Who doesn’t love to see JOY on the face of their friend, their loved one, or even someone they’ve never even met before!? Joy is one of those authentic expressions that we all love seeing and long to feel. A few months back I started a hashtag on instagram called #joyportraits. At the time, I didn’t know it would turn into an important part of my business, but now I see how I can bring even more meaning and depth to a portrait session.
The other day it was snowing like crazy, and it was really cold. I loved the idea of the contrast of winter and spring, of bright colors against the pure white backdrop. And I love moments like these ; one on one, where I get to connect with someone and reveal through the lens a glimpse of their beautiful and unique spirit.
Brandi and I had a sweet time of running around in the snow and taking photographs. After her experience, she asked if she could write a guest blog post about our time together and of course I said yes! I’d love for people to hear from the perspective of someone on the other side of my camera. Here’s what she wrote:
“I have spent hours scrolling though Abby’s beautiful pictures thinking “oh I would love to do that one day” only to quietly shame myself and soften the urge by following that thought up with, “no one would want to see them anyways.” I figured since I didn’t have a significant other, there was no reason to take beautiful photos.
Boy, was I wrong.
As a long-time friend, I’m pretty sure something inside Abby prompted her to call me on my birthday weekend and ask if I had time for a short photo-shoot with her. She wanted to take pictures in the middle of a snowstorm with crowns of flowers. Each time we hike a mountain together, we pick flowers, put them in our hair and sing the Mumford and Sons song with the lyric,
“And there will come a time, you’ll see, with no more tears.
And love will not break your heart, but dismiss your fears.
Get over your hill and see what you find there,
With grace in your heart and flowers in your hair.”
Honestly, I had been struggling that week. I had struggled with my self-image, my self-worth, my own brokenness and longing for more beauty in this world. I struggled with approaching my 33rd birthday alone again. Little did I know that an impromptu photo-shoot with my lovely, grace-filled friend would be such a healing experience.
We went out to Red Rocks in the middle of a snow storm with a beautiful crown of flowers and a few jackets between us. I had no clue what was in store and Abby deftly guided me to exactly the right spots and put me at ease. Quietly, with almost a holy hush, Abby raised the crown of flowers and set it gently on my head while whispering “He bestowed on her a crown of beauty instead of ashes” and my heart leapt with healing. I didn’t feel the need to pose or be fake, but felt at ease to just be me. To be silly in some moments with a crown slipping from my head and to close my eyes when she suggested and simply breathe in the beauty of the cold air around me. I don’t know how she did it or what she said….I only know how I felt
I felt loved.
I felt seen.
I felt beautiful again.
I felt free to be me and to see the beauty in that being.
I felt whole.
Little did I know that maybe not having a significant other made it even that much more important for me to take time out of my life to do portraits with Abby. Something happened in that snowy field and in the pictures I’ve seen from those moments, my God met me there. He met me through Abby’s kind spirit, quiet words and gentle, kindred giggle and through her camera lens. He helped me to see maybe a little bit of what He sees in me. He helped me to try on the idea that He considers me beautiful and maybe it’s high time for me to accept His words and truth about who I am. Healing happened in those moments and through those pictures and I will be forever grateful. I’m pretty sure I will need to schedule pictures with Abby as a part of my “soul care” every few months, just to remind myself of the truths that are so dear”.
After I read this from Brandi, I felt sooooo grateful. I felt so happy that something I desire so much (that my work would be a true gift to others, that people would know their authentic beauty- the kind that on one else in the world has, and that people would be moved by the images because they made them feel something) was actually coming true.
I’m thankful to Brandi for writing these encouraging words, and I’m thankful to all who have had the courage to get in front of the camera like this, because it’s not easy.
As I’ve been dreaming about a way to offer more sessions like this, Brandi spurred me on to put it out there!
I’m still offering JOY PORTRAITS.
Brandi and I are also planning something special together; a unique ‘soul care’ collection for women to come together, understand more deeply their beauty and worth, and will include joy portraits among other special offerings.
I can tell you more details when you get in touch to set one up! Please E-MAIL me or CALL TODAY if you’d like to know more at email@example.com or go to my website to see some more of my work and fill out the contact form there.
Thank you for reading and I CAN NOT WAIT to capture your joy and authentic beauty!