Knowing your client’s comfort level can be extremely important when photographing a boudoir session. There are some photographers out there who tend to just “wing it” and try to do the same poses and same types of wardrobe with every client simply because it is what they show on the website so therefore this must be what their client wants, right? Not always. You may have a client who loves your website and your work, but maybe they are a little more reserved than some of your other clients. Or it could be the opposite, maybe they saw an image that they fell in love with and they want the same photo of themselves, but completely naked!
How do you figure out what your client wants or where they are at when it comes to their comfort zone? You could just ask them in an email, but this may scare them away. Often, the best way is to have them fill out a questionnaire when you are booking them. It can be online or in an email, this way they will not feel any pressure of what they will or will not shoot. They will also feel more comfortable with you as the photographer if they know you are taking their thoughts on this matter into consideration.
Once you have their answers you will know more about your client and what they are expecting from the session. Another idea is to talk to them when they are getting their hair and make up done. Sometimes the nerves will start to set in right before the shoot. If you have the questionnaire you can go over some of their responses and just get a feel of what they are thinking. If you have albums or books of your work this is also a great time for them to go through them. This will remind them of why they wanted to come in for a boudoir session to begin with, especially if they are getting nervous.
The whole idea behind this is that a comfortable client is a happy client. And when they are happy, they tend to buy more products, refer you and will even come back for another session! This is intimate portraiture. Intimate is the key word. They are sharing a part of their life with you that they may not share with many others. Using a questionnaire and talking with them builds the trust they may need. This will allow you to deliver the best photos you are capable of instead of wondering if they are going to like what you do. Honestly, it takes away the wonder and nervousness of both the client and the photographer!