One of the many things us women do well is making sure our friends know how beautiful they are – but we’re hardly ever as nice about ourselves. Ladies, this has to stop!

As a boudoir photographer, I’m lucky enough to be able to help each client see how beautiful they really are. Working with women of all ages, backgrounds, shapes and sizes has taught me that there are a whole heap of myths surrounding beauty. Here I’m going to share the most common myths with you – and let you in on my tips for challenging them!

Myth #1 – Beauty comes in one size.

No way! Beauty comes in every size. It’s the size you are now, the size you were ten years ago and the size you’ll be in another decade. Beauty doesn’t discriminate – and we don’t have to either.

The one thing my clients have in common is that they’re never happy with what they’ve got. Size zeros want more curves, curvy girls want a flat stomach, tall women want to be shorter…you get the picture.

How beautiful is Maggie? Stunning!

It can be hard to change the way we think about ourselves, so here’s a cheat for you. Next time you look in a mirror ask what your best friend would say about how you look – I bet it’s a whole lot kinder than what you’d say yourself.

Myth #2 – Beauty means perfection.

Let me tell you now – those photographs you look over in magazines and make you feel worse about yourself than you already did? Fake. Airbrushed. The camera never lies, but computer software sure can. The thing is, I don’t even know why they bother – it kind of sucks the life out of a picture.

Life throws lemons at all of us sooner or later, leaving us with emotional and physical scars – but these are signs of your strength.

Some of my clients are self-conscious about their bodies after having had major surgery. Others have put on – or lost – weight because of an emotional trauma in their life. In all cases it’s taken away their confidence in how they look.

Want to know what I say? Of course your body doesn’t look the same anymore – you’re a survivor and a hero – and that kind of changes things doesn’t it?

Myth #3 – Beauty fades with age.

It amazes me that women still believe that only youth can be beautiful. Hello? Haven’t you seen Susan Sarandon, Angela Bassett or Sophia Loren? Their eyes sparkle with wisdom and experience, they hold themselves with grace and poise and have a quiet inner confidence that makes them glow.

Trina totally proves that women are beautiful at any age!

As we grow older, it gets even harder for us women to find time for ourselves. So many of my clients say that they’re working longer hours –in the home and office – or caring for grandchildren so their daughters can work longer hours!

We thrive on the people we love needing us but if you’re going to keep on being the backbone of your family you need to be able to stand tall and hold your head high – just like Sophia Loren. It’s time to start seeing yourself as the truly beautiful person that you are. Yes, beauty changes with age but it never fades.

When you start to feel your confidence dip remember all the things your amazing body has done for you – and all the fun you had creating your laughter lines!

Myth #4 – It’s up to others to decide if we’re beautiful.

Compliments from other people are great – but they’re not as powerful as the things we say to ourselves.

What was the first thing you thought when you looked in the mirror this morning? Compliment or complaint? Can you even remember? For some of us, negative self-talk is so natural that it doesn’t even register any more.

We can all change the messages we give ourselves – don’t wait for anybody else’s approval. Start noticing the things you tell yourself – are they helpful or not? Before you go to bed tonight, write down an inspiring quote and place it on your bedside table – now make sure you read it out loud in the morning. Why not try my favourite quote from the wonderful Maya Angelou? Now there’s a woman of beauty and strength.

“You alone are enough. You have nothing to prove to anybody”

Myth #5 – Beauty comes from how we look on the outside.

These days, women have a world of opportunities open to them – and more clothes, make-up and beauty products than our mothers and grandmothers ever had. Beauty doesn’t come from our appearance, it comes from how we feel. We might be able to ‘have it all’ – career, family, money – but what have we got if we don’t love and care for ourselves – exactly as we are, this very moment?

Capture this beautiful moment forever.

Yes, I take great care with all my clients’ hair and make-up – but the reason they look so beautiful in my photos is because I make them see that they are beautiful! And when you feel beautiful, you look it too.

I started in boudoir photography when I saw how it transformed the way women see themselves. I’ve never looked back and I want to share that gift with as many of you as possible. It’s why I’ve started my new women-only support group, Daring Greatly Diva Network. It’s for women just like us who are committed to living courageously and authentically. Group members offer support and kind advice so that we can all start to see ourselves for the strong, beautiful women that we are right now.

Art of Seduction is all about ‘women empowering women’ and now there’s a safe place where you’ll meet likeminded, supportive people who’ll help you meet your goals, whatever they are. Sign up now to receive supportive words of wisdom from other women – and share your own wisdom too.

I’ll see you at Daring Greatly Diva Network soon!