Am I Beautiful or do I look like a Bobble Head?

I’ve been branching out in my photography business to include Beauty Portraits. Last week, I had booked a portfolio building session, and when my friend forgot to come, I decided to step in front of the camera myself…

Here is what I look like on a normal morning:

SelfPortraitsbyHolliMargell 1

Here is what I look like after some make up, brushing my hair, putting on a vintage dress and posing in a flattering way:

SelfPortraitsbyHolliMargell 3

I love this one above, because I secretly wish I was a movie star back in the 40’s when women wore amazing dresses that left room for the imagination. The only thing I wish I had done differently was to put my hair up and wear long satin gloves ala Audrey Hepburn.

Here is what I look like in my favorite dress:

SelfPortraitsbyHolliMargell 2{Above} My arms can’t be nearly that thin, and my head that big, but I love this dress and the background color. So, I’ll keep it:) The reason my arms look so tiny and my head so big is not because of Photoshop (which I’m still saving up to buy), but because I used a 35mm lens which warps an image slightly into a wider angle. This can be very flattering on some people who want to appear thinner than they are. But for me, I’ve got the Bobble head!

Overall, it is fun to have these photos that help me see myself as prettier, but I struggle with this idea of Beauty Portraits. I’m in favor of natural beauty, but a part of my heart loves glamour and pretty dresses. I want to help women (especially Moms) to feel beautiful, and do portraits in a way that does this without a bunch of Photoshopping to make them look fake. So, personally, I can say proper posing and a pretty dress with a dash of red lipstick did the trick for me. I can look the part of a model. But. There’s still a but tugging at my soul.

We have this culture in America that divides women: those who feel they need to “put their face on” before leaving the house and those who rebel against this, and wear their husband’s old Band Tees and jeans that don’t fit anymore. I think I want the freedom to dress how I want and not be judged, but I’d have to live in a utopia to experience that.

I think the tugging comes from this altruistic desire for all of us to feel beautiful in our natural skin. To capture that spark from the soul that makes a person beautiful. And, that doesn’t require make up or a pretty dress. But, I think sometimes putting on those things gives a person the costume they need to feel safe to shine.

 What would you think if you saw me in the polka dot dress at the grocery store?  Would I be trying too hard? Or just plain cute? Do I look like a Bobble Head?





9 thoughts on “Am I Beautiful or do I look like a Bobble Head?”

  1. A) You don’t look like a bobble head at all.
    B) I really (really) like that dress.
    I find it interesting the insecurities that women have (being a woman and having a ton myself). I think a lot of this has to do with putting too much value into what we look like, and hoping to define our worth by our beauty. Also we tend to compare ourselves to other women, rather than except and celebrate our own beauty. For example – I think your arms (thin to you) are fabulous! Or I have often perused tan skin rather than just be happy with the milky/freckled completion that I have (I have gotten much better about this over the years).

    On the other hand, I think there is nothing wrong with glamoring up, as long as it is for the right reasons. If you feel insufficient without makeup (like I do without mascara – I don’t look like a girl without it, seriously!) then you have to ask yourself why and who are you trying to please? In my mascara case, for example, I put it on out of a place of insecurity, where I fear everyone is judging me. The rest of my makeup (when I wear it) comes from a place of liking to express my artistic side and feeling put together.

  2. That turned out really long. 😛 Anyways, let me know if you are still looking for model volunteers, it sounds like a lot of fun. 🙂

    1. @Harmony thank you for sharing your thoughts – no comment is too long:) Yes, I am looking for more models to practice on! I have 125 poses to memorize and so far have only gotten 10 down. I’ll email you once I get some dates set up with a sitter. I’m thinking just after the 4th of July.

      And, I’d like to arrange some group sessions and an outdoor one if you’re interested? I was thinking maybe you, Cassie and your Mom? I could do individuals then a group sitting in the same day.

  3. You look good every which way. Your eyes, give expression that your approachable.
    Yes, your lips are enhanced when you wear red lipstick, I think it is a good thing.

    While it is true you only get one chance at a first impression, the person to impress is yourself.

    When you dress as you like, instead of what you believe others like, then you will be comfortable in your own skin.
    Be comfortable in your own skin and confidence follows.

    If people judge you on how you dress, which of course they will, it is their perception.
    One cannot please everyone. Why try ?

    Style is what a person exudes . Fads are not style.
    Being honest about life style and comfort is the way personal style emerges.
    Nobody likes everything, or everybody, unless someone is lying.
    Do not cheat yourself, be yourself.

  4. Yes, you are beautiful, period.
    And you are beautiful in both pictures, just in a different way.

    I love seeing how people dress themselves. I think that what we wear sends messages, or even tells stories, about ourselves.

    “I respect you, so I dressed up for your wedding.”
    “I’m just being casual here, no big deal, don’t look at me.”
    “I am a single woman who is currently available. Woo hooo!”
    “I demand respect.”
    “I don’t care what anyone thinks of me, and I want everyone to know I don’t care!!”

    It’s a lot of fun to interpret these messages as we wish and let our imaginations run wild. In that sense, I don’t think it’s possible to try too hard.

    When I was I kid, I never got to pick my own clothes–they were always hand-me-downs. As an adult, I enjoy clothes a lot, and have made many of my own (like someone else we both know). I still get joy from finding something particularly suited to me, or that I think is special or different.

    It’s not as much fun now as when I was younger and thinner, and some days I am too tired to have much interest, but I am glad I can still have fun with it.

  5. i say rock the polka dot dress – wherever you want! and, you look great either way! love the red lipstick. (and, you DON’T look like a bobble head). we’re our own worst critics!

    1. Thanks, Raeann!

      I did just buy a fitted shirt with polka dots to ease into more of my inner “polka dot” self:)

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