For the past 9 years, we've been a leading pinup / boudoir photography studio in the northeast PA region. We've always promoted body positivity / body acceptance from day one. We also provided makeup / hair as a complimentary service from day one. Our package prices will tell you that there was never an additional fee for it. We discontinued that service for a couple of reasons in 2020. Here's why:
Even though makeup / hair was offered complimentary, it began feeling clumsy to us to be preaching body positivity / body acceptance and urging women to recognize all the good their bodies do for them but then saying (in essence) before a photo session " But first, let's fix your face!" We'd also started receiving feedback from a handful of our clients, stating they really didn't care for all the makeup and glam. They told us, they wanted to feel like themselves.
Only now, it felt just as clumsy to suddenly make the shift to discontinuing the service that would appear random and out of the blue.
Then, the COVID-19 pandemic hit and well, the transition was suddenly a safety issue and not a random announcement.
I'm a photographer not a makeup artist / hair stylist. I have training in those areas and have always followed health and safety protocol, but I'm not licensed and have no interest in being. I had zero interest in taking further courses to train for the increased safety standards regarding makeup application etc. I needed to focus on the increased sanitizing protocol required for the studio and the wardrobe. So, discontinuing the service was now an easy maneuver.
For sure, we had a few who kicked back at us and refused to shoot with us anymore. But, we had even more who stood behind and supported us, who understood that it was not only due to health and safety concerns for ourselves and clients, but it also matched our "accept yourself" mission statement. In fact, we've had just as many new clients book with us as we had the previous year when the service was still offered.
Are there potential new clients who haven't booked with us due to our change regarding this? Absolutely. But we've always had "potential new clients" who decide not to book with us for one reason or another - i.e. they didn't care for our packages etc. That's a part of business. It happens no matter what.
So, while we fully promote embracing your natural beauty, we aren't against our clients wearing makeup if if they choose. In fact, clients can wear as much or as little (to none at all) as they like. Many of our clients over the past year have opted to do their own makeup / hair, while others have had friends help them or they've had their pro-stylist do it for them.
In closing, makeup can make some women feel like they rule the world while it makes others feel even more self-conscious than they may already feel. The right to choose and how to wear it is now placed in our clients control, not ours. We were told it was a "bold move" by a boudoir photography studio to not offer the service, but if being consistent with our mission statement, guiding women to accept their bodies from head to toe, is bold ... we'll embrace that!