What is Boudoir Photography?


Since I decided to focus my photography solely on boudoir, a lot of people would ask me "What is boudoir photography?" even living in New York where it is perhaps more well-known, a lot of people I talk to do not understand what boudoir means or what's involved in a boudoir photo shoot.   

Technically Speaking

The word "Boudoir" is French, and is a woman's private sitting room but can also refer to a woman's private bedroom. 

Now Boudoir Photography would typically be seen as photographing women in a bedroom. This idea is an oversimplification because boudoir photography it is much more than just that. 

How I view boudoir photography

In a previous article, Boudoir Photography: Unzipped & Exposed, I state that boudoir photography is "Beautiful photographs that empower and instill a love of oneself."

I love this definition, not because I made it, but because it says nothing about how much clothing you have to wear, or what location you need to be photographed in, or even if it's supposed to be a gift for someone else.

One misconception about boudoir photography is that you have to be nude, this couldn't be further from the truth. I have taken photographs of women thoroughly covered and still consider them to be "boudoir" mainly because the feeling and the mood of the photo makes the subject feel beautiful and elegant. 

As for location, while typically done in a bedroom setting it doesn't always have to be. Most of the time I'm just using a simple wall as a background, and I can get amazing photos that I still consider boudoir even though they aren't shot on or around a bed. 

Who are boudoir photos for? Some people may do a boudoir shoot as a gift for their spouse or significant other. While your spouse would love a collection of beautiful and sexy images of you as a wedding, birthday, or anniversary gift, I'd argue that a boudoir shoot is an even better gift when it's for yourself. 

Everyone you show your boudoir photos to will appreciate them for how great they look, but they will not feel that sense of love and pride that only you will when seeing yourself looking stunning and glamorous like you never thought possible. 

For me, boudoir does not need to be in a bedroom; it does not have to be done nude, it just needs to make you feel beautiful. 

Being creative with your boudoir shoot doesn't hurt either.

Let us know in the comments below what boudoir photography means to you? Do you think it should only be in a bedroom as the name suggests or do you think it's okay to broaden the term and make it even more personal to the person being photographed?