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Senior Session Style!

Tumblr, Instagram, Pinterest...there are SO MANY thousands of pictures out there of senior portrait inspiration!  What hair to get, what to wear, how to pose- it's all out there!  But how do you sort through the dumptruck full of images to figure out what you REALLY need?  here's our professional take on the latest trends and what will make your senior session slay!

1.  Pack jewelry! So many seniors either forget jewelry, or only wear a set of tiny stud earrings that will never show up in pictures! Borrow jewelry from your friends, mom, mom's friends...whoever has the best statement pieces!  The things that show up best for pictures are long, dangly earrings, layered necklaces, pretty rings, and tons of bracelets.  Remember, we pose your hands by your face a lot of the time, so all of those bracelets will bring added texture and color (aka interest!) to your pictures!

2.  Keep it fitted! loose, flowy boho looks are a HUGE trend, but be careful- the camera can't pick up your real size if you're wearing a giant dress!  We see a lot of boho and t-shirt dresses that don't really have a shape.  Those are comfy, but don't photograph well.  If you like a loose, boho top, wear a more fitted bottom, or vice versa.  Classic, well-fitting clothes are always in style!

3.  Off-the shoulder tops are limiting!   They're a HUGE trend!  I see them everywhere!  Unfortunately, they pretty much pin your arms to your sides, so say bye to any poses where your arms are up at all!  You're welcome to bring them if they really are part of your favorite outfit that makes you feel super confident, but just know that we'll be limited with our posing!

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4.  Iron and organize, ladies!  I know, some of you have never ironed before, ever.  BUT, this is a special occasion!  These are your SENIOR PORTRAITS!  Those images that someday your kids will look at to see if they have your nose, that your mom will look at when you're away on your grand adventure!  NOW is the time to get out the iron or steamer!  Wrinkles are only cute on bulldog puppies and grandpas, not your favorite dress.  Iron or steam and hang up your clothes!  That tiny detail will make you just a hint more confident and calm, and that will show in your pictures!

Of course, the most important thing is that you feel comfortable and confident in your outfits!  They should represent YOU and your personal style!  A girl with confidence is always the most beautiful!  We can't wait to see the looks the class of 2018 will be serving this season!!

 

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Why experiences matter for senior year

Ok, I'm going to get sappy here for a while.  Buckle up.

Senior year is coming.  Whether you're a class of 2017 parent and collision is imminent, or if you're a class of 2018 parent and you already see the dollar signs looming on the horizon, it's coming.  EVERYTHING branded with your child's graduation year.  Everything is now signable, specialized, and meant for collecting memories. 

My favorite product is the signable stuffed dog.  From about age 7-17, stuffed dogs are not a priority.  However, if they happen to have your child's graduation year and a tiny-dog-sized graduation cap, they are now a vital part of your child's graduation experience and YOU. MUST. HAVE. ONE. 

The stuffed dog is just one example of how everything that seemed silly before becomes a NEED for senior year.  A dress for under their graduation gown (that no one will see)?  NEED.  $70 of craft supplies to decorate their graduation cap?  NEED.  Every single school-logo'd item that exists anywhere?  NEED. We see where this is going.

Companies are smart.  They know your teen will want every single thing that has their graduation year on it, because this is THE LAST YEAR (dramatic movie music). Their very last chance to make memories ever, because all the movies they've seen focus on how high school is their very last chance to do absolutely anything fun for the rest of their lives.

Here's where I side with them. To them, this is a HUGE deal.  This is the thing that they've been working for for the majority of their lives.  ELEVEN YEARS out of their seventeen has been spent on this effort.  For them, this is the end of the cliff, the end of every routine, safety net, and comfortable thing in their life.  After this, they're going to take a pretty big leap, without that safety net below. 

Now for you, you can see things from the other side of the cavern.  Looking back, it's not so dramatic.  There is life (and a lot of it) on the other side of high school.  The thing is, though, your kid will never be the same. 

I don't know exactly when it happens, or how, or if there's a specific trigger verses a gradual change, but when my former seniors come to visit me after their first year of college (or work, or whatever), they're different.  They're more confident, not so flighty, not so eager to agree with whatever anyone else is saying.  They stand stronger on their own feet, and don't look to anyone else to see what their answer to a question should be before answering.  It's so subtle, but such a difference. 

Here's where we get sappy.  Grab the Kleenex.  The thing is, that's your kid.  The kid who tossed you a look before their big event, the "I'm way too cool for this but please mom, I'm begging you, show me it'll be ok", the "I screwed up and I shouldn't care but I really do so please offer a hug", or the "If my friends see me I'll never hear the end of it but tell me you're proud of me".  That kid is now more able to carry their own load, knowing that they've handled things before and they can handle whatever else comes their way.  They don't need every glance, reassurance, or gentle push to get them where they need to go.  They can (kind of) do laundry, feed themselves, keep a schedule, and all the other basics that grown-ups need to do.  What's a parent to do now that they're just a little bit less needed?  You joke about your kid living in your basement until they're 30, but... what happens when they don't?

All of this is why everything I do is an EXPERIENCE.  It's not really so much about the pictures. Sure, the pictures are beautiful and stunning and will be there to look at every day that your daughter isn't there with you in person, but that's not REALLY what it's about.  Everything we do at JDP gives you a chance to spend some really important time with your child before they're not your "child" anymore.  Planning outfits, giving your seemingly unwanted opinion, lending some of your jewelry or a hat, helping to iron, steam, hang up those outfits that best tell her story.  Stopping for Starbucks on the way to the studio and praying she doesn't spill that pink tea on her new white dress.  Her eye rolls as you document every pose and smile (but she loves it, trust us).  Her feeling pampered as you help carry her shoes, bag, maybe a reflector.  You remembering all of this when you see her finished images and get your first glimpse of your grown-up girl.  *cue tissues* No one remembers the plush autograph dog, but everyone remembers the time spent laughing, eye-rolling, worrying, crying, and being proud at a JDP senior session.

This is why we do things differently here.  This is why we say "create an experience".  We're not trying to be kitschy or gimmicky.  It really is what we do, for families.  Even if we never see the mom or dad in our finished images, we know they're there, just out of frame, holding a reflector and beaming, or capturing all the behind-the-scenes pictures, or just watching your daughter be in the spotlight and loving every second of it.  The cool thing?  Your child knows you're there too.  That secret support, one of the last times they can toss you a glance and know that they're doing great and you're proud and everything's good.

Loooooooong story short, this all ties in to why we plan destination shoots and contests like the Seniors Ignite Model Competition.  Sure, we love to travel, but I'd have a lot fewer gray hairs if I wasn't spending weeks planning the perfect locations, hotels, and travel arrangements! We do this for YOU.  To have a chance to do a big plan, have a big adventure, a huge bank of memories that both you and your child can dip into when things get lonely. If there's any time for an adventure, it's now.  Right as her wings are spreading but right before she takes off over that ledge, go on a trip!  Document it the right way.

If you're interested in a JDP Destination trip to NYC, Paris, or any location of your choosing, or if your senior is graduating in 2018 and you'd like to give your child the chance at an experience of a lifetime (with you right along with her), call us at (814) 464-1184 or email us at info@jenniferdworek.com.  For the Seniors Ignite Model Competition, entrants MUST have their senior pictures taken at JDP studio, so schedule their session right away!  And for goodness' sake, please don't buy the plush autograph dog!

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Seniors Ignite Modeling Competition- win a trip to Palm Springs!

Have you always just KNOWN that you're undiscovered talent?  You've perfected your posing, practiced your interviews in the mirror, and have your caught-by-the-paparazzi look down to a T.  Put all that talent to good use with the Seniors Ignite Modeling Competition!

To enter, you MUST be a Class of  2018 JDP Senior! Just let us know you want to enter the competition, and we'll start your application!

"So", you say, "what do I get if I win?"  GREAT QUESTION!

Winning teens will be modeling for, and be photographed by, some of the leading Senior photographers from across the country (including JDP!) in Palm Springs, California during the week of January 21-27, 2018. Your images and story will be published in the national SEEN Magazine, a style and culture magazine for a new generation of the Undiscovered. (To give you an idea of how big this is, issue #6 featured celebrity figure Jen Saviano, from ABC’s The Bachelor, who has an online clothing boutique and lifestyle blog.)

The National Model Competition Winning models will be fully styled for the Magazine photo shoot and Seniors Ignite Shootout. (The Seniors Ignite Shootout is a group of photographers gathered in one location for education and portfolio building. If you've been following JDP, you know we've won features EVERY MONTH for Seniors Ignite with our JDP Senior Models!) Seniors Ignite will provide all hair and makeup, as well as a minimum or 2 fully styled outfits for each model to wear. Models will also receive walking and posing instruction prior to the shoots.

Winning models’ stories and image editorials will be published in the national SEEN Magazine in print and online. They will also model for an exclusive fashion campaign for SEEN Magazine.

Winning Models will receive all digital images from the Lead SEEN photographers, as well as the Shootout Photographers for their personal use. They will also receive a complimentary digital copy of the issue of SEEN magazine that they are featured in.

All of these fashion shoots will take place over a WEEK in sunny, gorgeous Palm Springs, California! As a JDP winner, your travel and hotel will be covered, PLUS you'll get a $100 food card to sample the local eats! Live like a celebrity and be photographed by the best in the nation for a week, get away from dreary Erie, and be in the spotlight like you deserve!  What else could a girl want??

SEEN Magazine is all about the style and culture of the UNDISCOVERED.  Teens who have a story to tell, a vision to make real, and a unique view of the world to share.  SEEN is a lifestyle magazine for the REAL movers and shakers, the world changers and the up-and-comers. 

AKA, JDP Seniors!  We're always amazed at how absolutely AWESOME our Seniors are, and we CAN'T WAIT to have another JDP Senior win the SI National Modeling Competition!

Yep, we said ANOTHER!- in the past we've had National winners- including Class of 2014's Natalie Scanlon as well as multiple National Finalists  and we think it's time for another JDP Senior to be in the national spotlight!

Can't wait for the chance to enter?  Get in on a REAL National Modeling Competition!  Seniors Ignite is looking for all shapes, sizes, backgrounds, and stories, so yes, of course you can enter! Remember, you HAVE TO be a Class of 2018 JDP Senior!  The deadline for entry is September 1st, 2017.  Class of 2018, book your senior session NOW to get in on this!  We can't wait to see who we'll be taking to Palm Springs!!

 

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JDP Dream Shoots- where will your dream come true?

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JDP Dream Shoots- where will your dream come true?

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?

JDP has been doing Dream Shoots for a few years now, and they keep getting better!  What started off as a pipe dream has turned into a major trend inphotography!  I've loved each Dream Shoot we've gotten to plan and experience- New York City x3, Las Vegas, California, and most recently Disney World in Florida!

JDP Senior Model Madison Niemenski KNEW Disney was the only place for her JDP Dream Shoot! Her family has had season passes for seven years!  She loves everything Disney and knew the Magic Kingdom was where she wanted her senior portraits!  As always, JDP is all about capturing the spirit of each client, making sure no two sessions are the same.  With our Dream Shoots, seniors have a chance to go anywhere in the world!

Madison custom-designed her Dream Shoot in the Magic Kingdom to be exactly what she's always wanted!  We loved making her vision come to life, and helped to coordinate session locations, styling, makeup, and everything else Madison would need to have the perfect Dream Shoot Experience!

Like what you see?  JDP Dream Shoots are the absolute, ultimate experience to celebrate the journey that's made each of our JDP clients unique!  For a senior or teen who has every gadget and app available, Dream Shoots are a real-world experience that you will never forget!  We already have two amazing trips planned for 2017- New York City in July and PARIS in the fall in 2017! That's right, JDP Dream Shoots are going global! 

I would love to be the lucky client who gets to go on one of the Dream Shoots- can you imagine telling your senior that you have a HUGE surprise- a trip to Paris for senior pictures!- a trip to NYC for your 13th B-day or Sweet 16!  What a celebrity dream that only JDP Clients can have!

AND- if you think JDP Dream Sessions are just for teens, you're wrong!  Can you imagine having an Allure session in Paris! One VIP client already is!  Join us on this once-in-a-lifetime experience and celebrate everything you've accomplished!  This is the ultimate TREAT YO SELF!

Want in on the Summer 2017 JDP in NYC trip?  Your session MUST be booked by April 30th- tick tock!  Call us ASAP for info so you can get in on this awesome trip!  JDP is a PRO at NYC Dream Shoots, we can't wait to show you around the city and give you an exclusive experience like no one else!

So, if you could go on a dream trip anywhere in the world, where would it be?  JDP can make it happen with the most exclusive portrait experience you'll ever see!  Give us a call and start planning your Dream Shoot Today! Pack your bags and get that Pinterest page ready, we can't wait to hear where JDP Dream Shoots will take us next!

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The Who I Am Project

Who I Am


It's the last year before Ella is officially a teenager, and I'm left here wondering: "Where did my little girl go?"! I want to be sure I have photographs of her as she grows into a young woman, not just for me but for her to look back on someday.  As a mom, it's part of my job to make sure there's more than scrunch-faced selfies for her and her children to admire someday.  Watching Ella decide every morning who she's going to be today has inspired me to bring back our limited-edition tween line, "Who I Am"!  We had an absolutely amazing time meeting the Who I Am girls last year, and got to create some truly great memories for these ladies to look back on.  I can't wait to do it again!

"Who I Am"  is meant to hand the proverbial microphone to preteens so they can grow in confidence as they project their rapidly growing image.  Truly, how many photographs do you have of yourself from the ages of 9-12 that aren't school or sports pictures?  Imagine what it would be like to go through and see exactly where your style developed, how your confidence grew, and when you decided "yeah, this is who I am".  

In comes the "Who I am." project:
We started the "Who I am" photography project to fill in the forgotten photo years while enriching the lives of pre-teens.  The goal is to help tweens look and feel beautiful and have unshakable confidence in themselves when they hit junior high. 

Who we're looking for: 
We are looking for girls age 9-12 for the Who I Am Project. We will ask the girl and her parents a few questions, then combine the text and photographs to create something amazing. 

Why "Who I am"? 
We want to capture the the personality of these tweens and record the last stage of their childhood before they become young ladies. We want them to realize their true beauty so that they are confident in themselves before they hit Junior High, when everything is about comparison and there is such a desperation to both fit in and be an individual at the same time. Imagine the impact a single beautiful image can do for your tweens self-image. 

How to participate or nominate a friend: 
The new year is the perfect time for an exciting project like this!  We have three dates in February available, so please e-mail us ASAP if you're interested in having your child participate in this project, or if you would like to nominate a friend or family member of yours that you think would be perfect for this. Please nominate people you think would enjoy the boutique experience we provide. The in-studio session itself is complimentary and includes a free gift print (a total value of $175). Our goal is to create a gorgeous group of photos you’ll love and that truly show your daughter’s spirit and soul! Many people like to use these photos as birthday, Mother's Day, and “just because” gifts. Our portrait collections start at $200. 

Just share this newsletter with your friend that has a daughter that might be interested or reply to this newsletter with the name and email of who you think might be perfect for this and I'll take care of the rest.

I truly hope I am able to change some young lives with this, but I  need your help.  Can't wait to hear from you! 

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Calling all Dudes!

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Calling all Dudes!

If you haven't been following along, I am involved with a national organization composed of the top high school photographers in the country. Through it I have been given monthly photography challenges to execute with my high school senior team of models. We don't find out until the beginning of the month what the months challenge will be. And at the end of the month we find out if we won. I won last month and I plan on winning this one too!  Here's last months challenge.

The challenge this month was to use spotlight lighting to create compelling images of high school teens that told a story. The story of love. A beautiful girl. A boy searching. A glance. The attraction. The desire. Finding comfort in an embrace. Finally getting the girl.

The execution wasn't the only challenge. Finding the boy turned out to be the biggest challenge. I love to photograph guys but you wouldn't know that because I don't show many on my website or social media. It's definitely not because I prefer girls. I just don't have many moms calling me for their son's pictures. Turns out boys don't really like to get their picture taken but the ones that do get to go home with some pretty sweet images of themselves.  And guess what guys? The ladies dig cool images of dudes. Just look at Instagram. So Mom-of-a-son, call me!

Mackenzie was our JDP Model winner for this months shoot and she had her dude all lined up but he wasn't able to make it last minute. She did not give up! She texted people while she was getting her hair and makeup done. Finally she found someone. Mario! Mario was literally thrown into this photoshoot with no idea really of what to expect and he came out KILLING it! WOW! I hope I get to work with him again. So back to my story, Mario arrived at the studio with Mackenzie's mom without a suit jacket. Hmmm? I thought. I got this! So I sent mom on a mission in search of a jacket for our new model, Mario. By the time makeup was done and Mackenzie was dressed Mario was ready for his time in the spotlight. (Get it. Spotlight.) 

So here we have it. The final 10 images. What do you think? Can you see the story unfolding? 

 

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Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Hello!

It's finally here!  Erie's first Snow-mageddon!  Over a foot of snow feel between Thursday and Saturday, and we were right in the middle of it!  It just so happens, I had my very first model shoot on Thursday, right as the heavy snow started to fall.  Our new senior model Sidnye Unger won our first themed model shoot for Seniors Ignite- a group of the top senior photographers in the country who challenge each other to up their game through challenges and national features.  

As we watched the snow fall, we knew we were going to be in for an epic shoot!  I've shot in full-on blizzards before, and having real snow in the image (as opposed to photoshopped textures) will help Sidnye's images stand out in a crowd of models from California, Texas, and New York City.  

Do you recognize this dress? I've used it a few times before, in Bella's 1940's-themed custom Fresh shoot and Hallie's celebrity shoot.  I absolutely love it because it looks fantastic on everyone and is a great neutral look to build on.  Of course it fit Sidnye like a glove, and after some awesome dramatic hair and makeup from Megan, we were off to play for a shoot all about angles.  

We weren't kidding our models when we said they'd be tossed into real-life modeling shoots!  Professional models have to deal with rain, snow, cold, and and everything else while wearing heels and looking great!  Sidnye did a FANTASTIC job of being stunningly gorgeous and working all of those great angles without letting on for a minute that she was freezing- which we all were!  

This shoot was the exact definition of "go big or go home!".  Snow, traffic, freezing temperatures, wind, we dealt with them all and had a great time!  I can't wait to see all of the great looks my entire model team brings to the table over the next ten months.  We'll keep you updated on all of their shoots and adventures throughout the year!  

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Senior Roundup Part Two!

Phew!  We love our crazy senior summers at JDP!  We do shoot seniors year round, but most of our senior clients come in between June and October, when the Erie weather is the best.  It's definitely busy at the studio between consultations, sessions, editing, ordering, and everything else, but we love it, and wouldn't have it any other way.  Like I said, we love to do late fall and winter seniors with cozy sweaters and gorgeous snow, so if you like what you see, call to find out about our availability!  

Thank you, thank you, thank you to our JDP summer and early fall seniors!  We had a blast and hope you loved your experience with Jennifer Dworek Photography!

-xoxo, Jenn

Lauren Scutella

Daniel Scutella

Sarah Al-Mandhrey

Julia Casella

Chloe Hampy

Tyson Markley

Allison Higley

Olivia MacArthur

Nina Ng

Anna Przybylinski

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Fresh Model Sneak Peeks!

We're so sad that our 2016 model program is  over!  We've been with these girls since December, so I was so excited to finally get to work with our Fresh models one-on-one!  They each brought their own look and feel to the shoots, and the shots we got are some of my favorite from the entire year! I love how each girl's shoot is completely different!  Check them out below!

Want in on the 2017 JDP Model Team (or know someone who might?) scroll to the bottom for all the info!

Olivia Heasley

Bella Kennelley

Lauren Reckner

Irelan Eddy

P.S.- This image of Irelan has been featured EVERYWHERE!  At least three teen insta profiles have shared it!

Olivia Hilbert

Madelyn Stoops

Becca Hanes

Becca upgraded her Fresh custom session to a NYC destination!  We offer a VERY limited number of destination sessions to teens and seniors! Email us to find out about our 2017 destinations!

Know someone in 9th-11th grade who would make a great JDP model? Click the button below and send the link to your model so they can apply for our model team!  Applications close October 31st, so don't wait to apply!

 

 

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Megan's favorite beauty tips and products!

Products used: halloween black facepaint, Clinique Quickliner Intense in Ebony, Urban Decay Electric Palette

Products used: halloween black facepaint, Clinique Quickliner Intense in Ebony, Urban Decay Electric Palette

Megan's been the HMUA (hair and makeup artist) at JDP for over four years now, and she does OUTSTANDING work (as I'm sure you've seen).  Most of our clients ask for a natural look that's just a few notches above what they usually wear, but we also have concept shoots where she gets to play!  She's taking over our blog this week to share her best tips, most-used products, and favorite looks from her years at JDP.

Products used: Urban Decay Electric Palette, Anastasia Dipbrow in Medium Brown, Lime Crime liquid lipstick in Black Velvet

Products used: Urban Decay Electric Palette, Anastasia Dipbrow in Medium Brown, Lime Crime liquid lipstick in Black Velvet

Part One: Best Tips

      I'm sure you hear this a lot, but the biggest beauty tip I could possibly give is to take care of your skin.  Get enough sleep, drink tons of water, and limit your extra sugar.  Korean-style sheet masks are HUGELY popular right now and can be found anywhere.  The night before a session, use one that corresponds to your skin needs (moisturizing, wrinkle-reducing, brightening, etc) and relax with it.  I use them all the time, and they really do make a difference.  Another thing most people don't do enough is exfoliate.  Face scrubs are great at getting rid of the tiny bumps I see on a lot of our younger clients, and even if you just scrub your face with a dry towel after a shower, it will help your skin look brighter and fresher.  One final thing, if you plan on wearing a darker lip color, exfoliating your lips is a must.  Dark lips (like the dark matte's that are everywhere) will really highlight flaky lips, and we'll have to do Photoshop to fix it.  Coming in with soft, moisturized lips will allow us to use less product and will just look better overall.  

Products used: bh cosmetics Carly Bybel palette, Urban Decay Smoky palette, Urban Decay Naked 2 palette,  NYX contour palette, Anastasia Dipbrow in Taupe, NYX Cosmic Metals liquid lipstick in Speed of Light

Products used: bh cosmetics Carly Bybel palette, Urban Decay Smoky palette, Urban Decay Naked 2 palette,  NYX contour palette, Anastasia Dipbrow in Taupe, NYX Cosmic Metals liquid lipstick in Speed of Light

Part Two: Most-used Products

      Recently, we did a Facebook Live video of a makeover I did of Jenn, where I shared some of the products that I used. If you missed that, here are my top products and why I love them.

Products used:  NYX Micro brow pencil in Auburn, Estee Lauder Pure Color Lipstick in Cherry Passion, Clinique Pretty Easy Liquid Eyelining Pen in Black

Products used:  NYX Micro brow pencil in Auburn, Estee Lauder Pure Color Lipstick in Cherry Passion, Clinique Pretty Easy Liquid Eyelining Pen in Black

Eyes:

1. Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion in Enigma

      I use Primer Potion on almost everyone, and it makes a huge difference.  Because the skin on your eyelids is so thin, a lot of undertones and sometimes veins show through.  This gets rid of those and ensures that the color I put on someone's lid will look the way I intend.  

 

2.  Too Faced Star Dust eyeshadow palette/ Carli Bybel palette

     This palette was sadly limited edition, and I wish I would've thought to get a few while they lasted.  I use the shade called Selfie all the time, it makes a great highlighter.  Millennial and Double Tap make great looks as well.  Too Faced makes great eyeshadows with a ton of pigmentation, so they're all pretty good.  Just the other day I bought bhcosmetics' Carli Bybel palette, and though I've only had it a few days, I think it's going to be a new favorite.  The colors have a ton of pigment and this will be a palette I expect to use a lot this fall.

3.  Clinique eyeliners

     I know, there's a lot of Clinique here, but I worked for Clinique for a few years and got hooked on some of their products that really work.  The eyeliner I use on myself every day is their Quickliner for Eyes Intense in Intense Aubergine.  It's not as harsh as a true black (thought their Intense Ebony is fantastic) and is a creme liner, which is better than liquids for a softer look. It also blends great for those who like a really natural look.  The other Clinique liner I use is their new Pretty Easy liquid eyelining pen in black.  This is by far the BEST liquid eyeliner I've found.  The brush-like pen can do anything from a thick line to a super-fine line a single hair's width, which is great for winged liner.  Once it's on it stays there, and I always buy two, one for the studio, one for me.

Products used: NYX Contour Palette, NYX MIcro brow pencil in taupe, Vegas Nay false lashes

Products used: NYX Contour Palette, NYX MIcro brow pencil in taupe, Vegas Nay false lashes

Face:

4.  Clinique Pore Refining Solutions Instant Perfector

     Not everyone needs this, but it's very worthwhile for those who do.  It fills in large pores, matte-ifies skin, and smooths small wrinkles.  I use this as a spot primer before foundation.

5.  NYX and Wet n' Wild

     Whenever I can, I buy products that aren't tested on animals.  Sometimes, that leads to weird natural brands that may not work as well, but sometimes they're just as good if not better.  For my seniors, I use Wet n Wild Coverall Cream Foundation, which is only $2 but has a great coverage level and the shades fit most skin tones.  I use a lot of NYX products in the studio (especially their lip products), but more than anything I make sure I keep their HD Concealers in stock.  They're amazing and I don't use anything else on our clients.  

Products used: Anastasia Dipbrow in soft brown, NYX Matte Lipstick in Natural, Too Faced Star Dust palette

Products used: Anastasia Dipbrow in soft brown, NYX Matte Lipstick in Natural, Too Faced Star Dust palette

Lips:

6.  Estee Lauder Pure Color Lipgloss in Pink Sparkle

     This is my go-to lipgloss for seniors.  It's a pretty peach with lots of shimmer, and looks great on all skin tones.  

7.  Clinique Different Lipstick in Sweet Honey

     This is for sure my most-used lipcolor on everyone.  It's a perfect neutral for people who don't want to do a fully nude lip, but don't want to commit to a dark red or wine lip.  It's shiny and is one of the few "step up from neutral" shades that works on very fair skin (like mine).

Products Used: Anastasia Dipbrow in Medium Brown, Clinique Pretty Easy liquid Eyelining pen in Black, Too Faced Star Dust Palette, NYX Pro Lip Cream Palette in The Reds #5

Products Used: Anastasia Dipbrow in Medium Brown, Clinique Pretty Easy liquid Eyelining pen in Black, Too Faced Star Dust Palette, NYX Pro Lip Cream Palette in The Reds #5

Hair:

8. Pennello Brush:

This is THE best brush for combing out curls without losing them.  I sadly lost this brush on our last NYC destination, but I will definitely be buying another because it's fabulous.  Go to Salon Verde and get one.  

9. Living Proof Full Dry Volume Blast: 

This is another new acquisition, but I love it so far.  Warning: it REALLY does blast, but the result is great volume for even heavy hair.  We bought a sample, but I'll definitely be going back for the full-size bottle.

Products Used: Estee Lauder Pure Color Lipstick in Cherry Passion, NYX Butter Gloss in Cherry Pie, NYX Micro Brow pencil in Espresso

Products Used: Estee Lauder Pure Color Lipstick in Cherry Passion, NYX Butter Gloss in Cherry Pie, NYX Micro Brow pencil in Espresso

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The Blog Post I Hate to Post

Ok friends, this is scary. Not necessarily scary for you, but scary for me.  You're about to see me with NO MAKEUP and BED HAIR!  For our Allure sessions, we do a before-and-after picture to show these ladies that even though they're gorgeous with no sprucing-up, we can take things to gorgeous with a bit of eyeliner and a good curling iron!  So here's me, 100% putting myself out there to the world:

Yep, that's me.  Now sometimes I have time to pull my hair back, or maybe put on some lipstick, but this is Jenn au naturale.  Nothing, nada.  Since today was the first day of school, I can imagine that there are some frazzled mamas out there who look about like this.   I had an event after work today and needed some serious primping, so I enlisted the help of our AMAZING HMUA Megan to help me out.  Then I figured, why not give everyone a glance of what a JDP makeover is all about! We streamed the whole thing live on Facebook!  Yeah, it was scary, but I wanted everyone to see the kind of difference professional hair, makeup, and posing can make.

It took us a few tries to get our internet connection right (it turns out, the Spotify we had running in the backgrounds sucked up all of our bandwith), but once that was fixed, we were able to show and talk through the process.  PLUS, Megan shared some of her favorite tips and products!

It takes a LOT of courage to put yourself out there! In my case, it's a little extreme, because I was literally showing off my unfiltered, unedited self to EVERY PERSON I KNOW for their judgement, but it was for you!  I can imagine how someone coming in for their Allure session might feel the same way.  A little embarrassed at having no makeup or hair products on, a little silly for wanting to do something so out-of-the-ordinary, and a little bit ready to bolt out the door.  I get that!  It's SO much harder being on the other side of the camera!  For me or nearly everyone else, being in a makeup artist's chair, posing, and being photographed is NOT the norm!  

You know what, though?  It was worth it!  Knowing I looked good made me FEEL good, and I know I'll feel great at that event tonight.  For our Allure clients, they get that feeling every time they see their images! When they get a no-makeup, sweatpants day, they can look in the mirror and see their crazy self and say "yep, that's me", and also pull out your folio filled with stunning images and say "yep, that's me too!".  

So no, the Allure experience isn't something everyone does every day.  No one does this every day! But doing it every once in a while is such an experience in vulnerability, trust, self-love, and self-respect that really, how could you not!  We want to show you your very best self, and see your crazy face turn into a glamorous, movie star face!  Call us at (814) 464-1184 or email us at info@jenniferdworek.com.  

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Who's your inspiration?

You guys, we're so excited to finally be able to tell you all about the exciting project that's been in the works for MONTHS!  JDP has partnered with the Sarah Reed Children's Center of Erie to do what we've been teaching our models all year- if you want to see change in your city, you have to be a part of it.  You can forward links, "like", "dislike", and "frownie face" all you want, but if you actually want to see a change, you have to be a part of that change.  So we took charge and got involved!

If you're not familiar with Sarah Reed, it is a school, residential treatment facility, counseling office, and so much more to kids and teens from the community who've had a way tougher life than you'd wish on your worst enemy.   Sarah Reed is able to step in to lives and significantly improve them so these young people have a chance to reach their goals in life.  

We got involved all the way back in March, originally to do to a talk on photography.  Over time, that morphed into something way deeper.  A few weeks ago, a group of girls who attend Sarah Reed came to visit the studio to learn both what we do here, and why.  We talked about confidence, self-love, role models, and bullying.  After they left, they were asked to write about their personal role model, and how they experience self-confidence (or lack thereof).  

After reading all of the essays (which were all amazing!) Alexis's stood out to us because of how well it was written, how candid she was about issues in her past, and much we felt we could help her gain more self-confidence.  Her essay, focused on Demi Lovato and how she overcame a rough past, bullying, and an eating disorder, showed us that this generation can focus on important issues, and sees the good in people beyond just their celebrity status.  After a week of prep, Alexis (or Lexi, as she goes by) came in to the studio to get the whole JDP experience!  Professional hair and makeup, designer dresses, and a full-length shoot, all focused on her!  There were giggles, tears, and so many "You're SO beautiful"s I can't even count!  

This lady ROCKED OUT her session!  She is so strong, and we can only hope that the finished images help to show Alexis how absolutely stunning she is!  Sure, we could've scheduled a shoot, or just taken the morning off, but investing in our community is so important to us!  If only one girl can pass through JDP and know, for 100% certain, that she is strong and beautiful and powerful and so, so smart, and that she can do anything, that's an impact worth putting in the effort for.  We absolutely loved working with Sarah Reed Children's Center, and can't wait to do it again!  

Just like we asked Alexis, we'll ask you the same question:  who's your inspiration?  How do you feel about yourself on a daily basis? If that answer isn't what you'd like it to be, call us!  It's not vain or silly to see yourself as beautiful and attractive.  That's what we're trying to teach our young girls who are coming to us as models and clients, but if you've missed out on that message, get in here!  We can't wait to show you what true confidence is.

xoxo, Jenn

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Make the most of your Erie summer!

Ok, Erie, let's get down to business!  It's the middle of July, which means our summer is half over!  Sure we could trek down to Pittsburgh or up to Buffalo to hit up their summer scene, but I want to challenge you guys to make the most of our Erie summer!

So often, when I tell people I'm from Erie, they never have anything nice to say.  "Oh, dreary Erie, right?  HAHAHA" "Wow, little Detroit, bet you lock your car all the time, huh?  LOLZ!".  Ugh.  Some of that is an outdated view from when Erie was transitioning from manufacturing to touristry, but truly, some of us comes from us!  We tend to focus on the isolated crime, drugs, or other issues instead of seeing the great things about Erie.  

Now, I'm not saying that our issues aren't, well, an issue, and don't need to be addressed, but part of that is our attitude about our own city.  Like the kid in school from the wrong side of the tracks, we have some low self-confidence right now.  We're afraid to say where we live for fear that no one will ask us to the dance.  But Erie is great!  The more we get out there and enjoy everything our region has to offer, the more we can grow Erie's confidence and be the catalyst for great change.  With a little help from my friends, I've made a list of the best ways to make the most of your Erie summer!  Check it out and get out there!  I can't wait to see what you'll do this week!

1.  Presque Isle- Ok, this one's pretty obvious.  We have a state park RIGHT HERE.  We have a beautiful beach RIGHT HERE!  Yet, I can't tell you the last time I was there.  I always think of dragging the kids, their gear, snacks, drinks towels, etc.  But even if you're not a hardcore beach-goer, you can still make the most of Presque Isle!  Here are some great ways to make the most of it!

-Weeknight date night: grab Chinese take-out and head to the beach to watch the sunset while you chow down on your General Tso's.  Feeling full?  Take a walk on the cool sand before dusk.

-Take an early morning walk or bike ride.  Listen to the birds, watch the fishermen, and get your zen on before tackling the day.

-Feeling adventurous?  Rent a kayak, paddle board, or jet ski to cruise around the bay! It's a great break from the ordinary!  To further feed your inner adrenaline-junkie, you can always hit up Waldameer for some roller coaster thrills.  There's nothing more exciting than that first hill of the Ravine Flyer II!

2.  The Music scene- Erie has some AMAZINGLY talented people!  No matter which genre you prefer, Erie has some great opportunities for free, live music during the summer!  Into classical?  check out The Erie Philharmonic's Summer Concert Series.  Jazz?  of course the Erie Art Museum's Jazz and Blues Festival is the place to be.   Some of the other great options are 8 Great Tuesdays,  and much more.  You can also find free live music at most restaurants and bars.  We have such a great variety of free concerts with bonuses like winechocolate, and art, there's no need to say the b-word (bored) this summer!

3.  The art and culture: Erie's art scene ROCKS! The Erie Art Musuem constantly has new shows and events to check out, so dress up and take a trip downtown for dinner and a walk through the museum! We also have so many small galleries to visit!  Kada Gallery is a great stop while you're checking out the Colony Plaza, Glass Growers Gallery is the BEST place to get a unique gift, and Urraro Art Gallery is an awesome place to check out up-and-coming artists.  Got kids?  The Erie Children's Museum is a GREAT way to get out and play!  When was the last time you checked out Erie's gallery scene?  Of course, we can't forget about Shakespeare Summer Nights and the awesome performances at the Erie Playhouse!  

4.  The nature-  Erie is in SUCH a great location to see the best of Mid-Atlantic nature!  From Presque Isle to Wintergreen Gorge, all of the local creeks, Buttermilk Fall in NY, the trails at Asbury Woods, we have so many great places to get out of the house and get our feet in some grass!  Even visiting Frontier Park for an hour is a great way to relax after a busy day. 

I could go on and on and on about the great things to do in Erie.  I haven't even touched the great local restaurants like The Freezerie, Cloud 9, and Sara's, but that's for you to explore!

Thanks to my friends Heidi, Lisa, Kelli, Brianna, Elaine, Jennifer, Jane, Samantha, Debra, Becky, Rachel, Holly, Julie, and Kelly for their help compiling this list! 

No more dreary Erie!  We have so much to do, every day should be packed with activities!  What are you going to do first?  Hit up the drive-in? Find some new stuff at Duran's? Did I forget anything?  Comment and let us know what you'll be doing in Erie!  You never know who you'll convince to get out and enjoy everything our great city has to offer!

 

xoxo, Jenn

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Senior Roundup Part One!

Ok, so we all know why you're here, and it's not to get some deep life lessons- it's to see pictures!  Well let me just say, the first half of JDP Senior Season has been AMAZING!  We've met so many new people, got to know our Senior Models better, and of course got to make some girls feel absolutely amazing about themselves- because why shouldn't they?!  I absolutely love doing what I do, and our team can make some pretty amazing things happen.  If you're seeing these awesome images and absolutely NEEEED the same experience for yourself, give us a call!  We photograph all ages, genders, and styles!  We do have very limited appointments though, especially in the summer.  So if you're interested, give us a call NOW at (814) 464-1184 to get more information on how you can have these insane images for yourself! 

And now, without any further ado, here are our JDP Class of 2017 Seniors from May and June!

Olivia Levinson

Brittany Firman

Abby Heasley

Megan Metzler

Mykenzie Davey

Kamri Rotunda

Taylor Sedney

Sarah Vicary

I absolutely loved my first half of Senior Season, and I absolutely can't wait to see the kind of awesomeness we'll have in the second half.  Remember, there are a few spots still available!  Give us a call today!

xoxo, Jenn

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Baby, You're worth it!

It's that time of year again!  It's summer, school's out; so let the fun begin! Rising seniors, this is the last summer of your high school career before you are swept off into the real world to make a name for yourself and put your stamp on this planet.  It's also senior picture time. Should you get them done? Is it really worth it? "So many of my friends have cameras and they can maybe just do a few pictures, right?" Well, sure, if that's what you're looking for- just get them done and move on. I mean, they are just pictures, right? 

You tell me. Jennifer Dworek Photography is all about creating amazing portraits, but that's not all: we strive to create an experience that transforms the way you see yourself. The key word there is "experience".  There are no limits! There are no rules! Whatever you can dream of, we want to create for you. This is where the idea of senior destination shoots was born.  

Back in March, we tested the waters by opening up a slot for an Erie senior to travel to Las Vegas with us on a 3-day senior session.  At the same time, my team and I started planning a trip to NYC for any of our senior models that wanted a truly unique location as the ultimate backdrop for senior portraits. We wanted to know if the Erie market was ready for something bigger and better for senior portraits. 

So far, our senior destinations have been a hit!  The girls get to experience these great cities like celebrities; stopping for hair and makeup changes, and seeing the sights while on custom photoshoots.  It's a whirlwind in the best way!  We're going to sunny Florida this coming February and can't wait to see who'll be joining us there!  Also, we loved NYC so much that we MIGHT just be going back this fall!  So if you watched our NYC shoots and are bummed you missed out, you still have a chance!  

If you still need a reason to go on a destination shoot, just check out these images!  There's no way you'll get this kind of experience in Erie!  We love photographing here, but it just can't compare to these places!

So whether or not you choose a destination session- PLEASE make sure you take the time and investment to get professional senior pictures taken!  Having great images to look back on is so important in life.  Future You will thank You!

xoxo, Jenn

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BFF!!

I just HAD to share some of these before I left for the day!  Today was BFF shoot day for our Fresh Model Team, and we had a BLAST!  There was so much giggling in the studio it was like being at the best sleepover ever!  There was ZERO shyness going on, and all day I got to take fun pictures of my models and their friends (have I mentioned I LOVE my job??!!)!

That's what I love so much about my Fresh line- it's so versatile!  We have the time to play around and take some great fun images that really show off these great personalities without the pressure that "senior pictures" can have.  Fresh sessions are for anyone ages 10-16, and of course you can bring a friend to share your session!

So needless to say, this is a great way to capture a moment in your teen's life that passes SO quickly! Why not show them exactly how they are, instead of the one yearly picture with the same dark blue background?  THIS is the way to remember what life was like!

I mean, really, how cute are these two?! 

Working with a mix of natural light and a simple ringlight, we were able to go from gorgeous lifestyle images to what looks like the bathroom of Studio 54 (and I love it!).  I had so much fun with these girls today, and I can't wait to see some of these BFFs back in the studio for their own Fresh session!

Of course, what would a day of fun shooting like this be without some of the best outtakes I've ever seen!  I had a great time today, girls, and I hope you did too!

 

 

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NYC or BUST!

Ok, so first, let's settle this.  Everyone says (insert town name here) or bust!  I never knew what that meant, so, like any modern human, I googled it. Some of the answers were awful!  I mean really awful.  "It means you dress better than the other people".  "It means you'll get there fast".  "It means you'll burst from excitement if you don't get there".  Finally, I came upon the real answer (and cross-checked it with Urban Dictionary!).  The official answer is "You'll either get there in a fantastically adventurous way, or fail miserably, but not for lack of trying."  Yay?  That's not quite as exciting as I expected it to be, but it definitely makes sense.  So there ya go, your nugget of knowledge on American aphorisms. 

Well, we will certainly get to NYC, no busting here!  Tickets are bought, hotels are reserved, and both amazing Class of 2017 Senior Models Kamri Rotunda and Brittany Firman are (hopefully) packed and ready to go!  We'll be spending two full, jam-packed days in the Big Apple for the most spectacular senior sessions like only JDP can do!  

Some of the places we'll be visiting are of course Central Park (I could spend a whole day just here!), Times Square, The steps of the Met (ever seen Gossip Girl??) and a few others you'll just have to follow us to see.  These backdrops are so iconic and unlike anything Erie can offer!  Can you even imagine?  Wearing a gorgeous dress on the steps of the Met or the famous Bethesda Fountain while being posing like a pro and being photographed like it ain't no thang???  Tourists all around, wondering what up-and-coming celeb is having a photoshoot, and maybe snapping a picture or two, just in case her next movie or single breaks records.  Little do they know, we're photographing Erie's own superstars of the JDP Model Team!

So how can you get in on this?  First, follow us on Instagram @jdworek, on Facebook, and on Snapchat @jdworekphoto.  We'll be posting the entire trip, so you'll get to see those secret locations, the incredible outfits Kamri and Brittany packed, and join in on the adventure!  Join us on Facebook live, comment, or send us a snap and you might just get a shout out from NYC!

Interested in your own JDP Destination Session?  In February we'll be going to sunny Florida to escape the Erie snow!  Call us at (814) 464-1184 to be first on the list!  As a reminder, we still have a few (like, literally two) Class of 2016 Senior Sessions available here in Erie, so if you've been holding out, call us NOW so we can get you some info!  

We absolutely can't wait to have you along with us in NYC!  Make sure to follow us so you can watch Kamri and Brittany rock it out in the Big Apple!  

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Apologies

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Apologies

"I just can't justify spending that on myself".  I hear it every day, and it's heartbreaking.  I see women who have been through SO MUCH, who've had to fight for everything they had, hold it together when no one else could, women who DESERVE to be celebrated and put on pedestals, basically say that they're not worth it.  Not worth an investment to see themselves how they've never seen themselves before.  Elegant. Regal. Sexy. It's in there, at the core of every woman who chooses to put the needs of others before herself, who works HARD, who feels the weight of trying to be everything.  I'm there too, I'm that woman as well, and it can be suffocating, to the point where you barely feel like a woman at all, just this formless person who has a list to get through.

But we're more than that. You have to know that.  We're more than our to-do lists, more than the accomplishments of our children, more than what we feel like we're allowed to show the world.  When we do show off just a glint of this power, this light that's inside of us, often we're felt like we have to apologize for it.  "Oh, sorry I was being a fierce, Amazonian queen.  I just needed to vent.  Let me collect my things and I'll go."  Or even worse, the "because"s.  "I'm strong, because I have to be".  "I'm loud, because I'm Italian.".  "I'm sexy, but I've worked hard for this body".  Why the apologies, and excuses, and automatic justification, like we have to prove to others and ourselves that there's a very specific reason why we're allowed to be this way?

How about this?  "I'm STRONG".  "I'm SEXY".  "I'm SO DAMN SMART that I can take on everything in my day and still take care of other people.".  How about that??  No reasons, just self love.  We try to sneak it in, a pedicure here, a few glasses of wine there.  Girl, let's go all out!  Let's get wild!  Let's celebrate ourselves extravagantly, like the queens we are!  Whatever you see as the very best of yourself, I want to see that.  I want you to have a way to remember all of this when you're bloated and crampy and sweatpants-ed up and maybe crying because you dropped something, or you did your VERY BEST and for some reason, to someone it just wasn't good enough, that you're not only good enough, but you're amazing.  There are countless poems, songs, and art about women.  They show peeks of that strength, that mystery, enchantment, and spark, but somehow we've lost that.  We're the workhorses.  The donkeys, carrying everything to make it easier for other people.  

I feel that so much.  Just when I think I can take a retreat for a weekend, to be with my thoughts, reinvigorate my body and soul, the car needs work.  The kids need some gadget.  The house needs to be repaired.  If I just took that money and time and saved it, the family could use it together.  And 99% of the time, that's what I do.  I'm not saying to be selfish, because practicality wins most days, but for that 1% of the time, of the money, of the emotional investment in yourself, take that opportunity.  Show your children what self love is, and don't apologize for it or try to validate it with some practical reason.  Whatever you do, whether it's a life-changing portrait session with my studio, a weekend retreat to a spa, a girls' trip to NYC, anything, just please don't apologize.  No one's going to hand it to you.  YOU have to take that step to live your VERY BEST life.  Take a little leap.  Examine whether your "I can't" is real or just some little voice holding you back.  By giving your spirit what it needs, celebrating you as an individual, and all you've accomplished, without apologies or reasons, you're getting back whatever's been lost to duties, lists, obligations, and the deep weariness of feeling like there's more.  It all starts with a step, and once you take that step, there's no going back.  Show the world who you've become, what you see when you catch yourself in the right light and just stare at your beauty, all you've been through, something absolutely extraordinary.   Let's be queens.  No apologies.

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Summer, Summer, Summertime!

Hey there! I am so, so excited to be gearing up for my Class of 2017 Senior Season!  The end of May through mid-August is usually INSANE around here, in the best of ways!  We're able to meet so many amazing seniors and be an important part of their senior year.  Learning their stories, plans for the future, and what they value gives me a glimpse into what life is like for this generation and how they intend to change their world.  

My favorite challenge in my craft is taking all of that personality, drive, and beauty, and capturing it on (digital) film.  This means I have to do whatever it takes to bring out their personalities and make them shine, whether it's laying on the ground for the perfect angle or saying silly things to make them laugh.  

Sometimes it can be tough to open up to a stranger and bare your soul after just a brief introduction.  That's why we take the time to meet with our seniors BEFORE their session, so they know exactly what to expect and can be comfortable from the get-go.

Our Class of 2017 Senior Models get a head start on this whole process, because we know each other VERY well by the time their senior session comes around.  We've met with each of our model teams three times so far, and as of next Monday we'll have another gathering under their belt.   I'm so excited to meet with my whole model team at our Model Reveal Party!  We get to show them their top images from their model sessions (they all did SO WELL!!!) and talk about our next model events.  BFF shoots, car washes, and beach parties, oh my!  

Want a peek into the crazy fun that is a JDP Model shoot?  Our new media and marketing guy Ben stopped by during our Fresh model shoots to take some video of the whole experience so you can see what it's like here at the JDP studio.  Take a look and see who you recognize from our 2016 Fresh model shoots!

Loving what you see?  We still have a few (but JUST a few!!) sessions available this summer, and we're starting to book both Senior and Fresh sessions in the fall.  If you want in on the JDP experience, don't wait to call!  (814) 464-1184 is where you'll find us!  Can't wait to hear from you!

 

xoxo Jenn

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The psychology of photography

Hoo boy, I could talk about this forever!  I love psychology and am fascinated by anything that helps me to discover my inner self.  It also helps me to be more empathetic and to understand my clients better.

One thing I've recently learned about is mirroring.  This is the idea that it is so difficult to look at yourself in the mirror and see yourself as wonderful.  We're so conditioned to pick ourselves apart and immediately look for "problem areas" that the negativity tends to overpower all the great things we love about ourselves.  This leads to anxiety, low self-confidence, and a constant need to prove ourselves to others in order to feel good about ourselves.  Crazy stuff, right??

The obvious way I experience this is from behind the camera.  I often say to clients "just be you, show me your personality", and more often than not, people freeze, as they suddenly realize they're not exactly sure of who they are just by themselves.  We see ourselves through the lenses of mom, wife, sister, student, etc., but when we're just ourselves, what is that?  To explore that and capture it is an amazing experience.  It's so exhilarating, freeing, and builds amazing confidence! By the end of all of the pampering, affirmations, posing, and seeing all sides of your personality, you're able to find new facets of your personality that you may not have known were there, or were dormant for a long time.

At JDP we photograph teens, high school seniors, and women.  The lack of confidence starts so young, and only gets worse if it's not corrected.  Being shown a beautiful, strong, fantastic image of yourself is something you can take with you.  That version of you becomes what you see in the mirror, so that inner self you know you have can come out to the world.

I really wanted to talk about this, and despite having crazy hair and little makeup, it was important enough that I put all of that aside and made a quick video explaining why we do what we do here at JDP, and why it's so vitally important.  Don't wait for a major milestone!  Life is unpredictable, so if we're able to celebrate it, why not?!  We LOVE what we do at JDP, and we see a visible difference in our clients from the time they book to the time their session is complete.  We'd love to see that difference in you!  Call us at (814) 464-1184 to experience what we do in person.

 

 

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