What is boudoir photography?

December 13, 2023

In this article, I’ll answer the question “What is boudoir photography?”. I’ll also show you examples of my favourite boudoir photography portraits. 

I’m a London portrait photographer who specialises in empowering boudoir photography for women. Therefore, I thought it would be useful to dedicate a space, here on my blog, to explain what it is that I do.

If you’re a woman yet to experience such a photoshoot, but who is intrigued and would like to know more, keep reading.


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What is boudoir photography?

Let’s start with a definition of the word ‘boudoir’. The term comes from a French word which means a woman’s private salon or private dressing room.

Boudoir photography is an art form and type of portrait photography. It captures women within a bedroom or private setting such as a private photography studio.

What are boudoir photos?

Skilled boudoir photographers use a combination of lighting, posing, and styling techniques to create portraits that are tasteful, elegant and alluring.

Boudoir photos are intimate, sensual, romantic and sometimes erotic, depending on the photographer’s style and the client’s preferences.

What is the purpose of boudoir photography?

In boudoir photography, the goal is to create a collection of photographs that highlight the subject’s unique qualities. That may be full body portraits or images that highlight certain parts of her body such as her décolletage, legs or bottom.

The women may be fully clothed, partially clothed, or implied nude. It all depends on the preferences and comfort levels of the individual.

Often there is an air of sensuality, intimacy, freedom and a hint of seduction in the photos. I love it when my clients enjoy being powerful, independent and playful in front of my camera too!

In boudoir photos, you don’t need to look into the camera necessarily. Boudoir pictures may include your face, but not always. You can also be photographed looking away from the camera.

Related reading: Empowerment photography: portrait into boudoir

Why do women have boudoir style photographs taken of themselves?

There are many reasons why women choose to have a boudoir photoshoot. The goal, though, is always to create a collection of photographs that make the woman feel and look good.

Do women share their boudoir photoshoot pictures?

Some women have portraits taken as a confidence boost and never intend to share them with others. Some have boudoir portraits taken specifically to share them as a unique and intimate gift for a partner.

Others have the intention to share the confidence boosting boudoir photos on their social media. Or, they may have these invaluable boudoir portraits displayed in their own home for sharing with their closer circles.

Milestones such as the occasion of a wedding engagement or in the lead-up to a wedding (this is known as bridal boudoir), or as an anniversary, birthday or Christmas gift, are particularly popular.

That said, you don’t need an occasion to justify having a boudoir portrait session. This service is available is ideal as a treat for yourself at any time of the year!

Related reading: Why invest in bridal boudoir pictures?

Believe it or not, boudoir photography can be dated back to as early as 1840! So, it is certainly not a new concept or genre of portrait photography.

I think what makes boudoir photography increasingly popular these days is that women are recognising their worth and their right to feel empowered.

Ultimately, boudoir photography is a transformative experience available to all women of all ages. It is for women who wish to celebrate their confidence and sensuality.

That’s the thing that I personally love most about it; it celebrates the diversity of beauty at every stage of life, and it’s not limited to women of any particular age or body type. Boudoir photography is for everyone!

What to wear to a boudoir photoshoot

Lingerie is always a favourite for boudoir photography because it’s intimate and suggestive, but other clothing would be suitable too. For example, an oversized jumper or shirt, or anything from briefs, skimpy dresses to robes. Alternatively, you can just wear bedsheets!

Related reading: What to wear for a boudoir shoot

You are also welcome to pose nude if you wish but this is not essential. What you wear comes down to what you are comfortable with and what kind of images you would like to create with me.

If you choose to be naked or semi-naked, I ensure that the portraits are tasteful. In implied nude portraits, you have your key private parts covered up but with some skin exposed.

Related reading: The art of nude boudoir photography

Where is boudoir photography done?

My boudoir photography is done in my north London-based photography studio. It’s a private place that’s been designed to make my clients feel at ease; a comfortable environment that makes the woman feel safe and confident.

Related reading: How to prepare for a boudoir photography session

Are there different styles of boudoir photography?

Yes, absolutely. Every photographer’s interpretation of boudoir is different and therefore the answer to the question “What is boudoir photography” will differ depending on who you ask. 

Some photographers will produce more risqué boudoir portraits than others. Some photographers will happily capture couples together, others will not.

Boudoir photographers will differ in terms of where they photograph clients too. Those without a photography studio may use a private venue such as a hotel bedroom instead of a studio, or they may even travel to photograph the client within their home, for example.

It’s also possible to photograph boudoir clients outdoors, although this is less common. 

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Which boudoir photographer is right for you?

Once you know that you are keen to go ahead with a boudoir photography session, please do your research.

Choose to work with a boudoir photographer whose style matches that of the type of images you are after. If you covet their work and can imagine yourself feeling comfortable posing for the type of images that you see on their website, then this is a great start.

Be mindful that a photographer will display their style of boudoir photography within the photo galleries of their website. This will give you a good indication of the images that they will create for you. You can view examples of my boudoir photography here.

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Other things to consider when choosing a boudoir photographer

It’s also important that you do due diligence on the photographer before booking.

Boudoir photography is a very personal and collaborative experience, so it’s essential that you feel safe and comfortable with your chosen photographer.

  • How long have they been a professional boudoir photographer? Have they years of experience and a gallery of images showcasing their work?
  • Check out their reviews from past clients and ask for a referral if possible from someone who has been photographed by them before. Do they seem to be reputable and trusted by clients?
  • Check that the information they are sharing on their website aligns with other mentions of their name and business name on other sites.  
  • Check what they will do with your boudoir photos – how will they keep them safe and private online?

Unfortunately, photography is not a regulated industry so it is important that you choose wisely. Ladies, please do not put yourself in a position where you are alone and potentially in a vulnerable situation with a photographer you’ve quickly found online.

Ask to meet or speak to the photographer first, ahead of the session, to ensure you’ll feel comfortable during a photoshoot with them. You could even invite a partner or a friend to come along with you to the session if that would make you feel more confident. No reputable photographer would say no to this request.  

I have many male photographer friends in this industry so, while you needn’t shy away from choosing a male boudoir photographer, please just do your research before making the important decision about who to work with. After all, this is an intimate form of portraiture and needs to be handled sensitively.

Related reading: How long does a boudoir photo shoot last?

What is boudoir photography like with me as your photographer?

As a female boudoir photographer in London, my clients tell me that they feel comfortable and safe working with me.  They like that I have many years of experience as a boudoir photographer.

They also appreciate that as a woman myself, I know how it feels to be in their shoes. We can relate to each other. I have a thorough understanding of women’s body shapes and how to flatter them, regardless of the shape and size you are.

As an added benefit, I also offer a professional hair and makeup service as part of the experience.

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Is boudoir photography for models only?

No, absolutely not! Boudoir portraits are meant to reveal the sensuality and intimacy of ALL women; they are not particularly intended for models, unlike fashion photography.

So, don’t feel insecure or doubt whether you can look as good as the women in my portrait gallery. Most of the women I photograph are not models, so you don’t need to be one either! You can also get a reference from my Before & After section to see how women can transform within the same professional photography session.

It is MY job to direct you into poses that enhance your body shape and make you look most stunning. It is not your responsibility to know how to pose at all!

I know that the thought of being in front of the camera can be a bit nerve-wracking, not to mention you will be in your underwear, with more skin exposed than normal! That’s why it is crucial to find a boudoir photographer that you can trust and feel safe with.

What do women do with their boudoir portraits?

Boudoir photographs are often presented in albums or as prints or wall art pieces.

The portraits are ideal for the walls of your private bedroom at home or stashed away for only you to see. However women choose to display them, boudoir photos are wonderful to look back on. They are an immediate confidence boost! 

Whether you’re drawn to share yours or keep them private, a boudoir photoshoot is a great way to capture you now, in this moment. Your portraits will preserve that memory to look back on in the years ahead. It’s something I am sure you will never regret!

Related reading: My photography products and wall art range

Now you know what boudoir photography is…

As a boudoir photographer in the heart of London, I’m committed to capturing the confidence and unique beauty of every woman I work with. I hope, as you’ve seen from the images I’ve shared here, the creative possibilities are endless when it comes to creating boudoir-style portraits!

As a London boudoir photographer, I will give lots of advice during your planning session. You tell me you like and how you want the images taken, and I work to ensure that they reflect the real YOU.

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Boudoir photos London

Now you know what boudoir photography is, would you like to take the next step?

If so, please contact me for a no-obligation chat. I would love to work with you and empower you through beautiful boudoir portraits.

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