What is Boudoir Photography?

The term “Boudoir” is French and was originally coined as the name for a woman’s dressing room, bedroom, or private sitting room. At some point, it also became the descriptive moniker for intimate lifestyle photography. The setting for these types of photo shoots is almost always a bedroom or a private setting but more and more often they are not limited to just indoor locations.

I have heard Boudoir called so many names, from “erotic lifestyle photography” to “a sexy photo shoot” and they all mean the same thing. It is a shoot in which you are most vulnerable, in your most private under things or just in the nude. Where you bare it all and give into loving and worshipping yourself.  It is about accepting your beauty and flaunting it, celebrating the little things that make you so uniquely you. Capturing all the secret things that make people fall for you.  Acting out those deep dark fantasies you have in the back of your mind.  Boudoir is a bold expression of your sexuality and sensuality.  

Boudoir is not restricted to a bedroom setting.  It can also be shot in the outdoors in a variety of settings.  This style is less common but has as much, if not more, impact.  Interest in outdoor or natural boudoir has skyrocketed and I believe it is because there is something so ethereal and goddess-like about a woman in an outdoor location that cannot be replicated in a bedroom.   

Types of Boudoir Photography


This is a very bright, high-contrast style, dominated by light and bright tones. Shadowed areas are minimal but still, exist, this style is really beautiful if shot in black and white. Sometimes the skin is exposed brightly enough to lose some texture and definition, and that’s OK. I love this style for more romantic and playful looks.  


Just about the opposite of high-key; it’s an image style dominated by dark and black tones. Often uses hard lights to give a crisp definition, including using hard backlights to outline the edges of the body. Shadowed areas – including skin and body features – are often allowed to fall into complete darkness. Bodyscapes are a good example of low-key boudoir.  These images can be very moody and dramatic.


Bridal boudoir photography is a growing trend with new brides as a deeply personal and intimate expression of love and desire to her groom.  Like traditional boudoir photography, bridal boudoir may feature the bride in lingerie and / or nude, wearing wedding-related accouterments such as a garter or wedding veil. 


Uses a vintage, retro, or 40’s/50’s style of makeup, clothing, posing, set, props, and processing. The lighting can be very simple; often one large light source will work just fine. This allows the photographer and model to focus more attention on posing and composition. These sessions are the most tiring in terms of work that the client and I will be doing. It’s a lot of posing and holding poses and feeling those thighs burn, but the end result is always worth it.

  Implied Nude

Implied Nude is just what it sounds like: images where nudity is suggested, but the viewer can’t be certain precisely how undressed the model is.  The remarkable ability of the human brain to fill in blanks and to follow paths to their natural conclusion means that even if it can’t be sure that someone is naked, a suggestion of nudity will lead it to assume she or he is.

Fine Art/Artistic Nude

In fine art nude photography we use light, shadows, posing and creative expressions to bring out the beauty of the subject and the human body in a more dramatic artistic style

Couples/Seductive Boudoir

A couple's shoot is where the sexy and playful and or super sexy and intimate come together to create a beautiful keepsake.  It’s an exploration of sensuality celebrating their love and the steamy connection they have for each other.


Although the word fetish sometimes elicits visions of BDSM, leather, latex, restraints, masks, and the like, It is much more diverse than that.  It is a very personalized subject that typically incorporates the likes of the person's partner.  This style is definitely for the more adventurous. 


I can stylize your session with any one or any combination of several of the styles listed above.  Most importantly make your session about you.  Explore and challenge your level of confidence, empower yourself to freely express.  Have fun preparing for your shoot by exploring examples on line.  It will give you a feel for what appeals to you.  You are always welcome to ask anything you like of me and I certainly welcome you to send any images of previous shoots whether it be professional or a cell phone image in the mirror of your work as well as any examples of looks you found that you like.