What were you like in your teen years? For most of us, there was a lot of pressure from parents, teachers, classmates and more to handle. Perhaps you struggled with a constant urge to find your voice and figure out what you will do with your life. Oh and before I forget, here’s the best advice I can offer you for trying to figure out where you “fit in.” Stop.
Meet our feature model for this article, Gwyn. Gwyn is a stunning young adult, born and raised in the beauty of a city that never sleeps. She was the perfect candidate to kick off this month’s focus at studio, “A Season of Confidence,” because of the way she approaches life with a youthful boldness, and how that has been conveyed in each shoot we’ve done together. I remember when I first met her during a family session in New York, and to this day if anyone were to ask me why she stands out in the crowd, I would have to say that it’s because of her unique soulfulness that instantly grabs your attention and leaves you curious to see what it will become.
As I mentioned earlier, our focus at studio for the month of December is “A Season of Confidence,” except, what exactly is confidence, and what does it look like? Oxford defines the word as “A feeling of self-assurance arising from an appreciation of one's own abilities or qualities.” (So just when you thought we were done talking about gratitude, you realise how powerful it is to be grateful for who you are and what you have! :D) Confidence can be attributed to so many positive accomplishments in our lives, and what I’ve noticed is that the younger you are when you embrace it, the better off you will be in the long run.
I remember when I was a child -at about age 12- I was a model in a fashion show. My mother couldn’t make it, but my older sisters attended the show. “How do you look in comparison to the other models?” they asked. I quickly assured them, “I’ll be the prettiest one there!!” As the fashion show took place, I remember walking the runway and feeling so confident and beautiful. I remember feeling like I was on top of the world! Little did I know that when we arrived home, it would be to my great dismay that all they’d be doing for the rest of the night was laughing. “You were the ugliest one there!” they cried. They later admitted that they were just kidding (you know how siblings often tease each other), but for me it was an awful experience that stayed with me for years to come, and in that moment it had completely shattered all my confidence. I had to learn how to be strong, even in the face of negativity, and that’s what I want to share with the youth of today as a way giving back.
That’s why I chose Gwyn as the face of this article, because the spirit she brought to this shoot, and many others, is the perfect example of what confidence looks like as an outward expression. Let’s take a look together at three major ways in which she conveys confidence in these photographs.
We’ve all heard the saying, that the eyes are the “gateway to the soul.” I think when your soul is filled with positive energies -such as the ones we’ve been discussing for the past several weeks at studio- you are so much more ready to be open with others. When I view the above images, I see a bright, bold and beautiful young woman, unafraid of the life challenges ahead of her. This is very important, because in a world that can be dark, cold, and uninviting, I look into Gwyn’s eyes which are light, warm, and captivating.
Another major success of Gwyn’s, is her body posture. Have you ever spoken about the way someone ‘carries themselves?’ I find it fascinating how even some of the most occupationally successful individuals can get in front of the camera and feel unsure of what they should do with their body! What I love about Gwyn is her sense of fearlessness. It’s like her mind is completely centered, as she moves gracefully through each shot. When Gwyn steps onto the set, her presence commands your attention in one of the most beautiful and positive manners.
The expressions of your eyes and body posture are two invariably significant elements of a photoshoot (not to mention, life in general), and an important third element -which actually connects the first two- would be your state of mind. One common request I’ll make of models during a session, is to share with me what they are thinking of at the moment. Sometimes I’ll hear things like money, success, or the name of a popular icon, but the scariest answer a model could offer... is nothing. You might be wondering what the connection between what you are thinking and the way you look in front of the camera is, or why it is so important. Well, as we are speaking on the matter of confidence and how it makes you look better in photographs, it is helpful to fully understand just what confidence is. Here’s another look at a textual definition of the term:
“Confidence by those who study the subject is "the degree to which you think and "feel" your actions will achieve positive results."” (Weisinger 2015)
A study conducted by the National Research Council years ago ran a critical analysis on the correlation between “self-confidence and performance,” and what they found was that “...one's perception of ability or self-confidence is the central mediating construct of achievement strivings.” (National Research Council, 1994 The National Academies Press) Basically what that means is that there is real power in believing in yourself! Who would have thought? What I find so inspiring about Gwyn, is that she is so full of power and full of confidence, that as a young woman with many years ahead of her, the possibilities of what she may achieve in this life are virtually limitless. Her confidence is strong, and it can be seen in each of her photographs.
When I was Gwyn’s age I can admit, I did not have the confidence I wish I had. I struggled with accepting myself outside the confines of societal pressures, and it hurt my happiness as well as my ability to love others unconditionally. Perhaps that’s part of why I love working with teens so much now. When you are able to embrace a strong of sense of confidence at such an age as Gwyn’s, you find yourself in quite an advantageous perspective of life. It is my hope that all people would tap into this powerful resource of confidence. Right now the whole world is ahead of her, and because of people like her loving family and friends (especially her mother, who gifted this bespoke photo album for her 16th birthday) who are positive influences in her life, and because of her grateful spirit, Gwyn is an unstoppable force that is bound for success wherever she sets her sights. This is the look of confidence.
Bespoke Photo Albums are the perfect birthday gift for those you love most. Schedule your session today: (firstname.lastname@example.org), (212.593.0933).
*snap you soon*