If you’re just getting started in the boudoir business or are looking to keep your costs low, you may not be in a position to invest in your own studio space. Not to worry: there are plenty of boudoir location ideas to choose from, ranging from your client’s own home to the great outdoors. Each has its own benefits and drawbacks and the ultimate choice will be down to your personal circumstances and preference.
In Your Studio
Your studio space is, of course, the perfect location. If you have the luxury of owning or renting a studio, a few simple decor updates can transform it into the ultimate backdrop. You will have complete privacy and the freedom to set things up exactly how you want them.
You will have control over the lighting and can keep props stashed away to add variety, such as extra sheets, cushions, sofas and headboards. The props and furniture you already have available might also be adaptable. If space is a constraint or you tend to switch between different types of sessions, you can always purchase an inflatable mattress – most now come with stands so they can be elevated from the floor.
In a Hotel Room
If you don’t have studio space and are searching for other boudoir location ideas, you could always join some of the most renowned photographers in this genre by shooting exclusively in hotel rooms.
The benefits of such a large and luxurious setting cannot be overstated. A room in a high-end hotel will come complete with opulent furniture and bedding, all of it freshly washed and expertly placed.
Most hotels opt for neutral color schemes and often choose crisp, white bedding, all of which is perfect for a session.
Many hotels feature floor-to-ceiling windows, which usually provide ideal lighting conditions.
You can rent an adjoining room to provide a place for your clients to prepare and spend time with your makeup and hair artists. This is particularly handy for marathon sessions that are scheduled one after another.
A hotel room can be a challenge as far as timing is concerned. Check-in times are usually in the middle of the afternoon, so the day will almost be gone by the time you set up. At the other end of the day, check-out is during the morning so you will only have time to squeeze a couple of sessions in. You may want to consider renting a room for a whole day or weekend and arranging a number of sessions during that time or talking to the manager about rearranging the check in and out times.
Lighting can also pose a problem if you’re unfamiliar with the room, so it’s a good idea to hone your skills so that you can adapt to any lighting condition.
The added expense of renting the room will need to be billed directly to your client or factored into their session fee.
In an Office Space
Some rentable office space allows for photography use and can be designed to look like a hotel room or bedroom. If you are scheduling a lot of shoots per month, this can be a great alternative to a hotel because you can leave everything in place and needn’t worry about check-out times or lighting. Of course, it will still cost you money that will need to be factored into the overall session fee.
In Your Home
If you have a spare room in your home that you can utilize, it can be a convenient location for both you and your clients.
You will have full and guaranteed privacy throughout the session.
Just as in a studio, you can customize the space to your heart’s content and keep extra props, sheets and furniture on hand to add some variety. You can also control the lighting.
You can time your sessions to suit your own schedule and fit the needs of your clients.
You will not need to pay any rental fees.
If you have a partner, roommate or children, you may not be able to guarantee privacy unless they are at work or school when your session is scheduled.
You will need to keep your home spotless, especially the room in which your sessions take place. If you have small children, you might want to add a lock to the door!
A final, and fairly obvious, drawback is that you will be almost permanently taking up space in your home that you might have had an eye on for other purposes.
In Your Client’s Home
If your client is willing, you can make use of their own home.
The finished images will be more personalized for the client.
Your client will be at their most comfortable and confident in the safety of their own home.
There will be no additional costs for renting space.
It might be difficult to keep the session secret from a husband or boyfriend – and it might also be tricky to find a time when the client’s home is empty and free from distractions.
As most natural light photographers know, a family home is seldom set up for the needs of photography and the conditions may not be optimal.
You will have much less control over the props, bedding, backdrops and decor that will feature in the photographs. Though you can take some of these things with you to the session, using them will partially negate the personalized nature of the images.
In an Outdoor Location
There are few backdrops so beautiful as the great outdoors, especially if you live in a rural area or have access to parks, forests and other natural landmarks.
You will be able to schedule the session to make the most of natural lighting.
The images will have the added enhancement of nature in all its glory as a backdrop.
There are not likely to be any associated rental costs to factor into your session fee and you will not need to make much of an investment in props and furniture.
You will need to find somewhere very remote to make this type of location work.
You will be limited by season and weather. Depending where you live, you may only be able to shoot during a few months of the year and you might find yourself cancelling a session if the weather turns.
If you live in a city or heavily built-up area, you may not have access to an appropriate location.
As much as we’d all love to shoot in an executive suite at the local Hilton, it’s not always the best option in financial and practical terms. Nevertheless, it’s possible to be creative with whatever you have available and convert any space into a gorgeous backdrop.
What boudoir location ideas do you have in your repertoire? What advantages and drawbacks did you experience?