The morning that I met with Mady was an early one. Seven a.m. before school isn’t so bad though when you are chatting with a beautiful and lively senior over coffee. No, that is not a typical time for a pre-planning meeting, but when schedules get tight and she says, “Yes! Coffee is always a great idea!”, it makes it that much easier to roll out of bed. Her desire was to capture her inner beauty as well as her outer beauty. More specifically, her incredibly hilarious sassy and silly personality as well as her stunning sweetness. She was very simple with her requests, but I knew that there was more to her than met the eye. It’s immensely crucial for me to instantly relate right off the bat with my clients, so I can find other clues that will lead me to the window of their unique personality. The transition of going from your last year in high school to your post grad years speaks volumes about not only who you are, but of you may become. It is my mission to help you see it, embrace it, and celebrate it.
Not everybody tells you everything all at once and that is why relationships are so important to me. They can really make or break your connection with someone. I learned this the hard way a long while ago (but it feels like yesterday) during a very awkward photo-shoot, and I was the subject.
When I was seventeen, I tried out for a boutique modeling casting call. At that age, lip gloss was the only makeup I wore and my hair was long and straight. I even washed my hair with Pantene ya’ll for extra silkiness. That was before I knew any better. I wore a sundress to the event and thought I was ready to go. When I showed up, there was another long haired girl and her mom in front of me and she was being fitted for one of the boutique’s formal dresses as her mom was coaching her on how to pose. It had appeared that she had makeup professionally applied and I quickly began to feel like my lipgloss was dulling by the second. The photographer spent a great deal of time with her and the girl seemed like a pro. I fiddled my fingers together as I watched and waited. I was obviously underdressed. When the photographer was done taking the shots, she looked at me and directed me to sit on the stool. She had a confused look on her face (maybe it was my ankle sock tan-lines from Track), then told me to stand up next to the ladder. She took a few shots and said I could pick up my proofs in a week. I thought to myself, “that was it?”. I was hoping that they turned out amazing like the girl who went before me, because I seriously got like a hundred compliments on that dress at school.
I returned in a week only to discover a doe-eyed girl (the kind caught in headlights) laying flat on the counter next to an enchanted princess. I shamefully picked up my packet and jetted through the door. My mom was waiting for me in the car and asked to see them and I silently shook my head. She anxiously pleaded to let her see and I wanted to rip them up and throw them out of the window. No, I wanted to throw them out the window going 70 miles per hour. I was so confused as to why I saw a different version of myself in print and by different, I don’t mean good. I felt like there was so much more to me than a blank stare and stiff pose. My school pictures were better than what laid on my lap. But, this was a casting call for a boutique in the mall and the photographer obviously had a “vision” in her head.
At first, I wanted to quickly forget it all happened and erase the whole experience, but I learned something really important about people and I learned a lot about myself. First, I learned that I should be more prepared. I also learned that you have to seek beauty to find it. I learned that people are complex and the beauty simply lies in the complexity. This does’t happen at first glance. You have to peel back layers and dig deep. Then, you have to invite one’s essence to exude out in the open.
It wasn’t until a few modeling opportunities post high school and during college that I learned how to be confident in front of the camera. However, it wasn’t until after working with my astounding Engagement/Bridal and Wedding photographer Ruby Muza, that I was able to happily see myself back and feel something that moved me. Something that made me see and feel what I was really about. Yes, I felt beautiful. Who doesn’t want to feel look and feel beautiful? But, it was more. She captured the beauty of how I felt in the very moment that the photo was recorded, and now I had a tangible memory that I LOVED, celebrating that season of my life.
Whether it be personally or professionally, I vowed to always try to look past the surface and really get to know people. I didn’t want to risk missing the very core of people. I didn’t want to miss their stories and what made them feel alive. Yes, beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but when you are dealing with people you have to seek WHAT makes THEM beautiful. You are not photographing a tree, a landscape or a flower. You are photographing a soul.
When you do this, it suddenly feels like you can shoot forever or at least until the sun majestically dips below the horizon. That is EXACTLY what we did during Mady’s shoot. These are only a few moments of her sweet, silly, sassy, and undeniably stunning personality.
P.S. We’ve lucked out with some sunny days! Since some rain dates have not been used, two new dates have been added! One in April and one in May. If you would like to celebrate your senior year with us in your element, simply click on the Contact tab above! Let’s get our shoot on!