As a 16 year old girl studying art at the local community college, I was in a figure studies class when my professor stated "Portraiture is NOT about painting the client as they are, but..." and waited for the class to finish the sentence. No one did, so I slowly raised my hand and said "it's about painting them how they see themselves and how they want to be seen". He reached in his bag to retrieve a gold star sticker, the only one he handed out in the entire semester. It made me realize just how important this concept was. To the class this seemed like an entirely new idea, but as a portrait photographer, this is something I knew all too well. I have carried this notion with me since then, because creating a good portrait for a client is ALL about this simple idea.
The reality is, we all have bad angles and insecurities. Not one of us perfect, though we are all beautiful. Even the most gorgeous models or celebrities who never seem to take a bad picture are not exempt, they just know how to work their angles. In a day and age where snapchat filters make changing our facial features as easy as the click of a button, it is no wonder why more people than ever (even the most gorgeous teens and adults) are self conscious about their appearance. The standard of beauty created (mostly) by filters and photoshop is nothing short of unattainable, yet we compare ourselves to it anyways.
As a photographer, I try to walk the fine line of creating portraits the way a person wants to be seen, without changing what they really look like. I do not want to further perpetuate an incredibly toxic idea that you must be "photoshopped" in order to be beautiful, which is why I have chosen not to offer body alteration services as part of my editing process.
What I do include on all portrait sessions is skin softening and blemish removal, because I want to paint you in the way the world sees you--the way your loved ones see you. The reality is, the camera catches far more detail than what we really "see" in our daily life. When you look at someone in person, generally you are not focused on all the little details that we notice about ourselves in the mirror. The camera documents every pore, pimple, wrinkle, un-plucked hair and imperfection, but these are things that very few other people notice--take it from someone who zooms in and sees ALL the details as part of her job but does not notice in real life.
We don't notice these things because when we look at one another, we really see so much more than just our physical features. We all radiate an energy that people who know us can see and feel, and that is the true goal for me in my portraiture: to capture your personality. Taking a photo that really captures the essence of someone can be hard at times, only because many people require a little bit of time to break down the walls and allow their real personality and confidence to shine. But when they do, THAT is where the magic is.
If you are hesitant about having your picture taken because you are unhappy with your flaws, you are far from alone. I promise to work alongside you to pose you in a way that you feel amazing, then edit your images to bring out the best, and remove all other distractions.
Remember that photos of you are not just for you to have, but just as much (if not more) for your loved ones. You may look in the mirror and only notice the the flaws, but those who love you most see you for so much more than this, and will one day want to look back on photos that reminds them of exactly the person that THEY saw: the incredible and beautiful mother/father, sister/brother, daughter/son, wife/husband that you were.
Remember, more often than not, it's your flaws that truly make you beautiful.