Nude image of a woman photographed by Inner Spirit Photography Studio Calgary's Mark Laurie.

I love Dove. Along their way to sell products, they have a mission to improve how women see themselves. I think their intent is to actually go beyond that, and to help change how women see themselves. From that comes confidence and a projection of real beauty. This is dear to our hearts since that is one of the visions we have for Inner Spirit Photography.

In their latest viewpoint changer, they have enlisted the help of a police sketch artist. While he does not see the women he sketches until after the experiment, the reveal is dramatic. From behind a curtain each woman describes her face to the artist, then someone who just met her in the hall also describes her face, as the artist sketches both.

The woman comes in after to see the startling difference between how she sees herself and how the world sees her. What is common is the exaggeration and even creation of perceived flaws. Take a look at the video at the end of this article.

We often get the same reaction during a portrait session. We had one client who, as she looked at her image on the display screen on the camera back, wondered how I was able to get another woman’s body to blend with her head in the camera so quickly.

It does not matter if we are doing nudes, boudoir, glamour or even fashion, there is often a struggle to align what is seen on the camera screen with how women see themselves.  It has become more common today than when we started back in the ’80s. At that time, 25 billion photographs were taken a year, but now 360 billion photographs are taken a year. [ref: FStoppers]

So for most women, nearly every time they turn around, a click goes off. But while everyone is used to that, the self-image abuse abounds because most of those images are unflattering, either by accident or design. This reinforces the flawed vision that we develop of ourselves.

But here, I believe, is the trick. If you know that a bad photograph is a reflection of the photographer – either through poor tools, lack of skill, evil intent or just bad luck – your self-image can constantly improve. Then know that every image of you that looks amazing, honestly reflects you, and is not so much the photographer being brilliant but rather just getting it right and honestly revealing the real you.

Not to underrate the photographer, because their talent can really shine when they go beyond just having you look great, to telling the story of you and imbedding emotional connections into the image. That is a blog for another day, though.

In knowing that “bad” photographs are not showing the “real” you, that negates their power over your self-image.  Your mind instantly registers a flag, “not really you but a likeness”. Instead, linger on every great image of you so your mind can register that this is you, and this is how those who love you see you and know you.

It’s your turn, how do bad and good photographs of you make you feel?

Watch this Dove video, it’s

Dove Real Beauty Sketches

Posted by: Mark Laurie

World-renown photoartist Mark Laurie of Inner Spirit Photography specializes in Female Portraiture: nudes, boudoir, prenatal & fine art. His empowering images of women reveal their heart & soul.