Boudoir Vs. Pinup: What’s the Difference?

Be classy and extra, be a pinup superstar!

Be classy and extra, be a pinup superstar!

Boudoir photography and Pinup photography… you’ve probably heard of them, but what are they? Many people would assume they’re one in the same, but the reality is, that while they may have much in common, their style and meaning are worlds apart. If you’re considering a gorgeous, feminine photo session that will help showcase your unique beauty, both boudoir and pinup sessions can help you do just that. But understanding the difference between the two of them will help you choose the type of shoot that works best for you and your vision.

The History of Pinup Photography

The classic pinup photography session has its origin in the 1940’s but kept its popularity up until the 60’s. It embraced a movement of positivity and promoted a fun and free energy for women to embrace.

Pinup photos were beautiful, gorgeous, and exciting—expressions are an incredibly important part of pinup photos: looks of surprise or a flirty come-hither smile are often used to help maintain that fun playful feel. The point was to have fun and prompted a bit of teasing within the stunning features of the women in them. 

Typically, when you ask for a pinup shoot, you’re looking for that same fun, retro energy. Many people go all out, with bright makeup, classic hairstyles, and clothing that draws its influences from an earlier era, while others add their own uniquely modern twist.

Women like Marilyn Monroe and Betty Page set the stage for other bold and powerful women to follow. Pinup today encourages you to embrace your femininity while exploring that same playful energy  

The Difference Between Boudoir and Pinup

Branding and pinup go hand in hand

Branding and pinup go hand in hand

Both boudoir and pinup photography offer fabulous images that will help you fall in love with your inherent beauty. They do have many similarities, and you may get some comparable images out of a boudoir session and a pinup session. The two types of photography, however, do have several key differences. 

1. Pinup sessions are designed to be more vintage and flirty while boudoir is more bold and modern. Neither are better than one another, but each have their own advantages depending on your type of style and personality. Pinups are a little a bit more playful and are tend to be more vibrant than a classic boudoir shoot. Boudoir, however, gives you the chance to explore a more bold and powerful side of yourself. While boudoir may be more serious, it’s just as great as pinup for showcasing your incredible assets.

There’s nothing wrong with feeling gorgeous.

There’s nothing wrong with feeling gorgeous.

2. Boudoir shoots focus on your sensuality, pinups showcase your personality. It’s in the name: “pinup.” When you do a pinup shoot, you’re creating images that are designed to be shared and embraced. You can demonstrate your beauty in a playful like setting and showcase your individuality with your unique energy. Boudoir is great for a more sensual and intimate display of your features and definitely succeeds in setting the mood. Both make incredible pieces of art and can adorn your home with touches of you looking absolutely gorgeous. Just imagine having a fun pinup piece in kitchen and a bold boudoir triptych in the bedroom.

3. Pinup shoots tend to be more enhanced and will likely showcase a story, while boudoir focuses on the subject and sets a more intimate mood. The art of boudoir photography is in its simplicity. It grants a “stunning” final product with a more attributed physical reveal. During a pinup shoot, on the other hand, you’ll have the chance to get a little more “in character” with your poses and explore a more theatrical side of yourself.  

4. Many women embrace both sides of themselves. While, as a photographer, I’ve had plenty of experience making women more comfortable in a variety of poses, I’ve also discovered that many women are more self-conscious during a boudoir shoot than they are during a pinup shoot. The tight clothing often worn during a pinup shoot can help hide perceived flaws and make many women feel more comfortable in their bodies, which in turn makes them more willing to try out new poses and opportunities. Who knows? Trying out a pinup shoot could make you more willing to try a boudoir shoot in the future!

5. Pinup shoots are era specific.Because pinup photography had its birth in the 1940’s, even modern pinup shoots typically reflect the 1940’s, 1950’s, and early 1960’s. Imagine Marilyn Monroe, Betty Page, Rosie the Riveter: these are the styles that you’ll see and consider as you put together your pinup shoot. Wardrobe might include swing dresses, one-piece bathing suits, wiggle dresses, or rolled up jeans and a wife beater with a bandana. In the hair, you’ll see pin curls and victory rolls, flowers and hats. Your makeup will include cat eyes and red lips. 

6. The sets look completely different. For a boudoir shoot, we’ll use beds and tufted regal furniture. Pinup shoots often include diner scenes, vintage teacher settings, or that fun secretary look. While boudoir shoots invite you into the bedroom, pinup shoots are set in more intricate locations and play a more pivotal role in the experience.

How Boudoir and Pinup Photography are Alike

In spite of their many differences, boudoir and pinup photography have some incredible similarities that you’ll be sure to embrace. Consider:

Both pinup & boudoir are all about her feeling empowered

Both pinup & boudoir are all about her feeling empowered

1. They both make you feel gorgeous. It’s hard to feel daring when you’re stuck in the daily grind of life. When you take the time out for a photoshoot, whether you’re going for boudoir photography or experimenting with a pinup shoot, you’ll feel incredibly gorgeous. 

2. They’re both empowering.There’s something about unleashing your inherent beauty that will make you feel more confident in many different areas of your life. 

3. The focus is all on you, and you deserve it! The biggest struggle I have with many of my clients is reminding them that they deserve to be pampered and to have the camera focused on them. You deserve this. You’re worth it. And whether you opt for a boudoir shoot or a pinup shoot, you’re going to have an amazing experience

4. You’ll cherish the images for a long time.Whether you’re showing them off on the wall or keeping them in a photo album to look back on from time to time, both boudoir and pinup photography will offer you incredible images that you’ll love looking back on with a smile. 

Are you looking for an amazing photoshoot that will help you feel more beautiful than ever? Do you want to show off your unique beauty in wall art that you’ll feel perfectly comfortable hanging in any room of your home? With both boudoir and pinup photography, you have the unique opportunity to participate in an incredible session that will release that feeling of gorgeous in a safe, exciting way. Not sure which one is right for you? Consider a No Regrets session that will allow you to check out both options. Ready to learn more? Fill out my contact form today to ask me questions or to get started scheduling your session. I can’t wait to learn more about you!


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