5 Ways to Boost Your Self-Esteem

In the day and age of snap chat filters and make-up enthusiast you may feel a bit of inadequacy in the “self-confident” department. Millennials and Gen Z alike have struggled with self-image through a societal view. Fashion Magazines vs. Keeping up with the Kardashians to snapchat filters vs. social media perfection.

I am here to let you know it gets better. From an older millennial who fought with self-image issues and low self-esteem nearly my entire life, there is hope. Like most people I have had my ups and downs but society doesn’t let up when it comes to “beauty” standards. Thankfully, you don’t have to be a size 0 to be classified as beautiful anymore but just like each generation before us their are other societal pressures you will face to “feel” beautiful.

It is true that beauty comes from within. Ignoring what society tells you is beautiful is a great start but is it that easy? For some, yes. For others you feel like you might base your whole life on finding the perfect weight, perfecting your winged eyeliner or your favorite filtered selfie and pose.

I have come up with 5 ways to help you build your self confidence and at the same time rebel against what society “tells” us as women what is beautiful.

  1. Lose the Filter, you aren’t coffee.

Okay, Okay hear me out. Yes, a filter can save the day on those lazy days when make-up isn’t a first priority BUT you should not base your beauty on a filter. Filters are not real life, they make your skin look like plastic and that face you see, it is not yours. Filters produce a false sense of perfection. Perfection is over rated. It is okay to be flawed, what you see as flaws others see as beauty. Filters are creating a very unrealistic expectation of beauty. Dig deep inside yourself and ask yourself, “Why do I feel like I need a filter?” I challenge you to post filter free for a week. Embrace the real you, speak your flaws into self-love. Show off your freckles, your high cheek bones, your imperfect eyebrows.

2. Say something nice or don’t say anything at all.

You would be surprised at the amount of effort it takes to rewire your brain for positivity and growth. Here’s a brain hack. Be kind to others, start seeing the beauty in others, especially other women or girls. What you see in other people is what you will begin to see in yourself. Unhappiness comes from within. Happy people don’t hurt people. Begin with one compliment a day to a stranger, then up it to 3 and then 5 and then eventually it will be second nature. How does this affect you, well your brain instantly begins to feel happy and giving out compliments ups your self-confidence. Don’t believe me, try it for yourself.

3. Self-talk not Selfies

Now that we have the filtered selfies out of the way and you are complimenting others, another key way to increase your self-esteem and self-image is to speak kindly to yourself. Positive affirmations: “You is kind, you is smart, you is beautiful.”(The Help) Look yourself in the eyes, say it out loud and BELIEVE it! You must be your biggest fan, it is OKAY to love yourself. Remember, rewiring your brain takes practice, you may have to fake it every day for the first few weeks. Each day you speak kindly to yourself is growth. Self-love is a mindset, you are uniquely and wonderfully made, you are beautiful and you deserve to love yourself. When we love ourselves and accept who we are it is a lot easier to accept and love others. Your relationship with yourself will grow along with attracting more beautiful people into your life.

4. Let’s get physical

EXERCISE. Not to improve your rockin’ bod(although that is a plus) but exercise releases feel good hormones to boost your mood and make your day better. It is one of the first steps in self care which then trickles into all other aspects of your life. Physical exercise helps relieve stress and mental anguish. It has also been proven to help improve anxiety and depression as well. Add to this with a nutritious diet and your self-esteem will flourish.

5. You are who you hang out with

You are most like the 5 people you hang out with. If your tribe is not lifting you up, boyfriend/girlfriend included then you should not be wasting your time and energy with these people. This rule goes for family as well. Our friends and family should be our biggest fans, they should hype you up. If you allow people you are close to, to tear you down, manipulate you, or call you names it is time to cut them from your life. You do not have to allow anyone in your life that does not speak positive and love to you. You must find your self-worth to build your self-esteem. First and foremost lose the toxic relationships.

I am 32 years old and it took me nearly 30 years to learn most of these tricks and tips. You must know it is a struggle every single day to continue to love myself. But love is a choice. You must choose yourself. You must love yourself. It all begins by working on yourself and becoming someone you can face in the mirror every single day. You are all you have and you are stuck with her. Love her. Be kind to her.

Ashlee Bergeron

www.withallyourheartphotography.com

Facebook: @wayheartphotography

Instagram: @wayheartphoto

5 Ways to Improve Your Photography

5 Ways to Improve Your Photography

Hobbyist or professional photographers alike are always looking for ways to improve their skills behind the camera. I am Ashlee Bergeron, published photographer and small business owner. I have shot film, and digital photography and have a love for post production. I would like to share with you 5 ways to improve your photography skills. It does not matter if you shoot with the latest iPhone, canon rebel or professional gear. Whether you shoot people or places, I am here to help you improve YOUR creative eye!

  • Blinded by the light
    • Lighting can come from many sources, but what is the greatest source out there? The SUN, of course. That big ball of fire can be your greatest friend or biggest foe. Many photographers choose to shoot when the sun is rising or setting. An hour before sunrise or sunset can result in a truly beautiful glow, this time of day is called golden hour. This is what some consider the “sweet” spot of natural lighting. Golden hour, no doubt provides beautiful light but most hobbyist or photographers love to shoot at all times of the day. Being mindful of your lighting is great. Ask yourself, where is the sun? Behind your subject? In front of the subject? The answers to these questions will help you determine the look you want. It is fun to experiment with light and you don’t have to be a pro to play with lighting. There are many inexpensive ways to bend light. Check out reflectors on amazon.com you can find them for about $20. Also for a very inexpensive reflector you can use a white poster board to add light on your subject. You can also use a white wall or sheet as well. Lighting is fun. Bending light is fun. But there is only one way to learn and that is to go out there and practice.
Austin Night Life
  • Slice and dice
    • There is a right way and wrong way to crop your subject. You do not want to cut off body parts, such as fingers, toes, knees, elbows.OUCH! A great rule of thumb(no pun intended) is do not crop anywhere there is a joint attaching limbs. Such as the elbow, wrist or ankle. Instead crop mid limb, for example: the shin or forearm. There are always exceptions to the rules but this is a great rule that will improve your photographer’s eye.
Limbs intact
  • Freeze Frame but first, FOCUS
    • Focus is one of the hardest skills to accomplish as a photographer. Where your focus lands in your image helps tell your story. What do you want your viewers to feel or see? Where do you want the viewers eyes to go first? The focus of your image should be sharp and should stands out from the rest of the image. For example: the eyes in a portrait or the ring on a newly engaged finger. You should not be shooting aimlessly and hoping to find focus. As you shoot you should set up your settings to tell the story using focus points on the viewing screen. Some cameras have several points, some cameras have just 6-9. Each are there for you to adjust according to the vision you want to portray.
  • Composition is 2/3rds of the Law
    • Think of your image with a grid laid across the top, splitting it up into nine squares. 3 vertical and 3 horizontal. The key to a great composition is leading the eye to one or more of the three quadrants but also not directly in the center. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule but we must master “the rule of 3rds” first. Key elements or the subject of the image can be placed in the upper left or right quadrants or lower right or left quadrants. The idea of rule of thirds is to have a composition that is pleasing to the eye of the viewer. Composition takes practice much like other skills but can be done with out thinking once practiced enough.
  • ATTENTION to detail
    • What angle are you shooting from? Birdseye? Worms view? Eye level? Angles matter. Angles can help add emphasis to your story. For example: higher angles make objects look smaller, lower angles can do the opposite and make your subject look larger. Another detail to pay attention to is your background. Backgrounds should add to the story, not take away from the story. If your background consist of trash cans, toilettes, or vehicles changing your angle can help. Get lower, get higher move to the left or to the right. This skill takes practice but being aware of your background can completely transform your photography.
City at Sundown

These 5 tips may be just the beginning of your photography journey or you might be a seasoned hobbyist. Just know experience and practice are key so keep on shooting, getting better and working hard. Your vision is important and you deserve to share it with the world.

Happy Shooting!

Ashlee Bergeron

http://www.withallyourheartphotography.com

Facebook: @wayheartphotography

Instagram: @wayheartphotography

Senior Client: Kennedy Sittig Class of 2021 Opelousas Catholic

2020 Grind, Growth and Goals

Nykee and Nelson enjoying their couples session

2020 is around the corner. New Year, New Decade, New Everything.

Are you starting over? Are you continuing to grow? Are you setting goals?

The time is now. If you have not started your New Year list of goals yet, it is time! This is no ordinary New Year this is the beginning of a ten year span. The door closed on a decade passed! Stay tuned for some major inspiration because I am putting together a list of 5 ways to motivate yourself for the RISE AND GRIND OF A NEW DECADE!

  1. Intentionally JUMP out of your comfort zone.
GO with childlike wonder.

Growth is not found when we do the same thing over and over each day. That is also, for some the definition of insanity. If you want to grow, change your habits, perceptions, situation and life you must get out of your comfort zone. Sure, you could take baby steps but I firmly believe that may not be enough. 2020 is the time to push yourself out the nest of comfort. What is the one thing you have ALWAYS wanted to do but did not have the guts to pull the trigger on? Tattoo, sky dive, travel to a different country? It could be something as simple as finding a new job because the 9-5 you work NOW sucks the life out of you. Maybe it is cutting your hair after years of wearing the same style. Maybe it is taking dance lessons or painting classes. What in the world are you waiting for? We are not getting any younger and life is just getting shorter. MAKE THE MOVE!

2) Plan a trip.

Tulum, Mexico Myan Ruins

Choose a random but beautiful place in this big beautiful world and go there. Taking trips may seem out of reach financially for some of you but you would be surprised what you can afford with a few cutbacks in life. For Example: no more Starbucks during the week, just make coffee at home. Boom! You just saved $100 a month. By the end of the year you have plane tickets for two or a ticket for one and a hotel stay. $1200 is a paid off cruise, a trip to the east coast, a weekend getaway to wherever! Planning a trip does something inside of you, it lifts your spirits, and gives you something to look forward to. It is worth the daily sacrifices of non-essentials to feel the freedom of travel. Once you unlock this door you will want to spend every cent to leave your homestead. Traveling changes you. It allows you to see that the small town mentality is not the ways of the world. It allows you to see the kindness surrounding other places and it opens up doors to meeting unique and lovely strangers, cherishing moments and not things. We tend to be numbed by the media and busy life around us that we forget there are cultures we don’t know, beautiful places outside our home and workplace, billions of people to meet and so many memories and stories to add to our lives. When your life flashes before your eyes, think about what you will see. Where have you been? Where do you want to go?

3) What is your Grind?

Run towards your goals

My question to you is, what is the one thing that makes your heart skip a beat? The one thing you can do for yourself that no one else can? What is something you feel so passionately about that you are willing to grind for? Your job, your self image, your attitude, your marriage? We all have different priorities at different times in our lives. Some of us have changed the “what” many times. The goal and dream can change but the hard work and road to success does not. “The dream is free, the hustle is sold separately.” I suggest writing down your big goal, then underneath make a list of small goals that ultimately lead to the large goal. Remember to be realistic. The goal may take you 3 years but you need to have small goals set for 6 months to a year out. Small goals will assure you when times get rough that you are on the right path, keeping your motivation to hustle. Document, keep a journal or keep an excel spreadsheet of all things accomplished along the way. Numbers don’t lie. 2020 is the time to change and grow! You must grind, you must hustle and you must sacrifice to see a change. According to dictionary.com the definition of grind is “hard dull work.” How hard are you willing to work to achieve your goals? That answer only lies within you.

4) Self Love is Worth It

You have got to give up the negative self talk in 2020! No more! Throw it out with the past decade. To truly love yourself it starts in your mind, it starts with planting positive seeds and watering those seeds each and every day. The next time you are thinking about cutting your body, mind or self down, stop and think, ” Would I speak this way to someone I love?” Think about your daughter, mom, sister, anyone you love. We are so critical of ourselves that we don’t see the beauty in ourselves that others may see in us. You need to change that. You are fearfully and wonderfully made, by someone who loves you despite your flaws or mistakes. Self love begins on the inside, what you see and love about yourself will be reflected on the outside. Spending time alone, find a hobby that makes you happy, know that you are not alone. All woman must find themselves and in finding themselves fall in love with themselves. It is okay to value yourself so much that you do not let any one treat you badly. End the toxic relationships, end the self doubt and negative self talk! Forgive yourself for past mistakes. 2020 is your year to change your life and it all starts with you, your mind and your self-love.

5) Be Present in the Moment

Louisiana Sunrise

Stop and smell the roses. Enjoy the fiery sunsets. Stop and listen to your children laughing in their bedrooms. Drop everything and kiss your spouse. Society has made us to feel like we always need to be busy. This is not true. It is okay to say in 2020, “You know what, I am taking Sundays off.” ” I am sorry but Wednesday nights are for family game night.” The only reason life is so busy is because we allow it to be. Your kids will be fine sitting out this activity so you’re not occupied 5 nights a week. Let them enjoy playing outside while you enjoy a glass of wine. Take time to read a book and put the kids to bed early. You have the power to slow down your agenda. It will not make you less of a person or parent. Enjoy what you have left of your children, your spouse and your time on this earth. Tomorrow is not guaranteed. What is it that you want to remember 20 years from now? Your busy schedule, the full color coded planner or the laughs, tears, and moments so preciously engraved in your heart. The time will pass quickly so choose wisely. 2020 is the year to slow down and enjoy the little things, the pretty places, the giggles, and the tasty sips of wine.

So what are my goals for 2020: Well I have a few and I would love to share with all of you. Personal goals: continue on this journey of self love. I want to talk the talk and walk the walk. I want to love myself at any weight, age and form. My 20s were literally crazy, I lost myself through many obstacles, mistakes and becoming a mother. My 30s will be happy, healthy, and full of self love. I will enjoy my kids, my husband and my business. I also plan on becoming more involved in my community. I want to volunteer more and serve others, I NEED to serve others more. I also want to empower other women. I want to show them that they are worthy and loved. That I have their back no matter what. Life is tough but I want each woman to come to know their own strength. I want other women to know that they are capable of beautiful relationships, conquering their goals and loving their self.

Business goals for 2020: I want to double the clients I served in 2019. I have grown so much in just one and half years of business and I do not plan on stopping. I will continue to learn, attend workshops, collaborate with local photographers and new photographers. I also want to specialize in Senior Portraits. Through photography I want to serve others. I want to do this by helping my clients better understand the value of beautiful, professional photography, prints and wall art. I believe everything old becomes new again. There is a lost generation out there who do not print their images and sadly may not have albums to share with their future children and grandchildren. It is my job to show my clients the value in tangible products. Our digital files are never safe from a crashing hard drive, lost jump drive, or internet glitches. So that being said my clients in 2020 can expect more wall art and albums in their homes.

Seniors 2019

Life is short, it is okay to take time for yourself, it is okay to stop and say, “I am taking a breather.” If you value yourself, your time and your happiness you can grow and reach goals this New Year and throughout the next decade. The only person holding you back is you. You have 2 weeks! Make a list, check it twice and come up with a plan of action. Put the naysayers behind you and believe in yourself. Work hard and the world is your oyster. Okay, I quit with the cliches and cheesy lines but it is all true! You got this. It is time to recreate the vision of yourself, your business, your relationship, anything you want. The time is now. New Year, New Decade, New Everything!

BeYoutiful.

Be Kind.

Be the Change.

Ashlee Bergeron

http://www.withallyourheartphotography.com

https://www.facebook.com/withallyourheartphotography/

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