Amanda : Personal Celebration | McGowan Images Blog


Amanda : Personal Celebration

So, we don’t mention Girls on Film here on the “regular” blog more than a couple times a year… we just kind of take for granted that people know I (Chelsea) have that other business. But then when a new client says, “OMG, you shoot boudoir?? I had no idea! Where can I see it and book??” Then I think, welp, maybe we should talk about it more often.

About once a week, there’s a new blog post over at the Girls on Film blog. It’s mostly “boudoir”, but not always. Because honestly, my goal when I approach these sessions with my fantastic, brave, beautiful clients, is never “Take a super sexy photo by showing as much skin as possible.” I am a firm believer that the sexiest thing a woman can wear is CONFIDENCE. It sounds cliche, but it’s true. And at the end of every session, whether my client is entirely naked or covered from head to toe, my goal is that she feels amazing about herself.

Today, just like most every week, there’s a new post over at Girls on Film. There’s some skin showing, and some drama, and some real great big laughter. You should go check it out.

Here, I wanted to share a Girls on Film session I shot recently that doesn’t really show much skin at all. Because someday, probably just through repeating it ’til I’m blue in the face, I’m going to change the way women’s portraiture is viewed. Sure, great lingerie makes a stunning image, and I have a portfolio full of sensual intimate imagery that my clients and their significant others are crazy grateful for. But investing in portraits isn’t solely for women who want to get nekkid, or have a wedding present to give, or who have just lost a crazy amount of weight.

Invest in these portraits because you have forgotten you’re beautiful, and want to be reminded.

Or hey, invest in these portraits because you KNOW you’re beautiful, and want to celebrate it.

Invest because YOU. ARE. WORTH. IT.

You, just like you are. Right now. Not 20 pounds from now, not “someday”. NOW. You’re worth it now.

I’ve talked enough… I’ll let Amanda talk a little more:


This might be the most accurate, and beautiful image anyone has ever taken of me. Images of me are rare- especially when I’m made up and looking somewhat pretty. I don’t like to be in front of the camera. I hate my body. I wear oversize clothes to hide it. Pictures of me make me want to cry. I was raised in a house where being “Plus sized” was definitely frowned upon- even though my biological mother was a size 20 and the most outwardly beautiful woman I’ve ever met. I linger on the line between 16 and 18. Plus sized. Ashamed. Looked down on. That not withstanding, I am typically a very jolly and happy person to anyone and everyone I meet. I love interacting with my clients and making them feel beautiful (I’m a photographer too). Inside I die on a daily basis. I suffer from an illness I’m not ready to let the public know about yet, which lets me know every day, that that day will be a battle. I’m sad. Manic even. Depression doesn’t begin to cover the pain inside me at this stage of my life.
I love to sing. Singing makes me happy, and when I discovered Adele, I thought- she’s me. She’s beautiful. Her pain makes her even more so. I took some images to Chelsea of Adele and said, “I want to look like this”. I never expected to look like that- ever. I know I’m a lucky woman. I have a husband who I can never in a million years deserve and two boys that genuinely are my favorite people in the universe. I have a job that I couldn’t love more, which makes me happy each time I click the shutter. I think those things only amplify my insecurities. I wanted Chelsea to “get” me, even the pain. 
What I see when I look at these images is not what I expected. I expected to look fat. I expected to be over-anilytical and pick apart every little detail. I didn’t think I would love these pictures. I knew I needed to go through the experience of having them done. Even the day of, I was stressed. I was afraid the outfits I picked were wrong. I was just negative. I loved the way Meaghan did my hair and make up, but I still thought I was fat, and nothing could fix that.
During the session Chelsea made me laugh. I was way stiffer than any of my clients ever are. Completely uncomfortable in my own skin, and I felt robotic going through the motions. I think Chelsea picked up on that. She showed me an image from the back of her camera and -BAM. Just like that, the weight lifted off my shoulders and I could breathe. I was so moved I literally cried. Chelsea had to fuss at me because, you know… make up. LOL…. 40 minutes later we were done. We packed up, my friend and I got in the car. I turned to her and said “Well… maybe she got 5 or 6.”
Then the link to the pictures came. In less than a week, all the pictures. Like 140-something pictures came. Not only did I like, but I LOVE, almost all of them. She caught me. The strength, the pain, the silly. They were all in there. And sure, the fat was too. But I discovered something- I love my fat. It’s me. It’s what my husband feels when he wraps his arms around me and how I look when my children think of me (and they think I’m pretty). The pain is still there, but a little less of it now. I will treasure these photos forever. I can’t wait to take my whole family and shoot again. I hope Chelsea doesn’t get sick of me anytime soon. I truly couldn’t be happier.
I’m just thrilled to pieces with this session, so before you go check out this week’s installment at the Girls on Film blog, you should definitely take a look at the rest of these images of gorgeous Amanda. 🙂
Hey you. Yeah, you there, thinking “maybe someday”. Make 2015 the year you become one of my Girls on Film. I guarantee you won’t regret it, and I can give you the names of hundreds of other women who would agree with me.
Make it happen.
  1. Adria says:

    This woman is me. I am so moved by her words and these beautiful photos. Thank you for all you do.

  2. Giselle Huet says:

    Amanda put into words how I felt and how I still feel sometimes. But then I go and look at my pictures and I remember who I truly am and Chelsea you helped me see her through your lens. I really think every woman should do a session!

  3. Steffanie Kantosky says:

    I so love this post. And I love Amanda so much. This is truly how we see her and I am sooooo glad that this happened. Chelsea you rock. Amanda you rock. Just love. End of story.

  4. Caitlin says:

    Gorgeous girl..and the images just reflect that!
    I look forward to the day when I have enough courage to get in front of your camera 🙂

  5. Ann says:

    Amanda. Girl… You. Are. FABULOUS. Your story touched me to the core and made the tears flow. I am so glad you found the courage to do this for you.

    Chelsea. Girl… well you too are FABULOUS. Thank you for what you do. I love seeing these stories and I am looking to my second GOF experience. It will happen…

  6. Amber B. says:

    ohvmy goodness!! These are absolutely amazing!! Girl you are a knockout!!

  7. Stacey says:

    Damn you… crying. Gorgeous images, of course, but of an amazingly courageous and beautiful woman. Bravo!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *