The Permission to Feel Beautiful


Sometimes people need permission. As adults, it’s a hard concept to grasp because we’d like to believe we’re past the point of someone ever granting us permission to do something. I mean, some of the greatest things about being adult is eating dessert before dinner and jumping on the hotel bed! Sorry, Mom, I’m sad to say all those years of telling me NO hasn’t done a thing for my maturity.

In more practical terms, I believe people sometimes need the permission to be honest, even when it hurts. Permission to be real, even if it’s awkward. And–more relatable for girls–the permission to feel beautiful. It’s a funny thing for me to even write, but I’ve been thinking about this for months now and I’m fully convinced of this notion. Yes, there are the rare species of females who are okay in their own skin (namely, the seven-foot, spandex-wearing blond with blue eyes, who sits in the front row of my spin class), but for the most of us it’s not that easy. Especially when it has to happen in front of a camera.

When I shoot my clients, I take a few seconds to let them know that in that moment, between us, it’s totally okay to feel beautiful. I’m not behind my camera thinking to myself, What is she doing?! In fact, it’s quite the opposite. My insides beg for a girl to blossom confidently in front of my camera, so when she gets back in her car with her fiance, she feels radiant and loved. When that happens, I’ve done my job.

If you’re a photographer, I want to encourage you to remind your clients they have the permission to feel beautiful. But don’t say it like that. I give you the permission to feel beautiful. That’s plain weird. But you get the idea. Remind your clients it’s okay for them to let their guard down and commit to getting the type of pictures they’ve always wanted. It really does go a long way.