Because I am a senior photographer, I come in contact with lots of adults and teens, in circumstances that revolve around high school. It often makes me think about my own time in high school, and the person that I was back then. I didn't belong to a specific group; I wasn't a star athlete, or a musician. I wasn't a core member of the "in crowd", but I had friends and wasn't an outsider, either. I was friends with everyone, and floated between social groups. I have strong memories about high school, and remember feeling that I just didn't quite fit in. The high school demographic is one I relate to, and the reason that I gravitated to senior photography.
For us women, it seems that confidence and body image go hand-in-hand. In high school, I struggled with body image, and confidence, and many of those struggles carried into my early twenties. Being a small framed person, I couldn't afford a whole lot of extra weight so it's something that I always struggled with. During high school, everything seems to be determined by how you look, or whether you were successful. I even remember being called a "butterball" when I was in elementary school, and it always stuck with me, as a hurtful moment. It's pretty hard to even share about it on the blog today, but I think it's important that we are honest about our struggles.
My personal struggles with my appearance are one of the driving forces behind my passion for senior photography. I get the privilege to form bonds with high schoolers, and I can relate to the things they are struggling with; bullying, weight, acne, and appearance. I get to show my clients that who they are is wonderful, and that they are enough. It doesn't matter which group they fit into, or whether others think they are pretty, or athletic, or attractive enough. I want them to feel accepted, and safe. In my senior program, we bond within the group, and even when they leave the program, I keep tabs on them. I always wish them happy birthday, and I even send care packages to some of them at college! I have built my business and my senior teams, in order to be a voice of encouragement to the teens I get to work with. I hope they all feel loved, and accepted, and I will continue to be a light where I can be, especially to teens who are struggling to fit in. I feel really blessed to be able to do what I do!