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How Much Does the Average Boudoir Photo Shoot Cost?

Trying to figure out the cost of a typical boudoir photo shoot can be a bit like trying to crack a secret code. Most boudoir photographers will not display their full pricing on their websites for all to see, but they’ll usually give you some kind of starting price because they want you to contact them.

There are pros and cons to doing this but we’re not here to talk about that just yet. What we’re here to talk about is what will the final cost of a boudoir photo session be for you with image products walking out the door, like an album, wall art, or digital files.

In this article I’m going to break all this down for you and give you the inside scoop on how to figure out how much you’ll end up paying for your boudoir session and everything else you’ll end up paying for. (Because that’s what you really want to know, right? Yeah, let’s be real here!)

How do I know all this? Well, I’ve been a professional boudoir photographer for a number of years now and the subject of pricing, what to charge, how to charge, and all that is a HUGE sometimes ever-changing element among boudoir photographers and their businesses.

But first, before we get into all that I’m going to answer your question.

What Is The Average Cost Of A Boudoir Photo Shoot?

The average cost of a boudoir photo shoot is typically in the vicinity of $200 to $500, but that’s just for the photo session, the part where they take the pictures. It usually does not include any images such as albums, wall art, or digital files. This is where things can get confusing trying to figure out if you can afford one or not. So, stay with me on this because I’m going to break everything down for you so you can crack the pricing code of boudoir photographers.

Boudoir Photography Pricing

The Session Fee

On average, most boudoir photographers will charge what is called a “session fee” or “sitting fee” and that just refers to the photo shoot itself. This typically lasts between an hour to two hours. It’s the time when your photographer is actively taking pictures of you… and may also include the time it took for you to get ready with hair and makeup on site, if that was included.

So, the session fee is really just what you’ll be charged to have pictures taken of yourself in a boudoir style.

The Bait and Lure

The cost of the session fee (let’s say it’s $300) is what you’ll typically see on a boudoir photographer’s website or Facebook ad being advertised as the cost of a photo shoot.

And usually that price range of $200 to $500 will be the same for both lower priced boudoir photographers as well as higher priced ones.

A higher priced boudoir photographer could charge you a low session fee of $200 or one around $500. A lower priced boudoir photographer will typically charge you something like $99 to $199 for their session fee.

So, one way to determine if your boudoir photographer is at the higher end of the scale is by what they charge for their session fee… and they may be worth the extra cost or not. Sometimes they are, but sometimes they aren’t.

The reason I call advertising your session fee a “bait and lure” is because a lot of women get the impression that will be the total price for everything, images included… but it’s not. That’s just not how it works ya’ll.

Session Fee plus Packages, All Inclusive Packages, Everything A La Carte

Boudoir photographers are going to fall into one of three categories. They’ll either offer you a separate session fee then a package you pay for separately (album, wall art, digitals, or combination of all that), offer you an  all-inclusive package upfront with everything included, or everything will be a la carte with a buy-in fee up front.

Session Fee Plus Packages

This is probably the most common offering you’ll see from boudoir photographers. They’ll charge you an upfront session fee (any where from $200 – $500 typically) that serves as a non-refundable retainer for their services, and then offer you one of three packages (sometimes four, but anymore than that and you’ll want to pop a Xanax from information overload).

Within each package will be the image products you’ll get if you buy that particular package. Package #1 may come with just a small album with a limited number of images/pages.

In Package #2 the album will be bigger with more images and pages, as well as one piece of wall art, and maybe the digital images from the album… and so on and so forth. You get how this works.

Of course, the bigger the package — the higher the price but usually it’s also a better value for you. You’ll pay more, sure, but you’ll also get more for your money compared to their least expensive package.

If the photographer does not have their packages displayed on their website (most won’t) then you’re going to have to contact them and request it.

They’ll send you a PDF, give you the web address to their “private” pricing page, or maybe even a secret decoder ring that will reveal their pricing in a hologram — regardless, you’ll finally get some hard numbers to see what the real cost to you will be walking out the door.

So, you’ll have to add the price of the package on top of the session fee for the total cost of your boudoir experience.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with doing it this way, it’s just that you have no way of knowing if you can even afford a certain photographer or not without first communicating with them… and that’s what the photographer wants because they want to make contact with you to persuade or convince you to hire them.

And that’s all fine and good. It’s the way most boudoir photographers operate.

Making Their Pricing Public

A small minority of boudoir photographers will actually display the cost of their packages on their websites publicly and do so as a way to weed out the people who can’t afford them from the get-go.

I can understand this approach as well because it doesn’t waste yours or the photographer’s time. If the prices are just beyond what the woman is capable of paying, then she can just move on to another photographer.


The second most common offering you’ll encounter is the all-inclusive offering. This is where the photographer will have a number of packages (typically three or four) with one price for everything.

So, Package #1 will list everything it comes with for one price, Package #2 with list everything it comes with for a higher price, and Package #3 will list everything it comes with for the highest price.

Now, instead of charging you a separate session fee, they’ll charge you a retainer fee to reserve your time and date that will be deducted from the total of whatever package you pick beforehand.

You’ll just have to pay the balance before any products are ordered.

This is the pricing method I am currently working under because it makes everything real simple and easy to understand. There’s one price for Package #1, another price for Package #2, and another price for Package #3.

Everything A La Carte

The least popular pricing model you’ll come across is the a la carte system. With this pricing method there are no packages, nothing is bundled together.  You’ll be charged a buy-in fee that serves as a session fee or retainer up front, but when you’re ready to purchase you get to hand-pick whatever product or products you want.

The problem with this is that most women are not familiar with the large variety of albums, prints, metal prints, all their sizes and what they’ll actually look like unless the photographer has physical samples for you to look at and feel in your own hands.

With packages, the variety of products is fairly limited to usually one type of album in maybe two or three different sizes along with a fine art print or metal print. That is much easier to get samples of than the vast number of items you may be presented with when it comes time to choose how you want your images preserved.

I’m not saying one method is better than the other, they all work but in general you’re going to run into more of the session fee/packages and all-inclusive packages based boudoir photographer than the a la carte kind.

And like I said, there are advantages and disadvantages to using all three pricing models for both the client and the photographer.

Just something to be aware of when you’re looking for that boudoir experience.

Is There A Minimum You Have To Spend With the A La Carte System?

With the a la carte system there will usually be a minimum amount you have to spend that you may have to pay up front. The photographer may offer three different buy-in levels, say $500, $1000, and $1500 that you pay up front that acts as your non-refundable session/retainer fee as well as credit towards the purchase of whatever a la carte items you buy later.

In essence, you get to go on a shopping spree with the money you paid up front. This guarantees the photographer a minimum they know they’re going to make from the shoot.

Total Amount You Can Expect To Pay From Low End to High End

There are basically three price ranges boudoir photographers operate in. There’s the low-end, mid-level, and high-end as far as pricing goes. We’re not talking quality here, just pricing.

At the low end you can expect to pay anywhere from $500 to $1500, mid-level from $1500 to $2500, and high-end from $2000 to $3500. It can go up from there but in general those are the price ranges you can expect.

Ultra high-end would be $3500 to $6500… and yes, women do spend that much for their boudoir experience.

The Boudoir Photographer Under $500

There are some boudoir photographers who are even less expensive than what is listed as the low-end, but they’re usually newer photographers or those transitioning over to shooting boudoir who are still learning the genre… and there’s nothing wrong with that. We all start somewhere.

Affordable Boudoir Photography

If you’re dead set on getting a boudoir shoot and working with limited funds there are two ways to go about getting a photographer that will work within your budget.

First, do your research and find out who’s in your area whose work you like and would like to shoot with.

Next, find out how much it would cost to do a shoot with them and also to get the album, print, or other image products you want.

If their price is too high but you’re dead set on working with them because you love their work, then wait and save up the money until you can afford it. The wait will be worth it.

If you can’t wait, or don’t want to wait, then keep researching photographers perhaps a bit further out from where you live and find one whose work and price will work for you.

How To Save Money

If you want to save money then wait for special holidays like Valentine’s Day, Mother’s day, International Women’s Day, or Black Friday because a lot of photographers will run specials. They’ll usually reduce their session fees dramatically or sometimes waive them all together.

So, keep an eye out for that!

If you’d like more information on experiencing a boudoir shoot at Bella Mitri Boudoir, you can contact me through my Contact page.

Thanks for your time!

“Forever is composed of nows.” — Emily Dickinson

Charles Mitri

Bella Mitri Boudoir

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