Many photographers tend to categorize their shoots into different names, like: Glamour photography, fine art nude, erotic photography, sensual portraiture… And, boudoir photography as well. However, who dictates what is what? Which are the differences between them?
A photographic style dating back to 1920, the “boudoir” naturally had its meaning shifted towards a more commercial approach after 100 years. A simple Google can show the meaning of the word. Basically, boudoir – from the French – was a room only for women, like a dressing or sitting room. You can find nowadays boudoir architecture and boudoir furniture.
But photography wise, the term was somehow connected to its origin: Pictures of women in this kind of environment, in an intimate moment with themselves, usually taking advantage of soft light (natural or emulated) to smooth out skin and minor imperfections. The photos were sensual, suggestive, but not explicit, and here is the main difference between its closest genre: The glamour photography (a fancy name for erotic photography). In glamour the goal is to portray the obvious sensuality of the model (yes, most of the times, professional models). It’s a genre that became really famous with the Playboy magazines and so on.
That being said, all the other styles of sensual female portrait derive somehow from these two main genres, whether it’s in a studio, a bedroom or outdoors.
Most of these categories are more of a concern among the photographers themselves rather than the models of their photos. Nowadays we see more often photographers being hired by the final customers (models) than by big advertising agencies or famous publications. And that’s why images talk louder than words when dealing with people: The clients don’t actually need to know the name of a style, as long as they like it and identify themselves with it.
This way, a woman who sees herself in photos with:
She will naturally look for a specialized boudoir photographer, even if she’s never heard of boudoir before.
In the other hand, if a woman always wanted to have a photoshoot done:
Much likely she will end up hiring a specialized glamour photographer, even if she always thought that it was called bikini shoot.
However, in most cases, you will find photographers who do both and all of the in between. The conclusion is: A good photographer is not the one specialized in this or that, but the one who can capture and deliver the desires and expectations of every single kind of woman.