Boudoir Photography: The Big Business Of Empowerment

boudoir photo
Photo by Jen Rozenbaum

Boudoir photography is hardly new; historians put the birth of this intimate style around the turn of the century, if not before. However, in the last 10 years, the boudoir photography industry has surged, as portrait photographers add it to their menu of services, and entire shops which just specialize in boudoir open around the world.

On Google, the popularity of the phrase “boudoir photo” has increased almost threefold.

What’s behind the popularity?

In a 2009 Washington Post article, director of publications for Professional Photographer magazine Cameron Bishopp, explained it best, saying that the increase in demand (and supply) is down to the fact that the industry “is getting to be more about empowering women.”
Boudoir photographer and CreativeLive instructor Jen Rozenbaum agrees.

“For me personally, the rise of boudoir is women taking their power back,” she explains. “It gives us an opportunity to take the ‘bite’ out of sexualization of the body. Yes, it is sexy, but it’s not always about sex. We are allowing ourselves freedom to express who we are on our own terms and not just because a man wants to see us in undies.”

Jen, who has been shooting boudoir for the better part of the past four years, says that the key is the ambiance and the feeling of safety of a boudoir photography studio.

“In my studio, [boudoir] allows them a safe place to be shamelessly feminine,” she says, “meaning they can express their femininity however they want without any judgement. When you express it like that – it grows the muscles to be yourself without worrying what other people think about you.”

For many women, the confidence they find and enjoy while being photographed rubs off on the rest of their life, allowing them to feel more free and powerful once they walk out the door.

“It’s powerful because it’s out of their comfort zone. It’s LIVING life,” Jen says. “It’s pushing boundaries and it’s changing who you are because of that. Or, as I like to say it makes you more of who you REALLY are.”

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Hanna Brooks Olsen is a writer and editor for CreativeLive, longtime reporter, and the co-founder of Seattlish. Follow her on Twitter at @mshannabrooks or go to her website for more stuff.