It's PhotoPlus Expo time in New York City, and Wednesday's conference lineup consisted of all things WPPI, with speakers like Bambi Cantrell, Ryan Brenizer, Susan Stripling, Bob Davis and Jen Rozenbaum.
New this year to the speaking podium was boudoir/intimate portrait photographer Jessica Lark, presenting "Artistic Seductions: Unlocking the Erotic Spirit."
Based in Reading, Pennsylvania, Lark started as a visual artist and painter who only decided to pick up a camera five years ago. Self-taught, Lark has since built her home-based business into a successful studio (which she calls "Couture Manor").
The crux of her unpretentious and—dare I say—salty presentation was that every photographer must take personal responsibility for his or her career. In short: No excuses.
Lark's additional boudoir tips covered a lot of ground:
- Experience it yourself. If you're an aspiring boudoir photographer, have a shoot done yourself so you know what if feels like to be a client.
- Come prepared. When shooting on-location in unfamiliar territory (a person's home that could be littered with baby toys, laundry, etc.), bring enough lenses to cover any scenario. "There's no where that you can't take a good picture," Lark says.
- Get personal when marketing. Rather than a promotion like, "Our studio is offering 20 percent off packages for Valentine's Day," appeal clients with a phrase like, 'Come in and reclaim who you are with a sexy Valentine's Day session." "I never say 'I' when I'm talking to a client," Lark says. "It's about them, not you."
- Use Facebook. Lark says, "100 percent of my clients come from Facebook, even if they're referrals from other clients. It's the single best resource that any business has to connect with clients, and there's no secrets, it's just a numbers game."
- Put the camera down to connect with clients. Lark says having a huge lens in between you and the client only creates a barrier. The easiest way to gain an emotional connection? Give a sincere compliment. Lark used this technique with an audience volunteer ("Wow, your eyes look beautiful") and it the effect was apparent.
Lark's book Artistic Seductions will be available for purchase in April 2014. A collector's limited print edition signed by the photographer can also be preordered.