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Creating Relaxed Clients

Lesson 5 from: The Boudoir Workshop

Christa Meola

Creating Relaxed Clients

Lesson 5 from: The Boudoir Workshop

Christa Meola

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Lesson Info

5. Creating Relaxed Clients


Class Trailer

Day 1




Let’s Get this Party Started Right!


Redefining Boudoir: YOUR Brand & Style


Working with Women


Creating Relaxed Clients


Posing and Anti-Posing


Flattering All Body Types


Lesson Info

Creating Relaxed Clients

Um addressing fears and doubts. Okay, super quickly we're gonna go through this because again, this is on the first phone call. Here is what every client will tell you, um and you want to know, um, you want her to know that you understand her fears and doubts better than she does and you really do if you've been doing this long enough or you've been doing it as deep meaning talking to your client this much, um and when she does feel like you understand her fears and doubts better than she even does, you have established a really deep level of trust and that is so important to have before the shoot and nothing is more important when you're on the shoot. If you don't have the trust of your client, forget about it. Forget about it. Okay, so hear this common fears and doubts you will hear these over and over again. I don't know how to pose, I say good, you know we're not gonna pose it it's not about posing, we'll give you an action to do like flip your hair or a tire shoe or twirling your ...

dress or, you know, it's my job, so don't worry about it and I'll demo everything before you do it, you did twenty to twenty times like you don't need it yeah uh I'm really nervous that's awesome. I don't discourage nerves at all I'll just say you know what? Every client is a numerous beforehand and you'll be the prince around naked within five minutes just me not so much fun you're gonna want to do it again and people d'oh shoot with me like, three, four times now going on um so the nerves I don't want to discourage and here's why how awesome do you feel bea can relate to this when you step outside of your comfort zone and do something that you are so nervous to dio you feel amazing, right? So if it's not that big a deal to you and you're not really that nervous it's not gonna be a powerful on experience, right? So I kind of trying I tease it up I get the books I did I'm like two days did you get that? You know instead of heels and the more they get nervous the more I love it so I'm okay with that and I let them know I let them know it disappears anyway I need to lose ten pounds hello? Everybody says this. Okay, well, but I just want to wait until they come, okay? Ten pounds becomes twenty whatever it's a never ending battle it don't worry about it if you are who you are and I mean it's my job to flatter using lighting, posing and wardrobe selection we're gonna flatter you and then that's a good time to bring up your touching philosophy to what you know I'm just going to let you know I'm not gonna change who you are not gonna change your size I'll just enhance your shape like if you're brought starts poking in you know, smooth that out if you're leaning on the armchair and that go like that we're gonna talk that back in um you know if you laugh and you do this we're you know we're going to enhance your posture a little bit but you know I do let them know what my retouching philosophy is and it's not to change who they are and I bring that up when they say need to lose ten pounds but you're gonna look the best I ever did um and usually that one's and easy to get over I'm not sure if I want to do nude I hear this a lot of people go to my site and see news and I'm like that's okay? We don't need to do do you do even wear snowsuit like it's an essential photography can be anything um and you can wear whatever you like in terms really, but I think what do you need? But I'm not sure that the people who say that they all wind up doing you um and you could this is a good time to talk about the ways you can imply nudity and then also discussed you know, the gray areas what they're comfortable with but they're not comfortable with I'm bad at taking pictures and it's like, well, good I'm glad I'm with the one taking them you know it's like that's not your job your job is to show up and have fun and be silly with me and it's my job to take great photos um and it's important that you tell your clients like really you need to show up and have fun like I can't do everything you actually have to participate with me I've had, you know, very few clients who were resistant, who didn't give over trust who were extremely like just locked into rigidity and not having a good time to fly ins and hundreds and hundreds so um, you know, you really need to let them know that they do need to show up and be open and have fun. Um but it's, your job to take great photos were going out our best, I promise we're gonna go quickly to break focus on fun like I make everything a party I wanted to be celebratory, I want it to be fun and silly I don't want it to be serious this is just my style I don't walk up sitting there thinking about the lighting and like talking to my assistant and you know what? I'm not doing that I'm making sure she has a great time and it's so much fun and everything else will take a backseat keep your energy. Hi, this is again just for me. If you're one of those quiet people who shoots with the seventy two, two hundred from far away and doesn't interact much that's fine, if that works for you just talking about what I do, I keep my energy high because I need teo, you know, I like my images to be full of life and active be professional in playful um, you know, it's silly, we're photographing women in their underwear let's not take this so seriously, but you do want to be professional. So again, you need to talk about you safe terms, um, be polite, but yet have some sense of fun. Be confident, okay? Even if you're not fake it, I did this for a while, I think, like three years. Um, it worked well. S o you know you can have your own inner monologue going that's totally fine, but you need to train your mouth to say other stuff and to never let those e sweat cause you don't want her like going you know you don't want a half naked woman feeling your insecurities do you know what I mean? So just be confident speak matter of fact lee and confidently even if you're not sure like I know some people like teacher like you would have time to figure out the lighting I don't want to sweat it out while they're just say okay, why don't you take it get your makeup refreshed will have a glass of water I'm just going to set up the lights out here what's wrong with saying that just say it confidently like this is what we're doing now not holy shit you could say that internally don't say it out loud begin without fanfare this is my biggest tip teo really bring out a woman's best is you don't want her really feeling the beginning of the shoot so you don't want her in her robe in the makeup chair then you get out your camera you like just off the lens and you're like, okay, take off your robe or starting now it's like a big drumroll you know that's like terrifying and nerve wracking for you two it's like you're building up all of this, you know we're starting now um so what I do is have her in the first outfit already, so when she arrives we take picket the outfits and talk with the makeup artist which look do you want to start with I'm like okay why don't you get this on first just so you know whatever we don't have straps and we don't have to deal with it you don't pull your shirt over your head after you get made up whatever um and then I basically just take her and I'm like okay, I need to do some lighting tests before she's ready but almost ready with her hair and makeup will pull her over and I'll just do some lighting tests will be like okay, yeah that works or makeup tests I want to see if I had I read where it needs to be thicker the color works or whatever the hell um and then so I shoot a couple off and then I'll have my makeup artist finisher and again when I know my makeup artist be there all day anyway if I let her die literally pull a girl out on me like okay, I just want to do somewhere make up stuff we're starting like shouldn't even know a billy goat taking you about that okay cool I'm just testing like how many times I said it kind of testing light it's testing light on and then like over here and do this and now okay, can you bend down okay, how about without that can you just did that and I just start talking and it started so without any distinct beginning, it started many questions. We have so many questions. Okay, we'll take a break. The hold on. I got a lot done here. The easiest set ups to start with prop shot, give a girl a profit. It takes the focus off of her. She can either, like, play with the hat or hide behind a little sign or whatever a mask even and she feels more covered up. So props are always fun to start with cause you know, she's got something to focus on that isn't herself conservative wardrobe option. If she brought a dress awesome, we'll start with that one modest head shot. Those air easy. Take your eighty five and shoot some close ups and laying down that super super simple. Have her lay down that's like, you know if she's standing there half naked, though sometimes it's a little awkward to start with. So laying down poses or nice and relaxed and easy. Okay, I still have more. I keep going it's up to you. Do you want to take a break and come back to this and posing or no let's finish, relax clients and it's all very similar. Um okay, so here's, how a great the shoot will go down maintain constant feedback constant, never ending verbal feedback so you have to change your train your mouth to keep talking even if you're trying to figure stuff out it's harder for newbies but you're just gonna always keep giving them like great love it you want to keep the energy keep if there's like silence I hear a pin drop kind of gets a little funky sometimes so even if it's it's horrible and you're freaking out about the light or the pose isn't working for you just want to say great great love it awesome and then just let's do this now you know what I mean so if she says why don't why don't we try this you always have those funds to have ideas right? Why don't we take the pearls and whatever you know and you're like okay great awesome okay now let's do this so shoot it say it was great and then move on but constant feedback this when I feel like most people need to work on you've got to give your models constant feedback and I use models and clients interchangeably show one or two amazing shots the moment you now on that's awesome show it to her overexpose it like a stop because on the back your camera will look more flattering but you don't want to be showing her images throughout the whole shoot that's a question I get a lot no no no no a want to tease the reveal and you don't want her criticizing or focusing on the alka you don't want to kill your momentum you only have limited time keep moving but definitely want to gain her trust early and so she knows I look amazing okay, cool we could move on if they keep asking you what what's your new didn't I do that to you? Can everything works great harry talked about that be polite and remember your manners don't even know why that's up there we're all polite I just mean you know um um stiff clients okay when you get those stiff clients who just really are very nervous don't have a sexual bone in their body um reconnected with herself um tell her to close your eyes take a moment just be present get connected with yourself take a breath, relax keep your eyes closed and I just kind of walking through like mr relaxing moment in a moment again to get reconnected because sometimes you can tell when you're photographing someone she's off panicking somewhere she's looking at you insecure like are you getting this? Is this okay? So it's good close your eyes, reconnected yourself, breathe for a minute and get our moving a ton this is my secret I don't pose I keep moving around so much they're so fricking tired they don't have energy to be nervous toss your hair twirl around run towards me crawl towards me you know whatever and anything just get them moving shaking out the hair that's a big one that's an easy one to start with to um just that's another money shot the hair toss we'll talk about that in a second but really get her moving serves two purposes one is like my secret ploy teo obliterate her nerves and two it helps me so I have to recompose I could just capture some awesome natural movement right give her some props were talking about that change up the energy sometimes you just need a change of energy so send the makeup girl away or bring them make a girl in the room or have the friend whose onset leave or come into the room you know what I mean? Sometimes you just need a change of energy or get out of the hotel and go into the lobby you just need to change scenery and then at the end of the day if you're still getting someone who's nervous and you can read it all over their face um coach those actions so you could get like the hair toss um and you know they can't help but have a good expression during that or you shoot a lot of body shots and details so I have this with the client I did her whole I did a whole strip teething we made up a story on the spot because I was wasn't getting she kept god lover biting your lip like that it was like okay, she just wouldn't stop doing that and I was like, I can't do that um so I shot a lot of body shots that day details and then masters from the back or like, you know, just see uh when you just see someone's eyelash you know, that's a great way to get expression with a client getting natural after I like to tease my clients a lot I'm like oh, you're so serious right now in your underwear, by the way and I do ask for over fake laughter to get the real stuff you can't help but feel like a frickin ass when you fake laugh so undoubtedly you are going to come out with the real thing right afterwards um and the morning last the more she laughed so I have a really good time I don't mind laughing at my client's I think it's totally ridiculous and I laughed at myself too um wait I skipped one didn't I sorry about that folks I did it again anyway it's be prepared she seemed between moments so that's really important a lot of time she'll be trying to be perfect but the moment she relaxes when it's really awesome so you should be shooting constantly and shooting for the in between moments creating emotion coach actions so I did a lot of questions how do I create emotion in my work and in my images everything's very um natural and a motive I like to coach actions jump we're photographing this girl for about twenty minutes and everyone had proposing I just wasn't feeling it was like, you know, like, just jump up in the air just seems much more fun and natural to me um and when you're in action you can't help action was that motion creates emotion so that's a big one for me push the action to the extreme I like to get him at the height of the laughter of the run of the jump of the pillow toss of the crawl like whatever it is you want to like really get it at the peak vocally coach the emotional I'm going like I hate to hear myself when I'm coaching because I'm always like I you know I'm really coaching what I'm going for so I sound ridiculous but I do get it shoot all the in between moments we talked about that avoid eyes directly at camera okay, so this is just my thing there's some photographers who want isan camera every single shot and that's their style it's okay it's a little buzz kill and it bores me I don't want a whole session of my eyes looking directly at the camera when I've seen some of women's work that's twenty images the girl just like standing right at the camera herr blind and it just does nothing for me because I'm worried a cinematic and it breaks the fourth wall I want to feel like a lawyer I want a peek in and a girl loving herself having a good time enjoying her body and so mostly or like interacting with some stranger in the room off camera so I my islands there was like at the light source down your body your eyes closed and then at me and I will select some eyes at the camera for her final cut but I didn't even block any for the longest time I mean you could go back in my archives I just started while you guys with the camera cause I thought it's really a buzzkill killing the storyline man and it just seems much more emotional if I'm sitting here looking at you I mean it could be emotional but it's really hard to now those but if you kind of like who looked down smile damn last looks good I don't know just because a little bit weird you see um and eyes closed a slight smile always work look at that you know what I mean and sometimes I just can fake it with a client um just say okay just close your eyes and the slight smile and it just works on everyone and it's so easy to dio add the fans. Sometimes what reasons? Emotion is really just a fan blowing the hair suddenly like you, no, but seriously, I have converted a lot of photographers and to use in the van. I don't even know how I worked without it, I would rather bring a fan than lights on the set. I'll make natural light work if I could only bring one thing, I'm bringing the fan and edit for emotions, so against another one of my tricks, like howto, my pictures, all have emotion. Well, I edit out the ones that don't. You can't neglect to talk about that.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Christa Meola Day 1.pdf
Christa Meola Day 2.pdf
Christa Meola Day 3.pdf

Ratings and Reviews

a Creativelive Student

This is meant to be a HELPFUL review for those that are wondering if they should purchase this workshop. About 75% of what I took away from this workshop was posing, composition for boudoir and the importance of eye lines and capturing movement. I had two boudoir sessions a week after this workshop and my images significantly improved. I was able to coach my clients through poses better, direct them on where to look for better eye lines, I was more aware of their posture and how to fix it, I think I sounded more professional and felt more confidant with getting awesome poses, stand out expressions and adding movement to my images. I put a fan on my client the way Christa does.. and she is right! The instant I put the fan on my client, her expression changed and you could tell she was really "feeling it". She told me she felt like a real supermodel right after I turned on the fan. If you are looking for inspiration on how to coach women and pose for boudoir then Christa is the girl for you. I think the most worthwhile thing I learned watching this is something that will help me in the years to come... with my brand, my website, my workflow and my business goals. I learned how to "keep it simple" which is Christa's tag line. For example Christa brings a roll of gray background paper and uses gaffer tape to hang it from the wall of the hotel (instead of bringing a 12ft background stand). I know this seems simple but this will change my life! I hate dragging equipment back and forth. There are some negative reviews on here about Christa's technical skills, but I think these people may have missed the whole point. If you provide an awesome product and an awesome experience for your client, they will buy it. And guess what.. your client will never know if you used your camera in auto or manual and they won't care if you used one light instead of two. As someone who has been in business for 3 years doing boudoir exclusively I learned a lot. I see a lot of value in learning from someone who doesn't spend a lot of money on fancy equipment, yet charges her clients over $3,000 for sessions. I'm a huge fan of her keep it simple philosophy and I'm glad Christa is willing to be honest about her workflow and how she best utilizes her time. Your not going to agree with or use everything Christa talks about, you take the parts that you like and are most helpful to you and work them into building a stronger business.

a Creativelive Student

AWESOME DEAL on Christa's course. I just sent an email to my husband to tell him thanks for "gifting" me this course. I told him just the ONE CLASS about pricing was worth the full $129 price of the course. And there are over 50 classes?! That is a crazy stupid good deal. You can learn something good from every class you take, every book you read, and just apply the stuff that works for you. There are a lot of people out there who seem to just enjoy giving crappy reviews, and to me it's almost like bullying. How someone could not find $129 worth of value in this course is beyond me. In my opinion this course is worth over a thousand bucks, because it can help you make SO much more money. I hate when I see people whining about things that are not 100 percent perfect, and they get annoyed if the person isn't catering to their exact needs. It's like the Yelper generation, with a disturbing sense of entitlement. I would love to see those people try teaching a class about boudoir and see if they could do any better. It also seems like, the more popular a person gets, the more other people feel the need to tear them down. I'm grateful that Christa even offered this course at ALL. Thanks Christa for all you do to help those of us who really need to know this stuff. You rock.

a Creativelive Student

I never thought I would shoot boudoir. I am a shy and private person. I started entertaining the idea when I first saw Christa's work and saw how beautiful and tasteful it can be. I love her lighting and all that she uses from historic painters and sculptors. I watched all three days live and learned a ton. I have a lot of lighting education, but it was nice to freshen up my skills. I loved the posing tips and the three typical situations she uses for one shoot. I loved learning about how she shoots in hotels and also using things like an outdoor situation. I have now shot my first boudoir session and it was a total hit. I am thrilled to show my client her images. This was fantastic! Thank you, Christa!

Student Work