Has your body ever held you back from doing something that you may enjoy? Megs Elemans is a boudoir photographer from Canada who is here today to explore the powerful ability that photography has to help you find more peace with your body.
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Small Steps Necessary To Love Your Right Now Body
By honoring women’s bodies and respecting where they are at in their journey, Megs is supporting the process of moving rather than arriving. Even if boudoir is out of your comfort zone, Megs non-judgemental and caring ambiance may convince you to start taking the small steps necessary to love your right now body.
Everything from body acceptance, tips for decreasing anxiousness in front of the camera, and the stigma Megs received from postpartum images are on the table today as we explore what it means to find a way back to yourself through the art of photography.
Instead of hiding the parts of yourself, you may not love, Megs is here to empower you to do whatever the hell you want with your body, no matter what size. Are you ready to accept how your body evolves with you over time? Share what you loved most about Megs refreshing and candid approach to self-love and acceptance in the comments below.
On Today’s Episode
- How photography can help you find peace and growth with your current body (11:25)
- Tracing back the shame and guilt many women feel around their bodies (18:52)
- Addressing our society’s obsession with ‘arriving’ rather than the journey (22:45)
- The role of motherhood when dealing with unrealistic diet culture standards (28:04)
- Tips for anyone who is uncomfortable with the camera and wants to try it again (36:25)
Resources Mentioned In This Show
“I realized that I had stumbled onto something kind of profound here in that there is something incredibly concentrated and powerful in these sessions I do with women where they can step into themselves in this really raw and really quick way.” (8:41)
“The difference between a lot of other boudoir photographers that I see is that I make no attempt to hide the parts of yourself that you might not like, I don’t use clever lighting or clever poses and I don’t really dabble with photoshop at all, and I pose women in bigger bodies the same way that I pose women in smaller bodies.” (13:43)
“I toe that line between honoring those things that you don’t like about yourself but also not overtly going out of my way to hide them because I don’t want to reinforce this hate that you have for whatever specific part of your body.” (20:26)
“I don’t need you to love yourself, there will always be things about yourself that you don’t like, body or personality, that’s not the point. I need you to not let your body stop you from doing things that you like to do or might like to do if you were “10 pounds lighter”.” (24:33)
“I know that if you have a disgust with what I am doing, that is something that is going on with you, and it has nothing to do with me.” (35:22)
Finding Self Love Through A Lens w/ Megs Elemans FULL TRANSCRIPT
This is Episode 291 of the Listen To Your Body podcast. On today’s show. I’m sitting down with photographer Megs Elemans and she’s sharing with us how to find more peace with your body through the art of photography.
The next evolution of Harder To Kill Radio is here, Welcome to the Listen To Your Body podcast. On this show, we’ll explore the intersection of body, mind and soul health and help you reclaim your abilities to eat and move more intuitively. Hear your body’s signals, and trust yourself more deeply.
I’m Steph Gaudreau, a certified intuitive eating counselor, nutritional therapy practitioner and strength coach. On this podcast, you can expect to hear expert guest interviews and solo chats that will help you deepen your trust with the food movement and your body. Remember to hit the subscribe button and share
This podcast with your friends and loved ones. Now, onto the show.
Hey there, welcome to the show. Thanks so much for hanging out with me today on this episode of the podcast. I hope you’re well. And I appreciate that you’re taking some time out of your day to spend it with me and my guest today who I’ll introduce in a moment. First, hit the subscribe button, push that subscribe button on your podcast app. That way new folks will oftentimes discover the show when you kind of organically give the show your vote of approval by subscribing, so that’s number one. Number two, if you liked today’s episode, please share it on social media. And you can tag myself and also Megs and she shares her handle at the end of the episode and will link that in the show notes.
But if you like today’s show something resonated and hit home for you share it with us. We would love to hear what it was and be able to partake in your learnings. That’s always so very powerful. And the last thing I have to say before I introduce Megs is that my book that came out last year, the Core Four embrace your body, own your power. Very, very soon, within the next two weeks, I believe we will be out in paperback. Typically when a book comes out and comes out in hardcover, it takes about a year for the book to come out in paperback. So if you’re a paperback book lover, you’ve been waiting for it to come out on paperback, now is your chance You can preorder it now apparently on the places you would buy books. So you can check that out if you really would love a paperback copy. But what I’ve noticed in the last few weeks is that the hardcover has been discounted even more. So if you’ve been waiting to check out the book, now might be your chance. It’s a lot more affordable and also gives you more options.
Audiobook, paperback to be coming out soon in the hardcover. Okay, so today’s guest on the podcast is Megs Elemans. She is a photographer from Canada. And Megs has had a really interesting arc to her business. She did a lot of boudoir photography. And through that practice, and she’ll share more with you on the show, but through that art, through helping folks get in front of the camera, she sort of by default started to really help people make peace with their bodies. They’re here and now body. So the reason that I wanted to have Megs on the show is not only is she doing some really interesting things in her work as a photographer, but of course, seeing yourself in photos can be really tough, depending on where you’re at in your journey to step away from diet culture to untangle from it.
Seeing photos, especially if they’re of what your body looks like before and what it looks like now, and maybe it’s bigger now, or it’s changed in a way that you don’t love. That can be a really tough thing to handle, it can be a really tough thing to work through. And then we have the whole layer of diet culture and only typically seeing certain types of bodies that fit a particular standard, right? Young, white, thin, able-bodied, cis-gendered, etc, etc. So it’s such a delicate topic. It’s such a nuanced topic. We didn’t get into everything today, but it’s one of the reasons why you might think, why is there a photographer on this show, and it’s really because of the work that Megs is doing with the intersection of body neutrality and body acceptance. So I hope you’re gonna really love this show. And without further ado, let’s go ahead and dig into this episode.
Megs, how are you?
Good? How are you?
I am so great. Thank you so much for joining me today on the show.
I’m excited. what’s going on up north in the yonder land right now?
Well, right now it’s just we’re having a big bout of rain. So it’s a lot of time inside right now. But yeah, we’re just, we’re just pedaling and working on the grind over here. Yeah. Every day,
For sure. So I’m in Southern California and you are in Canada. I have had the wonderful pleasure of connecting with so many Canadians lately. I don’t know what that’s all about, but I like it because y’all have just such a great spirit and great energy around you. And you know, when we first connected on Instagram, I was immediately really captivated by what you do because I was a sort of a food photographer for a while, but the idea of photographing people, to me as a photographer was like, the most terrifying thing, you know, I could set out a plate of salad and the salad doesn’t move
It’s not, you know, feeling a certain way about being there. And so for me, it was through photography, it was always a really, I don’t know, I found it to be quite easy once the fundamentals were there. But, you know, for anybody that doesn’t really know you what, what drew you to photography and specifically photographing people?
Well, it’s funny that you say that because my husband is the one that got me into photography, technically, I would say I just kind of he had like a, an old canon. And he’s very much all about like landscape and wildlife, and like is terrified of photographing people. So we kind of run opposite ends of the thing, and I kind of took over his house.
Bobby and I mean I originally started in the classic similar way that I feel a lot of photographers started I did you know families I did free sessions that are really cheap sessions I did a couple of weddings and a couple just kind of normal photography not that I’m abnormal, but it just kind of lacks that like a component of how am I being of service once you do so many families sessions you like get really hard into a routine you kind of give them the same prompts, all the photos kind of look similar. And you are it is gratifying in the sense that you’re capturing memories for people and especially because like mothers in particular, so often don’t get in front of the camera and they kind of miss these chunks of time with their kids. So it’s gratifying in that sense, but I just felt like I was being fully of service and I hadn’t really fully walked into my kind of thing with photography and then I did like a free, just to see how it would go, boudoir photoshoot with this friend of mine who’s kind of like modely by nature. So she was really fun to work with. But it was interesting because I saw kind of quite viscerally this like pocket of unfolding, as she like completely open in front of me from the start of the session to the end of the session, she was like a totally different person. And then I realized that I had stumbled onto something kind of profound here, in that there’s something incredibly concentrated and powerful in these sessions that I do with women where they can like step into themselves in this like really raw and almost like really quick way. And then I was a whole than I like the door blew open and there’s like, several learning curves that came after that in terms of holding space in terms of representation, working with women of different body sizes, honoring where women are at with their bodies and pushing them to go further with but also respecting you know, where they are in their journey and so it kind of, and then I, once I figured it out on it, I was like, Oh, this is my thing. And so I do have like, bigger, grander goals in terms of like, I want to do like workshops, and I want to get people together and I want to teach people to be comfortable in front of the camera. But right now, I just got to get it chugging along on the photography side of things before I step into a bunch of other stuff. So that’s kind of how I got started.
You know, one of the things that I was really, once we use, so we tend to be listening, you know, normally if somebody is a little bit new to my world, I try to get on the phone with them to make sure it’s a really good fit. So I think chemistry and just that report is really important if somebody is going to come on this podcast. And so you and I got on the phone a few weeks ago and had a really great chat and I just loved learning about the sort of the foundation of what’s behind the type of photography that you do because if somebody goes to your Instagram account, they can see, you’re obviously photographing people in somewhat like vulnerable situate not vulnerable situations, but like they’re, you know, they’re giving themselves to the camera there. They’re allowing themselves to be a little bit like literally more exposed if they’re doing something that involves less clothing. And I just really thought that it was, I love connecting with you about that and learning more because I know for me, I like to be you mentioned this earlier. I mean, I don’t have kids, but being behind the camera was always something and has always been something that I would gravitate to because it would mean I didn’t need to be in the photos and I know that a lot of people can relate to that.
Probably listening to this show, as well, because of the nature of what this show is about. So I just appreciate it. Being able to hear more behind what you’re doing and the why. And yeah, there was something that you said when we had that initial chat about, you know, what this type of photography experience really allows people to do in terms of their own growth. And I’m wondering if you can talk about that.
Yeah. So I mean, there’s several kinds of avenues you can take when you’re trying to reconnect with your self and your sense of body image. And I think that now, especially now, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to like, all of a sudden arrive somewhere and be in love with ourselves again, and the thing that I try and really drill in gently to my clients is that, you know, this is a small step out of many, and it’s not a linear journey, you know, you’re gonna have really good days and really
bad days and you know, when you arrive in a place with your body is when you, you’re at a net positive. And so the experience of having a photoshoot like I remember being younger and thinking about boudoir as a concept and being that it was like, weird and like silly almost in a way. And that’s before I had ever really experienced it. And it was actually when I started doing a self-portrait project and getting in front of the camera myself, that I really started to feel kind of not to the same effects but feel a part of what my clients feel, in terms of what you’re doing with me is you’re allowing yourself for a lot of women for the first time to really be seen in a real, unfiltered unprocessed kind of way. And so it can be really terrifying and anxiety and nervousness is a normal feeling when you walk into our session and I honor that and like we spend a lot of time just kind of getting comfortable.
But like 99% of my clients leave feeling like a totally different version of themselves and feeling really disarmed like especially when they get their photos back. I always preface it by saying you know you’re not you might not love all your photos because I make the difference between me and like a lot of boudoir photographers that I see is I make no attempt to hide the parts of yourself that you might not like I don’t use clever lighting or clever poses I’m I don’t even really dabble in Photoshop at all. So they’re very and I pose like women in bigger bodies the same way that I pose women in smaller bodies. So it’s sometimes when they get their photos back, they don’t like them and I tell them that that’s normal. And that if you leave them and you come back to them with fresher eyes a little bit later, you might grow to love them but a part of it is like seeing this like radical visual honesty and seeing your body and allowing yourself to be captured in such a way. And it’s really like the most concentrated sort of healing that I’ve seen in anything. Because I think for so many women, we spend I know I did for myself spent years avoiding my own image, I wouldn’t look at mirrors, I wouldn’t look and reflective surfaces. And so when I started taking my own picture, it was really kind of it took the power away that I had given my complex body image issue. It’s a good way and all of a sudden, I was like, I’m not sure what I was so scared of, I’m not sure what I was avoiding. Because here I am. And what was I? Yeah, like, what was I so afraid of? And so I think that it’s such it’s incredibly powerful. I’ve never experienced kind of this power in anything else. I mean, haven’t done everything but
What do you think you attribute that to? I mean, you know, a client comes in they have this experience with you. Obviously, you’re creating the container the brave and safe space for them. What do you think is the catalyst behind that growth during these sessions?
Um, I think that it’s definitely part of me like I’m very it’s funny because I’m quite like an introvert by nature and I need a lot of downtimes. But when I step into a session, I kind of like, Dawn, my other robe which is like this really like I create a lot of comforts. I create a lot of fun, I created an environment where, you know, you set the pace and you show me and so usually, in the beginning, there’s quite a lot of awkwardness, quite a lot of shyness. But like nine out of 10 of my clients will end up at the end, nearly naked, if not naked. I’ve gotten this like kind of, I don’t even know how it happened, this rep that I’m like the naked photographer, which I am not complaining about, but like when people contact me now they’re like, do I have to be naked? And I’m like, ‘No, you don’t have to be naked’. I like I always say, I recognize that there’s a spectrum of empowered women, right. And for some people, that’s fully clothed, and for some people, that’s fully naked, and you get to decide where you’re at. And I just kind of facilitate that process. But as soon as they get past like the hump of nervousness and it goes quickly, like 10 minutes in all of a sudden they’re like a whole other person. And I think it’s partly because usually I’m a stranger, so there’s no like, preconceived baggage or notions that we have with each other, like we’re just showing up here in this space and time really briefly as we are. So there’s no real like, extra added pressure. And then they like, they like, will say to me, I don’t know what to do with my arms, my hands, my body, my legs, like you’ll have to aggressively pose me and so on.
You know, say don’t worry, like I have kind of a Rolodex in my head I pose to be generally flattering, etc, etc. And then when we get halfway through like I find that I don’t need to pose as aggressively because they’ll just get into this flow state. And they’ll be like turn and by the end, they all turn into little mini models, like it’s the funniest thing ever. And I always say to them, you’re a natural and they are. They always think I’m just blowing smoke, but they are like, they get totally into a flow state and then they like, leave my session on air. And I’m like, see, we got it. We all got it. You just need this space to be able to unearth it.
Yeah, I have to be honest. And you’re talking about being the naked photographer. Part of me is like, thinking about all of this stuff that I have around that. I mean, my mom doesn’t listen to this podcast. Like we kind of grew up in a naked, like a naked household.
At least like my parents, my mom especially you got she’s gonna she’ll die or she hears this, anyway. Like she didn’t have anything about that. And, you know, part of me I think growing up Catholic growing up as a young girl who was painfully aware of her body not being like other kids, like a lot of that one into the body image struggles that I dealt with and, you know, I realized and then fully, fully owning that there’s a lot of privilege in my own body image issues like compared to other folks and what they’re going through. But nevertheless, when you’re talking about like, being a naked photographer, part of me was like, I don’t know if I would want to be LA, you know, so it’s interesting. It kind of is a great reflection point for me to trace back and think, you know, where did that come from? Yeah, where did it come from? Where did that sense of like, there’s something wrong with my body come from? Do you think a lot of your clients are also dealing with those things?
Oh, that and more, you know, I get clients that come in with like, with shame with shyness, you know, they’re having problems and XYZ area of their lives, I always get that I need to lose 10 more pounds, I need to get a 10 I need to have a zit in the middle of my forehead. Like I get a lot of reasons why they do not quote-unquote there yet, which I just always rattle into my whole you know, ethos about how like you’re never fully going to be there. And if you wait too long, you’re gonna miss documenting yourself at all parts of your journey. And like the first time I ever did a paid session, I was super nervous because you know, someone’s paying me to hold space for them to be vulnerable.
But it was bigger It was a woman and a bigger body and all of a sudden like felt this kind of like preconceived pressure that I had to, like, hide parts of herself because I knew because you can tell as a photographer, I can tell right away what you don’t like about yourself, just by the way you carry yourself. And so I tow that line between like honoring that you don’t like those things by yourself but also not overly going out of my way to hide them because I don’t want to reinforce this hate that you have for whatever specific part of your body, it’s like nine times out of 10 the belly area.
But after I moved kind of through that, sorry, I’m kind of jumping back to that first paid session with a bigger body. Doing it was kind of like getting it out of the way and then all of a sudden, I was like, there’s no reason that we need to do this any differently than we would with somebody who is thin than presenting. You know, like, as soon as I got over that, and now I’ve seen all manner of bodies you know, like every size, every shape.
I mean, a few colors, I’m in a very white area, but so now I just, I think they’re all so beautiful, which is funny because I grew up in a household where I was told that I was fat at 16. And like I had a lot of body image issues myself, working with these women and seeing them evolve on their own has done wonders for my own body image. And now I’m just like a fierce cheerleader for coming in, come in, bring your baggage, we’re not going to work through it, because like, we only have 45 minutes with each other. But we’re just going to take a moment where you’re just going to forget about it and you’re going to breathe into your body and for like 45 minutes, we’re just going to honor where you are, right here. Right now. I’m not here to tell you what you should be doing differently or better. I’m just here to hold space for you as you are. And that concept is freeing from like most of my clients.
Actually sounds powerful. I know a lot of people, especially the folks that I work with my clients, my community are, really, they’re really anchored in the idea that something has to happen in their life, whether it is you know, changing their body. Typically the desire is to make the body smaller. It is achieving a certain milestone reaching a certain goal that they have, like they, they really and I was here, I was at this point to in my life, and I still have places where I realized my attachment, but I really attached to the sense that their confidence is dependent on the achievement of the thing, right, the attainment of the external thing. How do you sense that through your photography? You’re helping people see that the reverse is possible, right? We’re sort of like, able to step into that moment and when we are then the feelings of confidence come rather than, like, we have to feel confident before we can go do the thing.
Yeah, that’s like my, one of my biggest things is I try and like, my Instagram is like part, showcase my work and part. Let me yell at you about having a body better body image.
And a big part of it is that I think as a culture, we’re a little obsessed about arriving. I think that we all have like, you know, we graduate high school and then we go to school, we go to university or whatever, and then we arrive into adulthood, and then we arrive in a marriage and I feel like people view their lives as like a series of Okay, now I’m here. Okay, now I’m going to go here, and it’s like, that’s not really how life works. It’s more of like we arrive and then we crash and burn and then we arrive, crash and burn. And so I always showed about this like nonlinear journey that you’ll go on. And life is really more like a series of waves that you just have to ride. And when you take out that concept of a has to arrive, then you can do anything you want. And so for me, my thing is, I don’t need you to love yourself, I like there will always be things about yourself that you don’t like body or personality. But that’s not the point I need you to not let your body stop you from doing things that you want to do or that you might like to do if you were quote, unquote, 10 pounds lighter. And if you’re not careful, you’re going to go through your whole life thinking and hoping that you’ll arrive but when you but you never really do arrive. So you’re going to miss all of this. You’re going to miss it when you return pounds later because, in 10 years, you’ll gain 10 pounds. And then and then you’ll be like, Oh no, I need to lose another 10 pounds. Like once we take that away and we just go through life.
With this notion of, I’m always just moving, I’m never really arriving until I’m dead, I guess, then you all of a sudden have the freedom to do whatever the hell you want with your body. Right? And if your body is the thing that’s stopping you from it, such as pictures, but if you’re, if it’s the one thing that’s stopping you from going on a date, or going out in public, or getting your photos done, or whatever, then that’s where the problem is, right? The problem isn’t with you. And like, I always, I always am thankful and grateful for the people and clients that trust me to hold space for them to be vulnerable because it’s like a big thing. Being mostly naked in front of a stranger and it’s like a big step. And so I think some people see my work and they’re like, I’m not ready to be naked in front of you. And I’m like, you don’t have to be you don’t even have to book a session with me, but where can we start with you today so that you’re moving towards that not letting your the body stop you. Right and maybe that ends 10 years from now in a naked photoshoot. Maybe you get there but it, you know, it happens over time.
Yeah, I appreciate that. I hear it. I think what I hear you’re saying too is like having a fully naked photoshoot isn’t like the gold standard. And I think that comes up a lot in sort of body image conversations is something like, well, until I can wear a bikini or two-piece or show my midsection at the pool or the beach like I haven’t arrived. Right. So there’s like that, that concept of arrival again of like, until and unless I get to this point with this two-piece bathing suit. I’m still not there yet. And somehow we, you know, we collectively, culturally still turn it into this destination. Mm-hmm. And I think what I hear you saying is that you’re trying to help move people away from that. Like, we’re gonna have to get to this body destination before we can actually become more embodied and see ourselves in images and things like that.
Yep. Oh, go ahead. No, I don’t know when I was you go.
I was gonna say talk to me about. So you became a mom about a year ago. And you have been doing some like maternity photography and things like that. Talk to me about that experience. Like what about that has been different for you. In terms of photographing folks, you know, there are so many people in my community who really, I mean, like, let’s be let’s be frank, it’s diet culture really, is fucking atrocious for new parents, you know, pregnant people, things like that. And the pressure is insane. Like it’s it’s just unrealistic. So what are some of the things that surprised you about maybe not only your own journey but doing this kind of photography?
Well, I can certainly level now with moms in a way that I felt like I couldn’t before, is postpartum was it was a really hard time for me and it was a hard time because I had this like additional layer of guilt for having a hard time. So it’s like, Here I am with my perfect angel baby who has no problems. I had a great birth I had, I didn’t you know, tear I didn’t have to have a C section I gave birth at home in my bathtub like I really had quite a magical birth. But I was like, you know, your body has gone through it at the trauma of sorts, your hormones are out of control. And I just felt all of the things all at once and didn’t know how to balance them all and didn’t know how to rest and didn’t know how to ask for help. And so I know that within my circles I run in, I see a lot of advocacy for postpartum. And it’s needed because I think once the baby’s out, there’s this tendency to forget about the mama because it does become all about the baby. You know, that’s why in another life, I maybe would have hired a postpartum doula or something like that, because you really need so many things. And I needed to find that over time away back to myself, but I was kind of floating in this space of, you know, my birth and my transition into motherhood. It was an evolution of self and it certainly wasn’t a step backward. I feel like a lot of women are presented with this notion that they need to bounce back and they need to get their pre-baby body back. But that’s not what motherhood is. You turn into a different version of yourself and so that will be reflected in my body in a way. I’ll never be the same.
My hips set wider now, things fit differently. Now my boobs are different because I breastfed you know, and I was hard on myself for that, but not for very long. Because I do work in this space. So it’s hard for me to be hard on myself when I’m like preaching this stuff. So, you know, I always just say to myself, you’ve evolved as a person and solely your body. And so the relationship I have with my body now is the same one that I want my daughter to have. And I’m so cautious because I have a daughter. I don’t know if I would be the same amount of cautious if I had a son because I know that there’s just societal garbage that goes around being a girl. So I treat myself the way I want to treat her. I treat. I, you know, I try to fuel my body with food. That doesn’t make me feel like shit, but I also don’t hate myself. If I eat a cheeseburger. I just she’s totally flipped how I treat myself on its head.
In a way that I will never return back to so shortly after she gave, or I gave birth to her, sorry, I did this like, postpartum photo projects where I just wanted to take pictures of women in a really raw capacity like kind of shortly after they gave birth, I had several that had just given birth several that had given birth a couple of years ago. And I really wanted to highlight that a mother’s body isn’t there purely as a vessel to deliver this child and then, you know, be the food machine for it. And then she’s just got to shrink back to how she was before. I mean, some mamas do, but some don’t. And it was really a great way for me to came at the right time because it was a great way for me to explore the relationship I had with myself after I gave birth. And the way I approached mothers in my business and the way I photograph people and it was like for the most part, like most things, it was for the most part well received, particularly by other mothers. But by the photography community, it wasn’t terribly well-received. But that was a big learning curve in terms of presenting my work on the big bad internet, but also be just reconnecting and figuring out how to sit in my body again after because you know, you’re pregnant for nine months, this like little being is inside of you. You can feel it moving around, and then all of a sudden, she’s out and you feel really like empty and deflated. And so you have to kind of sit back into that, and I think I’ll be more prepared if we have another baby because the biggest thing that I was mad about, I had a terrible pregnancy I was sick for six out of nine months, I was off I was a nightmare. I was a nightmare to be around. I hated everybody.
But everybody kind of warned me about that because my mom and grandma had terrible pregnancies and they’re like, oh, get ready for mom brain. Get ready for morning sickness. I was really well prepared. But nobody told me what life was like after she was out those first three months are insane. And I felt like I wasn’t included in a conversation. But I was, but it’s now a secret that I know. And then when you get there into postpartum and all the other mothers are like, Oh, yeah, we know. And I’m like, Why doesn’t anybody talking about this? This seems unfair.
Do you think that the criticism from the community to your peers, basically right, do you think that the criticism would have been the same if the subject was not, if your photography subjects were different? In other words, do you think that there was a layer of ickiness going on? Because, you know, we’re talking about not just women, but women who have given birth or you know, new parents, or do you think that played into it at all? I’m just purely curious about what your thoughts are on that.
Yeah, I definitely a lot of like that direct kind of gross comments came from men. And I think that if I had shot men, my response would have been different. I remember somebody saying, I can, when they looked at one of my photos, I can smell the rotten breast milk and I can like and there was like a description of pure disgust. And I remember just being wounded, because I took these photos of these women and I tried to assure them that they would, for the most part, remain in a safe space. They knew when I took the photos that they would be all over the internet. That was a part of the deal.
But I was so sick about it, because I can believe that somebody would say that about all these women that had just gone through something major and then my husband said something super profound and he was like, I would think that if you’re art, your works, is creating a physical, visceral response in somebody that it’s doing its job. So now I’ve like completely flipped my perspective. And now people’s comments don’t bother me at all, which is a place that I never thought I’d arrive. But I know that if you have disgust with what I’m doing, that’s something that’s going on with you. And that has nothing to do with me. So it was a good experience to have.
And I think that they, a lot of like, a lot of them are just like silly, like men would just be like, Oh, you haven’t bounced back. I see. And yada yada, yada. And I think there’s just like all societal garbage that comes with moms. And I think you’re totally right, that it probably would have been received differently if it was, you know, dudes, or just, you know, whoever.
Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. This has been so fun to kind of unpack these topics with you. So I have a question and this will probably the best question of interview cause time has flown so quickly.
So let’s say somebody out there is listening to this and they think, Okay, cool. Maybe I would like to work with you. Or maybe that’s not an option for me. But I’m curious about maybe, you know, taking some just taking some selfies or taking some photos of myself, do you have but they’re, they’re sort of holding on to some of these things. Like, I don’t like to see myself in photos or I, you know, I don’t like the way I look in photos. Do you have any tips for anyone at home who, sort of, wants to give this a whirl and to say, Hey, you know what, I want to take some photos of myself just as I am right now. Any words of wisdom or any advice for people who are thinking that?
Yes, so a few things if you like, I can’t stand the sight of yourself, I would recommend just starting selfie in your face and not worrying so much about your body. But if you feel like you’re ready to move into your whole body or just better shots of yourself, treat your camera phone like a photographer would. Here’s what we do, don’t put the phone down because you’re shooting up at yourself, which is a terrible angle for most people. Try and get your phone higher than you are tryin to pose your body gently like a model would or like somebody who’s comfy in the camera would that means if it’s got a joint, keep it bent, keep your fingers relaxed and not rigid. And if you’re standing pop a hip so you don’t look uncomfortable. You want to keep everything bent. The whole thing with feminine photos is that it accentuates the shape of your curves, right so you want to keep everything bent so that you look less like you’re just standing there awkwardly and if you are extra anxious about what to do with your hands, give them a job like give them something to hold. Run your hands through your hair, but a hat on so you can hold your hat has in your pocket.
Get like give them something to do. Because that’s the thing that people are most anxious about is what to do with their hands. But like, get yourself also dressed up and like ready for photos like the same way that you would do if you come to a photoshoot you do your hair. If you’re a makeup person, you do the makeup on something, wear something that makes you feel good. So I tell my clients to when they don’t know what to wear, what makes you feel good. And once you’re like, ready, and in something, you feel awesome, and you’re already at a way bigger advantage to get in front of a camera than you would be if you just rolled out of bed and pull your phone out. So if you just prepare, and then keep your body relaxed and bent and give yourself a job to do so that you don’t look like you’re trying to take photos. And the best way to get natural smiles is to just pretend to laugh. Because then once you pretend to laugh, you’ll start actually laughing, and then that’s what I do with my camera. I say pretend to laugh, then they start actually laughing and then I take like 300 photos, and out of one of those will be the perfect genuine smile.
Whenever I’ve, I’ve worked with a with Taylor from She Thrives a couple of times, and she’s the queen of like, look over there and laugh and it does work. It does work, because I I definitely have one of those robot smiles after a while where he got super stiff.
That’s super helpful. Well, thank you so much for that because I know that for some people, even the thought of working with somebody is going to be too big a step for them right now, whether it’s financially or just feeling comfortable or safe enough to do that. And so maybe it is something where they just want to take some photos of themselves and see what that’s like and slowly work up to it. So I think that’s going to be really helpful advice.
And the other thing too is that because of COVID, back in March, I started offering virtual sessions as mostly a way, for several reasons. The first initial reason was because I couldn’t shoot in person, but these amazing side reasons came up because of it. So they’re a great way for you to have this experience of me shouting positive things at you without the cost because my in-person sessions start at 350 CAD. So I sell these virtual sessions for 50 bucks, and I just jump on zoom or FaceTime. FaceTime is really the best. And you show me what you’re wearing you show me your space, I kind of tell you what you should wear, I tell you how to pose your body, I tell you where to put your phone. And then when I snap a FaceTime picture, it actually takes it through their camera lens, so they’re actually not bad quality. And then I edit them fully in the same way I would do if they were out of my camera camera, and then I deliver them to you and they’ve been like this wonderful way for people who were really want to work with me but are really far away from me. Or, yeah, I have, it’s a lot of vulnerability to have someone in your space and to have somebody really there. So this is a good barrier to the kind of get your feet wet. And to see what it’s like to be with, you know, somebody that advocates for body neutrality and somebody that is, I consider myself good at holding space. And I also like to set the bar of what a photo shoot should be like, in should you go shoot with somebody else, especially if you go shoot with a man. This is what it should be like. So those are also a great way but I’m also happy to just jump on a quick like 10-minute call with somebody to tell them what they should wear and where they should stand. If they should need that.
That is super helpful now because I know that a lot of folks right now like you said social distancing is still in effect as we’re recording this and that’s just such a huge concern. I love how you mentioned you know, people feeling comfortable in their own space versus maybe you go to a studio or you go somewhere that you’re not used to you think people are looking at me if you’re out, you know, maybe it’s just like not a more intimate shoot, but you’re just out shooting. I’ve had that where we’re like, you walk into a farmers market and I’m like, Oh my god, people are looking at me. There’s like a photographer following me. So there’s definitely that extra layer of like self-consciousness that can come up in those other environments. So I’m really glad that you mentioned that. Well, so if people want to get ahold of you, they want to, they want to see what your work looks like. They want to find out how they can maybe get in on one of these amazing virtual sessions. How can they find you?
So really, Instagram is the best place it’s my linktree link is in my Instagram bio and there you have like my website, the articles, I’ve written my portfolio, whatever you need, and there’s also a contact form there for virtual sessions. So my Instagram is @__mephoto and also on Facebook too, but I’m super not active in heavy presence there. So all but like, in the Instagram handles all you really need because all the links that you’ll ever need are there in my bio plus all of my recent work is on my Instagram feed. And I just posted a spicy couple’s photo today. yeah, and lost a bunch of followers from it.
Those are not your people.
Exactly. So when we note the good ones, keeping the good ones and honestly, if you can’t do a virtual shoot, you can’t do an in-person shoot, following liking, commenting is a big part of what I do too. So that’s always helpful.
Awesome. We’re gonna link all that up in the show notes. This has been so fun. I’ve it’s so glad that I’m so glad that we connected it’s been so good to get to know you. And I look forward to go check it out that photo after we get off after this interview. So again, we’re gonna link all these things in the show notes so you can go and check everything out, go get involved. I really appreciate your perspective. on all of this.
Yeah, thank you so much.
Yeah. All right. Megs Elemans. Thank you so much for being on the podcast.
Okay, that’s a wrap on this episode of the podcast with Megs Elemans. And I’m so very glad that you hung out with us until the end. I hope that you took something away from this show. And that’s something resonated with you. A couple of things, make sure you subscribe to the podcast on your podcast app. If you share this out on social media, go ahead and tag both of us so we can see that we’d love to hear your takeaways and thoughts. And if you haven’t yet subscribed to my newsletter to listen to your body newsletter. You can do that at StephGaudreau.com/LTYB for Listen To Your Body, and there I send weekly newsletters about all of the things that we talked about on the show sharing podcast episodes. intuitive eating body neutrality, body acceptance, making up a diet culture or as I like to say giving the finger to diet, culture, and more.
So there’s lots of good stuff for you to learn above and beyond what is in the show. Of course, you can get the Show Notes for this episode on my website, which is StephGaudreau.com. as well if you want to dig into things like the transcript to this episode, to see how you can get links to check out Megs Instagram, obviously, being a photographer, she has a very visual Instagram, with all of her photography. It’s very wonderful and beautiful. And you can learn how you can work with her, which is really great. She’s still doing a lot of the distance type of photography sessions, which is so great during this time where we are all still most of us socially isolating. So I hope you loved this episode. Thanks so much for joining me today. Next week. The next couple of episodes will be continuing our series on the different principles of intuitive eating. So I hope that if you haven’t checked out one into the first two episodes that I did in that series that you can go back can check that out. And I’ll be weaving in guest episodes with those principles as we go instead of presenting them completely in line. So I hope that you have a chance to go back and catch those as well before next week. All right. Until then, thanks for joining me and be well!