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Featuring Crystal Brandy

Featuring Crystal Brandy

This week’s featured photographer is Crystal Brandy of Captivate Boudoir Photography Studio in Columbia, MO

 
Where do you operate your business?

Columbia, MO

Your Website

Your Facebook page

Client group: https://www.facebook.com/captivateboudoirstudio/


Your Instagram account

https://www.instagram.com/captivateboudoir

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Technical Specs:

 
Camera used

Canon 6D

Lens choices

Sigma 24-70 and Sigma 35mm Art

Processing Software (just provide the names of the one’s you use)

Photoshop and Lightroom

Do you use any actions?

My own pre-made frequency separation action and DMWL presets

Do you retouch and if so can you give me a quick rundown on if you use any plugins, etc?

I adjust exposure, WB (if needed) in Lightroom, export from there into portraiture, then add final touches in Photoshop.

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CLIENTS:

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

 Any woman that wants to feel good about herself and her body is my ideal client. I have found most of my clients through my private facebook group.

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.

One of my recent clients came to see me as a gift to her boyfriend. She had very visible scars on her neck and chest from a very rare cancer when she was a teenager. She hesitantly asked me if I had the ability to remove them in Photoshop. I told her if that was what she wanted, of course. So I removed them. She cried when she saw her photos. She showed them to her mother a the day after her session and they cried together. She said that those scars held so much sadness and horrible memories for her. She was so grateful that I was able to remove them and make her feel whole again. That it may have started as a gift for him, but totally became one for herself. It’s the small things. The little bit of “magic” at our fingertips. The situations that occur to others that we take for granted every day. I love this life and this amazing “job”.

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. Thanks.
.

I use Adobe spark pages for my welcome and prep guides. They are fantastic and extremely simple to understand and set up.

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SALES:

 
This is probably one of the most important things that the readers want to know.  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, but if you don’t feel comfortable sharing to much, just give me what fits your comfort level.

 
I am NOT a salesperson. I do my best to make sure to give a kick ass experience and make them look and feel great about themselves, so that they don’t want to leave without all of their images. I do same day image reveals, and I feel that this helps with the excitement factor. I charge a session fee of $300, which includes hair and makeup and 2 digitals with print release. All other products are separate. My products range from $50-1100, but I do have a $150 minimum purchase.

What products perform best in your studio? 

 8×8 albums are my best seller, with my Storybook box containing all of their prints a close second.

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STUDIO:

 
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?  Can you please include a photo or two of it, if possible.

I have a modest 3 room studio close to downtown in my city. It is not the biggest space in the world, but I have mastered working with small spaces, as my first studio was a 10×15 room. The only challenge is that there is only one small window in my space, however that works to my advantage as I prefer dark and moody images.

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

I just moved into my studio space a couple of months ago, so I will probably be here for a while…unless the universe answers my plea for winning the lottery. I’d probably have to play first, though. 😉

Do you keep strict hours of operation with your clients?

 I like to. I generally start all clients in hair and makeup at 10am, so we can be shooting no later than 11:30. I love shooting in natural light and this seems to be the best time for light in my studio.

Natural Light, Studio Light, combination of styles?  What’s your preference?  What are your strengths and weaknesses with lighting, if any?

I prefer natural light, but I don’t mind whipping out my constants if I have to.

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?

 I do my clients’ hair and makeup myself. I feel that this helps me bond more with them and make it a more personal experience all the way through.

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BUSINESS IN GENERAL:

 

How long have you been in business?  What were you doing before you started your photo business?
I have been in business 2 years. I am also a licensed tattoo artist and a licensed phlebotomist, which I was doing both before becoming a photographer. I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up. It’s about time I figured it out now that I’m almost 40. 😉

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

I am completely self taught.

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

I’ve always been fascinated with the arts in general, but photography itself came as a later fascination.

What is your biggest struggle in this business?

 Finding clients that value themselves enough to spend money on this type of experience.

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.

I shoot boudoir because I say the F-bomb waaaayyy too much to be a family photographer. 🙂 No, seriously, I love boudoir because it is such an empowering experience, knowing that I have literally shown women their inner fire. That fire they try to hide or dampen for the public. They get to be themselves with me, with no judgements and a whole lot of laughter.

I started out attempting other types of photography…for like 5 minutes. I knew my heart was in boudoir and ever since I started shooting it, I haven’t looked back.

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ADVICE:

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

 Value yourself and your time and make sure you make others do the same.

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 have had a couple of sessions myself, both by photographers in this group (Bri Johnson and Billie Stock). I think it is extremely important for us, as boudoir photographers to be able to feel what our clients feel. The vulnerability and empowerment is an important aspect of what we do and we should know it inside and out.

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

 I don’t have an opinion. I think that a person should go to whomever they feel comfortable with, whether that is male or female. There are aspects that female photographers will excel in and there are aspects that male photographers will excel in. One is no better than the other. Just different.

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

 Maybe because I haven’t been doing it long, but not yet. I love what I do and each woman that comes into my studio is sooooo different. I haven’t felt burnout of the art itself. The business side, now…that’s a whole other story.

What do you love about the business?

 I love being able to do a job that doesn’t feel like a job at all. I love what I do.

What do you hate about the business?

 The business part. Lol.

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

 No.

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?

 I compete occasionally and have won a few daily choice awards. I think it is good for us to have friendly competitions. It keeps us striving to be our best.

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SOME FUN MORE PERSONAL STUFF:

 
Favorite food?   

 Seafood and Ferrero Rocher Chocolates. Not necessarily in that order.

One guilty pleasure in life?

 I have a bit of a makeup addiction.

What is your favorite piece of clothing? 

 My birthday suit. I hate clothes. It is illegal most places to act on that, though, so I guess I’ll go with pretty much any type of comfort clothes, from yoga pants to fuzzy socks.

What’s one song on your playlist? 

 I have my husbands new self titled album on repeat, pretty much. My favorite is All for You. His name is Mandell. (www.mandellmusic.com – insert shameless plug here) Seriously, though…if you like good R&B music, look him up.

What’s your favorite movie genre? Example?

 Suspense/Thrillers. Silence of the Lambs is one of my favorites.

Favorite shoes to wear?  

 None.

What are you currently reading? 

 The Naked Eye by Iris and Roy Johansen

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

 Anywhere but Missouri. Seriously. Have you been here? You’d totally understand.

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

 I wouldn’t quit high school. Twice. Jeez, I was a dumb kid.
 

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

 Demi Lovato. She is absolutely gorgeous and I love her outlook on pretty much everything. Not to mention, those pipes!!

What do you struggle with the most in life? (not photo related)

 Making time for myself and my husband. Alone. Sans kids and work.

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

 I am happily married to the sexiest man in the world. I have 5 gorgeous kids and a beautiful grand-daughter. My life is a zoo. 🙂
 
Who inspires you the most in life? Work?

In life? Probably my children. I want them to see their mother as a hardworking successful woman that lived her dreams and didn’t let anything get in her way. In work? Every boudoir photographer that I see that is a step ahead of me in this game. All of the work in this group is gorgeous and keeps me pushing to learn more and be better every day.

 
If you could provide one single piece of advice to influence a young person’s direction in life, what would that be

Life is short. Don’t waste it living it for someone else.

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Cathy Nance
Cathy Nance

Photographer and Owner of Cathy Nance Studios - Intimate Editorial Art

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