Good Life

Boudoir photos a popular Valentine’s gift

Heidi Lewis is the owner of Heidi Lynne Photography in State College.
Heidi Lewis is the owner of Heidi Lynne Photography in State College. Photo provided

Heidi Lynne Lewis’ father, Lon Sonick, gave her a Pentax camera when she was about 10 years old and taught her how to manually focus and expose an image.

The small gesture had a large impact on Lewis.

She has a studio in her Patton Township home and has run Heidi Lynne Photography for 12 years. She does mostly baby, child, family and senior portraits, but every year at about this time requests for intimate portraits, also known as boudoir photography, pick up.

She understands how to position someone’s shoulder at just the right angle for an elegant shot and how to manipulate lighting to get just the right shading on a woman’s figure. The result is a pretty sweet gift for their significant other.

Q: We’re getting close to Valentine’s Day. Does that mean you’ll be doing more boudoir photography than usual?

A: Yes, Valentine’s Day definitely creates more of an interest for intimate portraits. While I get requests over the course of the year for new brides, holiday gifts and for women who are celebrating a milestone, about 75 percent of intimate portraits I do are in preparation for Valentine’s Day.

Q: For those that might not know, what is boudoir photography?

A: By definition, boudoir means a woman’s private bedroom, so the genre of boudoir photography pertains to images of women that are intimate in nature. This can mean different things for different women.

For some, it may mean lingerie and seductive poses. For others, it may mean simple and sweet. There are many styles of boudoir photography ranging from pinup to glamor. My personal style is dramatic and artistic, using light to sculpt a woman’s curves, creating a subtle touch of sensuality.

Q: How do you walk the fine line between tastefully sexy and raunchy?

A: The style in my portfolio, shown only in person in my studio, is classic, tasteful and artistic. If a potential client is looking for something more risque, I am open to that. However, my clients trust in me as an artist and know that I will only portray them in the most flattering and tasteful way, which is decidedly not raunchy.

Q: Is there a process for how a boudoir shoot takes place from clothing to make-up and hair to poses?

A: I tell my clients to bring several outfits, whatever makes them feel most beautiful and what their partner will like — lingerie, a tank top, a slouchy sweater, an old football jersey. Anything goes.

Once they arrive, we go through the outfits and together we choose which ones will work best for a nice variety. Some women choose to get their hair and makeup done, which I am able to assist with, as I work with a hair stylist and makeup artist in my studio. Many women come with ideas from magazines or Pinterest and, combined with my portfolio review, we come up with a good game plan.

As we go along, I give very specific suggestions for posing, so that they look their best. I’ve been photographing women for nearly 12 years, so my expertise puts women at ease, and they always find the experience fun and relaxed.

Q: What’s the reaction from the boyfriends and husbands?

A: They love it, of course. They are also sometimes pleasantly surprised by their bold and brazen nature and, of course, their sense of adventure, which in and of itself has its own sex appeal.

Q: So, what are the reactions to seeing themselves in an intimate portrait?

A: I think most times they’re like, “Wow, how did you do that?” Women are naturally hard on themselves and compare themselves to what we see in the media. When they see themselves portrayed in such a beautiful, intimate way, it’s really an empowering and positive experience for them.

Q: So you’ve you found that these types of shoots are liberating for the women in them?

A: Absolutely. Being photographed in this way is a celebration of yourself. And who doesn’t love to be celebrated?