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what is “beautiful?” …..for anyone & esp. photographers

A few years ago when my mom was battling cancer, I did a post on my old blog about beauty. At the time, I still had my business, “hair by juliet,” where I was doing hair on location for weddings. There was this chain of events that happened that gave me a perspective that I shared back then and also feel the need to convey again. This is something I think everyone needs to hear (especially in a world where people seem to be very influenced by “beauty” and charisma, vs. WHO a person is inside……what they stand for and who they really are).

I will say in the 5 years I did hair for weddings, I had the best experiences! I loved all the girls I worked with, made so many friends and it was so worth it. Of the hundreds of brides that booked me, I can say I can count on one hand  a few that needed a reality check. I say this in the nicest way possible–promise! I just remember going to a few “trial runs” for hair, leaving and thinking,”seriously …..they need an attitude adjustment.” Now, this attitude was usually not about their hair, but more in general toward me and everyone else in the room. I’d leave and think how a terrible personality can ruin even what many may consider an outwardly pretty girl. All of this coincided with my mom’s illness. She had cancer that spread from her breast to her liver, to her brain. She went through full brain radiation, which caused her to lose all her hair and also her memory. She remembered some things, but she was very confused and sometimes didn’t even know who I was. As you can imagine this was devastating to me. So in the middle of working I was going back and forth to completely different situations with people. I lost patience sometimes and would just shake my head in disbelief.

Now before I go on, I want to preface all of this and say I am not perfect! I don’t always do or say the right things, so if it sounds like I’m pointing fingers, I’ll be the first to say I make mistakes, I am human and  I know I have things to work on!

I just feel a strong push to voice that we have, as people, and also an industry have got to stop putting SO much emphasis on the way people look. This should never drive our business or how we treat people, be so important that we overlook the most inwardly beautiful people that surround us daily. God made us all different.  Don’t feel worried that if someone takes your photo, you aren’t making the best “face” or your hair isn’t perfect, or face isn’t flawless. As a photographer, don’t get wrapped up in the idea you only need to advertise  only “perfect” looking people, or make them look unnaturally perfect in post processing. All this does is make people feel more awkward or self conscious in front of the camera! I don’t think most of us realize how a little goes a long way….. kindness we can show and influence we can have on our clients, by getting to know them. The best photos I’ve ever seen are ones where you can tell the person feels comfortable or relaxed. This is our job as artists but also as people.

So I’m off my soapbox for now. I just hope this makes sense and resonates for you out there. Think about this today–would love to hear your thoughts.

  • bethany cox - “beauty is on the inside”- my mom

  • juliet - Bethany, my mom used to say “pretty is, is pretty does.” 🙂

  • Erin - Be true to yourself-When all the layers (beauty, materialism, such..) are stripped away, your soul is all you’ve got left to show.