It happens about once a month: I get a frantic e-mail from a client whose session is coming up and they just CAN'T go through with it. They didn't lose the weight they wanted to lose, they can't stand the sight of themselves in the mirror so how could they POSSIBLY like photos of themselves right now? Plus, they don't have anything to wear and everything they try on is horrendous, and...oh shit....maybe there's even a monstrous pimple arising and their monthly horror movie of a flow is about to rear it's ugly head just in time for the worst time to be bloated with the blahs.
Listen, I GET IT. BOYYYYY DO I GET IT. I have those days/weeks/months myself, and GET THAT CAMERA AWAY FROM ME, are you NUTS!? But here's the thing, it's not MY camera. I fully recognize that this is about to be the most horn-tooting statement ever, but I KNOW what my capabilities are. I know what I can do with a pose, with the light, with a sheet, with a hug and some encouragement, and with a tiiiiny pinch of post-shoot magic. I know that, for my shoot style, wardrobe doesn't matter. I know that I can camouflage whatever it is that's bothering you without making it look like we're obviously trying to hide something.
I don't WANT you to feel that way, but I also don't think when you DO feel this way some days, that it's the troublesome-deep-seeded-self-loathing/depression/whathaveyous that media/society makes it out to be every time we feel that way. I think that we're women, and HORMONES ARE DICKS. I think, regardless of what the scales say, our bodies could look completely different at the end of the week than at the beginning. I think that we all have times where we feel kind of shitty about ourselves and that could be something as minor as feeling fat because we just binge watched Man vs. Food on Netflix and tried to recreate the 17-layer loaded french fries we just saw last night, or something as major as having a baby and going through the "WHOSE BODY IS THIS!?!?" stage for a few months or a decade.
WE ALL GO THROUGH THIS. And here's the thing, I will never ever force a client to have their session if they're feeling this way. But I will pep talk the shit out of them, and now, maybe just point them to this blog post. Because everyone FEELS that way occasionally, and even though I do my absolute best to educate on all the reasons why you should trust me on this and post review after review from women saying "I CANNOT BELIEVE I LOOKED SO GOOD. I CANNOT BELIEVE HOW COMFORTABLE I WAS.", for all you know, every single woman on my blog/Instagram/website are in the best shape of their lives and have zero cellulite and obviously are not mothers, etc etc etc.
UNTRUE. SOOOOOOO untrue. Everyone just looks amazing in their photos. Everyone just looks CONFIDENT in their photos. And CONFIDENCE, my loves, is my dirty little secret gift that I give to each and every one of my clients. I cannot be giving all my secrets away here, but I'll tell you that women leave my studio feeling like She-Ra and they did NOT come in that way.
Now, on to Miss "Almost Cancelled in lieu of the blahs", here. It's true. She was not just saying "I don't think I can do this. She said "I need to cancel.". This girl was going THROUGH it. Not only did she say she was at her heaviest weight ever, but also had an absolute mess of personal stresses. I felt for her, and even *I*, knowing my capabilities, thought: "Maybe it's just not a good time for her"....and then quickly squashed that thought and gave her my pep talk. A photographer herself, I thought it might be even harder to gain her trust. But I gave her my best encouragement pep talk and told her she needed this especially right now. She did. And she came. And she ROCKED. And here is what she had to say:
"My life lately has been less than fantastic, with numerous family issues, personal issues....basically ALL the issues! Because of all this stress and just general life-ness, I have completely and totally let myself go. I have gained so much weight that I now weigh more than I did when I was pregnant with either of my boys. It's bad....real bad.
But, when I saw that Kara was coming to Dallas I just instantly booked with her without thinking twice because I love her work so, so much and I desperately wanted just one beautiful photo of myself, even at what is undoubtedly the most unhealthy and fattest of my life. "
"About two weeks before my session I had a meltdown, and told her that I just couldn’t do it, I was just too overwhelmed with life and circumstances and I was fat and ugly and had nothing to wear….and she gently told me that she completely understood how I was feeling, but that I NEEDED to do this.
And I did.
But y’all, I was a WRECK. I arrived with no lingerie, no shoes, nothing except a robe. Because none of my lingerie fit and I was feeling so awful about my body that I didn’t want to spend money on buying new stuff. So I told her to just shoot me with a sheet and to do her best."
"I was so nervous and shaking the entire shoot, and my inner monologue was basically 'Don’t look down, don’t look down' because if I even glanced at my body or what it was looking like I was going to freeze up and have to stop.
But I made it, and I had fun, and I didn’t die."
"And in my car on my way home after my session I cried. I don’t really know why, precisely, I was just so glad I went through with the session and just so proud of myself. And as anyone who has ever had a session with Kara before knows, I got WAY more than one gorgeous photo of myself!"
So not only did she get her ONE good photo (which is, TRULY, all she expected or wanted), but she told me she had to have them all, and she got that much-needed self-love boost. THAT is what it's all about. I was SO very happy that she'd showed up, she let me guide her, coach her, and even happier she had an amazing experience and got an incredibly badass set of photos to remind her, every time she needs it, that she is incredible.