How something as simple as a boudoir photoshoot can instantly boost your confidence and self-esteem
“She’s so beautiful/ And I tell her every day/ I know, I know when I compliment her she won’t believe me/ And it’s so, it’s so sad to think that she don’t see what I see/ But every time she asks me, ‘do I look okay?’/ I say/ When I see your face/ There’s not a thing that I would change/ ‘Cause you’re amazing/ Just the way you are …” by Bruno Mars (Just the Way You Are)
Bruno Mars’ 2010 romantic R&B single focusses on one woman’s low self-esteem, but it is in fact a succinct summing up of a rather serious, complex and widespread social issue that has plagued women throughout much of our recent history.
From a startlingly young age (some research indicates as young as 7), girls begin to compare and contrast themselves with the largely unrealistic images of female beauty that even now saturates our media. The fact that these standards are clearly unattainable by flesh and blood women and girls does not stop us from feeling comparatively lacking, as though we are somehow ‘less than’ these hyped up, overly prevalent images of somebody else’s definition of physical perfection, and the consequences in terms of damage to self-esteem is very far reaching indeed.
The body image crises
In fact, it’s fair to say that this image-driven, culturally-sanctioned destruction of self-esteem is incapacitating for huge numbers of women, preventing us from living life to the fullest, realising our potential and so leading truly happy lives.
The Dove Global Beauty and Confidence Report conducted a unique, in depth analysis of beauty and confidence amongst women from around the world and found that Australian women rate very low on the study scale, with only 1 in 5 reporting high self-esteem in terms of body confidence.
The study found that 89% of the women who reported low self-esteem opted out of social events when feeling unhappy about their physical appearance. This worrying statistic suggests that huge numbers of women across Australia and throughout the world, millions of us, have been so entrenched in the culture-wide pursuit of unattainable media-defined physical ‘perfection’ that we are now punishing ourselves en masse for apparently falling short.
The psychology of beauty and boudoir photography
I have always been interested in the psychology of beauty. Like most women, I lug around plenty of insecurities of my own. Just like the woman in Bruno Mars’ song, when someone tells me I’m beautiful, my first instinct is to assume they’re just being nice. After all I’ve got a couple of mirrors. And a calendar that tells me how fast the years are ticking by.
I’ve got children. I’ve got wrinkles, bags under my eyes, and saggy bits. I also happen to be the wife of a photographer (Boudoir Photographer Perth), and after years of looking at myself through someone else’s eyes, I have developed the skills necessary to override that ingrained self-criticism, ignore my own self-talk and simply choose to believe them instead.
When I look at myself in those images, I see a unique, beautiful, confident woman with a story to tell. I no longer care about my imperfections. I am a grown woman, a mother, a business owner, an educator, and a hard worker. I don’t look like I did when I was 18 years, but that’s perfectly okay with me, because my concept of my own beauty is no longer linked to how youthful I look, or the shape of my nose, or the perkiness of my boobs.
I am beautiful as I am, wrinkles, tummy and all. Being married to a portrait photographer has its advantages. In fact, as things have turned out, it has been a major factor in building my confidence and self-esteem, and something I passionately believe other women should experience for themselves.
Every woman deserves to feel confident
Virtually every woman we have photographed has had something about their physical appearance that bothers them or makes them feel self-conscious. Boobs too small/ too big, belly too round/ too puckered, bum too fat/ too saggy, lips too thin, skin too mottled, nose too big, eyes too small. The list goes on.
Even once they have made a decision to go ahead with the shoot, most are still plagued by self-doubt and lingering insecurities. Regardless of age, body type and tone, nearly every one of us (4 out of 5, according to the Dove Report) is Bruno Mars’ girl.
This is a travesty that effects millions of women across the globe. It needs to be addressed, and in our small family photography studio in suburban Perth, we are making it our business to make a difference on our own doorstep.
Every woman deserves to feel confident and beautiful in her own skin, whatever her body type, whatever her age and there’s a lot to be said for careful posing, good lighting and having fun in a creative and supportive atmosphere.
At the outset of every boudoir shoot, our clients are inevitably nervous. Very few of the women we have photographed are professional models, so most feel vulnerable and uncertain at the outset, but a boudoir photo shoot is (hand on heart) one of the most enjoyable, liberating experiences you’ll have, and by the end of the shoot, without exception, all are acting much more confident and self-assured.
There is a great sense of exhilaration when you push aside your fears and just do whatever it is you’re afraid of, so even before they see the results, these women are experiencing the power of what I have come to think of as boudoir therapy.
For him, or her?
Without a doubt, the greatest pleasure of my job is reveal day, when I get to show our clients, many for the first time, how beautiful they really are. Most women who come into our studio actually do the sessions as gifts for their partners, but once they’ve seen the photographs, their focus changes, and they realise that the gift is really to themselves.
The confidence our clients gain from their boudoir folios is significant. Many of our clients report feeling more confident in every aspect of their lives, from work to the bedroom, and everything in between. It is challenging and empowering, and at the end of the day, reminds women how unique, vital and beautiful they really are.
So don’t wait around and book a shoot today!