How do you see yourself ?

How do you see yourself ?

Allison from DailyOutfit has been a long time supporter of me and my business endeavours. She was first a strong believer in me, while I was working at my 123dressme project, and then, when I decided to move on and start this new genre in photography, Glamour Portraits, she became my biggest ambassador and one of my first clients. I feel I am so lucky to have such beautiful humans like her by my side, their support is invaluable. When I grow up, I will return the favour to the universe and support and mentor younger girls, because I really do think these people are godsend. This is what Allison had to say after our session together, it was interesting to me to see how she sees herself and how I see her, depicted in portraits.

“When I said yes, I thought I was doing Cristina a favor.  If she was going in a new direction with her photography, I was going to support her!  I certainly didn’t think I needed this for myself.

What surprised me was how much the session did for me, for my confidence, and for the way I see myself.   Not only were the images she created beautiful, they allowed me to see a whole other side of myself that I thought I knew, but had never really claimed.

Cristina told me it was an experience.  She designed it as an opportunity for any woman to get in touch with her glamorous side.  But, really, I didn’t think that was an issue for me.  I’m a stylist!

I was wrong.

The experience was transformational.

First of all, who knew modeling is so difficult?

It takes concentration, physical stamina and total focus. It’s like yoga, except you also want to look good!

Luckily, Cristina coached me through the whole thing.  I relaxed with her and got into the swing of it.  She’s amazing:  kind and encouraging.

It was unlike any other photo shoot I’ve experienced.

Of course, models and actresses do this all the time — and they don’t get that kind of support.  It’s their job.  It was fascinating to experience the poses and facial expressions they wield for myself.

More importantly, I have a whole other level of respect for it.  We all struggle with expectations of perfection and beauty.  Much of this struggle comes from amazing images like these.

What most of us don’t understand is the preparation and work that goes into creating high fashion images.  Once I experienced it for myself, I immediately understood on a visceral level how these images are created.

And yet, for the first time, these images allowed me to see my body as beautiful.  And seeing is believing.

For example, take a look at this photo to the left.  I look slender and curvy at the same time.  My waist and bust look perfect.  The funny thing is, I know this is the pose.  But, I also know it is actually me.

Not that I’m going to walk around like this; no one could.  But, if this is actually me, what happens to all that struggle with all those expectations?

I can just put those to rest.  Done and sorted!  What a gift.

portrait Cristina Stoian

“Working the camera” is not just a phrase; it’s a skill set. Some of my sisters have teased me (lovingly or not so lovingly, depending on their mood) that I “always” look good in photos. It’s not actually true.But, I did learn early on how to simply look at the camera and smile. It brings your ratio of good shots to bad shots WAY up.

Take the image to the right. I don’t always look this good, but it is totally me. It’s my smile, the photo looks natural — and it is!

This shot has become my new head shot.

It’s on my website banner and in my marketing. It expresses who I am and who I want to be:  for my clients, my friends and myself.  Fun, compassionate AND stylish.

But, it’s not the shot that inspired me the most from this shoot OR the one that taught me the most about myself OR about high fashion.

There are so many elements to women and to beautiful femininity. I am proud to bring it out in my portraits. I work to bring out different sides of people for different purposes, or for different types of women – it really depends on my model. Women are so powerful, dramatic and natural, it all deserves to be seen. I want everyone to be able to see the beautiful, natural, confident woman in us all.

Because taking a high-fashion shot is totally different. It’s actually not about the smile at all.Why do so many famous women look younger than the rest of us?  It’s not just the Botox and air-brushing. In these shots, I’m not making any wrinkles!

IMG_4073Look closely –

the forehead, the mouth, the eyes — and you’ll see my face is totally relaxed.

I look about 20.  But really?  I’m 43 and I’ve had two children!

My daughter said, “Mommy, are these photos of you when you were much younger?”

I laughed and responded, “No, sweetie, this is how I can look right now.  I just have to be very relaxed.”

After I went through the shoot, I felt I had learned so much about myself and fashion, I didn’t even feel the need to see the photos!  The experience itself had had an amazing result.

But, I’m not gonna lie — the reveal was incredible.  I couldn’t believe the images Cristina had created.

Here is, as Oprah says, my best self — beautiful, strong, fabulous, sexy, stylish and confident

This is who I am — in my imagination.

But there I am — in a photograph.

I am so happy I said yes to this shoot.  Turns out?  It was a favor to myself.

Sometimes, it takes courage to step into your own power.

Thanks to Cristina, all I need to do is look at this image to know I already have!”

 

 

 

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“What we vividly imagine, most ardently desire, enthusiastically act upon, must inevitably come to pass” ~ Collin P. Sisson
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