What is boudoir?

What Is Boudoir? Here’s an In Depth Look

The word “boudoir” (pronounced ‘boo·dwär‘) 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 sensual & intimate photography in which women wear lingerie and even get nude. The woman then poses in sensual ways, usually guided by the photographer, as women doing boudoir are generally not models. The boudoir pictures are meant to stimulate the viewer’s imagination. Boudoir ranges from fun and playful to extremely erotic.

Why did Boudoir Photography get it’s name?

Boudoir photography got its name because it takes from the original aim of being relaxed and in a private setting. Women usually got undressed in their boudoir; they got into their underwear or got naked. During the world war effort, the US realized that they could use sexy pin-ups to entice men to continue fighting to protect the country and, more specifically, our beautiful women. Some photographers decided to shoot in boudoir-like settings that were more on par with a home look to push the idea that these women were waiting for soldiers at home, and thus boudoir photography got its name.

So What’s The Point of Boudoir Photography now?

There’s no world war anymore, so why do women continue this? The original reason is still around but done differently. Some women do it for their deployed spouses or when they are deployed themselves. If possible they send them, but when it’s not, they give them the gift in person as a welcome back and thank you for your service. So women who take part in a boudoir photoshoot usually do it as a gift. A boudoir gift is mainly delivered as a compilation of images in a breathtaking album or photobook. If it’s a bridal boudoir session, the gift is for their future husbands and is 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 when 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.

Where do boudoir photoshoots take place?

Boudoir rooms are, for the most part, a thing of the past. Boudoir photography uses the same values of a boudoir, except it can take place in any intimate setting. Using one’s bedroom is usually the best option as it is where you sleep & relax in. You are used to the environment; you can be yourself more easily so you will be 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 outdoors if there is no one around. After all, nature is our true home! Check out more boudoir location ideas.

What do you wear to a boudoir photoshoot?

It depends on the type of boudoir photography. 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. From there, outfits can go up or go down. You can go up to or start with non-underwear clothing such as but not limited to: jeans, leggings, or pants, skirts, dresses, shirts, & tops like tank tops.

Of course, you can likewise go down to nude. In nude, you get to show your body in the most natural way, without clothes. There are three types of nude:

Vanilla boudoir nude does not do open leg close-up shots of the vagina nor does it show the anus, those type of views are erotic boudoir shots.

Erotic nude.

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. Vanilla boudoir nude does not do open leg close-up shots of the vagina nor does it show the anus, those type of views are erotic boudoir shots. Implied nude is a popular option for social media, it is when you are fully nude or close to it 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.

PSA: As always, you only do what you are comfortable with at the moment, receiving a little push or persuasion is good at times as the whole point of boudoir is to get out of your comfort zone in a safe environment, however, you should never be forced into doing a certain pose.

Playful Boudoir

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.

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 their first 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.

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.


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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