June 20, 2017... my 38th birthday. I woke up early, took a shower and got ready for the day all while my family was still sound asleep. It's summer break and they weren't ready to see the light of day as it wasn't even quite 8am and I was already on the road. Bye-bye Clinton, Indiana... I'm headed to the big city of Indianapolis! (Don't judge... it's big to a girl who doesn't venture much outside of Terre Haute!) That drive from Clinton to Indianapolis was long... I was alone with my thoughts and I was a ball of nerves. You see, there is this amazing photographer with work that I fell in love with a few years ago, and it just so happened, she was from Indy. This gal is LEGIT. She travels all over the country for sessions, teaches workshops not only in Indiana but in many other locations throughout the country as well. She speaks and teaches at photography conferences. This stuff sells out in no time because of how awesome she is. She sells some amazing guides to help other photographers, she sells actions and presets for editing. Heck.. she even just teamed up with this very cool company called Strawberry Revolution and created her own line of super cute and practical clothes geared toward photographers. Oh, she also has her own blog where she touches on all sorts of topics of interest from makeup, hair and fashion to quick and easy meal prep to, of course, photography. She's built an empire. She's amazing. She's genuine and I seriously can't express how much I adore her. She is GOALS. If ever I had a girl crush, it would be her. (I'm totally trying to play it off like I don't have a girl crush, but yeah.... I do. Clearly it's her.) Hopefully you're getting the idea of how big of a deal Sarah is.. although most of you probably already know who she is, so it's really not a hard sell. I was lucky enough to do a workshop with her last June (maybe that's something I can blog about another time... I'm still just trying to get my feet wet on this whole blogging thing!) and was nervous then as well... but this time, I was attending a SELF PORTAIT class. Let me share a little secret with you... I don't love being IN pictures. I'll take them all day long of anyone, but I will come up with every excuse known to man to not be in the pictures. And this is exactly WHY I decided to do this class of hers. A big part of what I do includes making women just like me feel comfortable and beautiful in front of the camera. I build you all up, I promise you that you look gorgeous and your family loves you and sees you in a completely different light than you see yourself in. And it's so true. I mean every single word of it. I see your beauty, I see how much your family loves you and I know how important it is to them to have these portraits, these gorgeous keepsakes that include YOU. On the flip side, I also see that you're nervous, I see that you're incredibly hard on yourself because you don't fit the expectations of your own mold of perfection that you think you have to fit into in order to be loved. You're perfectly you. And that's who your family loves. Trust me... years from now, my kids aren't going to care about the extra weight, the wrinkles, the grey hairs, the mole on my face that I absolutely detest or the crooked teeth that make me so incredibly self conscience. And guess what... your kids, your spouse, your siblings... whoever it is that loves you, they're not going to care or even notice any of those physical insecurities that you have either! When Sarah announced she was doing that class, it struck a chord and the lightbulb went off... I need to be on the opposite side of the camera to truly empathize with all of you and actually know what you're feeling. So, ignoring my natural reaction to run as far away from the front of the camera as possible, I went for it! It was empowering, it was a great learning experience and it made me a better version of myself on so many levels.
The first part of the class was spent with Sarah being her charismatic self and sharing with us her own reasons for starting to do her self portraits and really encouraging us to take notice of and embrace our own beauty. We watched Sarah as she did some self portraits. The first time she had ever done them in front of anyone (except for maybe her dogs...) was for us. It was amazing!
Then came our turn. She helped us all, setting up in different areas of her studio. I was so hesitant to do mine. I mean... this was HARD. But she helped me set myself up in front of a window with some gorgeous light and I just dove right in and went for it! Ok... so maybe it started off a little odd because I felt weird and didn't really know what I was supposed to be doing, but it was actually fun once I got going!
So I decided while I had her there at my disposal and was in this gorgeous studio of hers, I was going to try another setup... so I did! Dang... the girl who hates being in pictures just did not one, but two sets of self portraits!
Then, much to our surprise, Sarah did headshots for all of us. Talk about a dream come true!!! And, as a bonus bonus, the last person she did headshots for, we all did pictures of her as well. Sarah walked us all through how to pose and shoot women to keep them looking their absolute best.
I left that class feeling so amazing. Sarah has such a way about her. She lit a fire in me and honestly made me feel like I was able to go out and conquer the world if that's what I wanted to do. Of course, for now, I'll just continue to work on conquering some more self portraits. Baby steps...
Check out Sarah's amazing work at www.sarah-bethphoto.com !