On Graciously Accepting Compliments

My little sister got married last weekend and I was a bridesmaid. You’ll have to pardon the iPhone selfie as I was–for once–not the photographer.

It’s an interesting thing, being the sister of the bride. Your job is to support her, help her feel the best she possibly can be, take care of whatever menial tasks you can to let her think they don’t exist and that everything magically comes together on her wedding day.

She walked into our parents’ house on Thursday afternoon asking a simple question, “Are the lips too much?” She’d just come from her makeup trial and wanted to make sure it was a face that still looked like her… just you know, the best side of her. She’s not a person that wears a lot of makeup typically. She didn’t want it to be too much, overshadow her own face. We loved it of course, even if she wasn’t used to a bold lip. And it ended up being perfect for her wedding day.

My sister doesn’t like being the center of attention. She very much disliked standing in the front of church with 200 pairs of eyes upon her. But she did it because she was ready to marry her man. And she’d heard all of our supporting words leading up to that moment.

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It struck me that I feel much the same about photographing women. You’re not used to quite so much makeup, but I know it’s necessary for photos. You still want to look like yourself… just the best version of what you can be. You want your personality to shine through.

And then it also struck me today while writing the above words, I felt much like you probably do at your own shoot. I sat in the hair and makeup chairs. I had an idea of the final product but was still amazed at the results. I felt goooooood about myself in a way I haven’t for quite some time. The compliment I received from my dad almost made me cry. And I think that’s probably a little bit like you might feel when people comment on the photos from your session with me. It’s nice but a little crazy being at the center of attention.

We all put so much work into the wedding that my own appearance was a bit secondary to me. No – this wasn’t about me having a beautifully put-together look! But a lot of people complimented me that day and I didn’t quite know how to respond. In the end, it was a muttered, “thank you,” as I kept moving throughout the day. That wasn’t the right response. It should have been joyous. We all dressed up for her big day because it was a celebration, and my appearance was a part of the joy. I should have owned that.

So when your photos are ready, show them off with joy. Graciously accept the compliments. This is you. And you are beautiful! It’s time to feel that way, too.

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