In this series, I interview women who boost other women's confidence. They share their personal stories, top tips, and talk really honestly about what makes them feel great.
Here's Lucy talking about how she empowers women through her work as a photographer.
I'm a people photographer.
I started painting portraits of people in my teens and then photography became a big part of my work when I was at Art School. During that time I was exploring issues around women's body image and sexuality. When I became a professional photographer in 2002 I knew I wanted to use photography as a way of people getting to experience how amazing they are.
Everyone has something unique about them, and I love to capture that.
I get to connect with many different people and I get to help them express themselves in front of the camera. I often work with camera-shy people so it's a real priviledge for me when I can see them blossoming in front of the lens.
I photograph such a range of women; some say 'I really, really, hate being photographed' and are very shy to begin with and other women seem fairly confident but there might be a tension in how they hold themselves, in their jaw or hands etc.
I spend time getting to know each woman and it's my very favourite thing seeing a women relax and start to enjoy a shoot because that's when they begin to sparkle and we can get some really natural shots. I'd say that the process takes time and I'm all about building a connection with someone so they can let go and feel confident with me and the camera.
After the photo session the process of seeing the photos can also be challenging. Women are constantly reminded that they are looked at, and so we develop a very critical eye on our physical appearance, sometimes so much so that we can't even see our true beauty any more. I love it when clients put a few photos up on Facebook and are then overwhelmed with comments saying how amazing they look.
Often women will email and tell me that they spent the rest of the day feeling beautiful and empowered
It's hard to describe! Something opens up and it's like gold dust. It might be a particular look or smile that looks so natural that it just lights the person up. I get very excited when that happens because it's like a gift, and I know have their trust.
Straight after the session many women will tell me they've had loads of fun and have loved the shoot, which is really cool because I want the experience of being photographed to be enjoyable.
It's important that we develop a different, more 'at ease' relationship with the camera, and that we can own how we're looked at. Often women will email and tell me that they spent the rest of the day feeling beautiful and empowered. That makes me happy.
Beauty is more than just how we look. Embrace everything that makes you you. Look in the mirror and tell yourself how amazing you are everyday. Wear the things you love, do the things you love, strut your stuff, and never, ever worry about what anyone else thinks of you.
I had ovarian cancer earlier last year. It was a massive wake up call. Before then I often worried about not being enough (pretty enough, slim enough, fit enough, funny enough, talented enough etc). My life lesson was that none of that matters, what matters is making the most of everything that I am, not lamenting everything I am not.
Now I have a HUGE scar right down my middle and I have never felt more attractive!!
I love who I am and I wear what I feel like. If I fancy a no make up day I have one. If I fancy wearing my posh dresses when I have nowhere to go, I wear them. I have happy thoughts and I feel more confident than I ever have.
My favourite 'beauty' quote is “A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.” and that just about sums me up :)
Only a big thanks for including me in your research x
Find out more...
Lucy Williams was nominated for "Best Newcomer - Finalist" at the Dating Awards 2015 for her dating portrait photography. Lucy does have a heart of gold and a love of connecting people. You can see it in her campaigns Kindness Bags and NOW portrait, and you can see her work on Facebook, her website, on Twitter and Instagram.
Photo credit caughtthelight.com
Jess Baker, founder of MIMI More Than Skincare, is Chartered Psychologist and Confidence Coach. She's fascinated with the relationship between how we see ourselves, and how we want to be seen. jessbaker.co.uk