This is a guest post courtesy of Jodie Jolley of Aven Willow Portraits
I’m pretty sure each of us women secretly wants to see the inner goddess inside of ourselves find its way out of the dusty dark corner it has been hiding in the last several years and make its way back up to the surface, into the light, to shine and glitter for all to see! It’s a feeling that we all know far too well, and whether you realize it or not, most of the women and girls you know or who are around you have the same desire of feeling and seeing their true beauty and value again, or maybe for the first time in their lives. There are so many things placed in front of our faces in our day-to-day experiences that quietly whisper that we have no value, that we are selfish to love ourselves, or that we can not conquer the things we face or dream of. There is such an important need today for us to take moments in our lives to show ourselves love and grace, and to go out of our comfort zones and choose to do things that show us how incredible we truly are and how limitless we can be, no matter what our age is!
As a glamour portrait photographer, I have come to learn how important self-value is by working mainly with women in my studio over the last 9 years. Each woman is such an incredible and beautiful individual, but they all had their own version of hiding. They wanted to hide in the back of the family portrait. Hide by not bringing too much attention to themselves. Hide behind the sets of the photoshoot and have just their beautiful daughter photographed this time. Or just wanted to hide by never having their picture taken because life had proved to them that they were not worthy of it or photogenic. Really what they were doing was hiding from the world and, even worse, they were hiding from themselves. With that, you can imagine how the conversation goes during a consultation in my studio when I talk to them about the woman they are wanting to see in their pictures with me. Most of the women I meet with are already stretching outside of their comfort zones by even considering a portrait session that is all about celebrating just them! We start designing their beautiful experience together and planning out their different outfits from casual to glamour. As we get toward the end of their desired looks I always look at that woman across from me and tell her that she is going to be photographed as the most breathtaking and stunning Goddess she could ever imagine, that she was going to come to find that inner goddess during our time together and that by the time she leaves her session at my studio that she will never want to hide again! Some women have been ready to hear that for years, waiting for the right situation and photographer to show their inner goddess the way to the light! Most do not react this way, though. Most wonder out loud if they could ever even do that or look like those other beautiful goddesses in my portfolio. I say back to them, “You already are that incredible Goddess. Let me show you.”
I decided very early on that I did not want to just take great pictures of the women who walked into my studio. I wanted to take that opportunity to empower them and change their lives, to take them through the process of being photographed in the most beautiful and graceful way they have ever experienced, to make it a day for them to get to know themselves deeper, to blossom and open up in front of my camera. You see, all of their sessions are a designed self-love journey to help them connect with themselves, trust themselves, see themselves, and work their way through that 4-hour session up to the crowning moment of their experience where I ask her if she is ready to become that breathtaking Goddess we have planned together. Each one of these women, blossoming from the once hidden version of themselves, throws their arms up in the air and exclaims, “Yes!!! I am that Goddess!”
It is one of the most incredible experiences you can witness as a portrait artist. It is why I love what I do.