Handling challenges with grace and self portraits

Panama City Beach women’s portraits-

I wouldn’t say I have handling challenges with grace down completely, usually a few (more like 50) calls to my mom and figuring it out before I can really face any challenge head on. But I will say this, when bad days hit I used to try to superman through them, to try to act as if they didn't exist but now I know they’re needed. So I read my book, journal, watch TV, probably cry, and know this too shall pass as long as i’m willing to go through the difficult times the right way.. and that’s straight through them; allowing you to feel down to be mad, sad, upset, and then healing and moving that process along. And no, it’s not as easy as that. for myself I learned to allow myself a couple days depending on the challenge to have a little pity party and then give myself a deadline when i’ll stop and start kicking butt again. But once you get through the other side, you can see how you handled it, and what your character says about you when it happens. And that’s the best part of challenges, when you’re proud of what you said, what you did, and how you forgave or moved on.

I’m saying all this to explain a few reasons for these portraits you may have heard on my instagram earlier this week. Yes I needed portraits for content, not being hypocritical when I tell women to get photographed often, and really to update all my platforms but the day it hit me was when I needed a little self love, I decided that day I needed photographs of myself. It’s exactly what I hope for other women, that it’s something that will help empower (and there are so many things we can do to empower ourselves, this is just one.) and look at the photographs and remember you ARE the strong, capable, sexy, smart woman you tell yourself you are. And what’s more, I think it’s important as we scroll through thousands of photos of women looking their best, we see photographs of ourself looking our best too. And yes i’m sitting in my pajamas in my bed as I write this, not at my best now but I can appreciate that day and feeling strong and it carries on even when the day has passed.

Im right there with you. I get hurt, upset, go through challenges and watch sappy movies, i’ve been diagnosed with depression and anxiety and learned the best ways to deal with it or keep it at bay. Through working on myself and loving myself i’ve found what gives me strength and keeps me going daily for the things I want most for my life i’m designing. It’s why I push so hard for you all to read, journal, workout and be vulnerable too, it just heals.

so here’s to the women and men in my life, thank you. and now a few of my favorites of me on the beach, posing alone with a camera on a tripod looking silly as always and never caring. scroll to the bottom for a short video and behind the scenes!

Shanna Magnuson- davista photography- fashion nova
Panama City Beach women's portraits
fashion nova jumpsuit beach portraits
self portraits I Panama City beach jumpsuit
fashion nova jumpsuit- Panama City beach photography
30a glamour and boudoir photographer
fashion nova yellow dress womens boudoir on the beach
fashion nova dress- Panama City beach photographer
Panama City beach boudoir photography
Panama City beach women photography
davista photography- fashion nova dress- beach photographer
fashion nova davista photography
self love self portraits on the beach
Nikon z7 self portraits on the beach
self love self portraits Panama City beach
Shanna magnuson- 30a photographer
self portraits- Shanna Magnuson
fashion nova dress- Panama City beach photography
30a portrait photographer
confident woman self portraits
women empowering women davista photography
yellow dress on the beach- poses
dress on the beach- Panama City beach photographer

Keep Shining

Shanna Star

in no specific order i’m leaving you with some books i’ve loved this year. click below to order yours now!

whatever Makes Your Soul Happy, Do That.- Self Portraits

When i’m stuck, when i’m down, when my heart is heavy. I try to hold on. i continue on daily, but what sets my heart free is being places that make me filled with joy, and with people who never resist hugs and make me laugh until it hurts. I take time for myself and even take self portraits, to see myself literally through a lens. I upload those photos and instead of picking them apart, i point out the good, the things i’m capable of, and the abilities i was given. It continually makes see the good and appreciate the little “flaws.” 

I take self portraits for social media content sure, to update my profile photos and the changes in my hair and almost 30 year old self. But it always does something much deeper than that. We take thousands of photos, so why not have a few of YOU, where you can see beauty in yourself and embrace the things we spend way too much time worrying about. (Things most people don't ever even notice.) To, even if for a moment hold onto some self confidence to carry around. to believe in ourselves the way to tell others to. 

If you’ve been down and feel your heart is too heavy lately, i want to encourage you to go. you may not be able to travel to places with familiar faces or to a place you lived almost across the country, but you can find those spots near your home that give you peace and you sense something more. i have these spots everywhere i visit so when i need to fill my heart again, there’s never one too far. whether it’s a park in Red Wing Minnesota, White Sands in New Mexico, a secluded walking spot to the beach in Virginia, or even in a chair in your backyard with a book. do that. do more of what makes you happy. and don’t forget to think of all the wonderful things you are. 

Self love and time for you isn't selfish. it's the necessary part to continually be able to love those around you in time of need and shine with genuine happiness.

beautiful self portraits on a windy day white sands national park
Davista photography Shanna Magnuson self portraits
Davista photography white sands New Mexico
bombshell sports leggings yoga pants at white sands New Mexico
bombshell sportswear yoga pants self portraits
New Mexico fitness photography at white sands
glamour and beauty photography Davista photography Shanna Magnuson


Keep Shining

Shanna Star

Self portraits- why i do them and what it does for me

Why do I photograph self portraits? Why are they on the risqué side? 

I do them for me. As a woman who loves to be strong, i’m constantly in the weight room but just like every other woman on the planet, i struggle with feeling enough. Lean enough, strong enough, muscle-popping enough. More than that, it’s am i beautiful enough? And why don’t i look like the women i look up to in that regard? 

What this does for my personal self-esteem— No i don’t have my hair and makeup done strutting around in tiny outfits, and having my skin slightly softened. I realize THAT part is not full reality. I’m sitting here in my glasses. hot mess hair and pajamas. what is reality is the lingering boost of confidence it gives me. i can look at myself in professional photos and see myself literally through a different lens. That if i were to see the woman i’m looking at and it was someone else.. what positivity would i say to her? So as i take these photographs, i learn to love things about myself i was struggling with. things that even when i see these SAME features in someone else.. i see them as gorgeous but rip them apart when they’re on me. It allows me to see a beautiful woman and feel comfortable being thicker. not being as lean and accepting my body shape. Because what i would say to this woman if it wasn’t me is that she’s beautiful. and i would mean it. 

It goes deeper than the outside. It heals my heart piece by piece. Brokenness that happened in my past relationships, words i heard, and even words i told myself that were WRONG. i can see passed my outer shell and know i’m working on my heart and soul which is much more important. I have struggles and sins like everyone else.. but working on being a better woman. and part of being a better woman I think is acceptance.. telling myself positive things, because i gladly give compliments and speak kindness to others and their strengths so i need to learn to talk to myself the same way so i’m being lifted up and not drug down. So that when i have confidence in myself, I feel important enough to do things for me. So that i can give my all and encourage and love others. But i truly think you have to love yourself before you can give that love to other people and serve. 

I also do it for you. no not the sexy photographs themselves. but i write often about how important being present in photographs are, and how you should print, and be proud. I do it because i tell you how important it is..which means it’s important for me too. It’s important to walk in my room and see a photograph i printed and even on days i don’t feel confident, i see it sometimes subconsciously and know i’m enough. Days where my brain tells me i’m overweight or not lean enough, i see a glimpse and try to tell myself encouraging words. Those are important for you too. reminders of the moments of confidence to spill that feeling back into your heart. 

why are they risqué?— women feel empowered in different ways. some feel it when they’re conservative and covered. Others feel it when they show off what they’re mama gave ‘em. we need to be accepting of both. For me, I’ve been a part of different experiences that led me to feel sexy and confident when i show just a little. even in the gym ;) cause let’s face it, i’m the one looking at myself in there the most. i want to feel a little bada** lifting weights. feminine while i’m making those last rep faces and grunting. 

I do them because i can be totally fabulous and a work in progress all in one. 

Self portraits sexy fitness
self portrait headshot fitness photographer
self portrait fitness and boudoir photographer virginia
beautiful virginia fitness and boudoir model
sexy fitness portraits

Keep Shining

-Shanna Star

Self Portraits

Portraits. why are portraits important? I write about confidence, seeing yourself differently, and having portraits around your home for kids and family. But aside from those wonderful reasons, you will leave behind treasures for your family. If you don’t think photos are important, wait till they’re all you have left. (Missy Mwac) 

What do you gravitate to when family passes, hold onto when homes are lost, and look to, to remember those precious memories? Printed portraits of loved ones. 

Family portraits are important for your kids, to help them feel important seeing photographs hanging and the feeling they belong (An article about how family portraits boost your child's self-esteem). But portraits are important for them when they’re older. To remember details, and hold onto the memories they have of you. So whether or not you feel you need to lose a few vanity lbs, your kids are going to remember just loving you. be present in photos. and if weight is your issue to “wait until you’ve lost x amount” be present now, and when you DO lose weight, get another session to celebrate. But your family loves you no matter what size. be in photos for you, be in photos for them. 

As much as i didn't want to be a downer, I think it's important to talk about. My grandparents passed away, and although i was able to hold onto a few of their things, the most important are photographs of them. Prints are what I wanted most, and what i ask my mom to send me so i can print more. When they're younger and when they're older. Changes in fashion and how they changed through the years. I'm sure they didn't realize the importance of those photographs in the moment, but they mean So much now. "The full value of a photo is only understood years after it's been taken." (Missy Mwac)

i bring this up, because in these photos i weigh the most i have (i’m still lifting, but right now i have a little extra fluff before i started my cut again) I thought for a second that maybe i should shred before i take photos, and i thought how hypocritical that would be of me, since i ask you all to come to me before you cut. Because you never know what will happen, or if you can lose the weight. So at my heaviest, i took my first full nudes. I took sexy photos, and i felt extremely beautiful. fluff or not. it’s about angles and showing off your best assets. I take photographs of myself about once a year (and hundreds inbetween on my phone) but it’s almost been a year since my last set of photographs, and I needed to again. It helps me look in the mirror a little differently and say "I am beautiful. rolls, fluff, weight. it doesn't matter."

the importance of portraits
self portraits alamogordo new mexico
fitness photographer shanna magnuson
fit chick who clicks
fitness photography in alamogordo


After much debate, i decided not to show my nude, although i’m extremely proud of it. I sent it to a few close friends. The only reason being, is i am around a lot of wives and their husbands, and in no way would i want to make the women uncomfortable. So if you want to see it (ladies…) i’m more than happy to show you but for now, it’ll stay offline. and printed. ahh the beauty of printing. 

One more thing about importance of prints. Yes having digitals on your computer is so important, but I think it's equally as important to print. You don't flip through those important photographed moments several times a day, but you will walk past walls everyday. Walls that need art and memories. Something COULD happen to your home, but almost always something will happen to your computer or phone. If you have a great back up system, that's awesome but many people don't. Printing allows you to see those moments everyday. And, you did pay for a session, you should enjoy it daily. 

Keep Printing

Keep Shining

Shanna Star