A boudoir model call is a marketing strategy boudoir photographers use to generate new clients and new business from. It’s also a way to build up your portfolio while gaining experience shooting boudoir if you’re new to the genre.
It is possible that some of your past clients will partake in your model call but in general it’s used to attract new women to your brand and a lot of times to the idea of experiencing a boudoir photo shoot for the first time.
Please note that using the word “model” does not mean that you’re seeking actual professional models, but everyday women who are interested in being a model for your call.
How To Profit From A Boudoir Model Call
Profiting from a model call can happen in several ways:
— having the model buy more than what they originally spent up front (whether the session fee was free or discounted)
— having a satisfied model happy with what she originally spent but schedules a regular session at full price for a future date because she wants to have the full experience, or simply to have the experience again
— having a happy and satisfied model experience either of those two scenarios above who then tells her friends who then schedule shoots with you
— having a successful model shoot whereby you gain experience shooting boudoir and acquire images you can use on your website to promote your business
The Key Ingredient
The key ingredient of a model call is the low cost of entry for those women your advertising attracts. You want to make participating in the model call a low up-front investment for them.
The overall idea is to get them into your studio to experience a limited boudoir photoshoot, have them enjoy the experience, then have them become emotionally attached to their images so they end up spending more than the low price they paid you at the start.
Let me make it clear that there is no obligation for them to spend more, but if they want above and beyond what your agreement gives them as far as images and image products, then they’re certainly welcome to buy more if they want.
It’s a great way for women to experience your brand and service without them having to commit up front to spending a lot of money. Then, some will inevitably spend more because you created so much value that it becomes irresistible for them.
Road Map To A Successful Model Call
First of all, this is by no means a detailed step-by-step plan for executing a successful model call, but rather a general overview of the strategy.
Pre-Plan — decide and plan for the type of shoot you want, whether it’s for portfolio building to get images for your website and social, or to increase your sessions and sales… or maybe both!
Advertise — create some type of advertising, whether online, direct mail, flyer, print ad, promotional postcard that announces what you’re looking for, and what they’ll get in exchange for either a free or greatly reduced session fee; or direct them to a website that explains all that
The Form — have some kind of form they can submit online where you can collect their name, phone number, and email address — or at least have a phone number they can call where you can collect it
Sorting — sort through all the submissions and weed out the serious inquiries from the non-serious
Call — call each one and make personal contact, answer any questions they might have, and qualify why they really want to do this
Schedule/Collect — schedule sessions with those who are serious and collect their up-front fee to secure their time and date
Agreement — have them sign an agreement (contract) on the specifics of what they’ll get along with the who, what, where, when, how of the shoot
Shoot — shoot sessions
Present — schedule in-person reveals where they can see their images or have some kind of online gallery they can view but not download; make sure to watermark the images so they can’t take pictures of your pictures if sending them to an online gallery
Delivery — deliver what you promised
Collect — collect additional money for those who want to buy more than what you agreed upon
Two Ways To Do This
I’ve seen this done in mainly two ways. There’s the up-front way of running a model call and then there’s the deceptive way of running it.
The Deceptive Way
It all comes down to making sure your model knows exactly what she’s getting for her low price of admission.
Some boudoir photographers will state clearly what their low cost of entry provides… but that’s not enough. You have to verbally confirm it with the them, then have them sign a contract (I like to call it an “agreement” since it sounds less threatening) so there are no misunderstandings.
It’s also a really good idea that you have proof of what the arrangement is between the two of you.
It’s this latter part that a lot of photographers miss… getting the signed agreement so there are no misunderstandings (or angry/disappointed models).
The deceptive part comes into play when photographers don’t clearly spell out and explain to the model what they’ll be receiving, and the model has different expectations of what that will be.
Not Always A Deception
It may not be intentionally deceptive of the photographer. It could just be an oversight of the model not reading or fully understanding what she’ll be getting. In any event, that’s why it’s important to tell them verbally and to also have a written agreement where it’s clearly stated that she reads and signs.
This way there will be no misunderstanding, and if there is, just have them refer to the agreement they signed.
However, some boudoir photographers even go so far as to intentionally deceive the women who decide to partake in the model call, in hopes of “roping them in” and pressuring them to feel obligated to buy more.
That’s a manipulation and a bait-and-switch tactic I don’t agree with and does not help your brand or business in the long run at all. People are going to get pissed off at you, argue with you, and possibly even sue you… and what fun is that?
Being Up Front
The ethical way to run a model call is to still advertise a low cost of entry, but to clearly state in print and verbally and in a written and signed agreement exactly what the model will receive.
You want to be up front, clear, and precise with them. This is, after all, not your normal operating practice and things are going to be different from one of your regular sessions. You can even tell them that.
I personally don’t believe in using any type of sales tactic that I myself would not want used on me — and I would imagine your clients feel the same way.
You can run a successful model call and get lots of people to participate, expose them to your brand by giving them a taste, and still have them leaving satisfied with the whole experience… but wanting more. And that’s a good thing, and the thing we should be striving for.
It’s like the people who pass out tiny food samples at Costco or in food courts.
“Would you like a taste?” They hand you a sample.
You either take it or you don’t. You either like it and buy more, like it and consider buying more later, or don’t like it and move on. But what shouldn’t happen is that you like it, and then because of the “fine print” that wasn’t gone over, you’re now obligated to buy the whole enchilada.
With regard to your model call, some women will like it and want to buy more, some will like it and be satisfied with what they got, some will like it and want to buy more at a later time, and some won’t like it all that much and move on.
Trouble can occur with your expectations.
As long as you’re wiling to provide the service and products, along with the time and energy it takes that their low-cost of entry guarantees, then there’s no problem.
It’s when boudoir photographers deceptively advertise a model call whereby women expect more than what they’ll actually get — or feel obligated to spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars more.
If you do happen to spend extra time and energy on their images, with the expectation that they’ll buy and they don’t, you only have yourself to blame for going about it the wrong way.
That’s operating from a “manipulation” mind set.
It’s like walking through the food court and someone offers you a small sample of their food, you taste it but decide to move on, but the owner gets all upset because they already prepared a meal for you that’s waiting on the table inside.
You get my point.
It all comes down to expectations — what the client expects verses what they will receive. If those two things are in sync then there’s no problem. When they’re out of sync, that’s a problem.
Different Types of Model Calls
Portfolio Building Model Call
The goal of the portfolio building model call is to acquire boudoir images you can use on your website and social media to promote and market your business. Just make sure they sign a model release as part of the agreement. If you forget, they may not let you use their images publicly and you let a perfectly good opportunity pass you by.
Business Boost / Brand Exposure Model Call
These two are really one in the same. You hold a model call as a way to generate business and get your name out there. Whether you’re just starting out or trying to make some money during a slow period, a model call is a great way to get the momentum going, get your name out there, and keep you shooting and honing your craft.
The Themed Model Call (Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Bridal, etc)
In the vein of the Portfolio Building model call, use this model call as a way to get very specific themed images for specific types of boudoir shoots.
If you’re planning a promotion for Valentine’s Day, you’re going to need some Valentine-themed images to market that with. Same holds true for Bridal Boudoir sessions. If you offer that, it’s best a potential client sees it on your website rather than just read about it as something you offer.
There are a lot of moving parts with running a successful model call, and to find out in detail just how to make all the pieces work, I suggest you check out The Art of Six Figures — The Ultimate Facebook Ads Marketing Reboot course. They have an entire section dedicated to running a successful model call to boost your business and get you more clients than you can handle.
I have personally gone through the course myself, and without giving away any proprietary secrets, can honestly say that it’s well worth the investment. It opened my eyes to a lot of things I just didn’t know before and really helped me to connect all the dots.
So, that’s my recommendation on that.
Thanks for your time!
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Founder / Lounge Boudoir
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