The nude or sexualized female form has been a theme of photography since as early as 1840. Early erotic photography such as French postcards from the late 19th and early 20th century, and pin-up girls have influenced the visual style of boudoir photography.
Modern boudoir photography dates from the mid 1980s onwards, and is characterized by the empowerment of its female subjects, who now were typically the photographer's direct clients rather than being hired models.
It is common for women to have boudoir photographs of themselves made as a gift to a partner, conventionally on the occasion of their engagement, marriage, or Valentine's Day. Boudoir photography is also sometimes given as a gift with the intention of re-affirming and encouraging the romance and sensuality between partners in a long-term relationship.
Increasingly, boudoir photography is seen as something that a person might do purely for their own enjoyment, for the pleasure and affirmation of seeing themselves as attractive, daring, sensual, and sexually-desirable.