What Makes a Good Boudoir Photograph?

Boudoir and glamour photography has its roots in the pin-up or “cheesecake” photography of the 1940’s and ’50’s but over time has evolved. While early glamour photography was studio bound and many photographers still prefer that style it doesn’t mean your images can’t be made outdoors or on location.

At one end of the spectrum you’ll find boudoir photography practiced by many portrait photographers and includes the  photographs wives and girlfriends give their significant others for Valentines Day. At the other end, there is photography that varies from explicit to fine art. Deciphering all of the nuances sometimes means you’re on the edge between portrait or figure photography.


Any successful glamour photography can include, but doesn’t have to be limited to, some of the following elements.

  1. Sexiness. Boudoir and glamour photography focuses on the depiction of a subject with a strong emphasis on sensuality but today’s trends is toward a more natural look.
  2. Technique: The use of make-up, camera and lighting techniques to produce an appealing and sometimes romanticized vision of the subject. While some photographers prefer gritty realism, put me in the former group.
  3. Sharp focus? Some photographers such as the late Peter Gowland preferred crisply rendered images while others like to add touch of softness and retouching to the image in the digital darkroom. It’s up to you because ultimately it all comes down to the…
  4. Subject: Having rapport with your subject helps create the uniquely collaborative effort involved in boudoir and glamour photography. She must be comfortable being photographed and it’s the photographer’s job to make sure the subject is relaxed because it will make the session go smoothly and let both of you create the best possible images.glamour.book


Joe is the author of  “Joe Farace’s Glamour Photography.” You can pick up a copy at your local camera storem  favorite bookseller as well as Amazon.com

Author: Joe Farace

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