Jessica Rae’s Approach
to Intimate Portraiture
COMPILED BY JACQUELINE TOBIN
A visit to photographer Jessica Rae’s website gives visitors
an instant introduction into who she is and how she
approaches her art: “Hello, I’m Jessica Rae, and I’m an
intimate portrait boudoir photographer,” she writes. “I am a visionary,
a story keeper and a believer in the power of vulnerability. My
alchemic mix of photography and soul resonates deep through a
personal journey of uncovering my own beauty. I photograph women
of all ages, sizes and body types.”
Based near Vancouver, British Columbia in the Fraser Valley, Rae
has been shooting boudoir full time for the past four-and-a-half
years and describes her editorial-like style as “intimate, bold and
Recently, she won Brianna and Ewan Phelan’s Do More Wear Less
photo challenge that asked participants to enter images for the
themed contest “No Eye Contact” (at left, the winning image). Here,
she offers tips and advice on being successful in the genre and
getting the word out.
Blogging—this leads to organic online search engine inquiries.
Local networking and business partnerships—while social media
is great, you really want to focus on building relationships with
your local market where your clients live.
Word of mouth—offer referral programs to your clients. Get them
excited to talk about you!
35mm Sigma Art
(primarily used in-studio)
Canon 5D Mark IV
MARKETING THAT MATTERS
•;Set your pricing where you
want it from the get-go. “You
can offer promotional/portfolio
building rates to get people
in the door, but then let them
know what your regular rates
are too,” Rae says. “You do not
want to build a brand, client
base and reputation around
being ‘cheap,’ only to try and
move to a higher price point.
You won’t be attracting your
•;Find a mentor in the industry.
“Many leading photographers
offer mentorships, either
group-based or one-on-one,” notes Rae. “These are
invaluable in helping you grow
on many levels.”
•;You don’t need a big fancy
studio. “I started out in my
small master bedroom, then
I moved on to using my main
living room,” Rae explains.
“After three years, I have now
dedicated the entire first level
of my home to my office and
studio. It was a progression—it
did not happen over night.
That is another key point. Don’t
expect success or end goals
to happen overnight. It’s a
process. Enjoy the ride!”
•;Try not to compare your work
to others. “The only person
you should be competing with
is yourself,” Rae asserts. “Be
better than you were yesterday.
That’s always the ideal path.”
4 TIPS FOR S TARTING OUT
JESSICA RAE’S GO-TO GEAR
PHO TO © ARTIST JESSICA RAE