by Cindy Bischoff
What is Confidence?
In western culture we tend to think of confidence as this attractive quality that everybody wants to have, but only super successful, insanely beautiful people actually embody.
The typical definition of confidence goes something like this definition I found on the personalexcellence.co blog…
”Self-confidence refers to assuredness in your own worth, abilities and power, regardless of the situation you are in. Someone who is self-confident has a strong sense of belief and certainty in himself/herself. He/she exudes calmness, composure and is self-aware.”
Why do we struggle with confidence?
Is it really a surprise why we struggle to stand in our own worth, strength and power, when every signal the media, and our culture, sends us says that we are unworthy? That who and what we are is never enough?
When I Googled “how to be confident” I got back around 129 MILLION hits. That’s 129,000,000!
I found an endless stream of websites and blogs giving advice on everything from how to stand, what to wear, how to measure the grip of your handshake, to how long to hold eye-contact; and many other tips and tricks designed to make it LOOK like you’re confident, even when you’re not.
Especially when you’re not.
With so many voices clamoring to be heard, and so much advice that is manipulative and conniving, it’s no wonder the source of self-confidence feels like a treasure map whose “X” is always in motion, so, by the time you start digging, it’s already moved to another location. An obscure vision you need to lie and deceive, or get somebody’s help to locate, because if you don’t, you can never pin it down, much less embody it.
The elusiveness of confidence’s tangible origins creates a scenario wherein it is easily distorted…for a profit.
Even if you can’t accurately define the source of confidence, you know a confident person when they walk into a room because they exude that elusive quality.
As a culture, we have this romanticized notion that the stereotypical self-assured, super successful, insanely beautiful bastion of confidence is ALWAYS cool, ALWAYS calm, ALWAYS confident, and that is just not true.
Peel back the layers, climb beneath the masks of manipulation and deception, and all of this begs the question, how do we believe in ourselves? How do we authentically exude certainty, calmness and composure when we are anything but?
It all seems so daunting, and overwhelming, but, while developing confidence is not necessarily easy, it is surprisingly simple…
There is nothing contrived about true confidence and it never comes at some else’s expense. It does not matter what you own, what you drive, where you live, nor the size of your butt and thighs!
Confidence, true self-assurance, comes from trusting yourself to handle your life. Period.
When you boil it down, all that means is that, when shit comes up, you handle it with as much grace as you are capable of in that moment. (And let me tell you, shit ALWAYS comes up!)
When you’ve established a track-record of handling stuff well, you trust yourself to handle your life. And when you truly trust yourself, you naturally stand straighter, and like yourself. Does not mean you don’t get scared, or nervous, or anxious.
Cultivating confidence it is not necessarily easy, especially in light of our social and cultural conditioning, but having confidence really is that simple. As trust in yourself is built by consistent action, confidence is cultivated.
As I said, being confident is not easy, but it really is as simple as trusting yourself to handle life’s curveballs.
Cindy Bischoff Bio
Cindy Bischoff’s work centers on fostering and empowering women to accept themselves, to live deeply, and fully embrace life as they are. Not just the good stuff, but all of it! And not at some mythical point in time, like when they’ve lost enough weight to be worthy, but NOW! She is a freelance travel writer, public speaker, blogger, podcaster, and Certified Infinite Possibilities Trainer. Cindy co-hosts the “Go Deeper” podcast, and blogs on her website at www.cindybischoff.com. You can follow Cindy on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @CindyLousMuse. And be sure to keep an eye out for her upcoming book, “When Forgiveness Isn’t Enough To Set You Free.” Cindy is also the creator of www.congruencehub.com website and “Congruence Hub” podcast, both of which go live on February 1, 2017. When your thoughts, words, and actions align, you find congruence. When you find congruence in your life, magic happens!
Many people believe they’re “too old” for boudoir photography if they’re over 30. To that, I say bullshit!!! Sensuality has no age limit, neither does boudoir photography. As women, we grow into our sensuality as we age. Like a fine wine, we get better the older we get. We learn our bodies and what makes us feel good, we connect with ourselves in ways that we could only dream of in our 20’s. It’s such an honor when Max and I are given the opportunity to capture that sensuality in a boudoir session for a finely aged client.
Meet Karen. She’s 53 and a mother of two. She did this session for herself first and foremost, having gorgeous photos to gift to her husband was just a bonus. Do you think her photos are beautiful? Tell her in the comments! It feels good to get encouragement when we do something that makes us nervous! It takes a lot of courage for our clients to share their photos with the world, make it worth it for her!
“My biggest fear was that my photos would look horrible. I actually started to feel queasy on the way to the shoot! I thought I would not like any of them. I thought that every extra pound or dimple would show and I would be disappointed. It was just the opposite! I teared up during the viewing. They worked their magic and I had a hard time wittling my list down. And I hate to take photos! Crazy huh?!” Continue reading →
A lot of times when Max and I tell people what we do, the person we’re talking to remarks that they’re too curvy to do a boudoir session, using terms much harsher than “curvy” to describe themselves. “Oh, if I could lose xx more pounds I may consider that”. It really hurts my heart to hear statements like these. Every. Single. Woman. Deserves to feel beautiful. It hurts to think that there are women out there, loads of them, who don’t feel beautiful because in their mind they weigh too much. Because at some point in their lives, or at many points in their lives, they were reminded that society reserves the “beauty” title for only those thin enough to grace the cover of our magazines. Well this is bullshit.
All of our clients are all brave to trust us to photograph them in the most vulnerable way possible, but our curvy clients are extra brave because not only are they allowing themselves to be vulnerable, but they’re also saying “EFF what society’s definition of beautiful is! I’m beautiful too, damn it!”
“Before the session, my biggest fear was that I wouldn’t LOVE any of the pictures because of my weight. I’m always self-conscious and there is always something I don’t like about myself. I was SO wrong. There are no words to describe the way I feel about my pictures. Jen and Max know just what to do and just how to pose you to make you look flawless and make you feel incredibly sexy. When I saw those pictures for the first time, I was beyond impressed. I couldn’t believe that was me!” Continue reading →
I can’t even describe the sound I made when I took the first shot on the “new” set of black on black. It was somewhere between a gasp, a squee and a moan. It was barely audible, but she heard it. Then I had to explain myself. “I’m sorry, I don’t know what that noise was… I’m just really excited about this!” There were sporadic gasps and “Ooohhhh my god!!!” throughout the rest of the shoot. And laughing. Yes, lots of laughing.
The whole setup of using our black backdrop with black sheets on a bed was actually Max’s idea, but he loves me so he let me shoot it when he saw how excited I was (like a kid on Christmas morning). Throughout the whole first set I continued to coo and moan at how smooth her skin looked against the stark black sheets and backdrop, and how amazing the contrast was. What I like most about this style is that the woman is the main focus, nothing else in the photo matters. Your eyes are drawn to her and everything else falls off into the background. Love I tell ya, this is love!!!
We could not have asked for a better client to test things out on than Jamie. She was willing to try anything and was patient as we were testing new territories. She also brought her own ideas! Her and her husband love to read together, so she brought a bunch of books. She brought an apple and was telling us that she has a thing for apples. When we were deciding what outfits to shoot we said we would do a nude set with the apple and she agreed to it. It wasn’t until later that we found out she brought the apple as a snack, not a prop!
Here is what Jamie had to say about her experience:
“I was nervous in the beginning – of course, but, again, I was surprised how comfortable I was hanging out in all my glory.
You have a lot of direction, so you kind of forget why you are there. Nothing felt forced. Jen and Max were extremely
professional and pleasant to be around. I was in shock to see my photos in the end; they were amazing.
I felt like we were able to create something together – as a team.”
Ready for your turn? Click the “book a shoot” button on the top right of the screen! (or click here) Call me if you have any questions! 225-571-3668
(and don’t forget we have a killer holiday special going on right now here!)
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But she wanted to be sexy, she wanted to do a sexy boudoir photography session. She just didn’t think she had it in her to pose in sexy ways, or to make sexy faces. For some reason I just love it when clients tell us this before the session starts. I accept it as my personal challenge to prove they can be sexy. Every person has it in them to be sexy. At a biological level we are all sexual beings, some just need a bit of guidance, and that’s what we’re here for. Trust that we will carry you through the session and you will get exactly what you came for. Whether that be sexy and passionate photos, or soft and beautiful photos. I can’t stress enough not to worry about knowing how to pose or make facial expressions. It is our job to guide you into seductive poses and direct you from head to toe! We focus on working with everyday women, most of which have never been professionally photographed except for senior or wedding photos (and that’s a completely different ball game)! We will tell you exactly how to pose, how to hold your hands, how to achieve the perfect facial expressions… all while making it look completely natural and effortless! After the session almost all of our clients say they were nervous before we started, and the reoccurring theme to the cause of the nerves is almost always “I didn’t think I would know how to pose”. And almost every single one of them said their nervousness melted away immediately after starting their session. Here’s what was said about our most recent session:
“I was truly worried about feeling comfortable, being “sexy”, and posing in the nude.
Jen and Max made me feel comfortable from the second I walked into the door, to
when I left. They are both very professional, walked me through every pose, and
made it seem almost normal that I was posing in lingerie on a chair or bed,
as if it was an everyday thing.”
I would like to know how many women would love to do a boudoir session more than anything, but just feel like they wouldn’t do well and don’t have enough confidence to just bite the bullet and call me. I’d be willing to bet that number is pretty high. If you are one of those ladies that have been following our work for a while now and just haven’t called yet, I’m talking directly to you right now. You have nothing to fear. I promise you. If you are afraid that you will not like what you see, I can promise you will fall in love with yourself in ways that you didn’t know were possible. You will see yourself in a new light. It’s not that we’re going to transform you completely into someone you’re not, you will still very much be you. It’s just that you will see the best version of you, a fully comfortable in your skin and sensual you.
If you really want to do a boudoir session, but aren’t sure that it’s for you, do me a favor… call me. Let me know what’s going on in your head, be straight forward and completely honest with how you feel. Even if you don’t know what to say, just call and say, “Hey Jen, I want to do a boudoir session but I’m crazy nervous”. There will be no regrets in making that call, but you may regret passing up the opportunity to do a session.
The following photos are from the lovely woman who said, “I don’t think I can do sexy.” So you tell me, can she “do” sexy, or what?!
“Today you’re going to learn how to do this” says the instructor as she grabs the pole and her body glides through the air with her feet pointing straight up towards the ceiling, head to the floor. “it’s called an inversion”…. “Ha! Yeah…. right!” was my first thought. Continue reading →
Katy applied for our model call. In her words, it was a “what the hell, it couldn’t hurt” kinda thing. Later she said that she didn’t expect to get picked at all (which is what everyone has said so far, lol). It was an immediate yes for us. Her reasoning sold us completely on the idea and we wanted to help her in her mission to educate people that just because she’s in a wheelchair doesn’t mean she’s not sexy. She is HELLA sexy! As shown in the photos. 😉 Continue reading →
“I don’t think many of us realize how often we look at ourselves in the mirror without really seeing ourselves. I put on makeup every day and see eyes, nose, lips, a belly that I think is too big… but this experience showed me an image of myself as a complete individual. The photos captured a spark that’s in me, that I had forgotten I have. If a picture is worth a thousand words, that remembrance is worth a thousand pictures.” -Sarah Continue reading →
“Oh my God” she said, then a sharp intake of air. A sniffle from Max. I knew the waterworks were knocking on my eyelids. Karen had her hands to her face almost the whole time she was seeing her photos for the first time. As she wiped her eyes my tears spilled over. I glanced at Max to see him wiping away tears as well. Continue reading →
3 Ways to Look and Feel Sexy
Women today face a lot of pressure to look good. With the all of the preconceived perceptions of how a person should look, it only gets harder and harder for a girl to appreciate her own body. However, often the best way to look sexy is to work from the inside out. It is hard to look sexy, if you do not feel sexy. How you feel is reflected in how you dress. If you are confident in yourself and your body, it will show through in the way that you look. With that in mind, here are some ways in which you can try your best to look and feel sexy.
Continue reading →