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Dewald Wessels Photography - Blog
 
Stripping away body-image issues with boudoir photography
11 June 2018

Stripping away body-image issues with boudoir photography

Boudoir photography for women

Boudoir photography is a rising movement, as it enables women of all backgrounds and body types to embrace their unique figure and feel confident in their own skin, let their guard down, and capture a moment in their lives that they can remember forever.

 

Empowerment

 

Portrait photography is art through storytelling. Every image captures an individual at a specific place in time and is a testament to the subject’s experience in that moment. A more intimate interpretation of traditional portrait photography, boudoir photography celebrates the art of being a woman through honoring the different stages of her life. More than a trend and more than just pictures of women in lingerie, boudoir is an uplifting, empowering experience.

An empowering experience

Why is boudoir empowering for women? It’s a medium that confronts the issue of body image in relation to beauty head on.

Unsurprisingly, body image issues affect a large pool of women. The kind of imagery that surrounds women each day - whether it be through various media channels, social networks, or pop culture and its references–can make us question your own beauty and self-worth. Comparing yourselves to others or wishing to change our bodies in order to live up to impossible beauty standards does not lead to happiness. Rather, this kind of negative thinking discourages self-love.

A healthy relationship with our bodies comes from accepting and loving all of our imperfections. Imperfections, after all, are beautiful. As a photographer, and more importantly, as a man, I aim to conquer insecurity and self-esteem issues through art. That’s precisely why boudoir photography has the power to uplift. It’s more than a photo-shoot, it’s an experience.

The most rewarding part of being a boudoir photographer is the opportunity to reverse body issue rhetoric and encourage women to feel confident, sexy, and comfortable in their own skin. Whether the women who walk through my doors are shy, nervous, or believe they’re not ready or in the ideal shape to pull off a boudoir photography shoot, I’m there to reassure them that the present moment is the perfect time to embrace their beauty in a bold way.

Therefore boudoir photography isn’t empowering simply because it requires someone to step outside of their comfort zone and in front of the camera–in lingerie no less! It’s an empowering experience because of the journey required to reach a place a self-love and body positivity.

 

Self Beauty

 

Body positive media

Because boudoir photography is all about empowerment and self-confidence, it challenges the stigma of traditional media’s portrayal of women, women in lingerie, and yes, female nudity.

Advertisements and popular media outlets contribute to the superficial standards of what women should or should not look like through imagery that objectifies the individual. Overly photoshopped imagery, a lack of body diversity, and highly sexualized advertising campaigns are all key factors here. Therefore, it’s easy to feel discouraged or misrepresented by the media.

I aim to support body-positive media through boudoir photography in a number of ways. First, though I edit my photos for consistency and style, I don’t alter my client’s body shape. Flattering angles and lighting? Yes. But photoshopping my client into something they’re not? That practice goes against what I preach, which is to embrace what makes you uniquely beautiful.

Second, I encourage my clients to give boudoir photography a try no matter what stage of life they currently find themselves in. Brides-to-be, mothers, those commemorating a milestone event, or those who simply want to celebrate themselves for no reason at all are welcome.

Third, I also similarly encourage my clients to give boudoir photography a try no matter what stage their body is in physically. So many clients tell me how much they would love to do a session, but that they have to wait until they lose weight, get in shape, gain more confidence, etc. I want my clients (and women everywhere) to see themselves as beautiful in the present moment.

Wishing you looked a certain way or striving to live up to some unattainable ideal won’t lead to happiness. Woman should love and respect all the parts of ourselves at all times in order to truly be happy.

Self-expression and the individual

Women’s empowerment in relation to the image projected of women in the media has always been a highly publicized and deeply discussed topic. Of course, self-empowerment is a very personal experience and everyone interprets its definition according to their own standards and beliefs. Some women feel empowered through keeping certain parts of themselves private, while others feel liberated through self-expression.

There’s no wrong choice! Moreover, I feel that women should support other women and their own choices - different as they may be - on this matter.

Therefore, a boudoir photography session isn’t necessarily for everyone - as women are of course empowered by different things. But, for a lot of women, boudoir photography is certainly one way to embrace body confidence, inner-beauty, sexuality, and uniquely defined femininity. Boudoir photography is a choice. It’s an experience women decide to do completely by and for themselves. The resulting images are a token of that experience and can be shared with the world to spread the word of body-confidence, or kept as part of a private experience.

Boudoir best practices

For women interested in trying boudoir for the first time, there are some best practices to keep in mind. First, be confident. Of course, this is easier said than done. Confidence comes from within, and more important, it comes from a place of self-love. Embrace all of the unique qualities that make you, you. Second, let go of your insecurities. Ignore negative self-talk and accept the fact that you are perfectly beautiful as you are now. Third, have fun! Yes, I’m stating the obvious here, but boudoir is all about pampering yourself and indulging in an experience that celebrates who you are - enjoy it.

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