I was standing in one of the middle rows of my second-grade class photo. While our teacher was giving the class instructions, I could hear the girls behind me start to giggle and whispering my name. I tried hard to make out what they were saying but all I heard was “chubby”, “ fat” or “stupid”. I lowered my head and tried to hide in the crowd of second graders.
Years later I still hear those words ringing in my head but it’s not some second-grade mean girls, it’s my own voice. Because somewhere in my life I learned to believe that those words are who I am and, even as an adult, I’d continue to hide. I’d try to shy away from mirrors and cameras. I found comfort behind the camera because if I was the one taking the picture I wouldn’t have to be in it.
My insecurities followed me deep into adulthood, affecting every avenue of my life and it wasn’t until I was going through some major life transitions last year that I realized just how much they were controlling my life. I have had to retrain my brain to use words like “creative”, “strong” & “beautiful” when I look at myself. This shift in thinking isn’t easy but is so important. Especially, because I am raising little people that I want to grow into strong, confident adults!
That’s why, as a wedding photographer, it makes me so sad when I hear from couples who struggle with their own insecurities and they tell me that one of their biggest concerns on their wedding day is they are afraid of how they will look in their wedding photos. Your wedding photos are such an essential part of holding on to such an important moment in your life. Couples should be able to look back at them and remember how wonderful they felt on that day and nothing else.
I do my best to reassure them of how great they will look in their wedding photos and how it is my job to capture them in the most flattering light but It’s one thing to tell them how great they look but it’s something else for them to believe it. Learning to love yourself and how you look is a mind shift that takes work. My goal is to make you feel comfortable and gorgeous while you are having your photo taken. My goal is to do what I can to help you forget about your insecurities, at least for the moment, and just learn to love the experience and truly experience this moment in your life.
During an engagement or wedding portrait session, I’ll talk couples through the process. I let them know what I’m doing and why. We’ll play games, you’ll get prompts and direction in the form of bad jokes. All with the intention of getting your mind off of what we are doing and allowing you to just enjoy this unique experience with your partner. I want you to feel comfortable and I want your smiles to be genuine (I’m trying to avoid any Chandler smiles. Friends fans know what I’m talking about). This is just my little way to try and combat those insecurities that affect all of us.
Learning to overcome deep-rooted insecurities is no easy task but it is not impossible. And I know how difficult it is to convince yourself of anything but the negative self-talk you’ve grown used to. My best advice is to practice flipping the script and change that narrative by replacing those negative words with positive ones that uplift & celebrate you. Because the reality is you are perfect and amazing as YOU are. You are loved and adored by so many people. That person standing across from you on your wedding day is proof of that!