@2018 Melissa Jean Boudoir

We spend so little time truly loving who we are - and I'm as much at fault as anyone.

The summer after my senior year a boy from my high school left me a voicemail on my phone. He told me he thought I was pretty.

Me? Pretty?

I was 18 years old and this was one of the first times I ever really thought it was possible for someone to think I was pretty. I was elated. Not everyone, not even most people, but one person - ONE person could think I was pretty and that was huge for me.

That's what I thought about myself. How little I thought of myself. And despite this voicemail (which I listened to a lot the next week) it was a long time before that changed.

Even today, though my opinion of myself is much better than it used to be, I still struggle with accepting my appearance, and I see it in my clients too.

"I don't like my face/arms/legs/butt." It's a never ending list of things to

dislike about ourselves, and I get it.

I tear myself apart in every photo too. My face is too round, my hair is

too thin, my hands are too big and my feet are too veiny. I could go on

and on - but I think it's best not to point out ALL my flaws to you or it

might be all you notice from now on. 🙃

That's why I love what I do... Boudoir photos aren't about photoshopping

you into someone else, it's about showing you how beautiful you are,

the way that you ARE.

It's one of the reasons I work exclusively with Bellizzimo Beauty so that

we start with hair and makeup that doesn't hide who you are, but

highlights your best features. I focus on putting you in your best light

(literally, lighting is just as important as posing!).

Yes, after a shoot a client may still see flaws with themselves, because

I am NOT going to photoshop you into a shiny plastic barbie doll. I'm not

going to look at any part of you and tell you it's not beautiful or good

enough.

Instead, we're going to spend the session having fun, focusing on the

things you like best about yourself, making you feel amazing so that you

exude amazing, and posing you in ways that fit your body just the way you are.

I want to show you that you are beautiful BECAUSE of who you are, in every way -- even with these things you call flaws.

So, to embrace loving myself the way I am -- here's an unedited shot the boyfriend took of me. I see this photo, I see my flaws, and I choose to see it all together as beautiful.