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Featuring Marie Schmidt

Featuring Marie Schmidt

This week’s featured photographer is Marie Schmidt of Boudoir by Marie in Charleston, SC

 
Where do you operate your business?

In Charleston, SC

Your Website

Your Facebook page

https://www.facebook.com/boudoirbymarie

Your Pinterest account

https://www.pinterest.com/boudoirbymarie

Your Instagram account

https://www.instagram.com/boudoirbymarie

 

Technical Specs:

 
Camera used

Canon 6D

Lens choices

Sigma ART lenses

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

Photoshop and Lightroom

Do you use any actions?

Some DMWL Actions

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

Portraiture for proofing images

 

CLIENTS:

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

My ideal client is a woman looking to celebrate herself, whether it is a birthday, a health/fitness journey, recovery, post-divorce/breakup. My client is a person who is booking the shoot for themselves, even if they do end up gifting the images to someone. I have found these clients to be the most rewarding and the most excited for their session.

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.

I used to have a lot of questions about how my pricing worked, by simplifying everything I have alleviated a lot of those issues. I also only send pricing upon inquiry, so that I can respond to their specific need with the most relevant information.

Do you have a “welcome” product you give the clients and can you share that if you do.  Thanks.

I have various emails that are sent to clients throughout the booking process. I have come up with them myself as well as added information from Jennifer Williams’ Correspondence Templates as well as Molly Marie’s “Set It and Forget It” as I get clients asking questions, I tweak the information accordingly so that those questions are answered for future clients.

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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.

Starting in 2016, I transitioned from online galleries to in-person sales with my clients after their shoot. It has been very successful for me as well as being a much better experience for my clients since I can help guide them in choosing their images and we can work through potential album layouts in person. Most of my clients invest $1,800-$2,100 in their total boudoir photography experience and products..

What products perform best in your studio? 

 Albums

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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.

A residential studio.

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

I have considered getting a separate studio space, but I’m currently very happy with my residential studio. I love the privacy it provides.

Do you keep strict hours of operation with your clients?

 I do my best to only respond to emails during business-ish hours: 8am-8pm

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

Natural light! I do have some studio lights, but only use them if there is not enough daylight to work with.

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 have one hair and makeup artist that I work with exclusively. She is extremely talented and reliable, she is a very important part of my business and provides even more of a luxury client experience.

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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 exclusively shooting boudoir photography since 2013. Before that I was working at Zappos.com in Las Vegas, NV.

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

 I am self-taught. I am constantly reading to learn everything I possibly can, along with mentoring under other photographers I admire, in order to become a better photographer.

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

  I’ve been interested in photography since high school when I started learning how to use the Adobe Suite and working as an advertisement designer.

What is your biggest struggle in this business?

I live in a very conservative city, so there is often a preconceived opinion about boudoir photography that potential clients can have. I’m always working to educate my potential clients about what boudoir photography really is and how it can be an amazingly empowering 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 started out shooting anything and everything that I could while I was learning to use a camera. When a friend asked me to shoot her in the boudoir style as a gift to her husband a few years ago, I was completely hooked! Since then, it has evolved from just having fun taking pretty pictures to giving women an experience of a lifetime and the best confidence boost imaginable. I LOVE making women feel amazing, that’s why I shoot boudoir exclusively.

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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?

 Study and practice and then study and practice some more (If you want to focus on boudoir, you especially need to practice posing!!), shoot as much as possible and make sure that you are having very consistent results in your photographs before you consider charging. Learn everything you can about your camera, lenses, lighting, posing and about BUSINESS before starting your business. Start it up responsibly and legally, knowing your cost of doing business and figuring out what pricing you need to be charging vs. what everyone else is charging. You can be the best photographer in the world, but if you don’t know how to run a business you’ll find yourself burned out and quickly out of work.

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 done two boudoir sessions myself in the past and I plan on making it a yearly event. I think it is super important for photographers to put themselves in front of the camera as much as possible. I always make sure to have family photos taken yearly as well!

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

I think that a man can be just as successful in this genre as a female.

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 love to travel and shoot in new locations with different kinds of people, that is my number one way to avoid burnout!

What do you love about the business?

 I LOVE making women feel amazing and I love all of the incredible clients that have turned into friends in the process. I also love the camaraderie that AIBP provides!

What do you hate about the business?

 The preconceived opinions about boudoir that people have can be a struggle. It bothers me that many women think that they are too big/small/old/shy/modest/etc. for a boudoir shoot.

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

 AIBP only!

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 try to participate when I can and when I have work that is relevant, I recently won the Weekly Contest 8/8 – 8/14 Theme: Shots that sell.

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SOME FUN MORE PERSONAL STUFF:

 
Favorite food?   

 Wood fired pizza

One guilty pleasure in life?

 Travel!

What is your favorite piece of clothing? 

White tee and great fitting jeans, I like to keep it simple.

What’s one song on your playlist? 

 Alessia Cara’s “Know it All” album has been on replay this month, but I listen to everything…

What’s your favorite movie genre? Example?

 I’m definitely a rom-com fan!

Favorite shoes to wear?  

 Boots OR a great pair of heels! They both make me feel like I can take on the world.

What are you currently reading? 

 “In Other Words” by Jhumpa Lahiri.

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

 Italy is my favorite place on earth, but if I had to go somewhere new, Greece or Iceland are next on my list!! Anyone want to come and make it a boudoir adventure?! 🙂

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

 I would have made it a point to call and visit my grandmother more after I left for college. We were so close while I was in high school but I should have made more of an effort after I moved away. She passed away my senior year.

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

Behati Prinsloo, I think she’s an incredible model and looks like a lot of fun! I feel that I would learn so much shooting a woman with her posing skills and talent in front of the camera.

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

 I have a hard time focusing on the positive (especially when overwhelmed), but I try to remember to make a mental list of things to be grateful for each day.

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

 Married into the military with a baby on the way! Family is priority number one, especially since my husband is often called away to serve. I have reorganized my business so that I am shooting less often to provide more time with my family, as well as a more personalized experience for my clients.
 
Who inspires you the most in life? Work?

I am constantly inspired by the women that surround me (military spouses). The strength, independence, and “get shit done” attitude that these women have is incredibly inspiring!

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

If you have enough determination and willingness to put in the hard work, there’s not much that is out of your reach. The sooner you make the commitment to work towards something the sooner you’ll achieve it. SO many people sit and wait for the “right time” or the “right opportunity”, but sometimes you just need to dive in and start (with baby steps and a backup plan) to make your dreams come true.
Cathy Nance
Cathy Nance

Photographer and Owner of Cathy Nance Studios - Intimate Editorial Art

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