A Gift of Self Love

When I first started my journey as a photographer, I knew I wanted to focus on doing portraits of women. I loved doing fun, lifestyle type photos, but what really moved my soul was boudoir and intimate portraits of women. As a hair and makeup artist, I had seen the transformation happen during these shoots when the woman looked at herself in the mirror after her hair and makeup were complete, and also in the final images. The emotion and soul that intimate portraits can show is so beautiful and life changing.

As I was starting to build my portfolio, I began to think of inspiring women I knew that I wanted to photograph. One woman stood out in particular for me, my good friend Michelle Long of Bloom Retreat. Michelle is a beautiful woman who is not only an amazing business woman, but she owns a wonderful wholeness center where women can connect with themselves, their bodies and others in sisterhood. She is a firm believer in loving and taking good care of yourself, and finding a place where you can fully be yourself and have a tribe of supportive women.

Michelle’s mission is so similar to mine, and I knew she’d be the perfect woman to do this shoot with. Since Michelle is a yoga teacher, has done so much inner work, and is so naturally beautiful, I was sure that this would be an easy yes for her. And thankfully, it was a yes. But I was surprised to hear that she had some fears about doing the shoot.

She expressed to me how she wasn’t feeling confident in her body, and how she was feeling like her weight wasn’t where she would like it to be. She was nervous about being naked in the shoot and about her body being seen in the photos.

I realized that we all have the same fears, no matter the shape of our body, our size, or how confident we seem on the outside. It made me feel a little better about my own fears, but also sad because I hear these same words from most of the women I work with.

But despite her fears, she still said yes to doing something that felt bold for her. She said yes to doing something that was just for herself, not her husband.

When I sent her the photos I was nervous if she would like them. I was so proud of how fully and open she had showed up for the shoot, and thought the photos showed that vulnerable part of herself.

It made me so happy to hear that she loved them. That she cried when she saw them, and that she saw the woman she was striving to be, and the one she wanted her daughter to see. She saw strength, power, trust, softness, beauty, femininity, acceptance, and fierce self-love.

I want this for you. I want you to see the woman you really are. The woman who is strong and powerful, soft and feminine, beautiful, accepting of herself, and loves herself fiercely.

So on this Valentine’s Day, or just any day going forward, I want you to say yes to yourself. Yes to loving yourself. Yes to doing something bold. Yes to putting yourself first. And yes to letting that beautiful soul inside you express herself and be seen.

I want to be a part of that experience with you. If what you desire is to be fully expressed and seen, then I invite you to sign up for a boudoir shoot with me. Contact me HERE for a complimentary call to talk about how we can create this life changing experience together.

I can’t wait to show you how beautiful you are.

Xo
Melissa

p.s. If you want to read more about Michelle's experience with the boudoir shoot, you can read her beautiful post here

Photos, hair & makeup by Melissa Hoffmann