What is boudoir?

What Is Boudoir? Here’s an In Depth Look

The word “boudoir” (pronounced “boo·dwaar “) originally referred to a women’s private room where she would relax and take a break from the busy life of being a woman. Now in modern times, boudoir is usually referring to boudoir photography. Boudoir photography is a type of intimate photography in which women wear lingerie and sometimes get nude. The woman then poses in sensual ways guided by the photographer because women doing boudoir are usually not models. Boudoir pictures are meant to stimulate the viewer’s imagination (not to be confused with erotic photography which aims to sexually arouse the viewer instead).

How did Boudoir Photography get its name?

Boudoir photography got its name because it takes hints from the original aim of being relaxed and in a private setting. Except, you are with a photographer of course, which makes it a lot more fun! Boudoir photography uses the same values except it can take place in any intimate setting. Using one’s own bedroom is usually the best option as it is where you sleep & relax in. It is the ideal option because you are used to the environment which means you can be yourself and are less tense. It is not limited to the bedroom though! Any room in the house serves well. If using your home is not a good idea, maybe you live with others for example, it can take place in a hotel or other private location, such as a studio or vacation home and even sometimes outdoors if there is no one around, after all, nature is our true home!

What Is the Difference Between Lingerie & Boudoir Photography?

You might have heard or seen the term lingerie photoshoot, & for the most part, they are referring to what is now known as boudoir. Lingerie photography is usually used by older folks. Lingerie photography is a bit too broad anyways & could cover erotic photography as well, lingerie photography is also done in public sometimes, that is if the subject is bold enough, which would take it out of the boudoir genre as it is no longer in a private setting.

The Styles of Boudoir

Sexy Casual

The sexy casual style is what a lot of women start with, it usually includes non-underwear clothing such as jeans or pants, shirts, & jackets. Casual can also include other tops like tanks but I recommended that you don’t wear anything else under the shirts & tops so that it creates a sexy casual vibe. For the rest of the clothing, it should be unfastened. Eventually, it should transition to the removal of such clothing and into lingerie.

Wondering if you can wear sexy dresses, skirts, or leggings? those are usually meant to start off an erotic shoot, compare erotic & boudoir in detail here.

Comfy Casual

Similar to casual but a bit more on the playful side. Clothing includes long socks, oversized shirts, robes, and pajamas (on the sexy side!) Regular underwear or lingerie can be worn underneath or even nothing at all if you’re feeling really playful & sexy.


Bridal boudoir is a go-to for engaged woman gifting their soon to be husbands. Bridal is one of the most elegant looks. In bridal boudoir you definitely need a cathedral veil and a bouquet to compliment your lingerie & yes you can be nude too! Bridal boudoir also makes a great gift for wedding anniversaries to remind him how sexy you are & the great choice he made.


This is pretty self-explanatory, lingerie is what people think of when they hear boudoir photography and for good reason. It is a staple of the genre and lingerie should always be incorporated when having a boudoir shoot. Lingerie can than transition to nude.

Covered Nude or Implied Nude

This is when you are nude but cover up with hands or objects. If you don’t want to be nude in front of the camera than implied nude is close enough. Implied nude is when you are partially nude but made to look like you are fully naked. This can also be achieved by hiding in this case the lingerie either by loosening it or by editing it out. This style can be a great mixture of sexy teasing & naughty fun.


Last but probably the best is nude. In nude you get to show your body in the most natural way, without clothes. This type of nude is more on the vanilla side however and it is not to be confused with erotic nude. In short boudoir nude does not do close up shots of the vagina nor does it show the anus. Want to learn more on the difference between boudoir, erotic, nude, & lingerie photography? Here is a quick breakdown.

The Moods of boudoir

There are 2 main types of moods in boudoir. Playful & sensual. The playful mood can also be referred to as the playful naughty style since the poses & facial expressions are cute and innocent yet show some sexiness. The sensual mood is more on the sexy side, the poses and expressions are more serious & sexual. The mood is always up to the client and is usually a reflection of how the client feels about their body & sex. Many first-timers pick playful but then come back for a more sensual shoot because the session made them more sexually confident. Sometimes it transitions mid or late shoot. Some new boudoir clients who want to push themselves go straight for sensual. There is no right or wrong here but you eventually want to get into the sensual side, after all, boudoir is meant to make you a sexually empowered woman.

So Why Do Women Have a Boudoir Photoshoot?

Some women who take part in a boudoir photoshoot do it as a gift. A boudoir gift is usually delivered as a compilation of images in a breathtaking album or photobook. The gift is usually for their future husbands and given to them on or before their wedding day. Other times boudoir pictures are gifted include anniversaries, birthdays, and Valentine’s Day. There are times in which it is not a gift to others but is a gift for one’s self, women sometimes have boudoir sessions to celebrate and gift themselves for milestones such as birthdays, weight loss, and other forms of body change or alterations. Sometimes it’s for more than just the pictures, it’s for the experience and a great self-esteem boost. It’s also a great way to get out of your comfort zone & push your boundaries in a safe setting.


Boudoir is not what it used to be, & if you ask me the word boudoir it’s a lot more fun than it was a century ago! Women who experience a boudoir session end up being more confident & empowered.

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