Izzybug Photography » Indianapolis Photographer giving teens and tweens the courage to be themselves in a world that asks for so much more.

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Strength-Beauty-Poise

Strength is something you find when you need it.  At times, we all feel like we are not strong enough.  Like one more thing will bring our lives toppling to the ground.  We all have periods in life that make us cry out and wonder if we can take it anymore.  But, before we know it, the time has passed, and we have made it through to the other side.  Somewhere we found strength.  It’s something we take for granted.  At times, it’s something I think we are afraid of.  We like to lean on others, let them protect us, care for us.  We like to give up, place blame, and be safe.  It can be scary to be strong…because we might have to be strong again.  And with strength comes uncertainty.  With strength there may be failure.  But, with strength there may also be victory.  And with victory, there is growth and self respect.

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Beauty.  Beauty is something we have, but must accept.  It takes strength to see true beauty.  The world would like us to see beauty one way.  We use words like homely, and kind, and “good personality”  to remind each other that society likes one kind of beauty.  But, the truth is, we all have beauty.  We just have to have the strength to accept it.  I believe a strong woman is a beautiful woman.  All shapes, all sizes, all colors.  When a woman knows who she is, and lets her strength shine, she exudes beauty.  She doesn’t hide behind false assumptions.  Doesn’t escape in the excuse that she is not worth pampering, caring for, or even wearing clothes that make her feel good.  She doesn’t envelope herself in the lie that her shape is not acceptable because it’s not like the ones in magazines.  No, this woman shines in the strength she was given, and never looks back.

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Poise.  Poise is the ability to be both.  And so, a woman of Poise is strong of spirit and beautiful of soul.  She has found the strength to to move through the hard things, and the strength to believe in the beauty she possesses.  She can hold her head high and know that what she has to offer is enough.  Enough for the world, and most importantly enough for her.  So my lovelies, today hear me say that you are enough.  Be STRONG in self, be BEAUTIFUL in spirit, and be a woman of POISE.

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This year I started the “You Are…” campaign. Some of you have seen it, some of you participate. The reason I chose these specific words is so simple. So often we are told what we are not. We are told how we don’t fit in, don’t fit the mold, don’t look the same, or act the same. So often we are shoved full force into the box that is “acceptable society” This campaign challenges us to see each individual for who they are, and praise them for it. So many parents are terrified that their kids will come home with colored hair, or wearing black. They worry that somehow their ripped jeans or saggy pants will exclude them from life. But, under all that experimentation, is a unique personality just trying to get out. I love that we were able to do the entire range of Paytons personality for her senior session. I love that she accepts her silly side. That she loves to laugh and joke like a kid…but that she embraces the side of her that is deep and poetic. That she sees a side of the world that maybe I never will. But, it evokes a perspective and art that is truly hers. She is beautiful from the outside, but the depth and breadth of her soul brings so much more. After her session I thanked her. Thanked her for being true to herself. Thanked her for sparking a creativity in me, one that allowed me to show her how amazing she is.
 
I never want your senior session to be about “acceptable society” I never want any session to be about that. You, your senior, your child, your teen, and your family…they are all unique. You are not everyone else. You are not bound to the box society tries to put you in. Your images don’t have to be like your neighbors, or last years seniors. Your images have to be you. I say get out.  Get out of that box.  Stop fitting in, and start being you! Because really my friends…”You Are Amazing”

 

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Here it is ladies.  I am talking to you.  Your face in my hands…eye to eye, I am speaking to you.  This one is going to be a tough one.  No one is going to want to hear it.  But, WE all need to.  I talk a lot about teens and self-esteem, and how social media effects how they see themselves.  Well, it’s not just teens.  Ladies, Moms, Women…we are guilty too.  Horribly guilty.  Recently I went on a girls weekend.  Several of the most beautiful women I know, inside and out, were there.  We were all dolled up and ready to go out, so of course it was time to take a selfie.  After 3 or 4 I started to walk away and I turned around to see everyone checking the picture to make sure they looked ok.  (Don’t get me wrong, no one wants a double chin, half eye open, crazy chick picture, I get it)  But, this is when it struck me…Our lives are completely edited!   Our photographic life has no bad hair days, no water retention, no swollen eyes.  We have apps for skin smoothing, eye opening, hip thinning…we, as women want to PORTRAY ourselves, not BE ourselves.

Now, don’t get me wrong I check my selfies.  I take two or three, or the girls in my studio will tell you sometimes 5.  But, I am trying to be less critical.  Trying to take one and done, and here is why.  You know when you take a picture, and you show it to your friend/child/husband, and you ask if you look awful?  When they say “no”  your automatic response is that they are lying.  Delete, re-take.  But, the truth is, 9 times out of 10 they are not lying.  That pic you hate, looks just like you to them.  It’s not an insult.  It doesn’t mean that photo that you feel ugly in really looks like you and therefore you are ugly.  It is oh so much more complicated than that.  Everyone around you, everyone that loves you…when they see a photo they see you, all of you.  Inside and out, unfiltered.  They don’t look at you with filtered eyes.  They don’t just see your thighs or your thinning hair.  They see YOU!

Think about your most favorite picture of you mom.  Pull it up in your mind.  If she saw it, would she love it?  I can think of one of my mom.  She is in a hospital bed, in a god awful gown, and she just had my sister.  If she saw it, she would die.  She would immediately comment on how huge she was, or what a mess her hair was.   I simply see my mom.  Happy, glowing, beautiful in every way.  Now hold that.  Remember how you feel about your beautiful mom…now think about this.  Your children see you exactly the same way.  Happy, glowing, beautiful and REAL.

Let’s go back to that picture of your mom.  I am praying you still have your mom here with you, but if she has passed, this will mean oh so much more.  Imagine you are planning your moms funeral.  You sit down with your siblings to reminisce.  As you open the photo album you turn page after page after page.  No mom.  There are just empty spaces where photos were removed.  You find one Glamor Shot from the 80’s.  She is beautiful, but it doesn’t really capture her.  She looks weird and you have a little laugh about it.  But, there is nothing.  Nothing to remember her in the kitchen. Nothing to remember the water fights in the back yard, or the lazy Sundays on the couch.  Not a single image of your swollen happy mom in the hospital bed glowing after she has had your sister.  Then your dad comes in.  “Where are all the pictures of mom?”  You ask.  Dad explains, “She deleted them.  She was too fat.  Her legs looked weird.  Her roots were showing.  It was a bad angle.  Her teeth weren’t white”  You are devestated, because you loved those pictures.  You enjoyed those pictures.  Those pictures were all you had left of your mom.

Do you get what I am saying here?  Pictures are for memories.  Snapshots are about life.  Your babies see YOU every single day.  They don’t see your flaws. We as women can’t help but to pick ourselves apart.  But we have to stop.  Next time your husband snaps a picture of you with your kids.  Do me a favor, don’t check it.  Let it be what it is.  I know thats scary, husbands don’t care right?  Actually they do.  They just don’t see the same flaws you do.  They really do think you look good!  Let your picture be taken.  Stop the negative self hating voice that says you look bad.  If your first instinct is to look at your double chin, pull back and look at the whole image. See the moment, see the love, see the memory.

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I remember one time someone told me they loved having boys, but they really loved having girls.  They said boys are great because they can play sports, but girls are better because they can play sports, and dolls.  They can be tough, and soft.  Pretty and tomboy.  Smart and Funny.  But, here is the truth.  We can all be more than one thing.  We ARE more than one thing.  So often, early on in life we are put on a path.  And, by no fault of our own, we are pushed down that path, funneled, channeled towards one end goal.  Maybe at 6 you liked basketball.  At 7 you started playing on a league, by 10 you were in private lessons and travel ball, and by 13 you were done.  You realized you loved to draw, or act or read, or maybe you just love to run.  But, you were already on the basketball path.  There was no more room to be and artist.  You were an athlete.  Channeled, herded, pushed, right into the tight little box that begins to define who we are.  Now, we are never maliciously herded.  Usually the intent is to support us.  Help us grow.  Make us the best at what we love.  But, what if we don’t want to be the best?  What if we just want to enjoy our activities, grow, learn…and have time to pursue other activities?  What if we want to be more than one thing?

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Well, here it is.  This is what I love about what I do.  Giving these girls room to explore themselves.  Talking to them about things that peak their curiosity.  Delving into the dreams they hold on to.  This year, I added a fantasy session on to the model program.  The girls are given a chance to become something they dream, something they love.  For each girls it’s different.  For some, they are right on their chosen path.  For some, I have to help them find a side of them they didn’t know existed yet.  But, for whatever reason, these fantasy sessions prove to be a wide open window into the depth of their personalities.  Bailey, sweet Bailey…she chose the movie Grease.  Her favorite movie of all time.  Straight from her imagination, we created the perfect shoot.  And here is what I love.  Bailey is a student, a sister, she is a little country girl, and a beauty.  She is strong, and sophisticated.  She speaks her mind, and embraces the needs of others.   And she played sweet Sandy and the bad girl Rizzo like it was second nature.  I have no doubt that when she graduates this year, there will be no limit to what she can accomplish!

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“It takes courage to grow up and become who you  really are”

         ~e.e. cummings

I will readily admit, I was never a “baby” mom.  I am never the first to ask to hold someone’s brand new baby.  I was never sitting in the circle and said, “Oh I wish I could have another baby!”  Don’t get me wrong, I loved my little girls, loved their pig tails, their little bug voices.  I loved watching them explore, get their voice, and learn what they loved.  I remember several years ago, we went on a family outing…and for the first time I didn’t have to carry a diaper bag, 50 snacks, or a change of clothes.  We just went!  I remember thinking, finally!  We can just be free, hang out, play and it won’t be a big production anymore.  A few years have gone by since then…floated by really.  It was like we were suspended in those “kid” years.  7-8-9-10, they kind of slowly grow and change…so slowly you almost don’t notice.  Then we celebrated 13.  A teenager.  Mildly sad, but really I was just proud, she was growing, maturing, becoming her own person.  Still, the time seemed to be slowly moving by.

Today…oh today.  Time hit me in the face with a sledgehammer!!!  I sent my baby to high school.  My first born was now a freshman.  Time was no longer slowly going by, time was running like a bullet train, and I wished maybe I had not let 10-11-12 go by so easily.  It wasn’t so much that she was in high school, but that in 2 short years she would be driving.  In two more she would be heading to college.  In just 4 years I would be sending my baby away to be an adult.  At 9 high school seemed so far away…but it was 4 short years, and it’s here.  And in 4 more she will be grown.  I am proud of her.  So proud.  I am proud of the choices she makes, the person she is becoming, the life and path she is choosing.  But, for the first time as a parent I can honestly say I am stunned by how quickly the years have gone.  Hug your babies.  Enjoy your teens.  Put down your phones.  Stop posting your life on Facebook and start living it again.  Time disappears oh too quickly on it’s own, let’s savor every moment we can.   8x10 2 up webPIN IT 13925634_1226814564009031_3286092656512778981_oPIN IT

Oh and did I mention My little one is now in 6th grade???  Seriously!!!  I am just as proud of her, her dedication and love of all she does, and while I want her ascent to high school to go a little slower then her sisters…I am truly excited to see the young woman she becomes!

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