On Loving Your Body by Laura Rahél

charlottencboudoirphotographerlaurarahelphotography14 "In a world that profits from your self-doubt, liking yourself is a rebellious act." This popular quote has been making headlines recently as more and more people (especially women) realize how deeply affected they are by society's beauty standards.

Living in a capitalist, first-world country provides many luxuries. Unfortunately, it also comes with the fact that we are constantly being sold something. If it's not a product, it's an idea. Companies sell us the idea that we aren't good enough. That getting wrinkles and laugh lines should be feared, that stretch marks can be prevented, that our lives would be so much happier if joined a weight-loss program, etc. The propaganda that's being sold to us is so deeply integrated into our society, that most of the time, we don't even mind. We don't get upset that the idea that we aren't enough is constantly pierced into our brains so that companies will profit from our insecurities.

We hear negative messages about ourselves so often that we start to believe this idea that the human experience is only fully lived when you meet societies beauty standards; that you'll never be fully happy or at peace until you're 5'7", blonde, skinny, (but with curves,) without body hair, etc, etc. The list goes on and on. There's always a new product to buy or program to try or accomplishment to achieve for us to be "better."

And I say fuck that.

I don't believe it. You are enough. I am enough. Just as we are. Yesterday, today, and everyday forward- we always have been and always will be enough. You know what's beautiful? Laughter, great friendships, memories made over food, kind hearts, self-confidence. Those things are beautiful and they make the human experience fully achieved. And loving ourselves, is an essential part to living our happiest and most fulfilled lives.

In case you need to hear this today- your body is beautiful! Pale, tan lines, dark skin, whatever it is you are- you're beautiful. Fresh faced or covered in wrinkles and laugh lines- your body is beautiful. Tight stomach, sagging belly, stretch marks from children or maybe you can't have them- your body is so wonderful.

Short, tall, young, old, dark, light, big, small, weak, strong- whatever your body is, it's beautiful. You just have to start loving it.

And if you're having a little trouble loving it, try this exercise. Repeat these words to yourself "My body has always been there for me. It has always kept me safe. My body has always provided shelter for my spirit to exist in this world. The essence of who I am-my spirit and soul, gets to experience the world because of my body. I get to express my feelings and emotions because of my body. I get to live in this crazy, beautiful, wonderful world because of this body." And thank your body. Thank it for everything it's done for you. For all the years it's kept you safe and allowed you to interact with others. For all the memories you've been able to make because you exist in this world, in a body. While it's so much fun to be able to express your soul through your body (by choice of hairstyle or color, makeup, style of clothing, tattoos, etc,) never forget that you are already enough and that your body is a marvelous, wonderful thing that deserves your love.

So go on and be a rebel baby, love your body.

xoxo,

Laura

Laura Rahél is a boudoir and elopement photographer serving Charlotte, NC and surrounding areas. You can read more of her posts like "Your Body Doesn’t Need Photoshop,” on her blog or book your empowering boudoir session with her today.

THREE TIPS TO A SUCCESSFUL OUTDOOR BOUDOIR SESSION --- guest post by jillian rose photography

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Outdoor boudoir sessions will always hold a special place in our hearts. It allows vulnerability, trust, and the feeling of being one with our mother nature. We love to see outdoor boudoir sessions, and we feel as though it is still taboo to do, so we asked Jillian of Jillian Rose Photography to write a guest post on why and how to accomplish an outdoor boudoir session, and her words really resonate with us. Read on to see what she advises.

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Mention the words "boudoir session" to a bride and they cringe and pull back with a look of terror.  The very meaning of boudoir photography is

"a photographic style featuring intimate, romantic, and sometimes erotic images of its subjects....", 

For a lot of women, the idea of exposing themselves au naturel is beyond insanely uncomfortable.  Add the fact that they are revealing themselves to a stranger with a camera and the anxiety is, well, frightening.

When it comes to exposed, naked, or ris·qué poses, women tend to feel self-conscious and are quite adept at focusing on their flaws rather than appreciate the beauty of their unique figures.  For women, there is always something that can be improved upon.

My goal when shooting a boudoir session is to help my client appreciate the allure they possess and encourage them to not only  celebrate their individuality, their curves, their nuances, but to relax, appreciate the beauty that they have and to have fun.

Why outdoors?

Inspiration for an outdoor boudoir session came to me while on a hike in the Santa Monica Mountains.  I realized that the coastal sage scrub, the chaparral, and the hiking trails shaded by gnarled oak trees,  was the perfect backdrop for natural light photography.  When suggested, and with some prompting, my client was excited to move the boudoir session from the studio to the outdoors.

How to prepare for a session in an uncontrolled non-studio setting.  

While shooting on a Saturday may not have been ideal, what with some light traffic on the trail, it added to the titillation of expressing oneself au naturel.   Being prepared with a comfy robe for quick cover up helped to quell the bashfulness.

Communication is key!

What made the shoot a success was clear communication with the client.  We conferred and collaborated on all matters that might arise and developed a back up plan should she become too uncomfortable with the setting.  It was important that she feel safe, sexy, and that it was a fun experience.

As is evident in the film images, this boudoir session shot in a natural environment with the subtle colors and the filtered light of the golden hour, captured the essence of the beauty in this extraordinary lady.

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Photography: Jillian Rose Photography // HMUA: All Tressed Up // Lingerie: Free People & Nordstrom