The Importance of Prettiness | Empowering Girls Beyond their Appearance.

My Dilemma

I must admit…  One of my prouder motherhood moments is hearing that my 9-year-old daughter’s response to someone telling her that her clothes weren’t the right brand was “well, you are just shallow.”

If you know me personally, you know that could care less about superficial things.  I don’t follow trends or celebrities.  You also might know, I am passionate about empowering girls.  After all, I do have 4 daughters…  it only seems natural.

I have often written about how one of the most eye-opening periods of my life was raising preschool daughters and high school daughters at the same time and watching how differently they see themselves.  You tell a 3-year-old in a princess dress how pretty she is and she says “I know”.  You tell the same thing to a 14-year-old and she rolls her eyes.

I really do feel like a big part of my life’s calling is to do what I can to cultivate girls into strong women.  I even have a (slightly neglected)  little blog www.projectbeautifulgirl.com devoted to the mission.  

As a photographer with this passion, I often struggle with the importance of prettiness.  By trying to capture flattering pictures, promoting professional makeup services and indulging in photoshop touch ups, how can I say that I am not promoting the vanity of prettiness?  It is fun to look gorgeous!  I have to admit, it feels really good to have amazing pictures showing you looking flawless.  How can I advertise and offer this all while telling preteen girls that outward appearance isn’t THAT important?

How can I advertise and offer all this while telling preteen girls that outward appearance isn’t THAT important?

How do you balance the value of feeling attractive with the importance of finding a deeper beauty?

With selfies, celebrity infatuation and social media, we live in a culture that seems increasingly more obsessed with prettiness…  actually more accurately, sexual attractiveness.  Even more disturbing is seeing the media claim that someone is empowering a group of women because she posed for photographs naked or close to naked.  We spend so much time fighting against pink toys and telling girls that they can do anything, but then when we “empower” women, it always seems to revolve around their sexual attractiveness.  Isn’t that still saying that your appearance is the most important thing about you?

My Response

…I am in NO way saying I have figured it out because well, I haven’t.

What I can say is that I will try and celebrate the girls I photograph beyond just their appearance.

I will get to know them and try and capture portraits that tell a little bit of their story and not just capture what they look like.

I will try and celebrate the girls I photograph beyond just their appearance.  I will really get to know them and try and capture portraits that tell a little bit of their story and not just capture what they look like.

I promise that won’t use poses and/or outfits that seem over sexualized.

I will do whatever I can do to promote a well-rounded, more internal meaning of beauty.

However, I have learned that tools such as professional makeup, great lighting, and good photography that go a long way in making someone feel less average and I will use those tools to the best of my ability to help teens feel confident and awesome.

 

 

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Christian | Senior Portraits aren’t Just for Girls

We always see great Senior Portraits of girls.  Christian mom called me to set up a late in the season senior session for him after seeing his girl friend’s senior portraits.   While Christian wasn’t really wanting quite as extensive of a session that his girl friend had, he still wanted this moment of his life captured.

Georgetown Senior Pictures

So we had kind of weird spring here in Central Texas.  Although a crazy cold morning in the middle of April catches people off guard, but it comes in handy when you want to wear your letterman in your Senior Session.   When Christian’s mom showed me the picture of the bridge by their house, I got super excited.  It was so reminiscent of the bridges I shot so often in Washington.  So when we got there…  we might have gone a little past the no trespassing signs.  My visions of going on to the main part of the bridge were quickly squashed by the GIANT holes in the paving where the ground below was clearly visible.  As much as I love cool pictures, I am not going to risk my client’s life.

 

Georgetown Senior Photography

Christian is another one of my future Red Raiders.  I have photographed several of them this year.  🙂  Christian is excited about heading to Tech, although he hasn’t figured out what he wants to study.Georgetown Senior Photographer

Christian has the most amazing eyes!  His mom told me an adorable story about how when he was four, he was annoyed with everyone complimenting his eyes.  He told one person, “I know!” after the compliment and his mother scolded him.  The correction stuck, because Christian is one of the most polite, sweet young men!

Georgetown Photographer

Georgetown high school senior

 

Do you want to see some other Guy Senior sessions?  Click here to see Kyle’s Session or here to see Ryan’s Session.

Do you want information to book your session?  Click here

 

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My own Senior | Austin Senior Portraits

As I was working to order announcements for my clients, my stress level was rising because I hadn’t gotten around to taking my own daughter’s senior portraits.  Here we are 6 weeks before graduation and we hadn’t done pictures.
Austin Senior Portraits

I had visions of doing my daughter’s portraits while we were in Seattle this past summer.  It would have been nostalgic.  Emory spent eleven years of her life in the Seattle area.  We had a trip planned.  I was taking other senior portraits, but as our trip went on, my lack of a specific plan caused it not to happen.  Well, we got ONE picture.

Austin Senior Portraits

Even with the pictures we just took, she didn’t get the experience I offer my clients.  It was last minute.  It was rushed.   I didn’t take the time that I should have taken.  It is a little like the old saying “the cobbler’s kids have no shoes.”  All too often we put our own after our clients, no matter our industry.

Austin Senior Portraits

Emory is headed off to UT-Dallas next fall where she is hoping to double major in Computer Science and Arts and Technology and later pursue a career in animation.

We ended her session with ice cream.  She might be months away from heading off to college, but in some ways, she will always be my little girl.

 

Check out one of my favorite images of my Daughter…

Do you want information to book your session?  Click here

 

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Portraits on the UT Campus | Kamrey

Kamrey is a future Longhorn, so it seemed only appropriate to take her senior portraits on the UT campus! Actually, though…  it was more her love of European architecture that brought UT to mind.  She got to go to Scotland last summer with her theater group and the Beaux-Arts styling of several of the original campus buildings is the closest thing to a European feel we could get in Austin.  Austin Senior Photographer, Austin Senior Portraits, Senior Photography Austin, UT portraits

For me it was a blast to get to roam around my alma mater and shoot in some of my favorite spots on campus.  Goldsmith Hall (the home of my college years)… Battle Hall…  The South Mall…  The turtle pond…  Gearing Hall… the Drag…  It was all so much fun.  If we hadn’t of run out of light, I wouldn’t have been able to stop.

Austin Senior Photographer, Austin Senior Portraits, Senior Photography Austin, UT portraits

The park-like surroundings of the turtle pond and Kamrey’s floral dress gave us a whole different feel.   Kamrey is a total theater girl and it was almost like she got to step into different roles as we changed outfits and locations.  It was so much fun to get all of these glimpses into her personality.

Austin Senior Photographer, Austin Senior Portraits, Senior Photography Austin, UT portraits

There are really just some amazing stairs and doors on campus.

As we walked around Kamrey was a little in awe about how in a matter of months this campus would be her home.  Her mom talked bout how much she loves that Kamrey is comfortable in her own skin and doesn’t feel the need to follow a crowd and it was so obvious during our session.

Austin Senior Photographer, Austin Senior Portraits, Senior Photography Austin, UT portraits

We finished up by taking pictures on the drag and in front of some murals.  I love how we were able to capture the sophisticated…  the feminine…  the fun and quirky sides of Kamrey!

Austin Senior Photographer, Austin Senior Portraits, Senior Photography Austin, UT portraits

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Senior Pictures | What Makes a Great team EIGHTEEN Member?

Most people who specialize in Senior Pictures do some sort of model program.  For the last couple of years I have researched them…  studied them…  dabbled with them… but I couldn’t get fully behind them because of the whole “model” idea.  One program that I studied promotes the possibility of national exposure…  a nation wide contest.  As a result, you get these make up perfected girls with model aspirations.  These are the girls who are confident in their appearance.  These are the girls who take a thousand selfies and dream of a career in front of a camera.  If you know me, that isn’t what I am about.  I love the REAL girls.  I love the girls that are too busy pursuing their sport, their academics or their music to be too focused on the latest make up craze.   After researching even more programs, I have designed a program around the clients that I love to work with.  It isn’t your typical “model” program.  It is really about an epic experience and fabulous pictures are just a byproduct.

Senior PicturesMy Favorite Senior Pictures

My joy is made complete when I can show someone that she has that beauty inside of her, even if she doesn’t make a huge attempt to flaunt it or even see it herself.  I love girls who are busy doing other things.

I LOVE to work with REAL girls…

What Makes a Great team EIGHTEEN Member?

  1.  You are involved in extracurricular activities.
  2.  You are academically minded.
  3.  You are goal oriented.
  4.  You are a little bit quirky.  (because, really…  aren’t we all?)
  5.  You want to have a memorable senior year!

I am still taking applications for team EIGHTEEN.  If you are interested in applying, click on the contact me button.  In the pull down menu you will see an option for Team Eighteen.

I look forward to working with you!

Click here for more team EIGHTEEN Details.

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Team Eighteen!!! Senior Portrait Experience

Because who you are right now can’t really be captured in a mediocre, generic photo session, I am excited to announce team EIGHTEEN, the senior portrait experience.

Team Eighteen Senior Portrait Experience

I am excited I have the most EPIC opportunity to work with a group of young ladies who are smart, kind, outgoing, funny and beautiful inside and out! I can’t wait to document such and important milestone in their lives!  

It is more than just a portrait session.  It is a year long experience.  It is building relationships.  It is about having fun.   It is about creating community.  

I am so excited to announce team EIGHTEEN!!!!

It’s time! I will be looking for JUNIORS who want to be part of something different, extraordinary and epic to celebrate and document their SENIOR year!!!

So what does it take to be a team EIGHTEEN member you ask? It means being YOU, sharing your experience with your friends and having a blast. There are a few easy things you need to do from time to time, but they all come with benefits and rewards. So it will be worth it!

This is about having an EXPERIENCE that is all about you. It’s about being able to express yourself and remember this moment in time – forever! Whether you’re going to college, traveling the world or still trying to decide what you want to do, I want you to be YOURSELF!

be UNIQUE.

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