Many times, people come to me and have no idea what they want to do for their session, so I just ask them to drown out the noise of planning a session and tell me their story.
Get to know them and their story
Those simple words bring out something so special in people. They talk about their relationships or their struggles and their whole demeanor changes. Then, I can really dive into who they are and what has molded them into the person they are today.
The Perfect Example
I have a beautiful friend who has been through so much and has moved mountains to get where she is today. One day she asked in a local mom’s group;
“I want to do a photoshoot to celebrate and document my weight loss journey and losing 100 pounds. I’m not there yet but I am 10 pounds away, so hopefully by April or May I'll be there! I've seen some people use the number balloons and am open to that, but I was hopefully trying to be more creative. Like a bouquet of 100 flowers? Or something that represents 100 pounds - a golden retriever, a 100-pound pumpkin, a baby calf, or a 2-month-old horse lol. Crazy ideas, but you know where I'm going. Does anyone have any ideas/inspo/suggestions for a fun photoshoot and how to document this?!”
“Instead of showing what you lost show what you gained!! Maybe we could create something more magical! You’ve gained more freedom to play with your babies, you’ve gained more fun to do adventures, that type of thing!”
Well, I don’t know if it was what I said or just my work that intrigued her but we decided to work together to tell her story. These Images do just that.
To me that winding path of hills and valleys is the journey that got her to where she is. The shawl is the burdens that she has carried lifting off her shoulders. The lookout itself, with the bend in the river and gorgeous views, is the adventure that awaits her.
Now let’s hear her story exactly how she wants to tell it…
“Words can’t express what this photoshoot meant to me. I’ve gone through and experienced so much in my life. I’ve suffered physical and sexual abuse, rape, and trauma. Over the years, I lost sight of me and who I was as a person, and woman. I completely let go of myself and didn’t prioritize me.
The woman who is strong.
The woman who is loving.
The woman that is me.
I fell into a dark hole of depression and anxiety. I became obese. On top of all those struggles I developed numerous serious health issues. I have a spinal tumor. Worsening epileptic seizures. Partial Paralysis. I felt worthless as a person, friend, wife, and mom. At my lowest I felt that I no longer wanted to be here. That my life wasn’t worth it.
I fought and I fought hard.
I did physical therapy, walked, ate better, got on meds and took a chance at weight loss surgery. I put in the effort by showing up day in and day out. Then, went into therapy for mental health and PTSD. I worked on me for me. I’m still struggling and I’m still learning. It’s a journey, not a race. I’ve learned that you don’t owe anyone unfiltered access to you or your life.
These photos to me represent my whole journey. All the parts of it. Everything I have experienced that made me into this wonderful woman and it took a long time but slowly I’m starting to find her again. And I won’t ever lose her again.
I am beautiful.
I am worth it.
I am deserving.
I am strong.
I am worthy.
I still have health issues and am experiencing neurological deficits. I can no longer drive and do things I could before, but I’m learning to live in a new way. I am healing myself and past traumas.”