Danielle’s Fitness Session in Norfolk and Virginia Beach.

She was in final prep for a local fitness competition plus she wanted to honor her mom.

Danielle was the second person involved in my latest duo super session, along with her friend Shelley. These are her images and story.

I love helping people see themselves in a new light. I truly believe we are our own worst enemies when it comes to our self image. When we look at ourselves in the bathroom mirror at 7 am all we see are the “flaws” and “issues.” We never see the truth, the good.

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Compounding the issue is that, for most of us, what few images we have are of candid snapshots when we were surprised/ambushed. You know the images I’m talking about. The ones where a friend sneaks up behind you and calls out your name. When you turn around – “pow” goes the flash. The results? A picture of you, with a shocked look on your face, your mouth open, your hair all jumbled up, no make-up, et cetera.

Not good. And now you have photographic “proof” of your worst fears. Ugh.

So it’s my mission to show everyone that they indeed are worthy of a photoshoot. That they are beautiful and the “flaws” aren’t really flaws at all. All they need is good light and poses that show them off. It’s a great ego boost and a good kick up in the self esteem.

Like the recent images of Shelley and now Danielle. They had been working hard towards competing in a body sculpting contest and wanted something to document their efforts. To give them that extra boost to get them over the last, and hardest, week before the big show. Something they can hold up as proof down the road.

How could I say no to that? Bring it on. We wanted to show off their hard bodies, to be sure, but we also wanted to show that hard bodies are sexy and glamourous. I was blown away.

Here’s where I let Danielle take over for a bit.

“I did a fitness photo shoot with Mark during my 16-week prep for a body sculpting competition and it was the perfect confidence booster to start my peak week! I felt very comfortable working with Mark. He was extremely helpful with selecting outfits for the shoot. The whole experience made me feel very sexy and confident. I got the images right before my competition and they really helped give me that last extra push I needed to finish out my prep! The sunset beach photos are unbelievable! I am very impressed by Mark’s work and highly recommend him to anyone looking for high quality photography!”

By the way, that’s not a prop, that’s her bike.

This is where I normally close the entry but there’s more to this story. You see those last three images of Danielle in a blue bikini? These were done for a specific reason and, therefore, separated from the normal flow of images. I’ll let Danielle take over again.

“My mom used to be a bodybuilder, before I was born, after having giving birth to my oldest sister. I’ve always admired her old photos and the excellent physical condition she is in now (4 more children later). She’s always been a role model and an inspiration for me to stay fit. Recently, I took on my own personal fitness goal to compete in a body sculpting competition. It’s been a lot of sacrifice and discipline, but the physical results were very satisfying and I am proud of what eating healthy and exercising did for my body. It’s always good to set goals for yourself, but it is equally important to maintain a balanced lifestyle. I will enjoy the rest of this year not having to worry about dieting, posing practice, spray tanning, etc.”

Those last three images mimic three images of her mom from back in the day. We tried to match up the poses exactly. What an awesome way to honor her. I was humbled to be part of such a great thing.

We’ve already agreed that there will be more sessions coming.

Major shout out goes to Carly Vega (http://makeupbyvega.com) for doing their make-up for this plus doing it again before their competition the following week.

Mark Knopp is a Virginia-Beach-based portrait photographer and photography teacher that covers the Hampton Roads community and beyond. Contact him today at mknopp1@cox.net for all your photographic needs.

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