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.