The word Boudoir came from the French word Bouder, which means to pout or sulk. The ‘boudoir’ is not the bedroom, as often thought though, but a suite of private rooms connected to the bedroom used for dressing and bathing by ladies of the French aristocracy. Later, the boudoir became a private drawing room, used for embroidery or entertaining intimate acquaintances.
Boudoir photography recaptures this history of sensuous intimacy. While a portrait displays the public face, a boudoir shoot explores that passion reserved for more private moments. Where traditional glamour often reflects an impossible ideal, boudoir photography returns to an era of fuller curves. Basques and corsets. Traditionally the style was slightly voyeuristic, showing the woman in a state of undress. The woman usually wore high quality lingerie with perhaps stockings and props like her partners favourite shirt. Often images showed only snippets of the body or the woman looking away from the camera.
In the UK a hard edgy look was popular while American Boudoir photography tended to have a softer feel, taking more of its style from the glamour industry. Today, perhaps in part due to programs like ‘look good naked’ women are far more at ease with this style of image. Indeed many find themselves wanting to go further than just lingerie!
It is usually the woman who decides she wants this style of photography session. A Bridal Boudoir session can be a great way of giving the brides future partner something special to remember their wedding day for example. For others it may be a way of moving on from a relationship and reminding themselves they still have what it takes. Or it could be a treat after losing weight or recovering from an illness. For this reason Boudoir photographers set out to make the Boudoir session a complete experience. Often with a qualified make-up artist in attendance to make the woman look her very best. Nor does the work stop there. After the shoot the images will usually be enhanced further to give the woman the full film star treatment.
Hung on the bedroom wall, held in an intimate album or on DVD Boudoir images are a great way of recovering and retaining self confidence. So much so that even some men are now starting to ask for their version of this style!