Meet Marie. She felt like family………..

We have worked with several clients who decided to do their first session because they lost a significant amount of weight. While on one hand, that accomplishment makes them feel they are ready to take on being in front of a camera, on the other hand, they also feel quite nervous, maybe even scared, due to some repercussions of the weight loss, such as extra skin. They can be fearful to even let us see the skin as we photograph them and fearful that those imperfections will be the center of attention in their photos. But as their photographers, we not only reassure them that we will capture all the perfect angles, but we will assist in helping them find the best outfit to highlight their assets and to downplay any of their trouble spots.

Meet Marie who waited for 4 years before finally deciding to just go for it and book a session.

“I was about to turn 30 and had lost about 145 pounds so I decided why wait any longer?” Marie states. “I was nervous because after losing such a significant amount of weight, I have a lot of extra skin, which bothers me and because of it, well, some things still don’t fit right.”

We scheduled a consult for her prior to her session as we do with all of our clients. It’s an opportunity to break the ice and meet us before the session date which many clients have expressed gratitude for. “It definitely helped getting to know you guys first and finding out we had a lot in common. I talked to you as a friend, it calmed me down.” Marie explains when we asked her thoughts on our consult process.

We reassured her going into her consult and all throughout, that we would be there to assist her in choosing the most amazing outfit for her session. We have a saying “If you look bad, we look bad. We’re not going to let that happen!”

Marie expressed to us that she was surprised at our wardrobe selection:”There was so much vintage and I love that! Plus there was more than I had imagined and so many size ranges!”

After about an hour, we helped Marie work out a few outfits for her selected session package. She was a bit nervous about going outside of her comfort zone when we suggested she try one of the Orchard Corset corsets that we have in our wardrobe paired with a garter. But she tried it on and loved it!

“I felt great! I have some body issues but those outfits made me feel beautiful!” Marie exclaims!

The day of her session came and as I did her makeup and hair we chatted about life, her job, weight loss, what’s important to her such as her wife and daughter and we also laughed ….. a lot! After about an hour and 15 minutes in makeup / hair, we were ready to shoot! She came out of the dressing room a bit shy, but once we finished shooting her first setting, we could tell she was already feeling a boost in confidence. That happens a lot! Watching a woman’s confidence blossom right before our eyes is priceless and knowing that we have a hand in it, always makes us feel so blessed that we have the opportunity to be doing what we do!

“Once it was over and I got to see the pictures I was so proud! I didn’t care who saw (the photos) because I loved what I saw, which had always been hard for me!” Marie expresses what many women express to us, the difficulty to see the bombshell that she really is. “It is very hard for me to look at myself and feel beautiful, probably why I love taking photos of beautiful things, though some things I find beautiful a lot of people do not. Beauty is in the eye of be beholder. After finishing the shoot and getting my sneak peeks, the first one I saw……. I cried. I looked beautiful and sometimes I forget “she” is in there I loved everything

Marie closed her interview with us by sharing her thoughts on something we did for her without even thinking (and had forgotten about, honestly), “I have had body issues my whole life. I still down myself but you two amazing people made me feel so beautiful that day. My wife and I had a “date night” that night and you even touched up my makeup, which you didn’t have to do, just so I could keep it through the night. It meant alot to me. You go out of your way to make people comfortable and treat them more like family than clients. Thank you!”

Joe and I truly believe that we have the best clien…. er…. family in all the world!

It’s a Shame to Hate Our Bodies

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A study was done by Glamour magazine a few years ago, but the results are just as relevant today as they were in 2011. According to their research team, women have around 13 negative thoughts about their bodies daily. The magazine decided to ask women across the country to note every negative or anxious thought they had about their bodies over the course of one full day. The results were surprising.

A staggering 97% of women admitted to having at least one “I hate my body” moment daily. But there was a disturbing number of women who confessed to having 35, 50 and even up to 100 hateful thoughts about their own shapes each day. Think about that for a second. Up to 100 hateful thoughts about their own bodies every single day.

We can be our harshest critics. In an instant, our inner ‘mean girl’ rears her judgmental head when we take a look at ourselves in the mirror. That inner voice: she’s always judging, always disapproving, always there to remind us that we’re not good enough. Not today, not tomorrow, not ever.

I’m so fat.
I hate my thighs.
I wish I had a flatter stomach.
Look at my nose.
My teeth are so crooked.
I wish I could look like her.
If only I could change this about myself – I’d be so much prettier, so much happier.

Every woman alive is gorgeous. This is why we are called “individuals”. We are not born to fit into a certain mold or body type. You need to own your body. And more importantly, love it. It’s time to bury the idea of perfection. Look at yourself and say, “I am beautiful.” Why? Because you are! There is only one you in this world. It’s time you start recognizing how wonderful you are. Your blend of traits, personality, and qualities are all unique to you. You are one of a kind.

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Just as you are special in your own way, so is every other girl around you. There are no exceptions. Every woman alive deserves the right to be and feel beautiful. She is allowed to be comfortable and confident in her own skin without having to worry about what others will say about her body. Body shaming goes both ways.

Back in mid-July, Dani Mathers, a Playboy model, faced public backlash after fat shaming a naked woman in the gym by posting a photo of her on her Snapchat Story. She shared an image of the unsuspecting woman along with a photo of her hand covering her face with the caption: “If I can’t unsee this then you can’t either!”

In an article published in the Daily Mail, it was noted that Mathers responded with this statement: “I chose to do what I do for a living because I love the female body and I know body shaming is wrong, that’s not what I’m about and this is not the type of person I am. The photo was taken as part of a personal conversation with a girlfriend and because I am new to Snapchat I didn’t realize I had posted it, and that was a huge mistake.” Well Ms. Mathers, whether it was meant to be public or private, it’s still body shaming.

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We need to stop this. Right now.

We are not here for a competition. It’s time to be kind to ourselves and to be kind to each other. We need to embrace our differences and appreciate them. Look in the mirror and tell yourself what you love. If you notice something you love about a woman you see, let her know! Let’s build each other up instead of knocking one another down. It is an empowering thing to witness women appreciating women, the ability to recognize our differences and fall in love with the uniqueness of us all. But the ability to recognize these things in others means we must first be able to recognize it within ourselves. We must love from the inside out.

We have to have confidence that we are good enough. Whether we set goals for ourselves and meet them, exceed them, or take longer than expected to reach them. Even if we never reach them, we need to stop considering it a failure. Life is about the journey and the process. Our mission is to glean from every success as well as every failure the life lessons hidden within. Whether you see it or not, you’ve changed in the process. And change is growth. No matter what you look like, no matter what you feel like. Strong is sexy. Skinny is sexy. Curvy is sexy. Being different is sexy. Being you is sexy.

If we find ourselves judging others, shaming others, what does that really say? We all have our own life, our own journey, and our own self-image. We have a right to stay the same or the right to change just as long as we are treating our bodies with love and care in whatever way it works for us.

You can accept who you are right in this moment and still choose to make changes. Or, you can choose not to. That’s the beauty of it. It’s all up to you. And if you do it, do it for no one else but you and love yourself through the process. Remember, every woman has an inner bombshell. Sometimes, you just need a little help dusting her off from the standards placed upon us from society and the media.

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