Depending on who you ask, the answer to the question of "what is glamour photography?" will certainly return a variety of answers and descriptions. This article in no way claims to provide an official or correct answer, but will lay out some of the impressions I get when I do an online search of photo websites on the topic. I will further offer you the reader my interpretation of glamour and boudoir and describe my style as a glamour photographer.
Genre confusion is a possibility for all of us as it certainly was for me when I first started to establish my brand. I am first a portrait photographer who specializes in the genre of glamour. I will and certainly do shoot boudoir and wedding but with the eye of the glamour photographer. I further incorporate a fashion-magazine and cinematic style to my work - at least through the eye as I define it.
[Contemporary glamour portrait with the subject making a strong connection to the camera and displaying a flattering body-language. The photo is styled in black and white with creamy highlights and a hint of grain for interest and nostalgia.]
The image above might be called a boudoir photograph by some since it contains an article of lingere. If one ignores the fact that the bustier and corset have made its way into the outerwear category of fashion, the very fact that this shot was taken against a white "V-flat" background keeps this image squarely, in my definition, in the glamour portrait realm.
The word boudoir by its very definition historically refers to a lady's parlor, sitting room or dressing area. In the past half century, this has expanded to include the bedroom or such simulated setting. Boudoir photography therefor, is a stylized form created in the boudoir. Loose definitions, however, include a wide verity of interpretations that seem to include any image of a woman in lingerie in just about any setting.
Glamour photography has also undergone considerable style interpretations and permutations over the years. Today when I conduct a online search for glamour photography I find a considerable number of what I would classify as boudoir or sexy-glamour photographs. I feel that glamour has a much broader and richer definition than what it seems to be perceived as. To help my further explanation, take a moment to view the following video on a discussion of the topic. Although I already felt this way, the speaker gives an excellent framework for considering the definition of what glamour is, and what is glamorous.
Virginia Postrel on the subject of glamour: 17min: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yhHePLaMP_k
Using a definition of glamour where it is said to have grace, mystery and be transformative, one can imagine how photography can create a feeling of glamour in any number of photographic subjects, and not just be limited to a beautiful woman. Such an image of grace and mystery that transcends the everyday is a most elegant definition. It is this definition that I will use to further differentiate between boudoir and glamour photography.
See part 2, for a continued discussion of what is boudoir photography.
Richard von Trapp is a photographer who travels extensively seeking life's glamour.