A note from Whitney:
Several people have asked if I get bored shooting in my studio. This is such a crazy thought that I find myself laughing out loud at the question. There is NOTHING monotonous about photographing humans. I became a photographer to capture people, to show my subject's strength, beauty and individuality. So perhaps it seems strange that I photograph on such simple with such a simple background, black, white, brick. But to me - every human is so unique and that's the point. Take everything else away, and let's focus on what's important - YOU.
Everyday, every person is a new adventure. The people who walk into my studio wow me. My clients give ME strength and perspective and humility. They show me that life is hard and you survive. They show me that you can take on terrible loss and come out the other side, more confident, more powerful and more present. Working with a warrior like Julie Ross is a perfect example of the inspiration I get to experience daily. She exemplifies someone who I would nominate for an Empowerment Portrait. Nominate a woman warrior in your life and she could be surprised with a complimentary photo shoot and styling.
To Julie - thank you for sharing your strength, your humor and your generosity of spirit. I know you inspire so many to keep moving forward.
Words from Julie Ross:
In general, I'm not a big fan of getting my picture taken. Somehow, I always find myself being captured in an awkward position or flashing a weird smile. I have convinced myself I am so much cuter in my imagination and most of the photos I take are not real! Because of these thoughts, the last time I sat down for a studio portrait was in 2004 - 13 years ago. As I have gotten to know Whitney and followed along with her portrait work, I saw she seemed to bring out a relaxed version of each person she photographed.
Even with all my hesitations, I also know the importance of having a reflection of yourself for loved ones to cherish years down the road. Having lost my husband at an early age, I was grateful for each and every picture I had and especially the recent portrait of him taken at Pioneer. So, I decided to reach out and do a portrait session with Whitney.
I actually felt pretty relaxed before the shoot. I decided to wear just one outfit - my “uniform.” A lovely jacket with a simple blouse, leggings and a fabulous heel. How could I go wrong? It’s what I normally wear so there was nothing to labor about. I chose to have Whitney’s make-up artist style me (which I love doing!) so I showed up in jeans and let them do their work!
Confidence is a tricky thing and its what the camera picks up the most. I tend to be a confident person and live by the motto of “Never Let Them See You Sweat.” I wanted these photos to be a reflection of my motto and I knew I needed to use my body language to convey that emotion. I am not a particularly dainty person, I like to lean, cross my legs in a masculine position, fold my arms…you name it! I'm confident about this body language in person, I am always nervous about awkward angles in front of the camera. How is it that every 20 year old knows how to pose to look 10 pounds thinner and the only way I know is the one that makes me look 10 pounds heavier? In the past, I've worried that the photographer I was working with wouldn’t look for the best angles and moods that fit me but Whitney immediately jumped in and put me at all the right angles (clearly, if you have seen any of the pictures we chose.) She took control and made me feel like a zillion bucks. She also shot enough variety of images and poses that I knew there were going to be a few that we both would love.
I simply loved getting my make up done, putting on a great pair of heels and having a photo shoot that was all about me. I may be on the mature side of life but I still feel beautiful now and again and this experience made me feel beautiful, young and alive. I think we should all do this for ourselves once and awhile. I am grateful I have several photos that really capture the essence of who I am today and someday my kids will enjoy them and take pride in these images. Thank you, Whitney for the heavy dose of mojo that you have given me!!!