This Goddess did not need a confirmation that she was a Goddess and gently opted out of the goddess reading. (A goddess reading, which is included with the Goddess Photoshoot, suggests which goddess' energy you embody and is typically done over the phone by an intuitive goddess-friend of mine). I had met Jennifer Nicole at an event the year before, when hungry for artistic work, I volunteered to photograph a Marry Yourself Ceremony (by Lourdes Starshower). The idea of Marry Yourself Ceremony was to vow to love and cherish that wonderful, most important person in YOUR life - YOU. Aside from being a photographer at that event (and I don't ever photograph events - not my cup of coffee!), I was supposed to give vows and marry myself too, but I got cold feet... Jennifer Nicole was gorgeous at that wedding - wearing a cream-color dress and a tiara and she immediately struck me as a Queen. Gentle and feminine, but at the same time knowing what she wants and very powerful.
When she finally decided to splurge on a Goddess Photoshoot, before I even read the results of her Design my Goddess Photoshoot, I had a vision of her with very bright, vibrant colors, in a dark, about-to-swallow-you, fairy-tale-like forest. My goddess then confirmed to me that to match her spirit we would photograph in a woodsy area that also had access to the water so we chose to do it in the Spanish River Park in Boca.
Jennifer Nicole chose three outfits for the shoot - a long purple gown, a mystical black hooded dress, and a flowery short dress, that, unfortunately, never made it into the photos because we got so caught up in photographing the first two. My model also picked out lots of jewelry, including her crown.
The first part of the shoot we experimented in the woods - first on a giant fallen log and then on a path in the forest.
A little photographer's trick:
If you are not an experienced model, it is always easier to pose when you have a prop. When you have something in your hands that you need to interact with, you are more natural, because you are not thinking about the camera and posing. So we found this enormous green leaf, that took part in our shoot. The images from the leaf series are my favorite, including the million dollar shot (can you guess which one it is?).
On the technical side of things, for my photographer friends who might be reading this, the lens that I used for these images was Lensbaby Spark. ("Baby, I love Lensbaby", I said to my husband) This very inexpensive lens that looks more like a toy gives your images one in-focus sweet spot while the rest of the image is soft and blurry. This year I am on the path of experimenting with photography and getting away from the prescriptive rigidity of what I was taught (how can you prescribe ART?) by taking a bunch of out of focus pictures. The slogan on the Lensbaby gave me goose bumps when I first read it:
"Discover how the aim of photography isn't precision or perfection. It's wonder."
So wonder we created and the images came out wonder-ful :)
Then we decided to take some photos on the path in the woods. After giving my model some general posing guidance, I captured these images below. "I was channeling a Disney princess", she said with a huge smile.
She even sang for me and the birds chirping in the tress, just like the real Snow White! And I got it on camera, in one of these behind-the-scenes shots:
For the second part of the shoot, to translate the vibrant, abundant, gentle, loving and fun-loving spirit that I saw in Jennifer Nicole, I though a sea of flowers would help. (Well, a sea I did not quite muster, but a pond it was. We will try the sea version next time:)) We scouted a patch of green grass, further away from the action of beach-goers, who were washing sand off their happy and tired canine babies on the way back to their cars. My goddess sat on the bright green grass, surrounded by white, pink and purple-hued flowers that matched her dress, behind her ... a parking lot.
"Are you sure the parking lot will not show?", she looked around.
"Trust me, I am an engineer", I thought, and reassured her, "No, it won't, don't worry".
The flower shots came out beautifully, showing off her gentleness, femininity and symbolizing her being a beautiful blooming flower herself and her abundance and bright outlook on life.
"Red roses are my favorite", she says, when I pull out a giant red rose that I envisioned as a prop for the black dress and the third, final part of our session. Though my vision for that dress was to be photographed on the beach, Jennifer Nicole convinced me that it would look better in the woods, since it had a more magical feel to it. By then it was twilight, and the photos came out capturing that mystical spirit of the Goddess.
"What time is it?" I wondered, when I realized that we were the only ones left in the park. (Because I totally lose track of time when I photograph, that day, I had prepared a watch to put on before the shoot, but forgot it anyway.) When I looked at the time, it was 7:45 pm - we photographed for close to three hours! That moment, when I get yanked out of my fantasy world and back to reality, I start panicking that my baby might have gone through all the pumped milk and may be hungry (which is rarely the case), and we throw everything back into the car and head out, back to the real world. But this fantasy-like evening in the forest and the reminder of her divinity will stay forever, in beautiful photos.
I delivered the final photos to Jennifer Nicole in person. We met at a Dunkin Donuts, where I presented her with the beautiful black box with the photos inside. I loved the photos we created together and was curious to know her opinion about them. "You will be blown away by how beautiful you are", is my promise for the Goddess Photoshoot experience. "Will she be blown away?" I wondered as I was opening the door for the giant jogging stroller in which my daughter accompanied me.
"Guess what the client said about the photos?" I ask my husband (the game that he is thrown into playing whether he likes it or not :))
"She loved them"
"Yes, she loved them! She was totally blown away!", I exclaim joyfully and braggingly.
Her exact words after seeing the photos were "I am so happy right now!" and that is the best praise I can get. She also added, "This is the best work you've ever done and I've seen your work. And I have to say I have the best and I love them!"
Those words gave me a high that lasted the whole day, and then some. That must have been one of the few times when I did not seek validation on Facebook as I often do.
After posting a photo or a piece of digital art that I am proud of and then not getting as many likes as some perceived notion of how many likes it deserves, I would then get depressed over not getting that validation. And that day I did not need any validation because I KNEW the photos WE created together were AWESOME. I couldn't care less about social media, because I saw the value that this woman placed on these photos, and I myself felt the value of what I produced for her, and for myself. And then coincidentally (yeah, right. No, seriously, however you want to interpret it), I came across this article about photographers seeking validation on social media.
Back to the main point now.
Loving yourself because you look amazing is superficial, some might say, but that love for self must start somewhere. Focusing on the positive, noticing the beautiful, and praising yourself for the good qualities you posses will surely raise your vibration and take you on a path to loving yourself more. I hope this Goddess now falls MADLY IN LOVE with herself because she looks magnificent!
P.S. The cool thing was that I captured Jennifer Nicole's healing energy on camera :)