Want vs. Need

pittsburgh-boudoir-photographer-018“I knew I really really wanted to have a photo session, but I didn’t realize until after how much I actually needed it.”

Those were Sarah’s words, through a few tears, as she perused her photographs for the first time the other night in my studio. As you can imagine, I absolutely loved hearing those words.

Is this kind of thing…these sessions…are they a luxury experience? Well, yes. Everything about them is luxurious but that’s not what I mean. Is this an experience that women simply do not need? Sure. There’s a strong argument there I won’t get into. But let me say this: there is a reason absolutely every single woman says to me “EVERY woman should do this!” after their experience and after they see their photographs.

And I know why. As was explained by Sarah, which is something I have heard time and time and time again (and that which I am so incredibly grateful for), she walked away on a high, which stayed with her and only intensified when she saw her photographs.

Confident. Sexy. Powerful. At ease with oneself. These are the feelings that have been conveyed to me from women following their sessions with me and it just simply never gets old.

Even more, as I watched Sarah take in her photographs and recognize herself in each one, I see the answer to her question sink in. It’s the same question just about every woman asks themselves secretly before, and even during, their photo shoot: Am I beautiful?

Such a simple question, right? If you’re a guy reading this, then your answer is yes. If you are a woman reading this, then you know the real answer. We never really know, do we? Sure, some days we put on an outfit, style our hair and makeup and look in the mirror and think “Wow, I look great!” Our friends and family tell us we’re lovely (hopefully) and that’s because they know our hearts. I think most days we women feel like we can hold our own to a certain degree….but….beautiful?

Beautiful. When you think of that word, raise your hand if you immediately see your own  image? Nope. Me either. And to top it off, we live in a world where beauty is the reigning queen of a woman’s life. We sweat for it, starve for it, pay for it, cry over it, seethe jealousy because of it and, I’m so sorry to say, some of us have even died for it.

And what’s worse is that it’s an evolutionary thing! We don’t want to be consumed by it. We don’t want to be the predictable female that obsesses over making herself relevant and then, going even further, has to sustain that relevance via beauty. And some women are lucky enough that they’ve evolved a bit more past it than the rest of us. They understand their worth and it has nothing to do with being beautiful, which then in turn makes them that much more beautiful. *Sigh……* But it’s still there. For each of us. That nagging question…

But this evolutionary *gift* started at the beginning of time. If you were attractive you ate because your man chose you. And if he chose you then when he clubbed that mountain lion and brought it back to the cave you got to eat. Later, if you were attractive, you ate because your man chose you. You certainly couldn’t work so you had to ensure that a man of a certain wealth chose you as his wife so that you could eat, have a roof over your head and feed your children. The more beautiful you were, the better your circumstances.

Today, we can feed ourselves and our children just fine. We’ve come a long way, baby. We don’t need to be beautiful to survive anymore. Then you would think at this stage of the game, beauty would finally be irrelevant. However, one look at the amount that is spent on beauty in one year, even just in the U.S. alone, proves that we have only become more obsessed (I’ve read over $55 billion in 2014 just in the cosmetics industry. That doesn’t include clothing, plastic surgery and the like, hair….etc).

And so there it is, never going away. That question: am I beautiful? And that answer is, Yes. I saw it in her eyes. I saw Sarah look at herself with acceptance, and better yet, with ease, because she saw herself. At that moment she knew she was beautiful.

But here is the kicker: it really had nothing to do with traditional beauty. When I say she realized that she is, in fact, quite beautiful, it’s only partly because of the physical factor (which, I don’t care how you slice it, is important to us). What was magical in that moment was that Sarah found herself in awe because when she looked at those photographs she saw a woman that had a story written from the top of her head to tips of her toes. Each of us has our own, and it’s so special to us because it is us. It’s what makes us, inside and out. At that moment, Sarah could see right through all the hair, skin, makeup, wardrobe….right down to her bones. And it’s in those moments that acceptance, and even self love, settles in.

And that, my friends, are the moments I live for with my clients. That’s why I do what I do and it never ever fails to strike me every single time. What’s better is that I know every time you look at those photographs, even 50 years from now, you will be able to transport yourself back to that day in my studio. That day when you answered your own question…and you get to feel that all over again. Captured truth right there in a timeless photograph.

Each of you is on a journey. The fact that those of you that have been with me allow me to be even a small part of that story still shocks the hell out of me. But to you I say Thank You. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your Legacy.

Your question. My answer. Your Legacy. I’ll be here when you’re ready.pittsburgh-boudoir-photographer-012pittsburgh-boudoir-photographer-013pittsburgh-boudoir-photographer-014pittsburgh-boudoir-photographer-015pittsburgh-boudoir-photographer-017pittsburgh-boudoir-photographer-016pittsburgh-boudoir-photographer-019pittsburgh-boudoir-photographer-020

Makeover by At Home Beauty.


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