About the Writer: Laura Madsen is a writer, celebrity publicist, and radio personality.  She is the founder of TheLadyinRedBlog.com, the epicenter of her media endeavours.  She’s a mom to a little girl and an energetic Yorkie. When not working you can find her relaxing on the beach, shopping for shoes, and enjoying the company of family and friends.

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I’m the girl usually behind-the-scenes – the one back stage, the one cheering talented people on, the one lifting them to a place where their art can be seen or heard and fully appreciated. I don’t see myself as the one in front of the camera– until now. I guess every girl does want to feel like a star, sometimes.

A Risqué Opportunity

That’s why when offered the opportunity to be photographed by Michael Abrams, a visionary artist who typically works Maxim and Playboy models, I was skeptical. I mean…I’m not a model. I’m…well… just me. And so, after months of coming up with lists of insecurities and self-doubt about my body, I took a leap of faith.

Taking The Leap

I believe to my core that you only live once, and everyone should always live each moment to the fullest. I have reached a point in my life where besides placing my daughter’s happiness first, I want to put mine second. I want to live a life without regrets. I don’t want to wake up at 80 and have coulda, shoulda, woulda’s running through my head. And so, I thought to myself, I want my opinion to matter most – it doesn’t matter if friends, family, or others wouldn’t make the same choices I make..

Too many times when I was younger, I passed up opportunities to do things because I was afraid of what others would think. I put myself too low on my own priority list. I knew I couldn’t continue living a life where I could only think of objections– I knew I had to start thinking of reasons why I should. Not only for this opportunity, but for all things in life. You only live once.

The Shoot

When I saw the first photos of me, I looked at them with utter surprise. I remember saying out loud, “Oh my God! That’s me!?” with wide eyes and disbelief. I could not believe it. He captured a side of me that very few people have ever seen. Usually people see photos of me posing next to friends and celebrities at public events. Different dress, different day. This was something different. It spoke to me in a way that helped me realize that I need to show people this side of me. The free-spirited, confident, and sultry side of me.

Of course, the vast expertise of Abrams largely contributed to the final product and smoothness of the shoot. He made me comfortable and relaxed. He got me to smile and feel secure with my body throughout the entire session. I truly began to understand that it takes more than just technical skills behind the camera to bring out the best in one’s subject.

Insecurities Still Emerged

And even while being directed by one of the best in the business, I have to be honest, like every woman I’m sure, I worried about my flaws on film. Especially as two weeks prior to the shoot, I had badly scraped and bruised my leg. I also had tan lines, and black and blue discolouring on my arm.

Photoshop May Not Always Be The Enemy

This is where I found that technology can be used to our advantage. After the photos were taken, Abrams was able to blend the tan lines into my skin tone, and erase the scrape and bruise on my body.

While some may be totally opposed to Photoshop, I now take a middle-of-the-road stance. I don’t think you should make someone look ridiculously unlike themselves; but, I also don’t think you really want to see my bumps and bruises either. Right?

And so, I believe Photoshop may be necessary in certain circumstances. For example, should you have a broken fingernail, or some other kind of accidental mishap happening, a skilled photographer can erase such flaws.

While you still look like you!

Lessons Learned

I believe that the best shoots happen when you are relaxed, so no one else but you and the photographer should be in the studio or on location at a given time. I also learned that as long as you feel confident in your own skin, the camera will capture it. At the end of the day, everyone has flaws. Photoshop can be used responsibly to remove these.

I am really proud I took the leap of faith to have a set of professional photos taken by Michael Abrams. The only other professional photos I’ve had taken before, never showed this softer, sensual side of me. Now when I’m 80, I can look back on these and say “Yes, I used to look like this way back when…” Heck, I can look at these here and say “I look like this right now!”

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If you enjoyed this article, make sure to check these out: Being YOU is the Most Important Element of LifeBody Image Know No BoundsCONFIDENCE! Loving Your Body Image

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