When I showed up for the photo shoot, I was nervous and felt really, REALLY silly.
I mean, who goes and gets pictures taken of herself all "glammed" up?
Turns out I do.
When I walked up to the counter, I didn't know what to expect. The two women inside were beauty people. Nice hair, flawless makeup and cute outfits. Read: intimidating.
Really. That's intimidating to a person like me. You're lucky if you can find me in jeans anymore. I'm a pajama bottom girl. And cute tops? Please. Toss me one of John's old T-shirts and I'm good to go.
Such is the glamours style of Gina. *Grin*
And I'm not even wearing glasses in these. I try really hard not to get photographed in my glasses. I hate the way I look. Annnnd, proof of the glasses and general frumpiness:
So when I say I'm not glamorous, I really REALLY mean that. Even for my own wedding, I wore glasses, did nothing special with my hair, and had a whisper of makeup.
Me and girly stuff just... I just don't know what to do with it.
Imagine my wonder, then, when stylist, Ashley, effortlessly made me look glamorous. I instantly felt at ease with her. I could tell she'd dealt with my type before, because she sorta laughed off my fears that she might have a tough time getting my hair to do anything fun. After years of boring, my hair knows its place, and its place is in a crinkled bun-thing at the nape of my neck.
Not with Ashley, though. She expertly maneuvered my locks around a curling iron. A CURLING IRON, people! Do you know how many stylists have complained about how healthy my hair is? No one could ever get curls to stick because my hair was too soft to hold shape. Ashley didn't even use hairspray.
Which, BTW, I loved. She understood how much care I took with my hair because of donation, so she made sure not to put any sort of product into my hair. Everything you see in the photos was all her. I don't know how she managed it, but she did, and I loved it!
Regarding the makeup, she used an airbrush machine. I've always been curious how they worked, and I was surprised at how quickly foundation went on. It felt like Vincent was blowing into my face after eating a popsicle. The air was cold and a bit soggy if you catch my drift. When I opened my eyes, I looked like a recent victim of Dracula; I was so pale! Ashley had given me fair warning, though, so I wasn't worried.
She quickly layered blush and bronzer to give me color and brushed some eye shadow over my brow while suggesting I should stick with browns to complement my blue eyes. When she attempted to use eyeliner under my eye, she didn't judge my freakish fear of eyeballs and let me line, myself, under her direction.
The entire make-up / hair session went by super fast. Ashley kept the conversation going and didn't think twice about the questions she genuinely seemed interested to know the answers to.
Believe it or not, readers, she asked why John and I only had one child! I was really surprised, but pleasantly so. She reminded me a lot of myself. She can't wait to have children. She couldn't understand why John didn't want more, and I laughed as I tried to explain that society just doesn't value children as much as those of us who do. We view them as fun and rewarding. Society? Hurdles to personal pleasure.
She was just so sweet. I even opened up a bit about Myla. Surprised the heck out of myself. I felt comfortable enough with her in such a short span of time that when she asked if John would accept things should I get pregnant, I told her he would because he did with the little girl I'd miscarried in July.
To think I would have that tentative conversation with a stylist I'd just met. Wonder of wonders! That just goes to show you how amazing she was.
Once the makeup was applied, she told me to get changed into the first outfit. I had brought two vests with me and she helped me pick out the best one to suit the dress I wore with it. How nice was that?
She set me loose in the studio which is, itself, ingeniously designed to save on space and maximize efficiency. One studio had five different "hard" backdrops that you could move through quickly to match a certain style. The next studio had "soft" backdrops that could quickly be unfurled for a change in scenery. There were plenty of props tucked away into every corner that could be pulled and used if the photographer thought it would add to the shot.
Over all, I was really impressed with the set up. Moreso, though, I was impressed by the professionalism and warmth that exuded from the staff. Everyone was genuinely sweet and helpful. They shower you with a thousand compliments because, frankly, they do good work. Each time I was told how beautiful I looked, I shot a nod towards Ashley whose fault it was I looked so flawless.
The photos, themselves, were great. All of the things Ashley had me do ("drop your shoulder, drop your shoulder, always drop your shoulder!") looked natural. That, in itself, is a miracle, because I kept laughing at myself being placed in what felt like super unnatural poses.
Put my arms up? Scoot my butt against the wall? Raise my chin?
My favorite was when she said, "C'mon. Let's try a sexy pose."
I actually laughed. Hard. Miss I-Wear-PJs-and-Old-Tees doesn't do "sexy."
She said, "No, you can do it. It's all in the eyes."
Within a few clicks of me staring up into her camera while trying to keep my hands placed exactly where she'd put them, she nodded to herself and said, "Yes. That's a good one."
I remember thinking Oh, good. She caught me between blinks that time.
Turns out she actually captured the most beautiful photo I'd ever - EVER - seen of myself. I wouldn't call it sexy, because again - I don't believe I can ever pull of "sexy." But I did look beautiful, and I gasped when I saw myself.
When I saw this after the photo shoot was over, I was so taken aback I almost couldn't speak for a quick second. That's not me. She looks nothing like me. She's wearing my wedding rings, she has my blue eyes, and she's even wearing my clothes, but that woman is not me!
And yet she is. She's the woman I sometimes forget I am at 3 in the afternoon as I'm trudging through payables. She's the woman who is hidden under the peanut butter kisses I'm given on the weekends. She's the woman I hope my husband still sees hiding under his favorite wrestling shirt.
I never put much stock into what I look like. Looks aren't important to me. However, seeing this reminder of my femininity when I haven't thought about myself past "Mom" in so long... it was startling. Startling and refreshing. I really did gain a confidence boost, and I didn't even think I needed one.
Ever since seeing myself through her lens, I've made a conscious effort to pay more attention to my feminine side. I haven't started donning makeup or curling my hair, mind you, but I have distanced myself somewhat from the harsher tones of "being one of the guys" and began embracing the soft and gentle ways indicative of women.
So to all you fabulous ladies out there - I do think you owe yourselves this experience at least once in your lives. See yourself through the lens of another... someone who can expertly see who you are and capture it on film. At Glamour Shots, it seems like they've got the process down perfectly. I had so much fun, and this experience really did gently shift my vision of who I am and who I want to be. I appreciate so much more the gift of being a woman.
Thanks, Ashley... and the whole Glamour Shots team.
This is a franchise, so I'm assuming you guys can find Groupons near you! Do it, and then link back here to share with the rest of us!
I was there for about three hours.
Yes, their prices are expensive, but given the amount of work they put into it, I don't mind (especially since they put such great deals up on Groupon!).
They do have a sales pitch at the end, but again, I went in fully expecting that. They weren't pushy, but they definitely know exactly how to make you want to walk out handing over your life savings. :)
They do everything from maternity and family portraits to school and modeling shots. They also do boudoir (which is what my Groupon stated), but obviously you don't have to show up with lingerie to take advantage of their offer.
(Yes, I just blushed while writing that.)
Yes, I do plan to go back. I also purchased a Groupon for family portraits through them and can't wait to see how the family pictures turn out. They did such a great job with me, I can only imagine how they'll capture Vincent and John!
If you have any other questions I missed, feel free to leave 'em below (or message me). :)
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