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.
I found that my confidence in stepping in front of a camera got WAY better after watching this video:
and practicing in front of the mirror for a while, so I knew what it looked like. Knowing that you aren’t going to have a double chin in those quick pics someone is going to post on facebook makes it way easier to say cheese.
It’s all about the jaw!! Great video! I loved having Michelle, my photographer, share her tips with me. I wasn’t at all insulted, “What? My jaw? You noticed?!” but instead was so thankful for her little tips to help make me feel more confident and not worried about what she saw on the other side of the lens.
I loved this video! I will use that when taking pictures and when being photographed THANK YOU for sharing it!
LOVE THIS POST! So well said – and so true. I always hide behind the opposite end of the camera – HATE having my picture taken, and so often have my son or neice/nephew in the photo instead. Just made me think of how much my son would love to have photos like this of me in my 30s looking fabulous/happy rather than covering my face etc.
Your son will thank you years from now for those pictures, Tara. Imagine him showing his wife and his kids the beauty of his mother. OK, maybe don’t…that makes me tear up a little to think about!
This photo is gorgeous, fierce and carefree.. you are beautiful!!
Thanks so much Paula! “Fierce”, love it.
My favorite photos are the ones of me pregnant with my babies!! At a point in my pregnancy when I felt more like a whale than a woman. I did my best hairdo, swiped on my favorite mascara and let the glow of growing life in my belly wash over my face as I smiled for the photos which when I finally got a sneak peak of, made my self esteem explode! Get in the picture, document the one moment you were given the opportunity to assist God in the creation if a miracle!!!
Ahhh, I so agree Rebecca! I love all my pregnancy pics, and for some reason my first pregnancy really strikes me the most as the “most beautiful”. I think it’s because we were just so in awe of this life and my growing belly! Also – being completely honest – I love pregnancy pics because it’s pretty much laying it all out there, belly and all! No need to hide any imperfections because that belly is glowing and taking up all the room in the frame anyway. 😉
Great job on the pictures and gorgeous shoes. I am on the hunt for a photographer for my own shots and I am so nervous. I actually feel better doing my video segments than just standing still and posing. I think it’s because a picture is there, frozen, forever. I can play smoke and mirrors with video. Wonderful post.
You look amazing. I have to admit I was a little surprised that you thought you looked frumpy when you are so far from it. It’s funny how our own perceptions can be so far off from everyone else’s. Stepping into a picture is hard for me, but I’ve been making an effort when my kids are with me so that we have pictures together.
you look so fabulous and carefree, love it! definitely photos to look back on and smile years from now!
I love how you mention cherishing photos of your OWN mom… and how much they mean to you. I have a small handful of photos of my mother over the years. I love to look at them, and admire how beautiful she was as a young mother. I also love looking at her 80’s fashion! I agree… it’s valuable for daughters to have laughing, smiling photos of their mothers.
You look great! Nice post 🙂
I just had some photos taken last week. Seeing the results, gives me self-confidence and forces me to take a moment and look at myself… you know, really look at myself and accept/ love the person I have become.
Great pic and post. 🙂
I love your new profile pic Jaime, I can’t wait to see more on FB!
Well first of all I think you fabulous! You are right, however, and I am guilty of hiding myself as well. I think it’s all too true for most of us moms 🙂 You are not alone! I’m glad you shared your post and your pictures!
There are many words I would use to describe you and one of the top ones is brave, fierce and role model! oh ya inspirational!
I’m humbled Cindy. Thank you!
Great post—and great photos!
Fabulous photo and LOVE those shoes! You work ’em, girlfriend!
This is a real eye opener of a post for a lot of women out there, including myself. Good for you. I have to book some of my own headshots soon and…I’m totally dreading it. Your timing on this post couldn’t be more perfect :).
I also have to say that I totally love the insoles. How cute are those??!!!
You look amazing and I always love reading what you have to say. You’re so real!
I can’t WAIT to see your new head shots Crystal! When are you doing them??
And yes, the insoles are adorbs! There’s a bunch of new designs and styles, even new ones for boots too that my friend Stephanie shared here: http://www.howtosurvivelifeinthesuburbs.com/2013/09/killer-boots-and-fuzzy-feelings-dr-scholls.html
I’m kind of looking forward to boots and sweater season!
Thank you for your comments – you know me, I’m as real as it gets.
What Crystal said. Love your reads, you are real! I love that you feel nervous/anxious about the photo shoot but look so at ease (an beautiful!) All moms (people) need to step out of their comfort zone, we just need to make an excuse to do so. The results are amazingly beautiful.
Thanks so much Kirsten! I was *not* at ease in the beginning, I assure you! Nothing feels more awkward that being the center of attention and having a camera in your face, that’s for sure! I think having a wonderful photographer certainly helps, but even if it’s the kids with your iPhone, smile for the camera! Side note –> my kids take awful iPhone pictures of me!! LOL
Tenille! I loved this post so, so, so much. We as Mama’s often feel let down by ourselves in photos because all we see are our imperfections. I’ve started to take note of why my body looks the way it does and give it credit (and love!) for all that it does for me. My hips? Perfect for makin’ babies. These arms? Perfect for holding them in a million times a day.
I’m proud of you for lovin’ you and being kind to you. There’s enough jerks in the world, we don’t need to be mean to ourselves.
Also? Dr. Scholl’s brand shoes saved my LIFE in the Mall of America. My feet got in them and near died and went to heaven. Like walking on pillows. That Dr. Scholl’s really knows tootsies. Yay.