Steamy Trend: Boudoir Photos Get a Glam Update

Other men have centerfolds and pinup calendars of models on their walls…my husband has a calendar of me.

Remember those cheesy boudoir photography studios in malls with poster-size photos in the window of glammed up gals with sky-high hair and layers of makeup so deep you could almost dip a tortilla chip into it? Not to worry: They are alive and well in malls across America. And if you love them, stop reading now, grab your marabou robe and boa and head straight over to one!

But a recent discovery of a more creative sort of glamour photo got us thinking: Is it possible that a new crop of modern boudoir photo studio has emerged? Indeed, the answer is yes, and we found a few more enticing options (on both coasts) to indulge the inner vixen without veering into dangerous ’80s territory. Take your pick of bombshell, pinup or ingenue (or one of each), and make this a Valentine’s gift for you or your lover(s). Hey, who are we to judge?!



Brystan Studios

Brystan Studios

Orange County’s Lori Brystan started out in front of the camera with Elite models, but it wasn’t long before she felt the urge to get behind the camera. After decades in the business, she’s made the sexy boudoir photo session her signature.

“When I shoot a boudoir session, I really want to reveal the beautiful angles that are unique and special to the individual woman. I believe that every woman has radiant beauty with many shades and dimensions,” said Brystan. “Many women are very hard on themselves, focusing on their flaws instead of their true beauty. So, when I get to reveal this inner beauty, it’s a special experience for both of us.”

Her style is a combination of Hollywood glamour tinged with bits of burlesque and unexpected twists. Not feeling so gung-ho? She’s an expert at putting women at ease during one-on-one makeup and hair sessions and intimate, personalized sessions. (After all, she was a model herself.) The result? Editorial-ready shots that are sexy and empowering all at once. ” Whether it’s Valentine’s Day, an anniversary or special surprise, it’s common for a woman to share this gift with their special someone,” said Brystan. “However, at least half of the women who come in are doing it for their own experience. We love it when a man gives their wife or girlfriend a boudoir session gift certificate.  How romantic is that?” 

She Hit Pause Studios

She Hit Pause Studios

She Hit Pause Studios

She Hit Pause Studios



Matt Schwartz of New York-based She Hit Pause Studios takes a different approach, eschewing opulent sets and bright lights and even high-tech equipment. Instead, a photo session at She Hit Pause lands you with an album of Polaroids.

“The shoot feels more like hanging out than the pressure of bright lights and ‘turn your head here or there,’ ” said Schwartz. “I only use a camera flash or natural light. It is sort of like a dance or two musicians improvising off the other.”

Not only are the pictures unique, the whole vibe is a far cry from what glamour shots used to be. “I would say I shoot anti-glamour photography. I am out to make art. The girls and women that I shoot are looking for a more natural image.” And with photos that look like genuine candid moments and memories, you can see why he’s had his work featured in Nylon, Nerve and more. One of his most memorable sessions? “A pregnant women asking me to take nude pictures of her on an American flag to send to her husband in the army.”

Schwartz’s style definitely skews younger, hipper and more artsy than what you’d think of with a portrait studio, but it’s because he’s more about whimsy than sex, more about the narrative and nuances than about perfect lighting. Don’t think your Portland-loving hipster significant other would want a photo session? With Schwartz behind the camera, you’ll have them eating their words. 

Iconic Pinups

Iconic Pinups




For a real-life foray into fantasy, you can count on Carol and Stacy of L.A.-based Iconic Pinups for your portraits. Specializing in their take on “a classic Old Hollywood style,” photographers Carol and Stacy let women channel their inner vixens in front of the lens.

Shooting in their home with retro sets and props, they let their subjects play pin-up. During a session, every pose gets perfected with advice from the duo (they’ll even set your hair and give you that perfect 50’s eyeliner flick) and words of encouragement for those who blush at the thought of losing their girdles and posing in their skivvies.

“My friend recently had her pinup photos done with us,” said Stacy. “She said ‘other men have centerfolds and pinup calendars of models on their walls…my husband has a calendar of me.”

Whether you’re looking for a full 12-month calendar or just want a few sexy snaps, at Iconic Pinups, girls get everything from guitars to garters and never lose that cheeky sex appeal that the pin-ups embody. And don’t think that it’s just for your tattooed friends with checkerboard Vans. “We’ve had [everyone] from age 15 to 65, and from all walks of life,” said Carol. “I don’t think that the drive to feel like a sexy glamour gal ever diminishes as we age.”

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Author:Christopher Luu for Fashion Trends Daily

Christopher Luu is a Fashion Trends Daily Senior Writer and Menswear Editor.