The Road to 40…The Photo Shoot

Road to 40- The Photo Shoot

So I took my own advice from the end of the 30’s post in this series, and I decided that one thing I really wanted to do for my 40th birthday was a photo shoot. I wanted to look at pics and appreciate beauty I took for granted for so many years. I wanted to be the center of attention…a spotlight I usually reserve for my kids. I also wanted to do this with just me and the photographer. I wanted to chat a little about my journey and think a lot about it. I wish I’d had music blaring while I did it.

This photo shoot was 5 outfit changes, 4 hours, 3 locations, 2 people, 1 of which is a talented photographer. Courtney at Courtney Utley Photography has been my photographer since I was pregnant with Paxton, and she’s always done amazing work with me and my family!

It was peaceful. I had fun, and I will always be grateful that I had the experience and content that I made it happen. What will you do for yourself after reading this journey?

Ok, ok…enough already….let’s see some pics 👀

The Fun City Pics…

I wanted these pictures to be in a city backdrop. I wanted to show a fun side that was a little more glamorous than you would normally catch me, but still fun and super comfortable. I bought this dress from Charlotte Russe several years ago when they had a clearance on their New Year’s Eve dresses. I’d never worn it…shoot, I don’t think I ever even tried it on. When I tried it on leading up to the photo shoot, I remember thinking “ooooo….this is a little risqué”. I also remember thinking though “girl….these are grown woman photos…you better wear that dress and be cute!” 😂

The Flashback Pics…

I wanted to have some pics that were an ode to the styles I grew up surrounded by…the tulle skirts, the Adidas craze, big hoop earrings, bright lipstick, and high side ponytails. This shirt, I actually ordered last December. I thought it would be perfect to celebrate my birthday. I wanted balloons in these pics because I wanted to celebrate the wonder and fun that comes along with being a kid.

The Professional Pics…

I recently did a podcast interview on my career path and the podcaster asked for a professional headshot to attach to the link for sharing it on social media and her blog. I sent her something that I had tried to do homemade and she asked if I had anything else 😂 so I sent her the headshot I took in 2015. It was only a few months after I had Paxton so I still had a little baby swell in my face and it was before I started my Locs. She loved the picture, but I said right then and there…I have got to get a new set of headshots. So this birthday shoot kind of served dual purpose for me because while I had the photographer and the backdrops, I decided to go ahead and have new headshots made for professional purposes 😊

The “Cake Smash” Pics…

For each of the kiddos birthdays, I did what is now a traditional “cake smash” photo shoot. You know…the one where you give the baby the cake and take a few cute shots of them to commemorate the occasion, but then you let them just have at it. I figured if I could do that for my kids, why not do it for myself? I had a poster made with some fun facts about me. It didn’t come in time for me to get give it a framed look like I had intended, but my photographer managed to still put it in my photos anyway.

The Symbolic Pics…

These photos are sooooo special to me. This is what we spent the most time on for the shoot. I’d seen some photos of girls for prom or Senior year where they are in a very rustic setting yet are very elegantly dressed. Those always spoke to me. I wanted to do that in my own way for these pics as well. We took these at Petit Jean Mountain. I had never been there before. Courtney was super familiar with it so she knew some amazing spots to take shots. What I draw from these pics is that no matter what the surrounding is…it’s ok to be you. It’s ok to be different. It’s ok to stand out. I also realized that some of the most amazing photos in these pics were taken in some pretty scary places. There’s a little lesson in that too.

Well…thank you so much for taking this journey with me. My 40th birthday has definitely been one for the books. Although a pandemic is present, I’ve been able to celebrate in some of the most fun and memorable ways that I’ll now be able to look back on and cherish. ❤️