I’ve been shooting a ton of intimate portraits lately. Women and non-binary folk from all walks of life, all shapes, sizes, and comfort levels. One thing that’s been sticking out to me a lot lately with my intimate portrait sessions is the way some some of my clients view their galleries. I don’t mean that I’m paying attention to whether they’re slouched back and comfy on my couch, or if they’re fiddling with something in their lap. I mean the little (very quiet) comments that escape their lips, sometimes. Comments about their OWN bodies that are negative as HELL. Quite honestly? I hate it. So, let’s talk about it.
Intimate Portraits: Learning to Love Yourself
The most important thing to start with, on your journey to loving yourself, is learning to see yourself through another’s eyes. I 100% promise you that any GOOD person in your life (let’s not even talk about toxic relationships, that’s for another post) doesn’t look at a photo of you and go “ugh”. They don’t look at your belly, your chin, your arms, or any other part of you that you’re self conscious about. They look for your smile, the joy in your eyes, your beautiful freckles, your laugh lines.
It is SO IMPORTANT to not focus on your perceived flaws in photographs of yourself. At the same time, it’s hard to break those habits. Real, real hard. This is coming from someone who, for a time, couldn’t look at herself in the mirror. So, if I can do it, so can you. It just takes time.
Would you let someone say that to your best friend?
Next time you think something negative about yourself, stop and think for a moment. Would you say something like that to your best friend? Would you be upset if someone said that in front of you, to them? If so, why are you saying it to yourself? Would you look at a photo of your curvy and beautiful BFF and say “I don’t like the way your belly looks in that photo”? NO. NO YOU WOULD NOT. So, why the hell are you saying it to yourself?! Would your best friend say something like that to you? (I hope not, if they would, you need a new BFF asap!!)
It’s so so easy to tear ourselves apart in photographs. To look straight at our flaws, and only focus or zoom in on those preconceived ideas that we have about ourselves, and our bodies. This is especially true when you’re viewing your gallery for the first time at your image reveal after your intimate portrait session.
Stop that negative self-talk.
Seriously, just stop it! No wonder you’re looking in the mirror and not liking what’s looking back at you, if you’re constantly belittling and being awful to yourself. Next time you catch yourself thinking something mean about yourself (whether that be about your body, cussing at yourself because you royally fudged something up, or wishing you could be/do xyz thing better/faster/whatever), try to stop and think about it for a minute. Try to reframe it into something nicer. Instead of thinking “ugh, I hate the way my arms look”, or “I wish I was a better mother”, think “I love the way this shirt looks on me today” or “I’m a great mother because kiddo #1 is finally talking in full sentences!”. See what I’m saying? Stopping negative self-talk is a lot about changing your perception.❤️
It’s not going to happen overnight.
You have to constantly be nice to yourself for anything to change. I know, I know, it’s HARD. Especially if you’re used to constant put-downs directed at yourself, from yourself. When I say you have to be constantly nice, I mean it. It’s going to be a bit of an uphill battle to re-train yourself to be nice. I know that sounds stupid as hell, but that’s really what it boils down to. Training yourself to be nice again. How do you do that? Be vigilant, catch yourself when you start saying something mean, and re-phrase it.
Look at yourself in the mirror and give yourself one compliment every day. Try your best to really mean it. If you can’t right away, follow that old saying “fake it till you make it”. Eventually you’ll start to believe yourself. Eventually, you won’t have to stop and think real hard about something nice to say to yourself. Soon, those comments will come naturally. We all need to learn to be a little kinder to ourselves. The rest of the world has that covered with gross advertisements meant to shame our bodies, make us feel bad about our grey hair, our wrinkles, our saggy asses. Don’t join in on that chorus. March to the beat of your own drum, and soon, so soon, you’ll see your life improving for the better.
Ready to challenge everything, and try a session yourself? Click here. ❤️