How doing a nude boudoir photoshoot sky rocketed my body confidence…would you brave it?
I’ve always had a rocky relationship with my body over the years. Growing up in the 90’s/00’s Kate Moss ‘Heroin Chic’ era was a total mind melt and like many women of my generation I was left with some BIG emotional scars surrounding my body image.
I started to really work on my relationship with my body around 5 years ago as I was approaching my 30th birthday. I’d had enough of yo-yo diets, always feeling guilty for enjoying food and only exercising with the end goal of weight loss. I was never fully happy with what I saw in the mirror and quite frankly I wasn’t giving my incredible body the respect she deserved.
So I started to unfollow social media accounts that made me feel crap about my body and made an effort to follow people who were more positive in that area. I began challenging my thoughts around food and correcting myself when I used the words ‘naughty’ or ‘good’ in relation to certain snacks or meals. And I found exercise I enjoyed (leaving my fitbit at home) so I could relish the movement without relating it to calories burned.
But most importantly, I worked on myself. I healed the inside which in turn started to heal what I saw on the outside. I went to therapy and pinpointed that a lot of my body insecurities revolved around guilt and shame from those bullsh*t societal norms. Healing my inner teenager and confronting the repressed shame I felt about my body was such a revelation. It’s like it pressed a reset button on my entire self worth and I was finally able to look at my body objectively instead of through a lens of distain.
It was such a revolutionary process I even wrote a book on how I did it in the hope it might help others free their minds too.
You can take a look at my eBook ‘How to Make Friends with Vampires’ here if this is resonating with you in any way.
Practical Things That Helped Improve My Relationship With My Body:
Inner healing aside, one of the things that really helped me improve my body confidence was being naked. I started to sleep naked – which by the way has a number of different wonderful benefits for your skin, sleep quality and your vagina! – and before bed every night I would look at my naked body in the mirror.
I set a 3-5 minute timer and simply looked at my reflection which at first it was quite uncomfortable. At first I’d spend the whole 5 minutes picking myself apart and only seeing the bits I disliked. But over time that stopped happening and I was able to just see a body looking back at me. And with a little more time, I even started to like what I was seeing! I saw my body which was no longer a reflection of my ‘failures’ or inadequacies as a person.
It was me…and it was beautiful.
Another thing that really helped seal the deal on my new found body confidence was re-finding my natural menstrual cycle and learning about my hormones. I’ve written blog after blog on my discoveries over the last two years – from my experience coming off the pill after 10 years and cycle tracking – and it truly has been the most incredible process. It’s this self-learning that helped me gain so much respect for my body and all it can do.
They simply didn’t teach my generation this at school! And the bits they did teach were shrouded with that shame we were talking about earlier making it all feel a little icky. But I soon realised my body was more than just a number on the scales, it was doing INCREDIBLE things every single month and the respect and admiration I felt sky rocketed.
How can I hate something so clever and powerful?
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I highly recommend this book for learning more about female hormones & cycles. It’s such an easy read and honestly, it’s a bit of a gamechanger!
That knowledge empowered me in so many ways and while I still get the odd day where I look in the mirror and feel a bit flat, the love I have for my body feels unconditional. There’s still things I may want to change about my appearance along the way, but those thoughts come from a different place. It’s hard to explain, but they come from a place of self confidence rather than self hatred these days. A want for ME, rather than a feeling it’s something I should do because society says so.
My Nude Boudoir Photoshoot…
One thing I’ve always been intrigued by is a nude boudoir photoshoot. But until this stage of my life I NEVER had the confidence or inclination to do one. In the past I’d only really seen the heavily photoshopped, spicy lingerie shoots before. You know the type you get on Groupon that are marketed as a ‘great present for your husband’ etc.
They weren’t really my vibe.
If I was going to do one, I wanted to do one for me. As a celebration of my body rather than as an object of desire and I certainly wasn’t about to go on a slim down diet or whack on a full face of heavy makeup for it either.
I wanted more of a natural body gallery with an arty vibe, an observation piece of the female form. A way to portrait my feminine energy and capture my body in time – just how it was – without posing in certain ways to slim it down, hide rolls or ‘be sexy’.
That’s when I found Amy on Instagram, a local wedding photographer by day and boudoir photographer by night with a very natural style. There was no Kardashian-like post production blur and forced pouts in her portfolio, just real skin texture and genuine smiles. Shoots could be done in her local home studio The Darkroom or if you’re close enough she travels to you.
So I booked a session at home, and got ready for my first nudey experience!
Not only was Amy so wonderfully warm and calming but she just understood the assignment from the start. We posed in various places around the house in my understated bralettes, shirts and high waisted pants. We went topless…and bottomless too! I felt incredible, liberated and strong. If I could bottle the feeling I had during my shoot I would, it was effortless and I didn’t feel awkward at all.
I was a little nervous when she contacted me with my photos. What was I going to think? Would I criticise and hate them all like I’ve done with so many of my photos in the past?
But I had nothing to worry about at all. Every single photo was stunning and I saw myself in a whole new light. It wasn’t ‘full frontal'(!) but there were boobs and a cheeky bottom every now and again alongside naturally joyful shots and also some more sensual poses.
What I was left with was a series of beautiful photos of my body, frozen in time through the lens. A snapshot of me, my energy, my confidence and my body right now just as I am.
(Of course the photos I’m sharing here are the ‘more safe for work’ shots!)
But I never intended my shoot to be a one off event. I booked Amy in the middle of our journey to grow our family because I suddenly realised that if we got our wish, my body would never look the same again. I wanted the chance to capture it both now AND after…
My Body Is Changing
For those who follow me on Instagram or Youtube, you’ll know that I’m sat here 6 months pregnant! So far my pregnancy has astounded me and the respect I felt for my body has quadrupled seeing the changes it’s going through to grow our tiny human. It seriously blows my mind.
I feel apprehensive at times wondering what my body might look like after birth. Will I have loose skin, scars, stretch marks a permanent bulge? Will my boobs be deflated and round my ankles? (most probably!). I think its fear of the unknown. A worry over potentially having to start again with my body confidence journey and it can feel overwhelming at times. But I’m hoping the respect and admiration I feel for my body right now will carry me through. That I’ll be able to admire the permanent changes to my body instead of chastise them.
It’s always surprised me how society gushes over pregnant bodies but instantly starts shaming them as soon as babies are born. How the world expects people to go through this incredible journey but bare no evidence of it afterwards. I suppose we’ll see where my mind is with all of that next year – to be continued…!
However I feel, I’ll be booking another shoot. I want to create a little self portrait body series throughout my journey. My before, during and after pregnancy photos telling a story of what my body has been through. Showing those stages of my life and the power my body holds.
I wonder how different it will feel in front of the camera pregnant and afterwards with however my body settles post-baby. Will feel more or less self conscious with a post-baby body than I did before? I suppose only time will tell. But I’m so, SO glad I took the plunge and did this nude boudoir photoshoot. They say you never regret the things you do, only the things you don’t do right?
Would you do a nude boudoir photoshoot? Do you think it would help your body confidence?
Let me know in the comments below or DM me on Instagram!
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