Writer Katie Kohler Readies for her Close Up

She shares life lessons from in front of the camera.



Katie Kohler

Random selfies, night-out-with-the-girls candids, assorted hand-on-the-hip poses, a cozy nuzzle with a significant other—these days, we’re taking more pictures than ever. Few of them, though, are worth the price of a frame.

I always wanted to get a professional photo shoot. But for the longest time, I talked myself out of it. “Wait until you’re skinnier, prettier and have more money,” I’d tell myself.

Then the 2017 eclipse happened, and we all wore those special glasses (or risked blindness) to see the moon cover the sun. That once-in-a-century event prompted the realization that I’d been waiting for a personal eclipse that was never going to happen. Would there ever be a time in my life when I’d fulfilled all three criteria simultaneously—where I was at my goal weight, looked my best and wasn’t ashamed of the balance on my credit card? The answer was a hard no.

I was always stopping at Brenda Jankowski’s photos in my social media feed. All of her subjects look so gorgeous and real. Her Bren Photography had the credentials, winning four Bronze Merit Awards in the international Portrait Masters Competition. She put me at ease by telling me what to expect, encouraging me to text her pictures of prospective outfits.

The morning of the shoot at her Bucks County studio, Budd Reigner and Carly Rostof of Renee’s Hair Studio in Plymouth Meeting perfectly executed my hair and makeup. My mother and I pared down the wardrobe choices from seemingly every outfit I owned.

Before I stepped in front in the camera for the first round of photos, I assessed how I’d treated myself in the weeks leading up to the shoot. I’d set aside more time to exercise, gotten eight solid hours of sleep a night, applied facemasks. I shopped for new clothes, even modeling a few NSFW outfits for my husband.

A few minutes into the shoot, I found myself smiling more naturally—confident, not forced or cheesy. Brenda showed me a few of the images she’d taken, and in every one of them, my face said it all. I was finally ready for my close-up.

A freelance writer based in King of Prussia, Katie Kohler is currently looking for other ways to spoil herself. Visit www.katiekohler.com.