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Healthy Cells is a local health magazine with most of the articles written by local professionals. People love to read about healthcare from their local health professionals. Each month includes a wide variety of articles on various topics.
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Red Haute Images: Leave A Little Mystery

There is a saying popular in filmmaking: less is more. Simply put, showing too much of something does not allow for the individual’s imagination to play — to explore. Showing less, therefore, results in a more effective experience for the audience.

The same is true across all artistic mediums. It is why mystery novels and television shows are always so popular. It is why the phrase “spoiler alert” is even a thing. We crave a little bit of mystery in our lives.
No one understands that better than Kelli Drake, owner/photographer of Red Haute Images in Peoria. Mystery is more than just essential to an exciting life; it is a core principal of exciting boudoir photography — an art form of the suggestive and implied rather than the explicit.

Some mysteries solved
An accomplished and talented photographer, Kelli Drake’s eye was initially drawn to interior design. It was only after working as an office manager for five years for another photography studio that she decided to shift her focus.


“I have always been creative, and I decided it was definitely what I was meant for,” she recalls. “I understood the business around it, so I started my portrait business a little over ten years ago. It’s called DRAKEphoto and my husband shoots with me. We do family and kids, high school seniors, and business headshots for professionals; we shot weddings for a few years, but really gave that up once Red Haute Images got going.”


While portrait photography in general was an answer to Kelli’s career question, boudoir photography was the answer to her life’s passion. “I love photographing kids and families, but I get to be my best when shooting boudoir because I can really connect with each of the women I photograph,” she says.


Her initial thoughts of how wonderful it would be for a woman to give these images to a husband or significant other were soon supplanted by a greater thought: the experience, as it turns out, is an empowering one for the woman herself.

Treat yourself
“A lot of us walk around not feeling super great about ourselves, certainly not feeling sexy most of the time,” Kelli admits. “Most women I photograph are in their 30s, 40s, or 50’s, so most of them have careers, families, and husbands they typically put before themselves.”


Although, for many, the idea of boudoir photography is one of giving an intimate gift to someone else, Kelli’s clients get a gift as well: “I hear from my clients about how great it made them feel about themselves. It’s a cool gift to be able to give women — to have them see themselves as beautiful and for them to feel beautiful too. It’s life-changing for some.”


Kelli remembers an experience with one client in particular: “One woman, during the planning appointment and for a few minutes into the shoot, was apologizing for her body — that she wasn’t perfect and had what she considered major flaws. I had to stop her and said, ‘I heard what you said, but no more of that; you’ve got to let that go.’ Then I showed her one of the shots on the back of the camera and there was an instant change. She was like, ‘Oh, my


That moment of realization can come a week or two later during the reveal session, after the editing is done. Kelli insists on not masking the true woman with computer-editing magic. “We do skin-smoothing and blemish removal,” she says, “but I’m not Photoshopping anyone’s shape or figure. I’m doing all the lighting and posing so they look good on the back of the camera. I’m able to show women, as we shoot, how great they look.”

A variety of sparks
So over-the-moon with the results are Kelli’s clients that the typical “little black book” photo album is often not enough for them when it comes time for the prints to be made. Some clients will buy a portrait to hang on the wall, get a print on canvas, or even a print on metal. “The metal prints are very vibrant and really, really beautiful,” she says. “But most of the women go for a little black book — although they’re not all black; we have a variety.”


There’s even a really small version of the book that can be tucked discreetly into a husband’s suitcase as he’s leaving for that business trip out of town. Regardless of the end product, the goals are always the same: to spark things up and to create a little mystery.

Creativity and privacy
In order to maintain an air of mystery, Kelli knows that ensuring her clients’ privacy is paramount. For that purpose, Red Haute Images shoots in a 3,400 square-foot studio located on Adams Street in Peoria and on privately owned land outside the city. “That’s the location you see in most of the outdoor images on DRAKEphoto,” she points out. “There’s an old barn, a rusty Studebaker truck, and a little lake. It’s really beautiful and very private.


Having the studio and the land is a huge benefit for us and for the women who come,” she continues. “It’s all carefully planned out so we can decide what is the best kind of shoot, style, and modesty level. Doing that planning ahead of time really helps make women comfortable.”


The settings also allow Kelli to delve into her creative side. “You can really push the themes, style, or look when you’ve got the room to do it and the creativity to fuel it,” she says. “I think because I’m very much endeared by interior design, we renovated the studio to be really modern and cool, so each time I’m able to craft a set with a backdrop and furniture. It is so fun to really have control over the whole scenario.”


Part of that control comes in the lighting. As photography literally means “drawing with light,” the use of light is absolutely essential to producing a quality image. If a boudoir photo is too brightly lit, it doesn’t leave much to the imagination. “I think by using more dramatic lighting and back lighting, it gives more of a feel of romance and mystery,” Kelli says.


After all, it could be said romance and mystery are what Red Haute Images is all about, but that would only be partially true. While a little mystery in life is a good thing, Kelli is, ultimately, a firm believer in dispelling one major mystery: it should not be a mystery to any woman as to how beautiful she truly is.


The boudoir experience is a time to REALLY celebrate and indulge, be pampered and feel beautiful.  Kelli A. Drake, Owner of Red Haute Images, does a fantastic job portraying the beauty in every image. Your private session is photographed by professional photographer Kelli A. Drake with expert coaching and posing. Images are skillfully retouched and enhanced for high quality products such as The Little Black Book; sure to take his breath away. For more information, call 309-839-1978 or visit RedHauteImages.com.


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