{Since I know taking and sharing selfies is a vulnerable process, I figured I’d get us started. So that’s me, wearing one of my favorite jackets and rings}

Every Monday features a tip, activity, inspiring quote or some other tidbit that helps boost your body image, whether directly or indirectly — and hopefully kick-starts your week on a positive note!

Got a tip for improving body image? Email me at mtartakovsky at gmail dot com, and I’ll be happy to feature it. I’d love to hear from you!

Taking self-portraits is a vulnerable act. Many of us barely like looking in the mirror. So capturing ourselves with a camera — a sort of permanent image — feels uncomfortable, silly and even scary.

So why the heck am I suggesting you try it?

Because it also can be incredibly eye-opening, lesson-filled, freeing and even fun. In this post photographer and e-course creator Vivienne McMaster reveals why she takes self-portraits. These are some of her beautiful and powerful reasons.

Because I’m taking control of the way I see myself in photos

Because I love going for photo walks and taking that space for myself

Because I’m redefining my relationship to beauty, on my terms

Because it is playful and lets a part of myself out that otherwise is often contained

Because capturing the twirl of a skirt or a light flare feels like magic to me

Because I am chubby and I don’t want people to believe you need a certain body type to take self-portraits

Because it is not vain to take your own photo. It is a tool to untangle negative stories and transform them into new empowered ones

As I said recently, I love taking e-courses — it’s part of my self-care — and the next one on my list is a self-portraiture class from Vivienne. Vivienne approaches self-portraiture in a beautiful, gentle and compassionate way. Her approach is all about being curious and practicing self-love.

I think those are incredibly powerful lessons for each of us.

If you’d like to give self-portraits (also known as selfies) a try, ease into it. You don’t have to take full-on face shots or whole body shots.

For instance, you can start with photos of your feet. (Vivienne takes many herself.) Maybe you capture your feet snuggled in your favorite socks or after a pretty pedicure or in the midst of a walk around the block.

Or maybe you capture other parts of your body, like a few strands of hair on a pillow or your hands holding something meaningful.

Vivienne also has a wonderful post on great places to take selfies. And she shows us how we can look for the positive in our photos, instead of getting bogged down and hyper-focusing on the not-so flattering parts.

If you’re still not convinced, read Vivienne’s pieces on the surprising dangers of selfies: here’s part one and part two. (I promise, they’re not really dangers.)

Also, check out this post from Anna of Curvy Yoga on her experience with self-portraiture.

It’s totally understandable if you’re feeling nervous or awkward or downright scared about taking a self-portrait. (Journaling about your feelings might help.)

Just try to be curious, too. Experiment.

If you like, come up with a few ideas before taking out your camera. Or just start snapping.

This is your picture. Your experience. Your terms.

(By the way, Mara is interviewing Vivienne next month for our self-love series. I can’t wait! She’s such an inspiration.)

Do you take selfies? What has been your experience? What have you learned? Have you taken self-portraiture classes that you absolutely loved?