When was the last time you looked in the mirror and said ” Damn, I look good!”? I bet a large percentage of us would say: “I haven’t ever felt that way”, except for me, I always think I look good, JK!! We start picking out the flaws, the stretch marks, the scars, the acne, the tattoo you wish you didn’t get, the rolls, etc. If you are one of the 85% of the population that has self-esteem issues, then you are not alone. Self-esteem issues happen, and it doesn’t matter what size you are.
I teach Photoshop to students at my local college & university, and I always do a session talking about how Photoshop has helped corrupt the population’s self-esteem, especially in young women. There is a conspiracy about how the models in popular beauty/model/women’s magazine actually look, compared to what their image is in that magazine. Young women are compounded with images of these beautiful, flawless, skinny, women, and don’t see them for how they actually are.
Yes, we are flawed. So what are you getting at?
Flaws can be beautiful. Or at least what you see as flaws. As a boudoir photographer, I have seen so many different clients and what they think is flawed. I don’t see the flaws. All I see are stories. Little chapters of their life story. Stretch Marks tell a story about you working hard to bring a new life into the world. You may have lost a lot of weight and still have marks from achieving that goal, or you think you are too skinny, or maybe you are born as what they say, “Plus-Size”, and no matter what you do, you won’t be like that Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Model. I, personally, LOVE the movement out about Plus-Size being beautiful… because it is.
BUT GUESS WHAT?
It doesn’t matter. We are all beautiful in our own way. You are looking in that mirror and picking out little parts that YOU don’t like, instead of looking at yourself as a whole. And that is what I am wanting to achieve with my photography.
So how do you deal with different shapes and sizes?
The question I get a lot is: “I am Plus-Size, how would you pose me?” or “I don’t like my body and I don’t feel confident doing a session, how can you make me feel comfortable?”. Questions like these are kind of an irony in themselves. You are looking at the parts and not the whole. Your spouse sees you for who you are and could care less about the “flaws”.
So when I have a client coming in for a session, I ask two questions: What do you like about your body? And what do you NOT like about your body? I ask these questions to get a good sense of how to work with how they sees themselves. Someone who really likes their “Bum”, I may take some shots showing their “Bum”. And if they don’t like their “Tummy”, then I create poses or suggest outfits that lessen the view on that area.
How do you know what poses will flatter my figure?
From years of training and a few professional photographers that have helped me along the way. Boudoir photography is a very specialized genre and it takes a trained professional to understand body poses and creating the experience that the client needs. I have clients who have come in with depression, emotional abuse, even physical abuse. And I have helped them to look at themselves as a single beautiful person.
So yes, we are all flawed in some way or another. But understanding that the single parts of yourself are not what your loved ones look at. It is the whole person. The one they love. So the next time you look in the mirror, look at yourself as beautiful. Because I know I do.
Below are some examples of shots that I was able to achieve with what “they” consider a “Plus-Size” woman. I see them nothing less than GORGEOUS!!! And they are an inspiration to me.