Tonya Damron
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Tonya Damron Photography

No More Selfies for Me (for now) || Knoxville TN Professional Photographer

Why Everyone Including a Professional Photographer Should Get Their Own Photo Taken

Last month I went to a photography workshop in New England. Prior to the workshop we were told that one day we’d be getting headshots of ourselves done and to come prepared. Exciting right? Wrong!! I went into freak out mode! You’d think as a professional photographer this would be something that I was use to getting done, but oh no it was a major deal!

My first thought wasn’t, omg my idols in the photography world are going to photographing me! My first thought was…crap! Is there a skinny pill I can down and loose 100 lbs in a few weeks? Followed by my 2nd, 3rd and 4th thoughts, dear Lord please let my adult acne heal up, what am I gonna wear and back to finding that skinny miracle pill!

I finally dealt with the fact there was no skinny pill, found an outfit and tried my hardest to find a cure for adult acne (something I’ve always struggled with…clearly my skin hasn’t realized my age yet!)

So the last day of our workshop arrived and it was time for headshots. As I touched up my makeup in the downstairs bathroom, I took a deep breath trying to calm the knots in my stomach. I was a nervous wreck as I walked up the stairs, then turned down the hall toward the studio. It was dark, I felt like I was walking down death row! I needed some kind of plea to get me out of this. I mean I wanted to get professional photos done, but my nerves were taking over.

I stood there, in line with other photographers waiting my turn. As I stood there, I realized I had been a hypocrite! Yes me, a girl who practices what she preaches in every area of her life, was now a hypocrite! I had never had my photograph taken as an adult, nor never admitted it out loud.

At that moment my name was called, I gulped (again), took my seat in the chair. I loudly said “I’ve never had my photograph taken before as an adult” as if I couldn’t stop the words from spewing out. Justin said “well are you ready?” I smiled and said “No” He kinda laughed at me and said you’ll do fine. We finished the photoshoot and my nerves were put at rest. As I left the studio I felt confident but then a new fear came upon me, what would the final product look like!?

Today we got a message our photographs were ready. Big breath as I opened the link.

Scroll down, scroll down, scroll down….STOP there I was. I nitpicked at them, pulled a few of my favorites and posted them on Facebook. Five minutes later my notifications started going nuts, so I checked to see what the commotion was about. The commotion was about me and the photos.

So I started reading the comments and then I enlarged one of the photos and just paused.

There I was, me at 32. Far from my high school figure, a few laugh lines later and more than a few years of life lessons learned. I couldn’t believe that was me in that photo. For a moment I gasped and thought to myself “how could you let yourself go like this, you are better than this.”

I paused again. The emotions came rolling in as thoughts came rushing in….

Yes, you let yourself go from the guilt of all the bad choices you made in college and you went on to pursuit the woman God created you to be. Yes, you are so much better now than you were. You are becoming a better person every day. I wasn’t the same girl I use to be and I was thankful for that!

As I looked at the photo I caught myself slowing starting to smile. I realized physically, yes I had some work I could do to get back in shape, but I felt beautiful! I was on the right path spiritually and emotionally and life was so good! I started reflecting on where I had been, where I currently was and where I was going. I started thinking of all the amazing opportunities God had given me and all the people He had placed in my life to help mold me into a better person. I smiled again and closed my computer screen as I realized, I’m becoming who He created me to be!

I write this blog to encourage all you professional photographers out there to get your photograph taken by another professional photographer. This experience has made me more aware of all the emotions, time and money my clients spend on getting ready for a photo shoot. Its also made me value even more that I did before that not only documenting others existence in this life is important, but also stopping to leave the world a few photos (that aren’t selfies) of my own behind! To create my own “once upon a time”. That its important to leave behind evidence that a girl lived who was happy just being herself and she made the world a better place a little at a time. She was imperfectly beautiful, a gypsy should of wanderlust!

Everyone is beautiful in their own way, sometimes it just takes the help of others to make them realize it. Be the kind of photographer that makes people look at their photograph and see more than just the a face on paper. Be the photographer that makes people stop, look at their photograph and remember… I am valued, I am worth it, and I remember why they are doing what they do every single day.

Thank you Justin and Mary for the photos, the experience, the friendship and most of all the reminder of my self worth and my WHY!

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