Behind-the-Scenes Look Into the Boudoir Community

Ever wonder what happens during a boudoir photography retreat that is aimed to educate those to be the best in the business? The top photographers are the best for the fact that they never stop developing themselves on their craft. Attending workshops, retreats, and conferences are part of how you started out so why stop now?

During the annual Association of International Boudoir Photographers  (AIBP) retreat this past weekend in Miami, Florida, boudoir photographers from all over the world met to learn, shoot, and relax for the three-day experience. Retreats tend to be more casual and less formal allowing more open conversations throughout the instruction. This year in Miami the weather lent itself to the perfect outdoor get together for presentations.

Image courtesy of Michael Sasser
The aim is to educate in a small intimate environment that allows for more practical shooting time after instruction. While the larger conferences are great for attending multiple speakers in one day, these smaller retreats allow for one on one time with the models as well as forming new bonds with fellow photographers in person and outside of the social media world.

BTS Image courtesy of Elizabeth Zimmerman

Image courtesy by Julia Snider

Speakers are chosen for their niche photography to give the most to the attendees. Each speaker not only gives a presentation but also allows four hours worth of shooting instruction in the retreat home for the attendees to use the newly learned information that day. Attending retreats versus conferences prove to be more of a bonding experience for the photographers as they stay in the same location versus spread out over town. However, if you are more of an introvert and wish to travel to the retreat daily no one frowns upon you for that, although you sometimes miss out on the fun shenanigans in between.

Two homes for the retreat by John Popovski, Luxury Rentals, Miami

"This was my third year to attend the AIBP retreat, and I honestly wouldn't miss it! Every year I come back with an abundance of new inspiration and knowledge to put into practice as soon as I return. Not to mention, all of the incredible memories and supportive relationships I have made over the years attending the AIBP retreats that are such a source of joy and support throughout the year. As soon as one retreat ends, I am already looking forward to the next years!" wrote Katie Thebeau.

BTS by Lanett Franko

Image Courtesy of Katie Thebeau

Video for Testimonials and Client Sales

Michael Sasser gave an in-depth look at adding video options. This form of media not only allowed him to show attendees how to shoot for testimonials, but also for small clips to add to sales. During his class, Sasser took attendees through a full editing session utilizing Final Cut.

The kicker was watching the fulled edited version at the end that could knock the socks off any client. Today's client is expecting still images for an album so Sasser's approach to boudoir sales brought the attention of the attendees up to a new level.

Male Boudoir and Bonus Wacom Class

While boudoir is generally thought of to be dominated by female clients, Jen Swedhin photographs male portraiture only and does do in a way that makes anyone want to test out this new niche. She is also a highly sought after retoucher for boudoir photographers so she created a second class on optimizing your Wacom tablet workflow. This class lasted late into the night with everyone glued to the screen.

BTS by Heather Voigt

Image Courtesy of Jen Swedhin

Attendees after male portraiture class

Couples Boudoir

The latest trend in boudoir photography is couples. Photographer Petra Hermann guided attendees on how to capture the romance and passion during a session while keeping things fun and light. Couples sessions can be difficult due to learning how to get emotions from two individuals but Hermann talked through how to bring it to life into your studio without things getting too overwhelming.

BTS Image courtesy of Michael Sasser

Image courtesy of Emily Scott Pack

Founder of AIBP Erin Zahradka puts is best when she wrote: "Egos are checked at the door, and life-long friendships are cultivated." During a large conference, it is hard to see past the overwhelming crowds. Attending smaller retreats is great for those who want the one on one time, the ability to have in-depth conversations poolside, create long-lasting bonds, discover new talent and the relaxation of the unique locations.

BTS by Tyler Austin

Image courtesy of Miranda Parker

"This was my first year attending the AIBP retreat. I have two young boys so I’m very selective about the trips I take throughout the year. But after attending this retreat I can easily say I won’t be missing another one," wrote Tyler Austin. "Boudoir is a very specific niche of photography. So when you surround yourself for half a week with some of the best boudoir photographers in the industry, you can’t help but return home with a huge fire underneath you to bring your images and or business to that next level. And not to mention the format of the retreat lends itself to creating and strengthening friendships that are worth their weight in gold.” 

So a look into a boudoir retreat may not be what you thought but it is more than that. It is educating photographers to help empower their clients, shooting for the more flattering looks, creating a sub niche within their companies, increasing workflow patterns to save time, learning better business practices, understanding overall communication blocks one may have with shooting such a genre, and of course; creating long-lasting bonds within an industry that cannot be developed on social media alone.

Want to be part of the fun? Next year the AIBP retreat will be held in Colorado for those of you who want to join us for this unique learning experience. Leave your information here for the first to be contacted for exclusive pricing.

Behind the scenes, final images, and videos courtesy of the following photographers:
Michael Sasser | Julia Snider | Cover image Tyler Austin | Miranda Parker | Jen Swedhin | Lanett Franko  Makeup by Crystal Mitchell | Heather Voigt | Elizabeth Zimmerman | Emily Scott Pack 
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1 Comment
Jeff Haynes's picture

Hello Jennifer,

This blog was very informative and a great read for those interested in pursuing a career in boudoir photography. Couples boudoir and wedding boudoir photo shoots have become so popular, but I've noticed that the pictures oftentimes don't live up to the vision that the couple hoped for. AIBP sounds like a great place to go to learn pro tips about how to give customers exactly what they want. Do you have any recommendations for photographers in Dallas? has given me some great work!