She stood in the middle of ornate gardens, intricate details on all the buildings and tendrils of hair blowing in the (bitterly cold) breeze. She told me about her friends, her family. her favorite music (John Mayer and Metallica), her school, her dreams, her plans-for-the-next-step. We walked around, watching painters paint and listening to birds sing. But in between the polite chit-chat, she also told me she didn’t want to get her picture taken because she’s not beautiful.
Oh, darling girl: you ARE beautiful! Your hair is beautiful (I miiight be jealous), your eyes are beautiful (sparkling, too!), your smile lights up your whole face. It is a fact easily proven: you are beautiful.
The complaint, though, is not unique to just Effy; I hear it from every direction. From the high school senior who doesn’t look like the cover of Vogue, from the new mom watching her body continue to change, from the long-time-married hiding behind her grown children because she doesn’t look how she did when she was a high schooler. I hear it from the guys, too: “I don’t have a nice smile, so I don’t smile.” “Don’t look at my pudge.” “Are you getting my good side?”
You are beautiful because God made you, because God loves you, because God created beauty in you when He made you in His image. It’s my little soapbox, my pet peeve: I believe that everyone is beautiful. Not based on how closely they resemble the cover of a magazine, not based on how much weight they lose or gain, not based on how perfect or imperfect their smile is. No. Just not. Instead, beauty is because God is the author of beauty, God created everything and declared it GOOD, and God is perfect and created me in His image, so I simply cannot be ugly…no matter how I feel or what society has programmed me to think or what the scale dishearteningly says.
Senior portrait tip: Pick a location that depicts a piece of who you are. Do you show horses? Let’s go to the barn! Do you dance? Let’s find a stage! Is your favorite place your writing nook? Easily done. Are you proud of your heritage and decide to shoot in an Asian garden? Do it!