There were people everywhere! There were lights, cameras, make up & hair teams, not to mention the crowds of fans trying desperately to sneak a peek. I patiently waited next to her as her stylist fussed over every inch of her five foot, ten inch frame. She then sat down, looked right at me and smirked flirtatiously for the camera. It was effortless for her. I couldn’t help but notice… the flawless skin, pouty pink lips, golden locks that bounced across her shoulder. She is after all, a Victorias Secret supermodel. More specifically, I had just photographed Doutzen Kroes.


I’m just going to say the one thing every photographer thinks but is not supposed to say out loud.


So what is it that you don’t like about yourself? What is it that keeps you from thinking you are beautiful? Coming up with a list of things we don’t like about ourselves is usually not a problem. In fact, unfortunately, it’s almost on autopilot.

My nose it too big
My nose is too small
My hair is too curly
My hair is too straight
I’m too short
I’m too tall
I’m too skinny
I’m too fat
I don’t like the shape of my eyes
I don’t like my smile
I don’t like my skin

I’ve even had a client say “I don’t like the shape of my nostrils!”  I photograph women of all ages, all shapes, and all sizes. When I  recently put together my speaking program for teen and preteen girls, I racked my brain about what is it that really makes someone beautiful?

No, but really, what makes someone beautiful?

I thought about the celebrities and models I’ve been lucky enough to work with over the years and then I thought about the young women who enter my studio every day. We’ve all heard that confidence makes someone beautiful. My problem with that is that models (just like everyone else) have a list of things they don’t like about themselves. In fact, their list may be longer than yours. After all, rejection (and rejection based on looks alone) is an every day experience for the professional model. They are more aware of their flaws than anyone I know and not all models are confident. So how does that make any sense?

If confidence is what makes someone beautiful, what makes someone confident? And then it hit me…


We all have the ability to be vulnerable. Your world will change when you can take that list you make of reasons you are not beautiful and look yourself in the mirror and say “This is what I don’t like about myself but it’s ok. I welcome you to look at me (or photograph me) just as I am.” Vulnerability is a fragile state. Many of us have worked for years to cover up any part of us that is vulnerable. But the one thing we thought was protecting us, may be the very thing that has kept us from growing in love. If you can be open about what you don’t like, I think you just might be able to accept some of those ‘flaws.’ There’s always room to improve but appreciating yourself as you are is what gives you the room to grow.

Confidence is what people tend to see on the surface of those that are perceived ‘beautiful’. But being vulnerable (in my humble opinion) is what makes someone truly beautiful. Vulnerability leads to acceptance,which leads to self love, which leads to confidence. Start to take a second look at those models in magazines. Are they confident? Or is there also sense of vulnerability about them? We all look for someone relatable. I think vulnerability is one of the most relatable and honest attributes you can have.

So yes, photographing beautiful people is more pleasant. I JUST TEND TO THINK EVERYONE HAS THE ABILITY TO BE BEAUTIFUL, STRONG AND CONFIDENT.

FOR BOOKINGS OR INQUIRIES: info@shannon-michelle.com

Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap