Andrea turns 15 and celebrates with a portrait session at Vizcaya Gardens with her family and best friends.
Because of Covid, Andrea decided against having a birthday party. She chose to celebrate in one of her favorite places with her favorite people. After the corset of her dress was all tied up, her grandmother took a step back and gazed upon her with teary eyes. In Spanish she said “You look like a star, but to me you have always been one. For the past fifteen years, you have been my brightest one.” As they embraced, there wasn’t a dry eye in that bathroom.
Andrea is a performing arts student. Together with her friends, she brakes out in song every so often, it was my favorite thing about this session. The first time it happened, her mom looked over and told me “they all slept over last night. They’re running on zero sleep and look how much excitement they still have!” I smiled and filled up with nostalgia. I’m not sure what was more contagious, their happiness or Andrea’s confidence.
Working with teens is challenging as I find they always have some kind of “look” in their head of how they want to be portrayed. A “look” tainted by monotonous poses and facial expressions influenced by social media. It was so refreshing that she was herself. She was fully confident in the beauty of her true character. She didn’t care what she looked like- it didn’t even cross their mind, she felt beautiful because she was- inside and out. Her friends and family just the same, they soaked in the moments that radiated with the joy they felt for her existence.