Women are beautiful in all shapes and sizes


All women are beautiful. Some women know it. Most don’t. And others are uncertain but willing to learn.

But I’ve yet to meet any woman who didn’t want to be beautiful or who didn’t enjoy feeling that way. As a pinup and glamour photographer and sometimes model, I get a front row seat to beauty in its different forms.

I love to photograph women, and to photograph women and photograph them well, you have to understand women.

Over the weekend, I photographed a woman who has been working her butt off, literally, to loose weight and transform herself and her life. She isn’t at her goal yet, but she’s getting there and wanted to document her progress and celebrate how far she’s come.

When I photograph women, it’s my job to find that spark inside them that makes them unique and that will bring the photos to life.

Because of the type of photography I do, women step in front of my camera at their best — hair and makeup professionally done and a an outfit that has been deliberated over and chosen for its ability to flatter and accentuate.

This model was no different. She looked amazing with her hair fire engine red and done up in fun, exaggerated victory roles, her makeup bringing out her big brown eyes, highlighting her cheekbones and her mouth a small red cupid’s bow.

She was dressed in a black neglige she had gone shopping for with friends for just this occasion, with fishnets and a really fantastic pair of red and black heels. She was your adorable, classic pinup girl.

But no matter how stunning the subject looks, asking someone to wear clothing they’d never wear in front of strangers, let alone a camera, and then pose, is a terrifying request, even if it was all their idea. For this girl, as with many of my subjects, this was the first time she’d ever done anything like this.

Before the shoot, she kept saying how much she hates getting her photo taken, and how excruciatingly nervous she was. I kept telling her that’s how everyone feels when you point a camera in their face, it’s natural, have a glass of wine and relax, I wasn’t going to let her look bad.

When someone trusts me enough to strip down to their unmentionables and let me take photos of them, be it for their significant other, a magazine, or like this woman, for their own personal empowerment, I don’t take it lightly.

We spent three hours shooting. When we began and I was positioning her face, I literally saw her lips trembling. It didn’t matter that we all thought she looked like a bombshell, she wasn’t convinced.

In doing this work, what I’ve learned is that no matter how beautiful a woman looks to everyone around her, she will always look in the mirror and say, “Yeah, I look good, but …”

Because women are experts at picking themselves apart, my job is creating a photo that shows the woman what everyone else sees. And I don’t stop until I get it accomplished.

Just as with every model I’ve worked with, the transformation came during the shoot when she went from being stiff and terrified to relaxed and empowered. When the model finally feels safe, unrushed and supported, she discovers her inner ham. This is when the best pictures happen.

The photos that came out of this particular shoot show a woman who is sexy, independent, mysterious, playful and powerful. They show her inner and outer beauty and her courage to take control of her own life.

What I hope for when she sees them is that they will show her the woman she always wanted to be and never knew she was.

-- Email the author at udavila@news-bulletin.com.