What is Glamour Photography?

Some people think glamour is all about makeup or clothes. Others think it is about nudity or titillation. Still other consider it a style of lighting.

All these things have some basis in fact, but miss the mark. First let’s look at another genre of photography closely related but separate from glamour – Fashion photography.

Fashion photography is all about the clothes. Even when it seems to be about story or skinny models, it is about the clothes. I like to say that fashion models are just clothes hangers. Which is probably why so many of them look like clothes hangers.

Given this focus on clothes, what is Glamour?

“Fashion is about the bra, glamour is about the breast.”

One of the advantages about being a glamour model rather than a fashion one is the image is about you. You could be wearing the million dollar diamond studded bra, but the viewer is more interested in what’s inside the bra more than the lingerie itself.

This is explains why glamour models are not as thin as fashion models and why many have breast enhancements to fill those bras.

If the model is the focus of the glamour image, what other things make an image glamour.

Make up is one factor. It is generally heavier and brings more emphasis to the eyes and lips. Colors are warmer and bolder than standard makeup and eyes are smokier.

While the stereotype of a glamour model is tan skin and blonde hair, I’ve shot many models with pale skin and black hair that reach out and grab you. The point is the sexiness of the model, not her skin color.

Well if it is about sexy, then isn’t it porn? That brings up the question of what is porn. I once shot a friend in a school girl outfit that exposed a little bit of midriff and some leg and my sister-in-law said it was porn. While Playboy is considered the low end of porn, Maxim isn’t considered porn at all.

Sexiness isn’t about turning men on, it is about attraction. When a woman is being sexy she doesn’t necessarily want to have sex with the person she’s focused on, but she does want to make them interested in her.

So we show some skin in glamour, but that’s not the deciding factor. Matter of fact, it is generally sexier to cover somethings up, than to show everything. Even in nude glamour photography, you like to keep mystery.

Lastly let’s talk about lighting. In general glamour photography is thought of as being very warmly lit. Warmly lighting means it has a gold/yellow/orange tint to it. When I do and teach glamour photography, I use a Bastard Amber gel. Bastard Amber is a specific shade. Hey I didn’t make the name, but it works great.

You can do glamour with most lighting. I’ve done natural white light and even tinted blue light. The color doesn’t make it glamour.

So now you’ve gotten an idea of what glamour photography is. Hopefully that will help you in your photographic journey.

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