The Hidden Brand of Your Boudoir Business

Did you know your boudoir business has two brands?

One is the kind everyone can see, while the other is hidden from sight… and although invisible, it’s certainly not unnoticeable by any means. 

We’ll be discussing both in this article and later on I’ll let you in on a little secret about which brand is more important.

But first…

Brand #1 — The Visible Brand

When we think of a brand, a lot of times an image of their logo will pop into our minds, or perhaps its slogan or catch phrase. 

When I say McDonald’s what’s the first thing that comes to mind? 


French Fries? 

Their red and yellow logo with the big “M”? 

Golden Arches? 

Their latest catch phrase, “I’m lovin’ it!”

When I say Apple what pops into your head?



An iPad? 

Their logo of an apple with a bite taken out of it?

Their slogan, “Think Different”?

A company’s products, logo, colors, catch phrase, are all things that are visible to the eyes… and ears, in the case of catch phrases and jingles.

Every company has them and the vast majority of boudoir businesses have them as well. They’re the fun part of branding.

We get to pick our fonts, colors, logos, and all the design elements that will distinguish us from all the other boudoir businesses out there. 

Another important element of our brand (as boudoir photographers) is our “look” or style of photography… and we can throw that onto the pile of what a visible brand is as well.

For most, that’s pretty much what we think about when the word “brand” or “branding” is tossed around.

But there’s another brand as well, which we’ll talk about next.

Brand #2 — The Hidden Brand

Taking Apple as an example, because I’m an Apple person. I’ve had several MacBook Pros over the years, as well as iPhones and an iPad so I’m familiar with their products.

I’ve called their support line many times as well and within about ten seconds, I’m speaking with a rep who is always courteous, respectful, and does whatever they can to help solve my problem. 

That’s impressive.

Whenever I’ve brought my laptop into an Apple Store to get help from their Genius Bar, I’ve always been taken care of by someone that’s done everything they can to help resolve the issue I’m having. 

Chipotle From Hell

Contrast that to my last experience at Chipotle. 

For those not familiar, Chipotle is a casual fast-dining Mexican eatery. 

I was in Williamsburg, Virginia (which is also a college town to William & Mary, the second oldest university in the U.S.) and entered around 5pm, so around dinner time, and there was a long line of people waiting to order. 

When I say “long” I’m talking about twenty people ahead of me, but I figured it would move fast enough. 

After about fifteen minutes, I noticed I hadn’t moved despite the numerous workers behind the counter feverishly filling orders at a frenzied paced.

I got my nose out of my phone and began to observe what was going on.

I saw person after person come in and grab to-go orders by food couriers and customers who had apparently ordered from Chipotle’s app.

I then noticed that no orders were being taken at the counter. The same people who were at the head of the line… were still there waiting to order.

Hmm… that’s odd. What’s going on?

I turned to see the line behind me had grown to where it was now wrapping itself around the inside perimeter of the rather large restaurant.

I stepped out of line, walked up to the guy at the counter and asked why he wasn’t taking any orders from the people in line. 

He said he had to take all the to-go orders first because those people had already paid… and new orders were coming in one after another non-stop like a wacky episode of I Love Lucy.

I couldn’t believe it.

So, Chipotle’s policy was to ignore everyone who was in line waiting patiently and to just keep filling to-go orders… which wasn’t slowing down any.

It was the longest I had ever stood in line to order food… and yet, never got to eat because…

I left.

I walked out having felt so undervalued and under appreciated as a customer, and there was no telling how long it would be before they started taking orders from those actually standing in line right in front of them!

It was an experience I will never forget… and I’ll never forget who gave it to me.

I’ll also never forget how I’m treated every time I interact with Apple.

I think you know what I’m getting at here.

How I was treated in both situations is a company’s hidden brand.

In fact, every interaction you have with a business will either be a point for them, or a point against them in your mind.

In Chipotle’s case it was a massive point against them and their brand because of how they treated me and everyone else standing in line not getting served.

And I like Chipotle… but now, not as much because a company’s reputation is also part of their hidden brand.

It’s the emotion or feeling you get in your gut when their name pops into your head, good or bad. 

Do you think I’m ever going to walk into that Chipotle ever again at that same time?

Not a chance.

Every Breath You Take, Every Move You Make, I’ll Be Watching You

You might be familiar with the lyric from that old Police song, Every Breath You Take.

Well, that’s what we’re all doing when we interact with businesses, as well as, every person who interacts with our boudoir business.

Every phone call, email, in-person meeting is an ambassador of your hidden brand.

It’s also how a client is treated by your hair and makeup artist and of course you, on the day of their session, and afterwards during their order session and pickup. 

In a way, you could say your hidden brand is your personality and attitude, and how you and your staff treat people over the course of every interaction you have with them.

Which Brand Is More Important?

When you’re first starting out and doing TFP shoots to build your portfolio, only your hidden brand exists. 

In fact, I would hold off designing any logos or choosing a name before you know what your style is because you’ll want your logo and name to reflect that.

So, in the beginning, only your hidden brand matters… and that, ultimately, is the more important of the two because if your brand garners a bad reputation, your visible brand will come to represent that.

Enron Gone Wrong

For those of you familiar with the Enron scandal back in 2001, a company that defrauded thousands of investors and employees out of boatloads of money, does it really matter what their logo looked like?

Or what their mission statement was?

Or colors?

No, it doesn’t — because it all represents a broken brand… a name that is now synonymous with fraud, corruption, lies, and deceit.

Ultimately, your hidden brand is really the brand that matters most. 

Think about it.

If Apple had called themselves Cranberry, it would still have the same reputation it has today. 

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”

— William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet

Thanks for your time!

Charles Mitri

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By the way, the fact that I wrote about that Chipotle story goes to show how much that experience has stayed with me. Don’t let something like this happen in your business if at all possible.

And if you want to watch a fascinating documentary on Enron check out Enron: The Smartest Guys In the Room.

Charles Mitri

Charles Mitri is an award-winning boudoir photographer and also founder and writer of, an educational blog and resource website for boudoir photographers worldwide. He lives in Yorktown, Virginia.

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