Don't break the bank! Industry leading photographers share their secrets
Profile images are key to successful escort marketing, captivating images can draw in a potential client and even instill emotion. A great photo set can be what makes you stand out and become your persuaser for good, thriving business.
Photoshoots on a budget
Professional photo shoots can very quickly add up. After the photographer cost, location cost, hair, makeup and outfit cost this can easily lead into the hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars. This can be incredibly daunting and a significant outlay.
Due to the quality of selfies Dakota Dice does not accept them as profile images. However they certainly are important, selfies can help validate your professional images, and add a little more to your profile. Dakota Dice offers advertisers a dedicated selfie gallery in their dashboard.
Profile images do not have to be professional, so how can we get ourselves high quality images without breaking the bank? Some ideas could include taking your own images on self-timer or with a friend's help (with a high quality phone camera or DSLR) and using phone apps or computer programs to auto edit. Getting creative with outfits, location and lighting. Pre-booking your favourite photographer on a special, or even more.
Expert tips and tricks
We managed to catch up with some of the most talented and well known names in the business: Sekushi Studios, Latex and Lace, Evelyn Hunt, Goddess Photography, Luke Riggs and Silk Lab Photography. They have been kind enough to share their budget friendly packages and tips tricks for cutting costs without sacrificing quality.
Melbourne Based- Providing shoots Australia wide
I currently have a super flexible deal called my Reopening Rate in Melbourne. It’s 20% off my normal rates too! You can build your own package with this deal, which starts with a minimum base price of $200 for a 1 hour shoot and includes all usable raw images. There’s no obligation to, but you can then add-on extra time and retouching services to suit your budget and needs. My retouching is also on discounted now at $30 per image.
*Mention this post on Dakota Dice and Sekushi will extend this deal to you (for a limited time) in Melbourne*
Its important for shoots to be fun, but I also like making the process easy! So at least once a month I’ll have locations organised for shoots around Australia. I always choose locations where I know I will be able to create amazing images and I take on both the headache and financial overheads of booking a location yourself. If the locations I provide don’t suit your budget or style, I also have a little library of location options that can be booked by the hour, or for day rates, across a range of budgets starting from as little as $99. Clients should definitely get in touch with me if they want to explore those options more! As a photographer accredited by the Australian Institute of Professional Photography I also have all the necessary insurance to book such places.
With anything, including organising shoots, it helps to be a little bit prepared and to book things in early. If you shop around for advanced or book-now-pay-later deals from photographers you might save a few bucks. For example, my Reopening Rate deal can be locked in for 12 months with just a $50 deposit.
Also, if you’re subscribed to my mailing list you’ll get notified first of any tours and shoot deals with and without locations. I book out quickly and sometimes without making any announcements on social media.
Money can also be saved on outfits. My wife, who is a sex worker, once wore a $3 singlet and her clients always requested it! But if you did want to spend a little more, there are plenty of bargains to be found in online stores both here and internationally. I have a bunch of brands bookmarked so clients can always ask me for options too!
There’s no doubt that nice photos can be achieved with modern phones these days. The key is to take photos in bright conditions and where the lighting is soft. Next to a big window in the middle of the day will usually give you nice, soft light. I explain this more in the blogpost I wrote about the different qualities of light you can find around your home if you have some windows, which I wrote to help content creators working from home during COVID lockdowns: https://www.sekushistudios.com/blog/2020/4/10/easy-natural-light-photography
The main difference between a modern phone and a camera is size. A camera has a bigger photo processing sensor and bigger lenses. The bigger lenses and sensors mean the camera can process a greater range of brightness and darkness, this is called dynamic range. If it gets a little too dark, little phone cameras tend to lose lots of quality. The bigger lenses also help create that blurry, soft, dreamy look.
Images by Sekushi Studios. Models:
Tash Hamilton (blue dress) - Twitter
Sienna Saint (pink dress) - Twitter
Lily Lawrence (purple dress) - Twitter
Latex and Lace
Browsing advertising platforms, the client is bombarded with over photoshopped images. Having selfies in combination with your professional ones helps to authenticate your images overall. In my shoots I try to use photoshop with restraint and only when the person I am photographing requests it. I am of the strong belief that less is more with editing in this day and age.
As a retired sex worker I understand how expensive working privately and organising shoots can be. The benefit of my shoots is I include a location at a really affordable price. Once a month I organise a hotel shoot at a fabulous Sydney Hotel ($600, 1.5hr shoot, the unedited JPEGS from the shoot (approx. 100) and 10 edited images that you get to select). This is quite a saving. If you were to book the hotel on top of a shoot it could cost at least double this amount. My natural light package is also very affordable if you have a location you wanted to use. This is $450 and includes a 2 hour shoot, the unedited JPEGS from the shoot (approx.100) and 10 edited images. If you book the natural light shoot on a weekday between 10am and 2pm I will include a simple, modern location at no extra cost.
In terms of tips for taking images yourself I would suggest investing in a small, cheap tripod so you don’t have to worry about precariously balancing your phone on something. Work in natural light either facing a window (generally the most flattering lighting) or side on to the window (not the light behind you as phones struggle with that). Put the timer on your phone and instead of trying to get the perfect static image try slowly moving as the timer clicks by. Sometimes the most beautiful images are the ones with a bit of sensual movement (be mindful to move slowly as phones struggle with fast movement). Also play with the camera angle, move the camera a bit higher and then lower and test your most flattering angle. Additionally, do not be over critical of yourself. Ask a friend for advice on what photos they like best. Sometimes photo’s we do not like of ourselves are one’s clients like the most.
Images by Latex and Lace.
Natalie Hawk - Twitter
Melbourne Based- Providing shoots Australia wide
Cost saving tips
- Look out for sales all year round. Rushing around to purchase last minute at full price can add a hefty amount to the cost.
- You can generally find nice bodysuits, body stockings and swimsuits for under $50.
- Don't be afraid to rent or borrow items.
- Nude with a sheet or with flowers is always a sexy look.
- Do your own/get a friend to help with hair & make up.
- The beach, the park, botanical gardens, a nice street, a forest, a cafe etc are all free locations.
- Sharing an airbnb with a friend or two can also help reduce costs dramatically.
- I currently have covid recovery specials for 90 minute duration shoots. The shoot only package is $150 and you get all of the raw jpeg files which you can use face tune or other phone apps to alter. The Healer Suite is $200 and offers 10 lightly edited images with basic skin smoothing and colour correction - the raw jpegs can be purchased on top of the Healer Suite for just $100. These are great options if you need a quick refresh or content for social media or subscription sites and are available until Dec 31 2020. More info at venusvangogh.com/covidrecovery
- If you're not too concerned about having unique images, look out for togs who are offering shoot/location packages. I do this when I tour to make logistics easier and I split the cost across my projected number of shoots. You might only pay $100 on a place that would have cost you 3x that if you had to book yourself.
Phone v Camera / DIY tips:
- Professional cameras aren't beginner friendly, so a recent smart phone is always better if you're not a photographer.
- When using a phone, enlist a friend to help (or strategically place a mirror behind your tripod) because the back camera on your phone is much better than the selfie camera.
- Look at other images on social media or other escort ads for references on the best angles and poses to use to highlight your assets.
- The most important thing to think about is light! Dark and dim spaces create grainy low quality images. A light source from slightly above and aiming downwards is always more flattering. Try to shoot in daylight hours and if your space has no big windows, do it out doors. Golden hour (the 2ish hrs before sunset or after sunrise) is perfect for outdoor shoots.
- Think about your background. If your space is cluttered, messy or has bright objects in the background it will detract from you and your images. Your safest bet is a plain wall if all else fails - don't use a sheet unless it's ironed properly.
- While fancy polished images will get you a certain type of client, many clients love selfies/non professional images because they view them as more authentic. A few full body shots mixed in with your professional images may work well if you don't have a twitter/ig or website to refer them to.
Images by Goddess Photography. Model: Charlie Swinton - Twitter
Melbourne Based- Providing shoots Australia wide
Creating a professional looking profile with high quality images doesn’t have to be expensive, there are a few tips you can use to do them yourself!
The best way to get great results on your own is great lighting so take your photos in the daylight, when there’s lots of available natural light to help keep the photos bright and clear! When posing, you want to find your best features and show them off, so arch your back, point your toes and try to keep the best posture possible! If you don’t have a friend available to help you, pop your phone on a tripod and video yourself as you move between poses. You can then use frames from the video as your photos, you’ll look much more candid! When you’re editing your photos, avoid heavy filters and try to keep the photos natural.
As a special COVID Recovery promotion, I’m offering mini shoots that include unedited images for only $200, so you can have images from a professional photographer without needing to pay for an expensive shoot package. If you want to go a step further, you can always consider sharing a photoshoot package and location with a friend! Shooting with a professional has many advantages, such as pose direction and ideas to keep you moving and flattering all of your assets the whole time. Photos taken by a professional are also much higher quality than those taken on a phone, and you don’t have to worry about taking them! All of my shoots I offer assistance with finding the right location and choosing outfits that work for you, and it doesn’t need to be expensive. Outdoors, at home or even at a friend’s place are all great options for photos, and almost anything can make for a great outfit!
Silk Lab Photography
My most accessable shoot option may be customised to suit your needs! This makes for an incredibly affordable professional shoot. You may save money on a location by opting for outdoors, beach shoot or other creative ideas.
UPFRONT SHOOT FEE: $99
-Up to 2 hours shoot time
-Purchase Hi-Res Retouched jpegs of your choice for an additional $30 per photo. No Minimum order. Retouched to your specifications.
-Buy out all unedited images as Hi-Res jpegs: $250
-Extra Shoot Hours: $75p/h
-Travel fee may apply
-Does not include location, hair and makeup.
-Complimentary pre shoot planning & consultation
Here are my tips for taking your own photos:
Lots of people associate a blurred background look with professional photography. This can seem daunting to pull off if you haven’t used a camera in manual mode before and aren’t sure how to make this happen. A really easy way to get this look is to put your digital camera into a semi-automatic mode called aperture priority. It’s a kind of nice way to keep control over your images but not juggle too many settings, which means if you’ve got a friend helping you take some snaps they can put more focus into helping you pose. You’ll need to set the aperture to the lowest number that your lens allows, this will make the area of focus in the image the smallest it can be and blur out the background. Depending on your lens you might not get a huge amount of blur in the background, but you will definitely get some. The rest of the settings will balance themselves out (iso & shutterspeed).
If shooting inside, try to do this in a pretty well lit area, or close to a good light source like a big window. If it’s too dark the camera will force itself into a slow shutter speed which can cause motion blur, or even force the ISO up higher which will introduce unwanted digital noise in low light conditions (which can also give a blurred look). Because the area of focus will be so small, make sure to focus the image on the spot you want to draw attention to. For example if you wanna get a good booty shot from below, focus on that booty and let the rest of the focus slowly fall away on your body. If you’ve only got access to a phone, that can definitely work fine also!
A lot of smart phones now shoot in raw format, but you’ll have to download an app that actually does this. On the iPhone X and above, the inbuilt camera app doesn’t automatically take raw images, even though these phone models actually have the ability to shoot in raw. This will give you a lot more room to play with the different levels of the photos, and push an image further to the editing a lighting style you like the look of. Finally, my other top tip is YouTube! There is so much info out there on the web, an afternoon checking out some beginner photography videos will get you pumped to get creative and you’ll learn a few new things to put into practice.
Image below by Silk Lab. Model brunette: anonymous (permission to post).
Image to the right (blue dress) by Silk Lab. Model: Steffy Taylor - Twitter
I am a professional videograher based in Queensland, specilalising in video and photo editing. Here are some of my tips to best take photos yourself!
Tips to take better photos with your smartphone
I have 3 tips to take better quality pictures with your smartphone
Lighting plays a huge role in the quality of the images you can take, too much or too little can affect your pics in a negative way.
If you are taking pictures indoor, I would suggest choosing the room with the largest window, having that positioned behind the person taking the pics. It is best to choose a time of day where the sun is not coming directly through that window as this can create unflattering shadows or harsh over exposure.
Shooting outdoors is another option as a nice day can provide an abundance of light which will increase the quality of your images.
Try some different angles to best suit the environment that you are working in.
2. The rear facing camera
I would say we generally use the selfie camera most of the time on our smartphones, but the rear facing camera is the preferred option as the built in lens is larger and of a much better quality. This will provide you with some higher resolution images
If you are limited to your smartphone for editing, there are some great apps available to airbrush and filter your images.
Download Lightroom - Apple App | Android App
Facetune is great for smoothing out imperfections and there are a number of presets available for Lightroom that can add a professional look to your images
Here is a great tutorial to get you started using Facetune - Link
And a tutorial to start using Lightroom Mobile - Link
There are an abundace of creative and innovative ways to create amazing photos on a budget, Dakota Dice would like to sincerely thank all of the generous photographers above for their input, tips and tricks.