Mrs. C’s Virginia Beach fitness portrait session.

Mother Nature provided the background, Mrs. C. was the storm. Read about what got her into fitness.

Mrs. C. is a force of nature. She exudes confidence and strength. I knew I wanted to capture that essence but also the fact that she’s a beautiful woman during our recent beach portrait session on a cloudy, windy day at First Landing State Park.

My intent with every session I do is to make it all about the person in front of the lens. I want to capture their inner essence, them being them. We will set up the shot with the outfit, lighting, and such but then I pause before putting the camera to my face and ask them a question or give them a thought to work on. Then I let them loose to interpret that idea or thought.

Mrs-C-virginia-beach-portrait-session 3

“You do you.” is what I tell them. Then we go.

More images after the break.

For example, at one point in the session, I had to reset the light position. I had an idea for an image. As I passed her on the way back to my shooting position I paused, looked right into her eyes, and said “You ARE the storm.” This is in reference about the devil whispering to a person that they can’t weather the storm. You know the one.

Her whole demeanor changed in a heartbeat. She was fierce, formidable, and unstoppable.  The very next image I shot was is the one shown above.

I do this several times during a session. Match the pose, the outfit, the person, and the environment to create unique, unified images that capture a sliver of a person’s inner essence. Them being them.

As you can see, Mrs. C. is a fitness enthusiast. Her journey to this point is inspiring. I’ll let her take over.

In high school, I was a mathlete. I was not into sports or working out. I started working out when I was in my second year of my master’s program at ODU. I was 24, weighed 100 pounds, could not run a mile, and struggled with 5 pound dumbbell chest press. I started working out in order to perform my job well as a physical therapist. I fell in love with it and it became a passion. It’s my sanctuary, my stress relief, and my time just for me.

Now, at 43, I’ve ran one marathon, 5 half marathons, and can bench press my body weight of 135 pounds. I’ve competed in a powerlifting meet and 3 bodybuilding competitions in the Figure division.”

For those thinking about doing a session, I’ll leave you with final words from Mrs. C.

“I find my sessions with Mark to be liberating and empowering. I know you will, too.”


Mark Knopp is a Virginia Beach-based photographer covering the Hampton Roads community and beyond. Contact him at mknopp1(at) with any questions you might have or to book your session today.



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