This past week I had a young lady in my studio who's story was so inspiring to me that I felt compelled to share it on my blog. Alex is a 2018 high school senior. Several weeks ago her mom, Paige, booked a photo session for Alex, specifically requesting fitness photos. Alex is a body builder and will be competing today in the NPC Vulcan Classic. NPC (National Physique Committee) is the premier amateur physique organization in the world. This weekends competition includes categories in Bikini, Bodybuilding, Figure, Fitness, Physique and Classic Physique. Alex, who only recently began training for competition, will be competing today in the bikini category. The fact that a 17 year old high school student has the discipline and drive to train for this type of competition is impressive, but, it is the motivation behind her drive that tells a deeper story. Alex credits body building with saving her life.
The necklace that Alex proudly wears around her neck is the symbol for NEDA, National Eating Disorder Association. Alex, who suffers from Anorexia, has gone from a 96 lb young lady who's health was in serious jeopardy to a competition worthy athlete. Not only will she be entering the first stage of fitness competition this weekend, but Alex is also preparing for some upcoming speaking engagements where she will be talking to teens about the dangers of bullying and the risks of eating disorders.
Alex's struggle with Anorexia began in middle school when she allowed a bully to convince her that she was "fat". This started her on a path of self destruction as she set out to prove the bully wrong. Little did she realize at the time the drastic affect her choice to not eat would have on her health. It was later in high school that she was drawn to a fitness photo and expressed an interest to her Dad in wanting to "look" like the girl in the photo. Her Dad convinced her that she could do it but it was going to take a combination of training and eating to gain muscle. Alex set a goal and is currently training with Team Kelly Fitness.
The training and dietary requirements necessary to prepare for competition is strenuous. Few people possess this level of drive and discipline. To see it in someone this young is beyond impressive. I will be cheering for Alex today and wish her the very best as she enters, what I am convinced, will be the first of many competitions. What impresses me even more about this gorgeous young lady is her desire to reach out to other young people who may be struggling with their own life threatening eating disorders. If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, please visit NEDA online for information on how and where to get help.
It's that time of year again! Although all four of my children have graduated from high school, I still get a little misty when I look back at all of the seniors that I have photographed this past year and know that they will all be walking across the stage in the next few days. Each one of these young men and women are special in their own unique way. Among this years group are athletes, state champions, scholarship recipients, dancers, artists, great students, loyal friends, polite and respectful young people who will all be embarking on their next journey in life.
I feel honored and blessed to have had the opportunity to spend time with each of you. I wish you all the very best that life has to offer and can't wait to see what the future has in store.
No matter how you feel about makeup, for photography purposes, the proper use of makeup is important. The most basic use of makeup is to smooth the complexion and correct minor skin issues such as under eye circles, rosacea, or mild acne. A good makeup artist knows how to highlight and contour the skin in a way that will enhance your own natural beauty. Beyond basics, makeup can be used to camouflage more severe skin issues as well as enhance your best features such as eyes and lips. Whether you love a clean, fresh, natural look or you want to go all out Hollywood glam, a good makeup artist is indispensable! This past year I have been working with an incredible young woman who is an amazing makeup artist.
I first met Lilly a couple of years ago when I photographed her family. She and her two sisters had flawless makeup. I was surprised, upon inquiring, to find out that the girls had done their own makeup. About a year ago Lilly did the makeup for one of my seniors. Once again admiring her work, I asked if she would be interested in working as my makeup artist. I immediately knew that I had found my girl!
Makeup for photography purposes is different than every day wear or even a night out on the town. Lilly knows exactly what I need from properly applied makeup and can take my clients from au naturale to high fashion! These next photos were taken a couple of weeks ago.
My gorgeous Model Emily agreed to a "before" photo. I have been photographing Emily for several years. She is a natural beauty but one issue that she deals with is dark, under eye circles. Emily was also dealing with a bit of sunburn. For Emily's session we decided to do three different looks.
Emily's first look was a classic beauty photo. I asked Lilly to create a look that would be appropriate for pageant, prom or beauty head shot.
For Emily's second look, Lilly went a bit more dramatic on the eyes and lips to match the change in her wardrobe and hair style.
Emily's final look of the night was all out glam. Lilly easily went from one look to the next simply by doing some minor changes in the eye makeup and lip color. She nailed all three looks!
Many women are scared of makeup simply because they are not confident in their own ability to properly apply it. I often hear comments of "not wanting to look like a clown." I think most of us at one time or another have had a bad experience at a makeup counter! Using a professional makeup artist is so important. As a photographer, I firmly believe that there is an art to makeup, lighting, posing, composition, proper wardrobe and even retouching. The combination of all of the above ensures that you will walk away with gorgeous portraits that will become treasured heirlooms.
When was the last time you had your portrait made? If you have to think about your answer to that question, it's probably been too long! Contact me and let me plan a session for you!
I'm an empty nester! My baby, the last of four, graduated last year and headed south to college. Looking back, there are photos that I don't have that I wish I did. Like most mom's, I was never in front of the camera with my children. I have photos of them, but I'm missing in every single one. That realization hit me this past year. I can't go back and recapture those moments for myself. Yes, I can start jumping in front of the camera with my now grown children, but the growing up years are gone. This got me to thinking about all my seniors that I am photographing. Whether my Moms are sending off their first born, their only child or their baby, they are sending off their child to start this new stage of grown up life. Understanding the gravity of this task, I decided that I wanted to capture a mother / child photo of all my seniors.
While this photo is purely optional, most of my seniors and moms this past year have taken advantage of the opportunity. I remind my moms ahead of time so that they come prepared. This is typically the first photo that I take during the seniors studio session. I capture a few quick photos and then focus the rest of the session entirely on my senior!
The mother / child photo always ends up being one of my favorites from the session. While most of my seniors don't realize at the time the importance of having this photo, I know that down the road, this one photo will become a treasured possession.
Several of my moms, realizing the importance of capturing this moment in time, turned around after the senior session and booked a portrait session for the whole family!
What do you get when you combine 5 perfect days at the beautiful Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, classes with some of the best photographers and educators in the industry, and time spent with some incredibly talented and like minded artists? You get renewed, refreshed, inspired, encouraged, a new vision, new friends, awards, and even a new head shot!!
SYNC is a photography conference with an emphasis on high school senior photography. As excited as I was to attend the classes, the best part was getting to spend time with like minded artists and creatives. These ladies are like sisters to me. Being able to spend time with friends who share the same passion is therapeutic. During our time together in Sandestin, and since returning, we've been able to bounce ideas off of each other, encourage one another, offer constructive critiques, and share more than a few laughs. Even though we are spread from Alabama, to Missouri, to New York, we share an unbreakable bond. Most of us will be reuniting next month as we meet in St. Louis for another one of my favorite photography conferences, Shutter Fest.
One of the perks of spending time with fellow photographers is that we did get the opportunity to update head shots. A huge thank you to Lori Brady (photography) and Karen Stenseth (lighting) for the new head shot. I was long overdue!
Having had two of my image panels merit at SYNC and having one of the panels win the Judges Choice Award, I returned encouraged. Like most artists, I tend to be my own worst critic. That's not necessarily a bad thing as it pushes me to work harder to improve my skills and expand my creativity. Being recognized for my work is an honor and a confirmation that I am on the right track and moving forward! I don't ever want to stop learning and growing as an artist. One of the best ways that I have found to learn new techniques and fuel my creative spirit is to allocate time and funds each year towards education. Attending SYNC has recharged my batteries and I've already registered for next year!
Returning from SYNC with so many new ideas, I can not wait to try some of them out with my upcoming group of 2018 seniors! I also have a brand new product that I'm excited to share with my clients. Upcoming seniors... it is NOT to early to book your session. I have a limited number of bookings available. If you are looking for an experience that will be one of the highlights of your senior year, contact me! I am currently setting appointments for free, no obligation consultations. You can reach me by phone or text at 256-338-7334, by email at email@example.com or message me on FB!