If this is your first experience with Boudoir…. STOP….
Make sure you read this!
Unfortunately, as Boudoir Photography gets more and more popular again, the DIY photographers are popping up quite commonly.
Truth be told, the best Boudoir studios are home studios. The home environment makes for the best Boudoir photos. Unfortunately; for someone to be able to open a “studio” in their home, it is not difficult to do. Go down, buy a professional looking camera with a basic lens and a fancy couch or backdrop, and BAM! You are now a photographer! Right?….. NO!
Having a place to take photos is only a VERY small amount of what it means to have a Home Studio!
Was the space designed as your home? Or as a place to run your business? What about security? What measures are taking to ensure the safety of your clients and especially their photos! If it is your home, do you have IT and security staff on payroll?
You should always be asking your photographer very important questions. Where do they store your photos? Do they have I.T. staff on payroll? Do they have ANYONE on payroll? If they can not answer these questions without total clarity, RUN!
We have heard so many stories about Boudoir photographers with model releases that ask questions like “Can I put your photos on Facebook, but not on my website?” or similar questions. This is unfortunately a complete lack of understanding of how the internet works. Once those photos are publicly ONLINE, they are ONLINE. They can and will be circled around the internet. The only true way that this won’t occur is if the servers the images are hosted on, have PCI level enterprise class I.T. Security, and the photos are not visible without secure access. What do these fancy geek words mean? This mean that they meet actual qualifications that certify them as safe. It is just as a retail store collecting credit card information. Your personal data is being held with this company, and that company should treat it with the utmost care and attention. Opening a home studio and taking photos is something any professional photographer can do. Doing it safely, and keeping in mind your security is more important and should be the first thought of every aspect of the Home Studio!
So what about a portfolio and showcasing work? Well, most boudoir photographers hire models and use them to showcase their work. Some, like us, over time have just collected a good portfolio because of amazing clients that have actually signed off on us publishing their photos online.
More important than us using your photos, is our respect of your privacy. We have had even more customers that DON’T let us use their photos and we respect and honor that request.
This is why we have 4 options on our release: (they are more specific on the release, but to summarize…)
- Yes, you can use ALL of my photos!
- Yes you can use my photos if only for marketing purposes.
- Yes, you can use ANY photo from my session that does not show any identifiable marks (face, tattoo’s, birthmarks).
- No, you can’t use ANY of my photos, sorry!
These documents are done digitally, and stored on our secure servers. Photos set up to download, are stored with a third party that has a very strict privacy agreement and also meets very high and strict security guidelines! (read here) They are only on these servers for a limited amount of time before we archive them offline (archives are done on a server that does not have a network connection of any kind. It does not have access to the internet, so for a hacker to gain access they would have to physically be in our security room with physical access to our keyboard, monitor and strong passwords.
It is true, no company, nor any website is 100% secure in any way. You have all heard of some VERY large and considered secure companies being hacked (even the FBI has been hacked). However; to ensure that the chances of this are as minimal as possible, we do adhere to these strict guidelines, and so should EVERY Boudoir photographer. Unfortunately, in Canada there are only a handful of us.
So, what questions do you ask? Well, this can be tough if you aren’t in I.T. or are aware of the current legalities and security needed to properly secure Data. Truth be told, if you asked the question “Are you secure?”, any photographer could just say “Yes, I am”…. but can they SHOW you they are? Can they PROVE they are?
Even if you choose not to use us, we want you to at least make a safe choice. So, we have done our best to help you with these questions.
7 Questions to ask your Boudoir Photographer
1. Does the photographer have a proper model release, and do they ensure they get a signed copy from EVERYONE.
2. Can the photographer show you in the studio where your security equipment is? (is it more than just a home computer)
3. Does the photographer invite you to the space PRIOR to the shoot for a consultation to look around to ensure your safety?
4. Does the photographer have an alarm system and security Cameras (not in the shooting space, but in the entrances and perimeter) that are clearly visible?
5. Does the photographer’s website have an SSL certificate (does it say HTTPS:// when you go to the site instead of HTTP://) ?
6. How are archival photos kept, and for how long are they kept? DO they have a form for photo deletion? Do they even have a standard answer, or is it just “it depends’?
7. What happens if a breach occurs? Do they have a plan for disclosure?
Basically, if your Boudoir photographer asks you a question like “Are you ok if I share your photos only on a specific part of the internet” then you should run, quickly if you care about your privacy at all. If they try and use Facebook Closed Groups to protect your privacy, this is also a red flag. Once photos are on the internet, they are on the internet. These are signs that your photographer has not done the adequate research and/or has not invested in your security at all.
While A LOT of women love their photos, and have no issue showing them, there are other women who are very guarded. We cater to both of these women. Obviously we love it when women let us use their photos for advertising but honoring our client’s personal choices is most important to us. We protect all of our clients, and respect there choices, at all times.