Hi, Traci! Tell us a little bit about yourself. What was your road like to becoming a photographer?
I have always been drawn to the camera; I was so excited for high school because I couldn’t wait to take photography classes! I was taught using a Minolta, developing my own film and prints in the dark room for two years in high school. In 2007, I walked into a photography studio near my home and asked for a job. That’s when I started photographing weddings as a second shooter. I worked for that studio for five years and started at another studio after that for a few more years. July 2015, I finally started my own business at the age of 25!
What drew you to boudoir photography? What do you love about it?
I actually used to be unsure about boudoir photography, and wasn’t a fan of the styles I saw. I wasn’t really interested until I found a boudoir photographer in a Facebook group that really inspired me. She had a different style and was doing it full time. I decided to give it a go with a few friends of mine, and that’s when I fell in love with boudoir. It just fit so perfectly into the skills I had (not to mention the furniture I owned)! I love all the different lingerie, the posing, the shadows. I love the consistency of boudoir.
You’ve named your clients “Indium Gems”. What was the idea behind creating this? How has benefitted your business and clients?
When I started out, I was having a hard time naming my business and actually had to google search ‘gems and minerals’, and ‘Indium’ came up. It’s actually a metal, but I love how it sounds. Giving a name for my clients has definitely helped differentiate my business and made me stand out in the market. The idea behind ‘Indium Gems’ came from looking at other successful brands. Victoria’s Secret calls their customers ‘Angels’ which I think is brilliant (I love good branding). It gives a feel of exclusivity and that you’re part of something. Gems are precious and one of a kind. I get messages all the time saying ‘I want to be a gem!’
Boudoir content can be very intimate. How do you advertise your services?
I definitely respect my client’s privacy. Model releases are completely optional, however most of my clients are very open and willing to let me use their images on my site and social media accounts. My clients tend to come from Instagram, Google, personal referral, and Facebook in that order.
What do you do to get your clients to relax and feel comfortable with you?
All of my clients are nervous when they come in! We always start with hair and makeup and have great conversation with music going. My Pomeranian, Charli, is usually running around and that always gets my clients smiling. Once we start the session, we go through outfits and throughout the entire process, I guide my clients on exactly what to do. Fifteen minutes into our session, they usually say something like, “this isn’t nearly as bad as I thought it’d be!” and I always laugh. Boudoir takes a lot of courage to book, so I try to make my clients laugh and feel at home as much as possible.
What is the most rewarding part of a boudoir session?
I absolutely love when I hear, “Wow, I love all of these! I didn’t know if I would like any, but I love them all!” The majority of my clients don’t know how stunning they are and I love being the one to show them that side of themselves. I truly believe every woman is beautiful and I know we don’t always feel that way. I love making them feel confident and putting that negative self-talk to an end.
If someone was hoping to pursue boudoir photography, what advice would you give them?
I would highly recommend starting with friends! There’s no pressure and no awkward tension. You never know how you’ll feel doing boudoir until you try it. Also start finding your favorite boudoir photographers in the industry to keep you inspired. I’m always learning from my favorite Instagram accounts.
What are your must-have essential tools for a successful boudoir session?
This is tough. Definitely flattering, gorgeous lingerie for the client, a reflector, and amazing makeup. Makeup can really make or break your shoot, so definitely use the best artist you can find!
A big part of boudoir photography are the keepsakes clients get. How do you get clients excited about receiving those physical prints?
I offer products that are only available to photographers. My go-to products are custom albums with fine art paper and fine art prints. I don’t offer everything under the sun, I only offer my clients products that align with my brand. All of my collections include a physical product and digital files, so I don’t give my clients the choice of not having a printed or physical product. Exclusively digital products have such a short lifespan (and who’s going to hop on the computer every now and then to look at boudoir photos?). Printed work is SO much more! Digitals are for instant gratification, but prints are forever.
What would you say to someone who is interested in getting boudoir photographs but is hesitant to take the leap?
Every woman should have a boudoir session done! I think most women have negative thoughts towards their body and boudoir photos can really help change that mindset. It’s almost like seeing yourself through someone else’s eyes in the best way. For those of you who are hesitant, I’d say you’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain. I wouldn’t use boudoir photos as an excuse to change yourself. By that I mean, you don’t need to be a certain size or shape. Boudoir is all about being who you are, knowing you’re beautiful, and embracing your flaws and perfections.
I’m Traci Nicole, owner of Indium Boudoir. I absolutely love my career and making women feel like gems. Kansas City is my home. I like to travel, learn, and hangout with my future husband, Daniel and fur-babe, Charli.
When you are finished with your photo session or wedding, do you feel a bit like that guy that was recently dragged off the airplane, semi-conscious and bleeding? Because that is basically what it feels like when you’ve lost control of your clients.
The good news is it doesn’t have to be that way. You just need to reclaim the power.