Women are like houses...

When I meet a new mom or woman I often look through her. I picture her in beautiful clothing that accentuates & flatters her figure, the wind blowing her hair just perfectly with a genuine relaxed smile and soft eyes. At this point you a probably super freaked out because if you and I have ever met, I have imagined you just like this. #busted #mysecretsareout

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Everyone is obsessed with transformation, and I happen to be one of those "everyone." The idea of taking an everyday person and transforming them into being model like in front of the camera absolutely infatuates me. I have always LOVED telling stories and I actually still do, but the problem I was finding with lifestyle and story telling was that most people don't actually have naturally flattering positions when they are "candid" or "comfortable" for that matter. For example, the way you throw your head back with a deep cackle laugh when you're with your girlfriends isn't actually very flattering if you were to play that over in slow-motion. Most of us have double chins when we do this which is fine because people don't notice because we are actively moving in and out of that awkward position quickly. But when you have someone "freeze frame" that moment, you pray and hope it doesn't become a meme and no one ever sees it. 

This was the dilemma I was facing about a year ago, along with struggling and stressing over how incredibly overwhelming it is to plan, prep and take family portraits. As a mom and the matriarch of a family myself I know that story all too well. I wanted to change the experience from being daunting to actually being fun and memorable.  

I finally dove in deep and invested in a mentor and have been training under them ever since. I have learned so much in such a short period of time that I sometimes look at my work in disbelief. I sometimes just sit there absolutely breathless that I took that everyday person and made them look and feel like a million bucks. That for once they actually LOVED their images of themselves and felt a since of confidence and positivity. 

The pushback I sometimes encounter is, "she is beautiful without all that makeup and fancy stuff." My answer to that is yes. Yes you are absolutely right! Women, especially moms are like houses. They provide shelter, warmth, a safe place, a way to nourish and provide relaxation for families. Over time those houses need some upkeep. They need a deep clean, a fresh cut lawn and an updated paint job. The house that provides so much for the family that lives in will at some point need TLC. That my friends is what my team and I provide. 

We provide that woman who is busy taking care of everyone else a chance to get some TLC. We connect with her prior to coming in to help her plan what to wear based on her home, her figure and overall what inspires her. We provide the planning to make sure that all she is worried about the night before is taking a long overdue soak in the tub and getting a good nights rest. We provide her with professional hair and makeup because it is relaxing and feels good to not have to worry about doing it herself. We also use that time to connect with her and laugh and have some "girl time." We then spend the next few moments just coaching her on how to position her body and face so she is well prepared before her family arrives. We take images of HER because we know that she doesn't get to have someone else do this for her often. Once her family arrives she is already relaxed, comfortable and ready making the process seamless! She is no longer worried about anything because she trusts us. She knows what to expect, she and her family are being talked through the process the entire time. 

This my friends is how it's done. One of my all time favorite and inspiring photographers is Annie Leibovitz. She intrigues me because she states that she "does her homework" on her subjects. She spends time getting to know who they are before they sit in front of her camera. This portion of my business is vital. It's what stands me out from the rest. The time I invest in my subjects is the only reason I am able to get the connections I do.

So the next time you are looking at a "transformation" portrait know this. I agree, they truly are beautiful just as they are. My job as a portrait photographer and artist is to take something beautiful and make it absolutely breathtaking. 

Mary Breuer