December 26, 2023

Magazine Style Portraits in Milwaukee – Manisha in the Studio


“Having kids, working a demanding job and aging can wreak havoc on anyone. So, after 10 years of losing myself in everything else, I finally decided to just do something for me. I wanted to feel beautiful, confident and maybe even a little sexy.
But, how do you do that when most days you’re barely able to leave your house without forgetting to change out of your pajamas? Add in the fact that my picture repertoire up until this point was a bunch of awkward family photos that I always managed to make weird or silly faces intending to illicit a laugh.
I stumbled upon Jennifer while toying with this idea. All the other photographers I’d considered were fantastic, but you still had to come into it with yourself put together.
I was anything but put together.
I didn’t know how to dress myself anymore, certainly not for a camera. My makeup skills were limited to what I learned in a makeup lesson I had when I was 14. Styling my hair pretty much stopped once I began working permanently from home 3 years ago. I only knew how to be Zoom ready – looks good in the front, chaos in the back. I was a mess.
Jennifer is like your very own fairy godmother!
Meeting with her initially is like finding your long-lost bestie. A bestie that gets you and knows how to make you look beautiful having only known you for an hour. We all need that kind of magical bestie.
The wardrobe consultation was my favorite part of the whole process. Try on dozens of amazing fancy garments that you’d never be able to afford with no expectation or pressure? Have a personal stylist pick out and bring you things based on your body type and personality? Sign me up!! I went into it thinking I’d leave in tears because nothing would fit or look good. I ended up audibly saying “wow” at myself in the mirror more times than I should admit because the outfits looked so good.
That consultation alone did more for my self-esteem than any therapist could do.
Now, on to the actual day of the shoot. I was so nervous. I didn’t need to be. Katrina came in with a full glam vision for my hair and makeup based on my wardrobe selection. I don’t know what superpowers she used but that woman knows what she’s doing. Who knew I had cheekbones?!?
I was convinced Jennifer would give up on the session as soon as I stepped in front of the camera because she’d be so appalled by my awkward and silly weirdness. Instead, she was so clear in what she wanted that it made it easy to pose in whatever she asked for. And the time flew by.
Finally, it was time for the photo reveal day. For me this was a day of anticipation but also dread. What if they don’t actually look like me? I played dress up but that’s not me in real life. Well, I didn’t need to worry about that at all. Jennifer had a wall of pictures from the shoot. Every single one looked like the “me” that I described in that initial consultation conversation.
Jennifer magically captures the YOU that you are inside. The one that everyone else sees, but you struggle to see.
So many people have asked me why I did this photo session. I honestly didn’t really have a reason going into it. I just wanted to. But coming out of it, the reason is: I wanted to see what everyone else sees in me. I needed to be reminded of who I was when you strip all of the labels away. I needed someone to capture my soul.
~ Manisha



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