still photography eb

GLAM by Elsie Barnes

I have been stuck in a rut, both personally and professionally. Three months after giving birth to the happiest little boy on earth, I felt stagnant. This wasn't a baby blues, or a postpartum depression situation, but more of a "Stella lost her groove and its probably hidden somewhere in between the couch cushions", I just hadn't gotten up to check. If I had checked sooner, maybe I would've found the million dollars I hid there a few years back, but I was too sleep deprived to get up.

Then I saw it! A post by Noelle Herring of Sweet Rain Media proposing a Glamour Shoot out for photographers, which included professional Hair and Makeup by Whik'd Hair and Makeup Hawaii, and gorgeous floral crowns by Creative Concepts by Jeff . Noelle along with Lisa Lantz Photography and Chelsea Little Photography, organized an event specifically for us photographers. The premise was simple, instead of hiring models, we the women always stuck behind the camera would get dolled up and step in front of the camera. It was PERFECT, and just in time for Mother's Day. 

When the day finally came, I couldn't contain my excitement! A day away from being "Mommy", and a few hours to be S.T.I.L.L. Photography, and Sasha Fierce. (Yes, I know that Sasha is Beyonce's alter ego, but mine isn't that creative. If my alter ego had to choose a name, it would probably be something like "Londyn Rose" or "Maria Conchita" both of which sound like they should be a in a soap opera with very few lines and tacky outfits.) So Sasha it was and all of her fierceness.  

The green dress. Those that know me, know that I am NOT a fashionista. I wear shades not colors. The majority of my closet is filled with black, and not even cool, artsy trendy black, but more like a please-don't-notice-my-existence black. So when the other photographers suggested I wear an emerald green dress, with a cinched waist and had a very low cut, I just about had a full on anxiety attack. "THIS is not ME" I thought, and am certain I voiced it a few hundred times. But I realized I hadn't felt "me" in months. At the moment I was just wearing a very gelatinous body suit with dimples and tiger stripes, those that would disappear when I woke up from the newly mother of two dream.  But after much coaching, I finally convinced myself that I wouldn't turn into some green alien from outer space, go into anaphylaxis shock, or look like the green girl M&M for wearing the dress, so I wore it. The internal battle to just stick to my normal black was beaten by a chorus of Elsa's "Let it Go."

Then came the makeup. I am a foundation and eyeliner chick. Not because I think I am naturally beautiful, but more like I am seriously makeup impaired. No amount of YouTube tutorials could teach me hand-brush coordination. So, as I sat in the Makeup artist's chair, she casually asks me what color I was wearing, which I grudgedly replied "green" and what type of makeup I would like. Then Elsa began to sing that annoying song in my head once again, and I decided to not decide. "You have creative freedom" I said, praying and hoping I wouldn't regret this decision. I realized that those are the very words EVERY creative loves to hear. When we hear those words, it sounds like sweet nothings being whispered into our ears. More like "If you eat donuts and tacos all day for the next week, you will lose those stubborn 20lbs." Heavenly right!? I over analyzed every stroke of her brush, and imagined I would either look like a homeless drag queen who just broke up with her boyfriend of 3 years, or maybe Sasha Fierce herself, there was no in between. When she passed me the mirror to view myself I stared at s woman I had never met before. "Sasha? Londyn? Maria?" But none responded. "Elsie? Is that your girl? You clean up well!" Its was a pretty awesome confidence booster. The grocery bags under my eyes had disappeared, my worry wrinkles were diminished, and I had color on my cheeks like a freshly in love school girl. So I did what any girl would do, I took a selfie. Because I'm just a girl, standing in front of my phone, asking the camera to love me.

Then the real fun began. One by one, each photographer experienced their transformation. Some accepted it with open arms, and others such as myself, were still figuring out how to strut their stuff like a newborn calf. But it was beautiful. Each woman bloomed into an extension of who they are and my shutter finger began to itch for a shoot. I made my way slowly around the office building grabbing a model at a time. Posing, directing, assisting and shooting to my happy little heart's desire. I was no long that poor unfortunate soul waiting to be reminded of my passion. I was now in full photographer mode summoning my inner  Sue Bryce . I soon saw that everyone felt like me. This may or may not be "you" but as an artist, we see way more than the mirror reflects. 

On my way home from my supernatural high, I couldn't wait to share the day with my husband, and kept thinking of all of the images I would get to play with for the next few days. As I entered my home I was met by my honest 3 year old daughter who quickly said "Mommy, why do you have spiders on your eyes? You look weird." I chuckled. And thanks to her, I realized that messy bun, yoga pants, coffee breath Mommy is the person she loves. But I needed it, the day of pampering, the day to be Elsie and not just "Mommy." My job now was to embrace her, and not neglect her. In the meantime, I would sit and edit photographs I had taken so that these wonderful women I had met also didn't forget or lose themselves ever again either. 

So what's the moral of the story? Wear the green dress. Let someone make decisions for you. Try something new. But most of all, get your picture taken so that you can remember that "you" you found while not looking for her. If you need to find this girl sooner rather than later, shoot me an email at and lets chat. Let me show you what I see! Together, we can make magic!

Want to see some of the photographs I was able to capture? Click here!

A huge thank you goes out to : Noelle Herring, Lisa Lantz, Chelsea Little, Rebecca Forgette, Sarah Obringer, Melinda London, Ketino Terekhov, Danielle Cain-Stone, and Jeff Castre.

Nothing makes a woman more beautiful than the belief that she is beautiful
— Sofia Loren