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Racy boudoir pics for Valentine's Day: 'You feel like a sex kitten'

When Air Force security advisor Marcus Moreno was stationed in Afghanistan recently, he received a care package from his girlfriend, Laura Garcia. Inside the box were the usual M&Ms, Hershey's Kisses and magazines. And there, sandwiched within the pages of Rolling Stone and Men's Health, were two 8-by-10 photos of Garcia.

She wore a vintage military jacket with Moreno's rank — staff sergeant — and little else, save for a pair of gartered stockings and black peep-toe pumps. Her puckered lips were painted fire engine red. Her eyes flirted with the camera, accented by false lashes. Her hair was coiffed under a military cap. Va-va-voom.

It was Moreno's fantasy come true.

"I kind of just bawled for a little bit," he said.

'You feel like a sex kitten'

Maybe it's the retro factor. Maybe it's because young women like to flaunt it while they've got it. Or maybe guys just like seeing their girlfriends and wives in various states of undress. Whatever the reason, boudoir photos are in.

Boudoir (from the French bouder, "to pout"), or pinup, photography captures one's sensuous side — often a woman, but occasionally couples or guys who want to show off their physique. Styles range from sultry to playful, but it usually involves the lady wearing lingerie. The pictures make popular gifts for Valentine's Day, Christmas, weddings and anniversaries.

Garcia had her shots done at Buffalo Gal Vintage in St. Petersburg because of the store's emphasis on antique glam. Moreno loved how Garcia looked when she'd get dressed up for a night of swing dancing, and he'd been hounding her to take pinup-style pics.

"I told her, 'I have an image in my head. I can totally see you like that,' " said Moreno, 29, who now works at MacDill Air Force Base.

Garcia had repeatedly refused, which made it all the more surprising when she mailed him the photos. She later E-mailed him more images from the shoot, which Moreno pulled up on his laptop whenever he missed her. His favorite shot is of Garcia saluting, a smile playing on her lips.

"It's actually very liberating. By the time you're done, you feel like a sex kitten," said Garcia, 30. "He wants me to do it again."

In the meantime, Moreno relishes the framed photos on his desks at work and home. He even catches glimpses of his pinup princess in newspapers; Buffalo Gal Vintage owner Desiree Sheridan has used Garcia's photo in ads for the store. And Moreno wants to get one of the images tattooed onto his arm.

The photos also helped take the couple's long-distance relationship to the next level. "We moved in together as soon as I got back," said Moreno, who's now been dating Garcia for 13 months. "I've known I've loved her from the get, but those pictures meant more than anything to me. It was the best thing ever, 'cause it was exactly what I saw in my head what she'd look like. It's to the point where she reads my mind."

Twice as nice

Sometimes couples get photographed together. Amber James and Eric Parker are getting married March 21. They recently had boudoir portraits done by Lisa Presnail of South Tampa Photography.

"We're young, and (we) work so hard to eat right and work out. We're proud of our bodies, and why not capture some photos while you can?" said James, 28, of South Tampa. She said being there with Parker, 36, put her at ease and made the shoot more fun. "A woman's body is naturally beautiful," James said, "and who doesn't appreciate that?"

Dalia Colón can be reached at dcolon@tampabay.com.

Boudoir basics

Whether you're ready to brave a professional photo shoot or perhaps try it DIY-style in the privacy of your home, heed these tips.

• When choosing a photographer, trust word of mouth and check references. Avoid photogs with a no-escort policy (what are they trying to hide?); you'll feel more comfortable if you can bring a friend for moral support.

• Try posing in a fur coat, your guy's baseball shirt or his office shirt and tie with something lacy underneath.

• Get your body photo-ready by shaving, tanning and applying makeup heavy enough to show up on camera. Have it done at a department store counter or, if you're engaged, get a trial run of your wedding day hair and makeup before heading to the studio.

• Use natural lighting if possible.

• Have the photographer highlight the parts of your body you and your mate love most. For a more discreet picture, stand behind a gauze curtain.

• Keep the props and background simple so they don't upstage you.

• Look directly into the camera to create a connection.

• Photoshop is your friend. But don't go overboard, removing the mole your boyfriend loves or slimming down your thighs to the point where your husband doesn't recognize them.

• "The camera hates anything that's flat," said photographer Jamie Jackson. In fact, flat things look bigger on film. Pose with one hip or shoulder forward for a more flattering result. For a slimming effect, have the photographer shoot downward.

• To loosen up on the set, bring music — think Christina Aguilera's Candyman, Fergie's Glamorous, Beyonce's Diva. A glass of wine helps, too.

• If you have children, keep the photos in a discreet album. And no matter how hot you think you look, resist the urge to post them online.

• Share a few pics with your sweetie, and dole out the rest over time. Stash one in a drawer, the glove box of his car or the freezer for a fun surprise.

• Your better half might be too shy to initiate the photo shoot herself, so consider doing it together or at least getting her a gift certificate for a shoot. "Lots of women are too self conscious or otherwise reluctant to instigate it themselves, but as a gift would love it. And, it comes back to him — a win win," said photographer Lisa Presnail.

• Leave something to the imagination.

Sources: Amber James, Laura Garcia, Jamie Jackson of Jackson Studio, Lisa Presnail of South Tampa Photography, Robert Crum of Robert Crum Photography, Zekeshem Parsons of Blue Lane Photography

Racy boudoir pics for Valentine's Day: 'You feel like a sex kitten' 02/09/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 10, 2009 8:14am]

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