Please…indulge me. This is a post by a mom. Who is a photographer. Specifically, a senior portrait photographer. Who has a son…who is…a SENIOR. Class of twenty thirteen. Needless to say, this is a long post with a ton of images. Because, quite frankly, I can’t help myself.
We planned Jordan’s senior photo shoot around his passions and my vision to capture his passions. One photo shoot actually turned into…three. We traveled to my favorite areas to shoot in and also included a session at the studio. Jordan is as comfortable in a Calvin Klein suit as he is his favorite jeans and Chuck Taylors so we wanted to capture all of his looks. This is actually a perfect example of senior portraits and the goal of capturing the many sides of a teen including all of his/her interests, hobbies and tastes in style and fashion.
Of course as Jordan’s mom I think he’s amazing. That goes without saying. But beyond that I can tell you that he really IS amazing. He is dependable, kind, dedicated and honest. He has a huge heart and is a young man of God, always seeking to do what’s right. To know him is to love him. And as a photographer I have to say he’s pretty easy to photograph.
I hear myself saying the typical statement that all of my clients say…”I can’t believe he’s graduating already”. Time goes by so fast. It really seems like just yesterday that I was going to elementary parent-teacher conferences. And in less than a month…he’ll be entering the big wide world as a young adult.
Sometimes you meet someone not by accident but by divine appointment. This was the case when I met Brittain. It was with divine purpose that I received an amazing inquiry through my website from a man with so much enthusiasm and excitement that I could hardly wait to call him. I didn’t have to. He called me within a short time after sending the email. His voice on the other end of the receiver was filled with so much energy that it was contagious…I thought I had just run a marathon.
He was searching for a photographer to shoot his upcoming contemporary christian CD cover and had some great ideas. The next few weeks were spent collaberating on an overall idea to create images that reflected the feel of his music and upcoming release. I was truly energized by his excitement and could hardly wait to shoot this project.
We pinpointed an urban-themed location and he came dressed for the part. I loved the different looks he had—unique but all very cohesive. Don and I loved this shoot and the amazing blessing that it was to be a part of Brittain’s life if just for a few hours. I can’t wait for his CD to come out to see how these images are used.
For the past several years I’ve have had many people tell me that everyone on my website is beautiful. I agreed because of course I think there is beauty in everyone. I didn’t think much about it because when I photograph someone I “see” their beauty through the interaction of telling the story of who they are through a photograph. This definitely can be physical, but more often than not it’s deeper than that: it’s the inner beauty that I somehow seek and find and once found, it can shine through a person’s eyes. It’s the very “spark” that creates a connection between the viewer and the person they see in the picture.
But what I came to realize most recently is that many young women felt that perhaps they weren’t “pretty enough” to look like “that” in a photo; there was, in fact, a feeling of intimidation and unworthiness to come to a photo session for senior portraits. This realization was really sad to me because the truth of the matter is this: MOST women, of every age, don’t look in the mirror most days and say “I’m beautiful”. No, instead, it’s more common to look in the mirror and see the faults—too fat, too pale, too short, too tall, wide hips, flat chest, too this and too that. The list goes on and on.
When I meet a senior girl at a photo session, she is usually nervous. Pretty normal. Most of us aren’t models so it stands to reason that doing a photo shoot can be nerve-racking. It’s the one day in your life (besides your wedding day) that you hope and pray that it’s a “good hair day”. And then there’s the stress choosing the “right outfits”—will they photograph well? Will I look fat? Enough color and variety? Lots of things to think about and all are common concerns I hear about.
But the one thing I hear TOO OFTEN that really makes me sad is this: “I’m not that pretty and I’m not that photogenic”. Wow. That one is all-telling of the society we live in. Young women are taught that beauty is on the outside and if you have it, your photogenic and if you don’t, well then good luck in front of a camera.
The hard reality is this: almost EVERY GIRL I photograph secretly thinks she isn’t as pretty as the “other girls” on my website. How do I know? They tell me. It’s part of the nervous chatter at the start of many sessions. And it’s the single thing I set out to prove wrong with each young woman I photograph. Because the truth is this: “Man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the HEART”. Knowing that, I seek to connect with her HEART. Who is she? What does she like? What is her passion? What makes her laugh? What makes her sad? What matters to her today? All the while, this allows a certain connection and THAT is what makes the inner beauty shine through.
Having said all of that, we launched a campaign to set out and tell the young women we connect with through the internet and otherwise, that EVERY GIRL IS BEAUTIFUL. Everyone is different. Some are tall, some are short. Some are skinny, some are curvy. Some wear makeup, other girls are natural. Some have clear skin, others don’t (and that’s super easy to fix in post editing by the way so why stress about a zit that’s here today and gone next week? It’s superficial!). How we look on the outside and what we wear should not DEFINE who we are. It simply tells about what we like and the colors and styles we are attracted to. Beauty is who we are INSIDE. Who we are with NO makeup on and who we are on a BAD hair day. It’s how we treat the people we love—and the people we don’t. Beauty is the heart.
I believe EVERY young woman is BEAUTIFUL. I believe it, I look for it and I strive to capture it. I always look for that “something special” in every girl I photograph.
We invited 6 of our 2013 Spokesmodels to join in our EVERY GIRL IS BEAUTIFUL campaign. These are the first 3 and we are very happy to share these images of 3 very beautiful young women who are also seniors for the class of 2013!
Meet Kendall, Maddie and Jordan—and yes, all three of them are BEAUTIFUL:
TREND ALERT: COLOR IS BIG, BIG, BIG THIS SUMMER! We chose lots of colorful accessories for this shoot—fun head bands, sunglasses, fresh flowers. Makeup by Sara Williams—with extra color punch!
We first photographed Sera for her modeling portfolio for Ford Models 2 years ago…she’s adorable, photogenic and easy to work with! I was happy to receive a call from her mom for an update to her portfolio a few weeks ago because this little girl is so much fun to work with. So is mom—she drove from out of town and brought lots of great accessories and clothing pieces to work with to achieve the many different looks that are so important when creating a portfolio for an agency.
The key is to create a variety of looks because in the competitive world of acting and modeling, it’s all about “looking” the part for any given role. The rule of thumb? The more looks acheived the more opportunity to land a job for a print ad, television commercial or part in a film. The key, though, is authenticity. Being authentic and projecting the true personality while “grabbing” the attention of the person looking through hundreds if not thousands of headshots is the main goal.
Little Sera loves having her photos taken and is always willing to take direction—this was a great photo session and many on-lookers stopped to ask “who this was” that was being photographed. She has a certain “charm” and look that gets people’s attention. I, of course, told them she is the “Downy Model”…didn’t they know?! LOL. She was, and is, still the model child Downy uses on their bottles.
Here are a few our our (and Ford’s) favorites from her session:
Oh my how they change…this is from our first photo session with Sera when she still had her baby-teeth. Adorable as ever. And be sure to check out the Downy section next time you purchase your laundry soap! :)
We created a modeling portfolio for Aly for Sports Lifestyle Unlimted agency. In creating her portfolio, we went for a combination of fitness and lifestyle shots, accentuating her runner’s physique. She’s a true runner…while on-location (in an alley-way, no less), Aly commented that she felt like taking a run! No, she didn’t at that moment, but it struck me that someone who is truly into fitness like Aly is would want to run when she was, well, dressed for it anyway!
We did some fashion shots (she has a great look—loved the hat) as well as some “lifestyle” and “fitness” shots. We had a great morning with Aly and her mom as we walked all over the downtown area. Here are a few images from her session…
Last month I was contacted by Stephanie Boozer from PPA Magazine (the official magazine for Professional Photographers of America) and my thought process was like this: “Wait…what? Who is this?”. Yeah, exactly like that. She said she wanted to feature my studio in the March issue of PPA Magazine and wanted to know if I was interested. “Hmmmm. Let me get back to you on that”. REALLY? Of COURSE I’m interested! She scheduled a phone interview for an hour later that week. During the interview I talked about a mile a minute and I could hear the sound of her keyborad flying in the background.
As if that wasn’t enough, Jeff Kent contacted me while we were waiting for hours in the Tampa airport (delayed while coming back from SYNC due to the monster storm raging through the country!) asking me to do the “Goods Splash Page” in the same issue!
It’s all been so exciting these past few months…especially as I reflect on that huge decision to risk it all to follow a dream that has changed our lives drastically (in such a huge, blessed way) in these past few years since I left the corporate world. People dream about changing their lives late in life…and it’s hard. Most people DON’T do it because it’s…scary. And Risky. And…HARD. But in the end, doing it is so worth it.
God is good and so faithful to us…we have dedicated our business to Him and He has in turn blessed us in so many ways. This fun little feature is just a cherry on top of it all and I’m so excited to share it.