Honestly, it kind of chose me, and I am sooo glad it did.
I started photography sometime in 2017. My husband bought me a "real" camera at the end of 2017 and I had no clue what I was doing. I just knew that I loved taking photos, editing, and creating. By September of 2018, I had done several couples, families, and maternity shoots, but boudoir had not crossed my mind yet. I honestly did not have a clue about it and what I did know about it... well, I was too nervous to even consider it. I had several friends ask if I would take their boudoir photos. I was like HECK NO. NO WAY. I finally was talked into and after telling my husband about it, he told me to go for it. So, I reached out to my friend, Kristin, the owner and master stylist at The House of Harper in Bowling Green, KY (amazing person, btw. and her hair skills blow me away!) and asked her thoughts on me using the House for boudoir minis. She was totally up for it and offered to let me shoot with her first, so I could get an idea of what it would be like.
Kristin's session was so much fun! I had no clue what I was doing but I felt surprisingly comfortable. After her session, I gave myself a pep talk and decided that I could do this! If I didn't like it, I just wouldn't do it again. I had to at least try it, right? I LOVED IT. FELL IN LOVE. I FINALLY FELT GOOD AT SOMETHING.
Fully booked the spots that I offered that day and shot all. dang. day. My feet hurt, I was mentally drained, I was starving but I still loved it! I was obsessed and couldn't wait to offer sessions again!
In November of 2018, we bought a house and had a lot of renovating to do. We was waiting on carpet for the bedrooms and while we waited, we had to keep out bed in the living room. I was ready to shoot again, so I cleared out everything in the living room besides the bed, a rug, a table, and a lamp. I took a photo (the one above) and posted about offering boudoir sessions again. I reached out to some people to model for me and that got me a couple of bookings BUT that was it...
Crickets... I wasn't getting anything. No one was messaging me. I was getting discouraged... I cried. I had mental breakdowns. I told my husband I was posting my camera and equipment for sale and I was done. I wasn't getting bookings for boudoir, much less any other type of photography. I literally wanted to give up because I expected people to book with me how they were booking with other people! I was impatient and didn't really know how to put in the work to get the bookings. He told me to just take a break from it and talked me out of selling my gear. I took a short break and unfollowed a lot of photographers. It helped my mental health so much! I created a women's only Instagram and Facebook group and started posting my content there. I had friends post about their sessions and tag me, invite their friends to join my group, and I picked back up shooting in January 2019 for Valentine's Day. I rented an airbnb and start booking mini sessions left and right! I was so shocked that people wanted to book with me.
Granted, I still had a lot of work to do. I still was learning and was being ghosted by so many people. Even though my prices were dirt cheap, I was still being told no, that I was too expensive, or they wouldn't even respond to my messages. They wouldn't show up for their sessions, and I was getting discouraged again. Instead of wanting to give up, I kept thinking of how I could improve my business and how I could create the best experience for my clients. I worked hard to figure out what works and what didn't. Luckily, I started boudoir photography before it was a huge, well known thing and became a well known boudoir photographer in my area. Even though the timing didn't seem perfect for me at the time, it really was! I stopped worrying about getting bookings, I stopped worrying about making money, I stopped worrying what everyone else was doing, and I stopped expecting people to run to me for boudoir. I started shooting with models, thinking of fun creative shoots, always putting out content. I used the money I did make to upgrade my equipment, so I could provide better quality. I learned how to shoot manual. I watched a lot of YouTube videos. I put in WERK, okay? BLOOD. SWEAT. TEARS. Literally.
I grew. I flourished. I created Be YOU Boudoir by Morgan Harris. I didn't look back unless it was to humble myself. Every time I complain about being busy or wanting a break, I remind myself of when no one booked with me and how sad I was. I remind myself of all the hard work I have put in to be where I am now. I remind myself not to give up because I didn't give up back then, why should I now after all this time and effort? I reminded myself that I was able to leave my 9-5 job after less than a year of shooting boudoir to shoot boudoir full-time.
I realized pretty quickly that I was not doing this for the money. I specialize in boudoir because it's where my passion and heart is. I get to lift women up and they give me confidence by trusting in me and loving the art I create. I finally found a profession that I look forward to everyday, even when they days are hard and the weeks seem like they are never ending. I am BLESSED to be where I am and to have found a passion that truly makes me thrive. I am BLESSED to have met so many amazing women and gained so many new friends in life. I am BLESSED to have a God given talent and turn it into something wonderful, helpful, and honest. If you're reading this and you are a photographer (or you're just chasing a dream in general) DON'T GIVE UP. Keep going!! Things don't happen overnight and you have to put in hard work, but it's so worth it.
At the end of the day, what can you say you do and you're proud of that helps others? Find your passion and use it to help others in some way. Don't do it for the money, don't do it for the likes on social media, and do it for the passion!
Keep hustling, girl! Put in hard work now, shine later! Xoxo,
How to Start & Grow Your Boudoir Photography Business Guide by Morgan Harris: https://www.harrisvisualmedia.com/product-page/how-to-start-your-boudoir-photography-business
Camera Gear You NEED for Your Boudoir Photography Business:
Camera (manual) Settings for Boudoir Photography: