What Is Boudoir Photography?

Hi, I'm Michael. I am a womens portrait and boudoir photographer from New Jersey who works with wonderful women from all over my home state and the NYC area.

I've worked with many clients throughout the years, and I'm still a little surprised when someone comes in for a session and is expecting something...well... a bit different. Although many people may have an idea, it seems that most don't really know the correct definition of boudoir photography. The real answer may surprise you.

Even though I talk to clients extensively, and have tons of information on my website about the subject, sometimes clients have a completely different experience in mind when they show up. On some level this would make me feel like I failed-- in the sense that I have not communicating properly with the client. Perhaps I didn't ask the right questions and clearly set expectations. --Or maybe, the client really didn't understand what boudoir photography really was about, from the git-go. Let's take a look...

So, that leads us to the question-- What is the definition of boudoir photography? Well, you can search the interwebs, but its sort of tough to find an exact boudoir definition. Today we'll attempt to define boudoir. Google grabs their default definition from The Knot (a wedding website)-- which may not be exactly the best source of photography information.

I guess maybe... that's sorta... kinda... in the ballpark --But not really. Hmm... so if Google isn't hitting the nail on the head, what hope do any of us have?

Well, I think what happened is that the term "boudoir," which is a fairly specific type photography, has been adopted and applied to a whole larger genre of photography, that technically isn't really boudoir. It's become, in a way, a proprietary eponym-- a situation where a successful product has come into general use to refer to a generic class of products rather than its specific brand type. For example, how Kleenex is used to describe lots of different tissues. Boudoir is used to describe lots of different types of photography...that may feature women in lingerie... most of which, though, aren't boudoir!

I think lots of people have in their minds that boudoir is the all encompassing term for taking photos in little or no clothing. ...That's not exactly what it is.

What is the definition of boudoir photography?

Boudoir is an extremely simple, and very misunderstood genre of photography. The main construct of boudoir is that - as it’s name implies — typically takes place in a women’s “boudoir,” or bedroom, and contains elements of voyeurism, in so much that the viewer is observing a woman’s private moments and there may be indications that she may, or may not know the viewer is watching.

Boudoir is foremost about beauty, passion, and simplicity. Boudoir is photographed in a very simple organically lit style, and may be beautiful and passionate.

Well, lets dissect a bit, and see if we can find out exactly what the definition of boudoir photography is... so we can know better what it isn't.

Where do we shoot boudoir? We can start with the word "boudoir." Boudoir is defined as a woman's bedroom or private room-- an intimate setting. It's a where. Boudoir photography is photography that captures a woman in her boudoir. OK, so know we know where boudoir takes place... perhaps a bit about the why.

Why do we shoot boudoir? Well, boudoir is about capturing a woman in this intimate setting.