AIBP Featured Photographer | Ashlee Guest of Embrace Boudoir

AIBP Featured Photographer | Ashlee Guest of Embrace Boudoir

Ashlee Guest Embrace Boudoir Lake Jackson TexasBusiness Name
Embrace Boudoir 
Where do you operate your business?
Lake Jackson, Texas 
Facebook Page URL: 
Instagram Handle: 
Pinterest Account: 
Camera Used:

Canon 6D

Lens Choices:

Canon 35 mm 1.4, 50 mm 1.4, and 85 mm 1.8
Processing Software Used:
Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom 
Do you use any actions?
GTG Color Correction & Editorial Actions 
Do you retouch and if so can you give me a quick rundown on if you use any plugins, etc?

Portraiture for the win! Otherwise, I outsource – if you haven’t done this yet, DO IT!

What most people want to know is how you market to your clients. Have you qualified who is your ideal client?

In 2017 I marketed to my clients solely through my VIP Facebook Group. My ideal client is between the ages of 25 and 40 with a steady job. In 2018 my #1 goal is to learn more about marketing and how to grow outside of Facebook.

I do want to point out that a dream client doesn’t have to be your ideal target. If you meet someone who SCREAMS “dream client” – not necessarily with their wallet, but with their soul – work with them. Why? You’ll rack up some good karma for sure but there’s also the possibility that you’ll have more fun and maybe even create some of your best work. Plus, their enthusiastic out-loud support of your business can drive paying referrals.

I’d love to add into the article any inspiring client stories you might have. Also have you had any issues with clients that you would like to share how you resolved them. That is always something that can hugely benefit the readers.

An early 2017 client’s toddler became gravely ill recently as the result of consuming something. While her family seemed to think it was just a stomach bug; the client credited her session with me for helping her find the confidence to stand up and follow her gut that something was wrong. I love that her experience with me was so profound to her (though I told her that was the strong mommy love instinct she’s always had!).

Issue clients – I grew up in the “customer is always right” times. Now, I don’t believe that – we’ve all seen some crazy shit. But I go out of my way to treat clients as I would hope to be treated, so I haven’t had very many issues (knock on wood). I think it’s just important to be real but also professional.

Do you have a physical or digital “welcome” product you give the clients and can you share that if you do? You can give me a link or email.

I’m currently creating a physical welcome magazine!

Ashlee Guest Embrace Boudoir Lake Jackson Texas
How do you sell to your clients? Can you provide info on your sales process and your pricing? (I’d like to be able to provide numbers on what you charge for a session and what your range is for your products, like albums for instance)

In Person Sales advocate here! You DON’T have to be salesy to do IPS. I used to swear up and down that I could never do it – but I was afraid and I was wrong. The first time I invited someone back to view their photos for the first time, I witnessed unguarded emotions with my own eyes – not through a text message (or left hanging). It boosted my confidence, not only to see that the clients love my work, but the monetary gain is SO worth it. I’ve heard some photographers say, “Don’t tell me to do IPS. I am fine charging less.” Why? Why would you not want to thrive through your passion, if it’s possible??

What products perform best in your studio?

Albums, definitely. I sell BayPhoto Pacific albums!

Best describe your workspace. Do you have a studio or work from home? How large is your space? What are the challenges with it? What works really well for you?

I have a residential studio! Office work, reveals, and session styling takes place in my den. Shoots take place in a dedicated spare bedroom (11 x 12), with a single east-facing medium-high window, and one wall covered in ugly, light-brown closet doors (but I covered them with floor-to-ceiling curtains).

Do you have any plans to change and/or grow from your space in the near future?

In 2018 I have plans to change the carpet to vinyl wood flooring, and I’ve gathered enough decor now (and a Home Goods is about to open near me…) that I’ll be able to unveil a lifestyle set soon. Otherwise, I am offering limited in-home sessions, as well as destination boudoir services!

Ashlee Guest Embrace Boudoir Lake Jackson Texas
Do you keep strict hours of operation with your clients?
My “official” hours are Monday – Thursday, 11 am to 4 pm. That being said, I often work 60 hour weeks. Outside of business hours, I do respond to clients as soon as possible, but never after 10 pm. 
Natural Light, Studio Light, combination of styles? What’s your preference? What are your strengths and weaknesses with lighting, if any?

Combo! Mostly natural light, but I also use a ring light (due to the size of my space) to supplement or by itself! Luckily I learned artificial lighting in college.

Do you have makeup artists you work with in your studio? If so, can you give me a run down of what the rate is you pay them and how you feel about the importance of that relationship. If you don’t use them, is there a reason?

Absolutely, in order to maintain a certain level of quality to my work, as well as a better client experience. It’s one less thing for all of us all to worry about! The standard rate here is $75 for hair & makeup. Please make sure to have a legal agreement in writing with anyone you contract!

How long have you been in business? What were you doing before you started your photo business?

I’ve been a photographer for over 7 years. I’ve run an “official” business for the past 2 years (I was a bit of a gypsy before that).

Ashlee Guest Embrace Boudoir Lake Jackson Texas

Did you go to school for photographer or are you self taught?

I graduated with honors from the Southeast Center for Photographic Studies at DSC in Daytona Beach, Florida.

Did you always want to be a photographer or was it something that came later in life?

I’ve held a lifelong appreciation for photography thanks to my grandfather, who was an amateur photographer in the Navy and loved to document the family over the years. It didn’t occur to me that my hobby could become a career until life gave me a swift kick when my mom passed away and I moved halfway across the country.

What is your biggest struggle in this business?

People who don’t read. O_O

Is there a reason you shoot boudoir and do you shoot any other genre? If you’re excusive, and/or recently went exclusive can you give the readers some insight into why you did. If you’ve only ever done boudoir, again we’d love to hear why.

It’s kinda serendipitous that I exclusively shoot boudoir for a living. I’ve always been pro-sexy-selfie! When I was younger, my confidence was kinda fucked up after I overheard my grandma calling me the ugly duckling cousin in the family (at the time, I didn’t care about the moral of the story, all I heard was the word UGLY, because yeah my cousins were definitely prettier than me). Then I went through a very unhealthy, emotionally abusive 4-year relationship that burned out any flames I had left in me. I don’t think I ever considered myself truly pretty, much less even the slightest bit sexy. Until I had my first boudoir session. After that, I was absolutely hooked on the experience and obsessed with passing it forward to as many women as I can. I also found that releasing my inner sex kitten helped me feel more confident in everyday situations where cameras are involved, which threads back to my original motivation in photography – helping women exist in photos.

If you knew someone who wanted to be a photographer, and could give them one piece of important advice, what would that be?

Get the book ‘A World History of Photography’ by Naomi Rosenblum; learn and appreciate those who came before you. But skip art school and save yourself loads of cash. Find the right mentors for you, and then throw yourself into your work. Learn to appreciate constructive criticism, but do not involve yourself in cruel criticism. Respect community over competition, because there’s enough room in this world for EVERYONE to be creative in this world. And as always: Never give up… never surrender!! You got this. 🙂

Ashlee Guest Embrace Boudoir Lake Jackson Texas
Have you ever done a boudoir session yourself, if you are a female (sorry guys?) Do you think it’s something that is important for female boudoir photographers to do?

I’ve been photographed (boudoir) 4 times in the last year and a half. I’m a total addict and I absolutely believe we are doing important work, for reasons listed above.

How do you feel about the male / female debate regarding boudoir photographers?

I haven’t witnessed this debate. I’m pro-everyone-that-isn’t-a-creep!

What do you do to avoid burn-out? Is there ever a time when you just want to throw your camera out the window?

I’m not afraid to take a break and, when I’m ready, return to pick up where I left off.

What do you love about the business?
There is such an incredible community of photographers out there, plus – the work we do truly impacts clients in their DAILY lives.

What do you hate about the business?

The other side of the coin – the cutthroat, catty side of the industry. Cliques. The “I own this” mentality. I choose not to involve myself in that side. My energy is best spent being positive, kind, and supportive.

Are you a member of any professional photo organizations like PPA, WPPI? What benefit do you feel you get by being a member?

I am a member of PPA, AIBP, Do More, and IPS Mastermind. The benefits vary from legal advice, to a sense of community and belonging, to daily sources of education. I highly recommend finding the right communities for you.

Ashlee Guest Embrace Boudoir Lake Jackson Texas
Do you compete and do you have any opinions on it? AIBP runs contests regularly. Do you participate? If not, is there a reason you don’t?

Outside of AIBP dailies, I don’t participate in competitions because I’ve never been a very competitive person.

Favorite Food:

I’m freaking OBSESSED with creme brulee right now, thanks a lot Jen & Kyle!

One guilty pleasure in life?

Sleeping in.

What is your favorite piece of clothing?

Leggings. Sorry, I’m that person.

What’s one song on your playlist?

It’s a Man’s World – Karise Eden

Ashlee Guest Embrace Boudoir Lake Jackson Texas
What’s your favorite movie genre? Example?

Action, sci-fi, and fantasy. Ok fine, and rom coms. I actually really love movies, so this question is hard. I will only say that my #1 most favorite film of all time is The Princess Bride. Any more than that and I’ll write a novel on the topic!

Favorite shoes to wear?

Toms. :3

What are you currently reading?

The Defy series by Sara Larson.

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would that be?

To see the architecture and art of Italy, and the rolling hills of Scotland.

If you could go back and do over anything in your life, what would that be?

Get someone with a real camera (as opposed to my Motorola Razr) to photograph Matt Divine kissing my cheek. Lulz

If you could meet and photograph someone famous, who would that be and why?

Angelina Jolie. Forget about her love life for a second (it’s none of our business anyway), she personifies strength and courage to me. She has done so much good in this world through her ambassador work. It’s silly, but she was “my person” (when I was a teenager, really) in that I got through some scary times of my life knowing that she survived similar situations.

Ashlee Guest Embrace Boudoir Lake Jackson Texas
What do you struggle with the most in life? (not photo related)

Social anxiety. Haha, the irony!

Are you married, single, have kids, husband/wife? Is life a juggling act for you?

I’m married, and I’m incredibly lucky to have a husband who’s supportive of my passions!

Who inspires you most in life? Work?

Teri Hofford and Sue Bryce!

If you could provide one single piece of advice to influence a young person’s in life, what would it be?
Live your best life – don’t live in fear. Speak up. Be proud. Stand up for what you believe is right!

Ashlee Guest Embrace Boudoir Lake Jackson Texas

Manda Koolis
Manda Koolis

Photographer for over 10 years, boudoir specific for 5. Originally a film director, I found beauty in the stillness and use that to create beautiful art work that celebrates womanhood at its core.


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