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What is Glamour Photography?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 23, 2024
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Glamour photography is a form of photography which focuses on the models used in the photography, highlighting their natural features in a way which is meant to be flattering and artistic. It runs quite a gamut, from stylized senior portraits for high school students to softcore images used in men's magazines.

Many glamour photographers view their work as art, exploring the nature of the human form and using a variety of stylistic techniques to highlight their models. Often, such photographs bring out another side of the model, using lighting, composition, and interesting poses to draw the model's hidden nature out into the open. While glamour photography is often associated with sensual images, it doesn't necessarily have to be sensual in nature.

Glamour photography may be in color or black and white, with photographs staged in a variety of settings and in an assortment of ways. Professional photographers may choose to work with backdrops, allowing them to shoot inside and control the lighting conditions while making the model feel more comfortable, but glamour shots can also be taken outdoors and in less controlled environments.

Many models who pose for glamour photographs do so nude or semi-nude, although the composition of such photographs often leaves intimate details of the model's body obscured. Models may drape themselves in scarves and other accessories to highlight certain parts of their bodies while obscuring others, and the photographer may use tricks like airbrushing later to further enhance the image.

Marilyn Monroe's 1953 photo set for Playboy is a classic example of glamour photography. In these images, although Monroe is nude, the props are artfully arranged so that nothing terribly indiscreet is showing. This style of glamour photography is sometimes referred to as “boudoir photography,” referencing the sensual aspect of such images.

It is potentially possible to take glamour photographs of anyone, although some people will certainly end up looking better in the images than others. However, a good photographer should be able to find the best features in any subject, from a movie starlet to an aging mother. Some people enjoy glamour photography sessions and the results because the images can make them feel better about themselves and their bodies by illustrating their natural beauty and unique features.

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Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a Musical Expert researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By dkarnowski — On Dec 02, 2010

As an amateur photographer, I have been trying to use glamour photography sessions as a means to build my portfolio. Female glamour photography is something that many women are interested in, therefore I have not had any trouble finding women to model for my sessions. I make it very obvious to the people but I photographed that I am an amateur and I'm still trying to learn to build my portfolio. Many women are okay with my desire to become more professional and are willing to help in my efforts to do so.

If you are in the same position as me and are trying to become a better photographer at a professional level, glamour photography can be a great way for you to learn how to work with models. Because women are usually willing to try these types of photography shoots, you will experience many different types of personalities that will overall affect the kind of posing that you can achieve within your shoots. You will soon find that posing to be one of the most difficult parts of photography, especially if you have already mastered the details and actions it takes to get a correct exposure within your camera.

Once you have mastered the bouncing of exposure within a digital camera, you can focus on things like how are the hands positioned as well as what are the best ways for a model to tilt their head put their face.

By Burlap — On Nov 30, 2010

Glamour photography that is legitimate can be very pricey. After deciding that I wanted to go out have glamour shots done, I realized that I did not want the cheap stuff that you can get out of Mull photographer. After contacting several professional photographers in my city I found the price is a very steep. But like most things in life, you get what you pay for. In this case you get a very high quality photography session and professional photographer if you paid a high price for it.

This does not mean however, that any time you pay a lot for photographer, that they will be professional. Many hacks out there offer their services as professional but they are far from a professional level. You must check references as well as portfolios of potential photographers if you are interested in getting a professional photography shoot that has quality and the ability to deliver the images you want. I think it is important to check references specifically because this will allow you to decide whether or not this photographer will act in a professional manner towards you when you are revealing yourself to him in front of his camera.

By JoseJames — On Nov 29, 2010

I have to wonder just how many photographers are out there that claim to be professional fashion and glamour photography aficionados. It is easy to dress a woman up in gobs of makeup and in obnoxious clothes and take a picture. This however, does not make you a glamour photographer. We can see this trend growing as you go to any local mall in America and you can find a glamour style of photography shop. The ubiquity of these types of photographers is just one way that we recognize the desire for women to want to have glamour photography sessions.

While some photographers specialize in glamour photography, other photographers diversify themselves to include other types including boudoir glamour photography. These very intimate types of sessions are usually done in a private manner so that the woman can feel comfortable. Often she would use these images to give as a present to their loved one. In a traditional sense, boudoir photography has actually made way in the sense that rides to be want to give their husbands pictures of them in the nude or within a very seductive manner.

By thumbtack — On Nov 28, 2010

As a photographer one of my favorite types of photography is glamour photography. Being around beautiful women all day why photograph them is something that only some men ever get a chance to do that all men actually fantasize about. Women actually want to take their clothes off for me and dress in absolute ridiculous costumes in the efforts of art. While you must learn as a photographer not take advantage of this, it is very interesting to be able to see the beauty of women and actually capture that beauty.

The funny thing about glamour photography, is that it actually plays into the vanity of women. While not all women are vain nature, in fact many art, there is a significant amount of women that want to be able to be seen as beautiful others. This is proven in the use of makeup and other beauty supplies that women used to try and make themselves appear more beautiful than they are.

In this case you can truly say that beauty is within the eye of the beholder, when I do glamour photography, I love to see my women naturally trust. You can truly have glamour photography with out the overuse of makeup or other fancy types of costumes. Simply for train a woman in a beautiful place and time in setting can make for an incredible glamour photography shoot.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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