How to Choose a Boudoir Photographer

Have you decided that this year you're going to book a boudoir experience? If so, I am SO proud of you! You deserve to experience self-love at an all-new high, and I can't think of a better time to boldly embrace you than right now.

One quick look on Google though and you can already tell, there's no shortage of boudoir photographers in Vancouver BC to choose from. So I thought it would be super helpful to you to help you decide how to choose a boudoir photographer with these tips!

Tip 1: Intentional creation is key

Does the photographer you're looking at right now have a wildly sporadic and random looking portfolio on their website? Or do all of their images, while not being 100% the same, have some kind of consistent style to the photos they've taken, as if it's all intentional? 

If the answer you see here falls in the latter part, that means the photographer has determined their style and kept things consistent, which is a big deal for a few reasons.

It means that a) this photographer has crafted their art, and while there's variety in their portfolio you can see they're intentionally creating it with a vision, and b) they've been doing photography long enough to define their style. 

Now, if things look out of focus consistently, that's okay! Sometimes the best shots are out of focus intentionally because they caught a movement or a moment that's actually meaningful, worth photographing.

A photographer who doesn't have these two major key parts of intentional creation (which is EVERYTHING to me, seriously!) is probably still crafting their art and finding their technique and style.

Take note also of whether or not it looks like they've used all the trendiest filters on Instagram in their professional portfolio, which is also a red flag—the LAST thing you should look is trendy, because that kind of look never lasts forever! 

Tip 2: Be EXTRA careful about deals

I have heard horror stories of women who decide to go in for a photoshoot and they were presented as a sweet deal, or even free. 

Ladies, I hate to break it to you but… NOTHING is free! These women have left their photoshoot feeling icky about what they just experienced, and often the sales pitch to follow was a shock to them at the cost. 

So rather than choosing a photographer who's offering all these "sweet deals", choose one who is 100% transparent through and through about their pricing, their process, and their offer from top to bottom. Your experience should be empowering and leaving you with more confidence than when you came in, and NOT the exact opposite!

Tip 3: Look at the women in the portfolios

Now this one is a big pro tip, because sometimes the body types themselves tell a story. Do the women you're viewing in the photographer's portfolio look like they're models? Or do they look like your everyday woman, the kind who look like your neighbours, or your friends?

I will say that as someone who's been an artist for over a decade, it's way easier to photograph models. I LOVE to spark the inner flame of first-time clients, because to me it helps them discover that they are beautiful in all their walks of life, and to see them boldly embrace themselves makes all the hard work worthwhile, 100%.

When looking at a photographer's portfolio, do what I do when you're looking at clothing online: always look for different body types and if they make clothing for you. If the answer is yes, this usually means it's a company worth investing in as you'll know that they see you as being worthy of wearing their things. Can you tell I love shopping!

Tip 4: Check on how much is retouched

Before you think to yourself "Oh you mean photoshopping" NO! That's not what I mean at all. 

Retouching a photograph does NOT mean altering you to that level. 

What retouching really means is to remove things that are not meant to be there when a photo is taken of you. This can mean something as simple as a zit you woke up with that morning (it happens to the best of us, ladies!), or smoothing out a bruise you got on your arm the other day for whatever reason. 

My retouching process is similar to many art forms, be it painting or sculpting—little to no retouching makes for art where you're reminded of things you're not happy with, but too too much retouching can make the art look unnatural. I apply juuust enough retouching to bring out that inner spark I see in my clients so that it shines for the rest of the world. I also give my clients a natural glow that makes them look and feel like they had a good night's rest.

So when looking for a photographer, think about this: are they truly empowering women if they photoshop them to look so unlike themselves, or are they trying to show them in all their radiant glory?

Tip 5: Meet the photographer before you book

For the first-timers out there reading this, I see you and feel you because I know how anxiety inducing it can be doing something new. At the same time, it can be thrilling to see your life story come to life in portraits! And to me, the best way to truly make that kind of spark light up is to meet the photographer before your experience.

It's important that you as the potential client feel comfortable and safe during every single step of your experience! Don't settle on someone just based on their price. Seriously, it makes me so sad when I hear about people who go to studios for something so intimate as boudoir, only to find out they never even had a chance to chat with the actual photographer. 

Connection is key for us at Mateus Studios, so you better believe we will meet! In fact, we will do a 1-hour Wardrobe & Style consultation before your photoshoot to help you feel fully prepared.

PSST. I can help make this choice easier on you.

It's probably obvious by the time you're reading this but as an artist and boudoir photographer in Vancouver BC, I pretty much tick off all these boxes on your checklist and then some! You may have seen these throughout my website already, but these are legit the awards I've won and am so so eager to show you.

If that's not enough for you, you'll want to see below also:

  • I've been photographing for long enough that my style is pretty well defined. It's timeless, classic, and bold.
  • I walk the walk! I do self-portraits often, I hire other photographers to photograph me, and I am always up for being in front of a camera as my authentic self.
  • I love meeting new clients before a shoot! Past experience has taught me that a solid connection between you and your photograph is key to a fantastic portrait experience!
  • Everything between you and me is handled as confidentially or publicly as you see fit.
  • All exchanges between you and I are transparent from the get-go, both through the entire process of my pricing and my experience to you.
  • Any "special offers" I provide are less to make a quick buck and more for a truly good cause I stand fiercely and proudly behind, like how Women are Fabulous Beyond 40.
  • I've gotten a lot of Love Notes that you can see for yourself online, many of them written by clients who started out hesitant, and then fully embraced themselves in their portraits (which is AHH-MAZING!)
  • I can be more than just another photographer on Google. I can be your personal cheerleader and the spark that will truly light your fire.


Photos shared with permission.

Michele Mateus is a Boudoir, Intimate Portrait & Nude Fine Art Photographer located in Coquitlam, BC. Serving Coquitlam, Vancouver, Greater Vancouver and Fraser Valley, BC. Studio, Outdoor and On-location Boudoir Photography.

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