Last year, a post titled The Mom Stays In The Picture went viral online. The post brought women everywhere together in a common head-nodding moment. All too often we’re the ones behind the camera taking breathtaking images of our children, yet when asked to smile for the camera ourselves we shake our heads no, step to the side, or even put our hands up in front of our faces in protest. This post asked women to step into the frame, to be in the picture with our children and, taking it one step further, allowing ourselves to have photos taken. Alone. Solo. Oh my.
This nightmare-inducing predicament was my own recently when it was time to update my own blog portfolio. Often when writing posts or being featured by another outlet I’m asked for head shots. Head shots are for models, and journalists. I’m just a blogger. Ah, there it is again – just a blogger. Just a mom. Just….
And so, I put my big girl panties on, found my most flattering dress (I don’t even have to suck my tummy in, it’s that amazing the way it hangs, hooray!), picked out heels that I wasn’t sure I could walk in let alone pose in and booked a photo session with a photographer who also happens to be the sister of one of my closest friends.
Having that comfort level and relationship with a photographer is immensely helpful.
It didn’t hurt (literally!) that the day before I received NEW Dr.Scholl’s For Her Sole Expressions insoles (available in stores in October)! With three fabulous patterned insoles in each $16.99 package, these insoles slip into heels (and opened toed sandals with a tiny little slit to fit thongs perfectly!)
Instead of wincing with sore feet during an hour long photo session, I had gorgeous killer black heels with fabulous insoles that kept my feet comfortable the entire time. Intrigued? I have coupons for Dr.Scholl’s products here!
Instead of shying away from the camera, I had to face it head on. I won’t lie, the first half hour or so was awkward. My photographer friend Michelle explained why she was having me pose a certain way (did you know jutting your chin out just a bit can elongate your neck?) and encouraged me with feedback on what she was seeing through the lens.
By the end of the session, we were laughing, I was feeling beautiful, and I felt confident that out of the 300 or so photos there had to be a few good ones in there at least…right?
It turns out there were a lot of photos, like this one, that made me smile ear to ear. After receiving the photos back from Michelle, I emailed her to thank her for her amazing eye and – let’s face it – her editing work getting my skin tone just right (and hiding a few imperfections). What she said to me truly made an impact. Her response?
“I can’t edit what isn’t already there to begin with.”
I love that. In one afternoon my photo session changed my perspective. Maybe my body isn’t as frumpy as it feels 3 kids later. Maybe I can be silly in front of a camera without being self-conscious thinking about what other people will think. Maybe I can wear a killer pair of heels and feel sexy and confident at 36.
At 36 my mom was pregnant with me, and with three teenagers already in the household. I don’t have carefree photos of her in her 30’s, but how I’d cherish them if I did. I have a wedding photo of her at 18 and photos of her through the years with her children, in the kitchen, and with her own mother. They’re valuable to me, but a carefree pose, her loving her body and laughing? Nope. She is the person who steps away from the camera or puts her hand in front of her face.
So, I’m going to love my photos and share them. In 10 years from now I’ll look back at them and yearn for that body. And you know what? I’ll take more photos then too. My kids will enjoy them, and I hope my daughters especially learn to love their body and smile for the camera rather than shy away from it.
That their beauty, and zest for life shines through. After all, you can’t edit what isn’t already there to begin with.