It’s usually understood that “Boudoir” is a synonym for “Bedroom”. In the old French tradition, a lady’s boudoir was her bedroom or private dressing room. In the many images that you see of today’s sexy pin-ups and beautiful celebrities that all come with the standard trademark “pout”, “Boudoir” actually comes from the French word “Bouder” that quite literally means “to pout”! So, with this in mind, what is a boudoir photo shoot?
What Boudoir Isn’t
Boudoir Photography certainly isn’t new, at least not in spirit. Throughout the ages, the beauty of the female body has been captured on cave walls, in sculpture, on canvas, and tattooed on skin.
Shapely & Curvaceous
Before the phrase “size-zero” entered the dictionary, women were curvy, hips were long, bellies were round, not flat, and excess body fat was celebrated as the hallmark of a bountiful and beautiful woman. Women were women and the generous proportions of women were desired and sought after. From Sandro Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus to sculpture like the Venus de Milo, shape and contour were everything and the more curvaceous, the better. Nowadays, it is quite common to see boudoir photographers referring to plus size boudoir photography as a very commonplace boudoir photography category. There are many images in our boudoir photography galleries of some very sexy larger and more shapely ladies.
There’s no better example of the “spirit” of Boudoir than the Hollywood studio era with its leading ladies and their classical, glamorous images that adorned the walls and lockers of the stereotypical “red-blooded” male. Countless shapely beauties in swimsuits or bikinis, from Harlow to Monroe oozed glamour, elegance and sophistication. The images were neither explicit nor revealing but always classy, attractive and undeniably downright sexy. In fact, some of the best best boudoir photography draws its inspiration from this glamorous period.
Pin-up, Burlesque & Striptease
This glamorous tradition also coincided with “pin-up” that started as a risqué art form in the very early twentieth century that likewise became associated with movie stars like Rita Hayworth and Betty Grable whose iconic 1943 pose, a World War Two best seller, was taken to show off her million dollar legs. Many ladies refer to these classic genres for boudoir photo shoot ideas.
Although cheeky and overtly sexy, pinups were never overly nude and often depicted naked women wearing only sexy nylons and stilettos, or maybe a hat and elegant elbow-length gloves but very little else. Pinup artist often created their ladies as larger than life, erotic fantasies. Second World War soldiers transposed their favourite pinups onto the sides of planes, tanks and trucks and this exposure inevitably catapulted their acceptance into modern culture. Real life pinups in the form of photography started to appear in the 1950’s in magazines like Esquire and Playboy with the genre firmly cemented into our psyche.
Whilst much photography of the naked female form has become undeniably less palatable and extreme, the playful and seductive innocence of pinups from a bygone era are still extremely popular today along with other long-standing art forms like striptease and burlesque that has been brought into the mainstream by artist such as Dita Von Teese. In fact, Dita’s images are often emulated as an inspiration for boudoir photography poses and she is a constant source of boudoir photography ideas for many photographers and clients alike.
If you merge the ladies in classical Renaissance art, the glamorous Hollywood Studio era, twentieth century pinups and a little bit of burlesque, then, you can start to answer the question, “What is Boudoir Photography”
Modern Boudoir Photography
Nowadays, boudoir photography images fall into a number of categories. Despite the rise of specialist boudoir photographers in recent years, the timeless classic boudoir photography style is now offered by many photographers, as it is essentially just a very personal form of portraiture photography. On saying that, many of the specialist boudoir photography studios differentiate themselves by being all-female teams on the basis that women will probably feel more at ease being photographed nude or partially nude in an all-female studio environment.
Bridal Boudoir Photography
One of the most popular types of sexy boudoir photography has become a standard with many women about to get married who want to provide their husband to be with sexy boudoir photos as a provocative and personal gift for the groom.
In these photo shoots, the “bride to be” generally wears sexy lingerie with selected parts of her white or ivory wedding garments like the wedding veil and her wedding stilettos, very definitely keeping the images in the wedding theme.
The boudoir wedding photography becomes a glamorous, yet intimate keepsake that the bride and groom can enjoy and look back on for many years after.
As the wedding processes has traditionally revolved around the bride, bridal boudoir photography has also become a way for the bride to include the groom in the nuptials by the presentation of the images from this generally surprise photo shoot on the eve or day of the wedding.
Despite the intention to provide a wedding gift for the groom, wedding boudoir photography has actually become one of the great ideas for a hen party where the bride to be and her bridesmaids enjoy an exciting and fun day being pampered with a glamorous makeover, usually by professional makeup artists and hairdressers, whilst drinking champagne in a party-like atmosphere in the exciting environment of a photographic studio.
Pregnancy photo shoots have become quite commonplace nowadays, and the trend was probably started by Demi Moore when she bravely yet confidently graced the cover of the August 1991 issue of Vanity Fair
Mums To Be have been traditionally thought of as “radiant” and “blooming” but many empowered, modern women like to still be thought of as sexy during their pregnancy. The female form during pregnancy is extremely curvaceous, naturally exaggerated providing an ideal yet fleeting opportunity to capture some of the most satisfying and serene images in a woman’s life.
There are many name given to this genre of boudoir photography like boudoir baby photograph, boudoir bump photography and baby bump boudoir.
Personal Portraiture Photography
Hopefully, you now have a good idea of the origins of boudoir photography, how the genre has evolved and that it is really a blank canvas for women to celebrate and express themselves however they want to in the most confidence boosting and empowering manner.