Monday, January 20, 2014

Week 11 {Embracing the Camera}: Me & My Girls and Real Beauty

Okay, I admit it.
I continue to be a procrastinator on this project.
I basically wait until I can't wait any longer.... the last day of the week....
This time I asked the Mister to take a quick picture of the girls and I before church on Sunday morning.

This is week eleven.
And I'm grateful it's not a shot of just me.
And I'm glad to have both my girls with me.
In posing for this photo I put my hands on their heads and brought them in close to the mama.
My Sassafras is a good 5 inches (or more) taller than me.... so just so you know, her knees are pretty bent here!

When it comes to people photos, I tend to lean towards black and white photos because color can often be so distracting. Plus I like how grey hair, the lighter wrinkles and uneven skin tones all disappear when you minus the color.
However- Mr. Steady is a fan of color photos.
His choice is the first photo.
Mine is the second.
Hence two photos of the exact same shot.
(I also cropped the black and white photo in closer because we really are just focusing on the faces.)

I use PicMonkey and Picasa (not so much) for all my picture editing. I have the "Royale" (aka paid version) of PicMonkey and enjoy it very much. Photoshop Elements is on my wishlist... someday.
As far as the editing of these photos: 
Now, while I promised myself I wouldn't edit out any wrinkles or add color to my grey, I have done some photoshopping on stray hairs and zits. Just keepin' it real. In these photos I also brightened our eyes. Now as to that healthy glow my girls have- that's all theirs!
Both photos are cropped and I used a few layers of PicMonkey effects on each picture.
For the color photo I boosted the color by approximately 15%, then I layered on the "Tranquil" effect at 23%. After that I added the "Rapture" effect at 25%. The final layer is "Orton" (bloom 35%, brightness 50%, fade 70%). Basically I just mess with the percentages of the effects until I get the look I want.
For the black and white photo, I took the finished color photo, cropped it in closer and just changed it to black and white. That's it! 

People often comment that my girls look a lot like me..... and I can't say that I see that much. 
I know that my oldest acts the most like me and Sass' laugh and big cheesy grin are like mine.... 

You see, to me, my girls are gorgeous. And to myself, I'm not that. So in the backwards mind of a woman who has had to work hard when it comes to seeing myself as beautiful-- when people say my girls look like me I cringe, because to me they are so beautiful and I'm not. So my backwards thinking tells me that people don't think my girls are beautiful. Ugh.
I know that is simply not true. These girls of mine, shine from the inside out with radiant beauty.
My Hubs asks me why I can't see the same in me.
I am silent.
And then I'm reminded again of these steps I've taken in my life to change that stinkin' thinkin'.
And reminded of what my husband says I am.
I know I need to change my thinking. That I should instead be thinking, when people tell me my girls look like me.... "Wow, they must think I'm beautiful!"
That right there can boost a gal's self-esteem several notches.

And I'm hoping that this project- this challenge of learning to embrace.... as in enveloping in a welcoming hug, the fact that the camera is aimed squarely at me will help me to continue to see me differently. I can't let my misguided concepts of beauty and how I don't fit the ideal stop me from getting in front of a camera and allowing myself to be photographed so that years from now my children can look and see and remember their mama and how much she loved living life with them.

Go here for all cumulative weeks of my year long Embrace the Camera Challenge.


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