and timeless. After all, you’ve worked bloody hard for that money.  And,  if you’re a mum, the first thought of any money you spend,  more than likely goes straight towards your munchkins. Hands up ladies if doing anything for just yourself seems a wee bit eccentric, and little bit selfish. Am I right? I am, aren’t I?

Unfortunately, this perception of doing something incredibly valuable for ourselves and our soul,  is worth less than getting new clothes for your daughter, or putting new carpet in your house. We have to work that much harder to make it okay in our minds to spend money on ourselves. I totally get it.  You and I are the same. I am also the mother who doesn’t want to spend money on herself. I am also the wife who works her butt off for her family. I can, without a thought, waste $50 on some stupid fad toys for my kids or even my dog (I know, totally mental, right?), but feel ridiculously guilt ridden if I even think about spending $5 on coffee for myself.  It’s just another little facet of the “Mummy Complex” we all suffer from.

Let’s be completely honest: boudoir photography is a luxury. A want. But, it is also a need for the woman who feels like she has lost that magic in her life, who feels her confidence is waning or her life is lackluster. Every woman that does a boudoir photo shoot with Studio Boudoir leaves feeling like a new woman; feeling sexier and more confident about themselves! This is not just a regular photo session. Our clients tell us that this has 100% changed their lives.

So, I want to explain the cost of a Studio Boudoir photo shoot and photography package. I want you to know why I cost what I do and why I believe I am worth what I charge. And not only Studio Boudoir, but why any good photographer costs what they do.


Firstly, The Boudoir Experience / When I set out to Boudoir Photography, it was my desire to create an all round experience, not just a quick slap ’em up photo shoot.  I spend hours sourcing amazing furniture to create stunning sets, scouring the valleys looking for gorgeous locations all for you to have the best time ever, hiring beautiful professional ladies to do exquisite hair and make up for you so that you will feel like a princess.  It’s all about you!  I design the day so that you will feel like the world revolves around you.  I want you to walk out of the experience wondering why on earth you didn’t do that sooner! It’s not just a photo shoot, it’s a day in the middle of your life where you can forget everything and just enjoy.  Oh and there are usually chocolates involved too.

The Cheap Photographer Factor / Many photographers, when they first start their photography business, fail to realise how much time, effort and money it takes to make their business profitable. After all, how expensive could it be to get a camera and burn a cd?  They inevitably undervalue what they do as a result and end up working for less than minimum wage.  Way, way less. Many times these impromptu “professionals” fail to account for the cost of running a business, the high cost of decent photography gear and (back up equipment!), editing software, image and file back ups, and unfortunately produce sub-standard work.  A good photographer’s expertise comes at a cost.  Into their fees there must be room for their time learning their craft and learning the intricacies of lighting and correct exposure and the commitment to create a business that is nothing short of professionalism. Not to mention their reliability and dependability. The photographs that are produced as a result of such professionalism and dedication, are high quality works that will be loved for a lifetime and possibly handed down for generations to come. Great consideration should be placed in deciding which professional photographer is perfect for you and one of the most sentimental purchases of your life.  An experienced photographer knows how to flatter a women in a photo; how to show her best side, her most beautiful angles.  Only with experience does this come. An experienced photographer knows what to say to make a client relax so that every concern and anxious thought just drifts away.  Again, experience is that master teacher.

I love this little story about Pablo Picasso.  It demonstrates perfectly the value of an artist that has been honing their craft all their lives instead of one who has just jumped on the bandwagon to make a quick buck.

Legend has it that Pablo Picasso was sketching in the park when a bold woman approached him. “It’s you — Picasso, the great artist! Oh, you must sketch my portrait! I insist!”, the woman said. So, Pablo Picasso agreed to draw her portrait. After studying her for a moment, he used a single pencil stroke to create her portrait. He handed her his work of art. She was delighted. “It’s perfect!” she gushed. “You managed to capture my essence with one stroke, in one moment. Thank you! How much do I owe you?” “Five thousand dollars,” Picasso replied. “But, what?” the woman spat. “How could you want so much money for this picture? It only took you a second to draw it!” To which Picasso responded, “Madame, it took me my entire life.”

The Time Involved / I spend hours upon hours on each client. My photos are tailor-made to you and you alone; to your specific body type and your unique personality. From me you get personalised one on one undivided attention for hours at a time. Not only am I investing this time to create great photos for you, I am setting aside this time to give you the most amazing experience ever.  For the day of the shoot, I want you to feel like you are hanging out with an old friend rather than a photographer.  I want you to feel comfortable enough to talk about anything with me; whether it’s bitching about your in laws to that rogue of an ex boyfriend who still bugs you after all these years.

I totally get why clients think that boudoir is expensive when they only see me, the photographer for at most two hours. In reality, for me, that is the quickest and easiest part of the entire job. Here’s a quick break down of approximate time I spend per client:

  • 1 hour email or phone consultation per client. If a client inquires but doesn’t make an appointment, then my emails and consultation was free and an out of pocket experience for me.
  • 2 hours travel time to and from client’s place or studio location
  • 2 hours prepping (studio set up and pull down)
  • 5 hours in-person photo shoot. This includes 1 hour hair and makeup, 2 hours shoot time, 1 hour image upload and sorting, and a 1 hour ordering session.
  • 10 hours (up to) post-processing and editing of images
  • 1 hour online previews (either social media or personal phone app)
  • 3 hours album designing and ordering
  • 1-2 hour receiving of products, checking products, packaging and dispatch of products.

As you can now see, my time with my clients is not limited to their shoot and that’s it.  On average I spend about 25 – 30 hours on every client’s job!  Suddenly my prices are seeming very reasonable! lol My clients are not just paying for the two hours of session time, they are paying for approximately 30 hours of my time to complete your session images.

Boudoir Photography

The Real Costs / Did you know that a quality professional camera, great quality lenses and computer can cost around the $30,000 mark? This is the case for me!  On top of that I also have costs for

  • Public Liability Insurance
  • Camera and equipment insurance
  • Printing and Album costs
  • Employee fees
  • Uniform Costs
  • Software and Computer costs
  • Office Admin costs
  • Travel and Accommodation costs
  • Phone and electricity
  • Studio sets and props costs
  • Expo and Fair fees
  • Internet and Hosting fees
  • And the list goes on…it’s getting kinda scary to write this all down!

So at the end of the day, prior to asking why something is so expensive, consider what it takes to produce whatever you are questioning. No doubt, there were years of education, training and experience involved. What are the costs of the materials, labor, tools, used to generate the products? Sometimes though,we sacrifice quality over price only to find out we’re disappointed and that’s not money well spent at all.  Do your research and make an educated decision. Satisfy yourself on why you’re willing to pay so much for something you want. If it makes you deliriously happy, it is so worth it.