This month Marks 20 years in Business for Melisa Ford Boudoir
20 years ago this month, I was still in College and working my way towards my photography degree, when I started my photography business. My first clients taught me a lot about how to run a business and also how not to run a business! I credit those first few years of growth and learning as setting me up for a life-long career in photography. So I’m proud to announce that this month marks 20 years in business for Melisa Ford Boudoir, and I couldn’t be more grateful for where this amazing career has taken my over the years and where I am now.
How I got my Start
A question I get asked from almost every client during my sessions is, “how did you get your start in photography?” To answer this, we have to go back to my junior year in high school. My family had moved to Southern California from Northern California. I had always taken art classes, so I signed up for art at Poway High School. Problem was, I loathed my art teacher. But it so happened that my neighbor had a 35mm film camera (all there was back then), and so I decided to try the photography class with Mr. Wood. Good thing I detested that art teacher, because that loaned 35mm camera and that photography class was what launched my love for taking photographs!
When I started college I really had no plans as to what I ‘wanted to do for a living’, but the natural thing for me to do while getting the required courses out of the way was to also take photography classes. As time went on it became clear that my path was to complete the photography program. This is when I started my business and started taking on clients in my apartment garage!
Establishing my First Niche
My niche back then was fine art, nude maternity portraits with medium format film. Over the years I have done newborn photography, families, commercial, architectural, editorial, and food photography. But in 2013 after having my twins and knowing I was going to take a year + off of work, I came to the conclusion that I need to get back to my roots and my calling and do ONLY what I love and that was working solely with women. Enter boudoir photography.
Here are a couple self portraits when I was pregnant with my twins.
From 2012 to present I have been honing in on my craft, my business, and along the way changing studio locations a few times. I am huge on continued education and so I try to dedicate a portion of my time every year towards that. In 2017 I took a workshop in NYC with a colleague of mine. Here are some images from that trip.
Where I am Now
In the last few years I went from shooting primarily out of my home studio, and occasionally outdoors. Then to a studio in Oceanside, a bigger studio in San Marcos, and finally The Boudoir Barn. The Boudoir Barn is located on the property we purchased in Valley Center in 2019. Now my focus can be 100% on my clients in a space I love, that is all mine to change and update how I see fit.