Senior pictures were an awkward affair done to please your parents and so you would have something with a glimmer of your fledgling personality for the yearbook.

Wedding photos were selfies before there were #selfies because you eloped. There was happiness and mischief in both of your smiles in the pictures you took to prove to others that you had finally tied the knot.

For most of your adult life, you never really felt like the camera loved you. Most of the time you’ve been the one to capture the images except for the occasional family photo in front of the tree at Christmas or the blissful moment when you finally stood in front of the Eiffel Tower.

Until now. Something clicked as you came to love sweating it out in the gym and began to repair your relationship with food. Something in your brain changed as your body responded to weights, water and the daily infusions of protein and greens. Something in your spirit lifted as your weight stopped weighing you down.

Now the camera feels more friend than foe. Your favorite place to take a selfie is in the gym. You get a glimpse of a bicep and you want to make sure it is real. SNAP. Your closet isn’t fraught with anxiety anymore. You put on your favorite jeans and see them filled out exactly the way they should be. SNAP. You look in the mirror in the morning and think, I LOOK GOOD! SNAP.

You feel more love for your body than you’ve ever felt before in your life. Now is the perfect time to honor it, capture it and celebrate you.

Now you’re ready for the first photo shoot that is just about you. Now is the time to schedule a body positive boudoir photo session.

Body Positive Boudoir
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Photo courtesy of Paulette Hughes and Flyover Photography

Let me be clear, boudoir is not pornographic. When I chatted with my favorite photographer and owner of Flyover Photography, Paulette Hughes, about boudoir she said only about half the women she works with choose to go completely naked. She says a good boudoir session is about making you feel safe, confident and empowered.

A body positive boudoir photo shoot is about showing how you’ve transformed – inside and out. Your inner strength and confidence will only add to the beauty you project. It is a celebration of the female body, no matter what the shape, size or age. I believe that giving yourself the gift of a professional photo shoot is one of the most powerful and meaningful things you can do as part of your fitness journey.

There is power in seeing yourself through someone else’s eyes.

The mirror lies. Most days, especially in the beginning of your journey, it shows you what you expect to see. You’ll never really know how much you’ve changed until the see it from someone else’s perspective. The camera, especially when welded by a pro, is a powerful tool in truly seeing the transformation that has resulted from your hard work.

Step outside of yourself and your daily routine for a few hours.

We are mothers, wives and daughters. We are teachers, librarians, entrepreneurs, doctors and a whole host of  other professions. How often do we get to relish being A WOMAN? How often do you get to reconnect with your feminine self? You may be surprised how just a couple of hours of just being your full female self will change how you carry yourself in the world.

It’s a whole new way to experience some self-care time.

First, there is the preparation. Get a mani-pedi and your eyebrows (or other areas) waxed. Do a DIY facial the night before and sip some sleep tea as you make a playlist for the shoot. The morning of the shoot sleep in! Second, at the shoot someone else (ideally) does your hair and make up, plays your favorite music and lets you just be you. You get to be taken care for a change. You get to play dress up like you did as a kid and feel just as magical.

Capture your uniqueness…just for you.

If you want to do this as a Valentine’s Day or anniversary present that’s okay, but I really recommend just doing it for you. Pick your looks and celebrate your style. You never have to show the photos to anyone if you don’t want to. (Although I have a feeling you’ll love them so much you’ll have a hard time not showing them to anyone.) Paulette says the most common thing she hears when she delivers the finished photos to a client is, “Wow, I can’t believe that’s me! I can’t believe I look that good!”

While there is a joy in giving her clients that gift there is also a certain sadness in it, says Paulette. She wishes more women could see themselves that way. I agree. Every woman deserves to feel beautiful, no matter where she is on her journey.

At 40 I feel comfortable in my skin in a way I never thought I could. I can honestly say I am in the best shape of my life and feel stronger (mentally and physically) than ever before. (Well maybe about the same as when I finished the OxyChallenge.) In honor of turning 41 this week, and to officially kick of my #BirthdayBlitz, I’ve spending some time in front of Paulette’s camera.

Just for me….

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