I'm a portrait artist.
And, the story I tell you is the absolute truth, as incredible as it may seem.
Then I coached girls gymnastics for two decades. Heck, on my birthday each year, I do a fancy-schmancy backflip on a trampoline - much to the delight of my three daughters... however, my wife refuses to watch the death-defying feat her crazed husband!
Anywhoo... Dancing & coaching gymnastics has served me well! Posing (the hardest part of photography for most people) is easy-as-pie for me. I just know what looks good on you - and, trust me, it is different for every person. (Photography TIP: You can't just copy poses off of pinterest - much to the chagrin of newbie photographers.)
You see, when I first started photography, I dove deep into study of "portrait art". Putting in my 10,000 hours of study & practice... struggling to "use lighting" for dramatic effect, awkwardly trying to perfect a delicate hand in photoshop, and steering clear of cheesy poses and photography cliches (peeking around the side of the tree - who does that!), ...
But... with the heart of an artist, I was soul searching for my purpose in photography. My "Why". The inner struggle was real... Am I really making an impact? What is my purpose? Why has my path lead me here?
At the beginning..I thought my mission was to take "pretty pictures". Boy was I wrong! My "Why" was about to be revealed to me... in the most dramatic of ways.
Little did I know.. one day.... while showing a young lady her senior pictures, something unexpected happened... something that changed me from that day forward. It was as if the dark skies parted, allowing the sun to peek through.... the sunlight illuminated my path.. I could clearly see my purpose.
As you will discover, it changed her too - even more profoundly than myself! It was a day of transformation for us both.
She uttered the magical words. Words every parent wishes their child knew about themselves - an inner truth that has to be discovered from within. The discovery comes from an unexpected experience... and there must be undeniable proof for a teenager to believe it is true... and... no one.. not even a parent... no matter how hard you try to convince them... the truth must be experienced first-hand!
So... what happened you may ask. What was so life changing George?!?!
Glad you asked. Let me continue...
Well...a few days after the photoshoot, the senior & her family watched her slideshow at my studio... showcasing her beautiful portraits we created together. The first image slowly appeared on the screen and then faded to darkness as the next image was revealed.
Right then, her eyes watered...tears started to roll down her cheeks as she saw her beautiful self on the screen... seeing herself for the first time in a new light... her lips quivered... (I was silently hoping I didn't do something wrong)... then she said the words I will never forget... (they are forever imprinted in my heart).
While holding back joyful tears, she muttered out the self-loving words, "I can't believe I am beautiful".
You could have heard a pin drop as her parents and I let her explore those emotions... she went on a wondrous journey of self discovery - she was indeed beautiful.
The proof was on the screen... and she could no longer deny it. Those tears broke through the chains of self doubt she was carrying. The burden of a poor self-image was lifted off her shoulders.
She saw herself in a new light... a beautiful light.
Her parents hugged her so tightly. The tears flowed. There was not a dry eye in the room. Then, I walked over and hugged her too. She whispered "Thank You" as she hugged me. She was reborn...a new image of self-love.
Right then and there, I instantly discovered my purpose as a portrait artist.
This was a game changer for me. No longer was I satisfied taking "pretty pictures", I wanted to transform a person's self image through my work... to forever alter the way they viewed themselves.... to give them the confidence to move mountains... the conviction to be bold... the self-love we all deserve.
Often times, parents email me.. perhaps months later.... "George, you have no clue what you did for my daughter."
You see... a photo shoot with me is not ONLY about "pretty senior pictures", my mission is much larger than that - and my clients feel my passion and appreciate the tremendous effort. It is my GIFT to every client.