This weekend, I went to Brittney and Justin’s wedding, but I want to share a story with you that happened after they took off in the getaway car. The reception hall was an old school gymnasium. They did such an amazing job of completely transforming the space into a true reception hall, and creating a beautiful atmosphere for their celebration. The main lights in the room were the strings of white Christmas lights that lined each wall. I wanted to get a picture that I had in my mind the moment I walked in, but didn’t have time with the Bride and Groom to pull it off. So Brittney’s younger sister, Kailey, was wonderful enough to pose for me and help me get the shot I envisioned.
Show a picture to one person and it spreads like a wildfire. There’s something magical about looking into the back of a camera, knowing that there isn’t any computer magic. All you need is a stunning subject and a vision.
Here’s Bailey, the other sister in the trio.
After those mini model sessions, I had a chance to speak with Shyanne. She was so insistent that she didn’t look that pretty, could never take a good picture, blah blah blah. I’m not going to take that. Here was a girl who was beautiful in her own right, and no one ever took the time to show her that. So I asked her. “Have you ever had a professional photographer take your picture?” Long pause. “Family/Senior sessions at the mall photo studio where they spend more time trying to sell you junk than taking your picture don’t count.” “In that case, no” she said.
“You have to let me take your picture. Here’s the deal, I get one click. One chance to take your portrait. No one will see it but you and me. I’ll give it to you and if you don’t like it, you don’t have to show it to anyone. Deal?” She agreed.
I took a quick look at her to see how I wanted her to pose, showed her what I wanted her to do, and then got into position. Pressure’s on. I liked what I saw, but I only had one click to make or break her perceptions of herself. To me, this was the most important challenge I had all day. I finessed her expression and talked to her until I saw the moment I was looking for. Click.
Let’s just say, I won that deal, because here is Shyanne.
I showed it to her and she stared at it for a moment, mouth open, and said “but…that doesn’t look like me.” “Yes it does, Shyanne. There were no tricks. Just you, me, and putting you into a pose that flatters your features. This looks exactly like you. You know what doesn’t look like you? Blurry phone pictures held at arms length, or reflected through a dirty bathroom mirror. Being carpet bombed with the flash from your mom’s point and shoot when you least expect it. This is you.”
And then there’s Deanna. The proud mother of the beautiful Bride. She, who self-proclaimed, was “voted most likely to break a camera from in front of the lens”, definitely wasn’t getting away without a beauty shot of her own. Once I got her into the pose I wanted for her, I wanted to get her into a natural expression, and get rid of the forced tension in her smile when people ask her to “smile”. I said, “think about your first date with your husband.” She laughed.
That bad, huh?
It’s no wonder people think this way about themselves. We compare phone pictures of ourselves on Facebook to the models we see every day that have makeup, lights, and lens that flatters them. So Kailey, Bailey, Deanna, Shyanne, and anyone else who has ever felt like they could never look “that good”, please remember this.
Ladies, you are beautiful.
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